Lying About Me: Origin and Impact of a Phony Quote

Mark Weber
January 2018

Over the years many malicious and untrue things have been said about me by people who don’t like my views. Perhaps the most widely circulated example is the lie that I said or wrote the following:
“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.”

In fact, I never wrote or uttered those words. They do not represent what I think or believe.

This quotation has been cited to justify calling me a “Holocaust denier,” a label that’s malicious and inaccurate. As I have repeatedly made clear, I do not “deny the Holocaust.” (My views on this matter are laid out, for example, in an essay I wrote in 2009.) Similarly, the Institute for Historical Review, of which I am the director, does not “deny the Holocaust.”

This quote was first attributed to me by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an influential Jewish-Zionist organization. It appears, for example, in a 1996 ADL publication, titled Danger: Extremism. For years the ADL website continued to pin this quote on me. Over the years several newspapers, including Israel’s daily Jerusalem Post, and some websites, including Wikipedia, have likewise tied this quote, or some version of it, to me.

It’s also attributed to me by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an influential but controversial leftist organization. A SPLC website item not only recycles that spurious quote, it claims that I also wrote “The Holocaust hoax is a religion.” That’s another falsehood. I have never referred to the Holocaust as a hoax.

Generally I ignore slanderous remarks about me. I made an exception in April 2015 after a major British newspaper, the Mail on Sunday, pinned that spurious quote on me in a sensational article about a meeting in London at which I had spoken. I wrote to the paper’s managing editor, John Wellington, to point out errors and misrepresentations in the article, and to request a correction. I also met in person with Peter Sheridan, the paper’s correspondent in California, to gain his help in correcting the errors.

After that face-to-face meeting and several exchanges of e-mail messages with both Wellington and Sheridan, the Mail on Sunday added a “correction” footnote to its posted report acknowledging that it had inaccurately attributed that quote, along with another one, to me. Then in early January 2018 I learned that Britain’s Home Office had cited that spurious quote to justify its decision in April 2015 to ban me from the country. Unfortunately, the online Mail on Sunday correction was issued only after the Home Office had decided to exclude me from the UK.

It’s understandable that many casual Internet browsers readily accept as valid a spurious quote attributed to me. What’s less excusable is the readiness of some professional journalists to uncritically accept it, merely on the say-so of an organization, such as the ADL or SPLC, which has an easily verifiable record of distortion and partisan bias.