|An interesting argument here for the release of David Irving by Deborah Lipstadt.|
David Irving, the infamous British war historian, is today sitting in an Austrian jail, accused of denying the Nazi Holocaust. So why is an American Jewish academic who dramatically crushed Irving in the British courts saying he should be released?
When you ask Professor Deborah Lipstadt for her thoughts on David Irving's forthcoming trial, the very last thing you expect her to say is: "Let the guy go home. He has spent enough time in prison."
Lipstadt, the American Jewish academic who exposes Holocaust deniers is not exactly David Irving's greatest fan.
But five years after she famously defended her own reputation in the High Court, and in doing so shredded Irving's, she is arguing that the Austrian authorities should probably let him go, saying the far-right will find a martyr if he goes to jail.
Lipstadt says the reason she is generally opposed to outlawing Holocaust denial is not because she fails to recognise how deeply offensive it is but because such laws tend to turn cranks into martyrs.
"I am not interested in debating with Holocaust deniers," she says. "You wouldn't ask a scientist to debate with someone who thinks the Earth is flat. They are not historians, they are liars. Debating them would be nonsensical.
"But we also should not allow them to become martyrs. Nothing is served by having David Irving in a jail cell, except that he has become an international news issue.
"Let him go home and let him continue talking to six people in a basement.
"Let him fade into obscurity where he belongs."