Jewish group fails to stop film

A Jewish group in Australia has failed on Monday in its bid to prevent the screening of a film made by the controversial British historian David Irving.

    Irving's books and films are subject to many restrictions around the world

    The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal dismissed an application made last Thursday for an interim injunction preventing the 10 July screening of "The Search for the Truth in History" at the Melbourne Underground Film Festival.
      
    The Jewish Community Council of Victoria said the film vilified Jewish people and incited others to hate Jews.
      
    Two weeks ago it lodged a similar complaint with the Equal Opportunities Commission, claiming the film breached Victoria's Racial and Religious Tolerance Act.
      
    But Judge Michael Higgins said he did not find any grounds that would justify a breach of the Act. 
      
    Freedom of speech

    Festival director Richard Wolstencroft said the decision was a victory for the freedom to express unpopular beliefs.
      
    "We don't support David Irving's ideas but we do support his right to freedom of speech," he told reporters. "Australians do have the right to hear his perspective."
      
    The Jewish Council also asked that a second filmed scheduled for screening at the festival, "The Israel-Palestine Conflict: A Palestinian Perspective," also be barred.

    The Council alleged the film claimed the Holocaust is unfairly used to justify support for Israel. 
      

    Lipshutz: no unlimited
    freedom of speech

    "There is no doubt there are people in our community and around the world who don't necessarily support the policies of the Israeli government," council president Michael Lipshutz said.
         
    But Lipshutz added: "We don't have unlimited and unfettered freedom of speech in any country.”

    Irving controversy
         
    Renowned for denying that the word Holocaust appropriately describes what happened in Europe during the Second World War, Irving has been denied a visa to enter Australia three times.

    His ban is in part due to his 1992 conviction in Germany for defaming the memory of the dead.
      
    He was most recently banned from visiting Australia in January.
      
    Irving denies that the oft-quoted figure of 6 million figure of Jewish deaths is accurate, calculating the actual figure is more likely to be two and a half.

    He also believes the word holocaust, coming from the ancient Greek meaning ‘all burnt’, is inappropriate. His opinions, books and talks have all been subject to legal prosecutions on numerous occasions.

    The Jewish Chronicle, a publication in Britain, said in an editorial: ''Merely to suggest the fact of the Holocaust is somehow open to debate  is obscene''.

    David Cesarani, Professor of Modern Jewish History at Southampton, also reproaches the media for continuing to talk to Irving and ask him for his opinions. 

    SOURCE: Unspecified


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