Holocaust-Deniers Hold 'Unprecedented' Major London Conference

Jewish, anti-fascist groups concerned as far-right anti-Semites hold vile event in central London; calls for criminal investigation.

Ari Soffer,

The event featured extremists previously jailed for racist crimes
The event featured extremists previously jailed for racist crimes
Reuters

An unprecedented meeting of holocaust-deniers took place in London last week, drawing the who's who of the European and North American fringe far-right and triggering concern from Jewish and anti-fascism groups.

The meeting - said to be the largest of its kind ever held in the UK - took place in on Saturday April 11 at the Grosvenor Hotel in Victoria, London, and was exposed by an undercover team from the Daily Mail.

Inconspicuously titled "The London Forum," speakers and attendants included many veterans of the British far-right scene, including former leaders of the British National Party and both former and current leading members of the neo-Nazi National Front.

Also in attendance were holocaust deniers and fascist ideologues from mainland Europe, the US and Canada, including the event's keynote speaker, Spaniard Pedro Varela, described by the Mail as "a self-confessed Nazi". Varela has openly spoken of his admiration for Adolf Hitler, and was arrested in 1992 in Austria for praising Hitler and denying the existence of Nazi gas chambers at a Madrid rally marking the Nazi leader's birthday.

Several other participants also have previous criminal convictions for everything from holocaust denial to more violent crimes, such as 72-year-old Richard Edmonds, a former "national organizer" for the BNP, who served a three-month prison term for his part in a 1993 attack with a beer glass on a black man who was left "scarred for life".

Another familiar face to anti-fascism campaigners was American Mark Weber, one of the most prominent holocaust-deniers in the US, who infamously wrote: "The Holocaust is a religion. Its underpinnings in the realm of historical fact are non-existent – no Hitler order, no plan, no budget, no gas chambers, no autopsies of gassed victims, no bones, no ashes, no skulls, no nothing."

According to an undercover reporter who was at the meeting, speakers encouraged those present "to identify, counter and break… Jewish-Zionist domination", applauded as Varela referred to Jews as "the children of darkness", and laughed at the terrorist massacre at the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo - a left-wing satirical magazine which regularly attacked racism and the far-right as well as radical Islam.

While the event mainly focused on denying the holocaust and promulgating open anti-Semitism, other forms of racism and prejudice were also openly aired, with Blacks referred to as "blackos" and "Negros", according to the Mail.

The organizer was a retired teacher and veteran fascist campaigner named Michael Woodbridge, who ushered attendants into the event while conspicuously bedecked in paraphernalia from the now-defunct British Union of Fascists, headed by notorious British Nazi-sympathizer Oswold Mosley.

Following the conference, Woodbridge told the Mail: "It is fairly assumed by people at the meeting that the Holocaust is an exaggeration to put it mildly. It has been used as a propaganda weapon to justify the war against Germany."

Both Jewish leaders and anti-fascism campaigners expressed their alarm at the event, which came as British and wider European Jewry faces a worrying upsurge in anti-Semitism.

Prominent anti-fascism activist and editor of Searchlight magazine Gerry Gable termed the event "the biggest and most significant meeting of Holocaust deniers that Britain has ever seen. It is a very worrying development."

Meanwhile, there have been calls for authorities to open a criminal investigation over possible incitement at the event.

"The material from this white supremacist group makes ugly reading," said Jonathan Arkush, vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

"On the face of it, their proceedings should be investigated to ascertain whether criminal offences have been committed, including incitement to racial hatred."

Last week, on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel, a report revealed a shocking rise in the number of violent anti-Semitic attacks in Europe last year, with France and UK experiencing the greatest increase.

The study Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry found a full 766 violent anti-Semitic acts in Europe last year, committed either with or without weapons and via arson, vandalism, or direct threats against Jews or Jewish institutions such as synagogues, schools, community centers and others.








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