New online generation takes up Holocaust denial
Conspiracy theorists are flocking to outlandish websites, warns lecturer
A new generation of Holocaust deniers is emerging through a clutch of popular gateway conspiracy theories, according to one of the UKs leading experts on the subject.
As Denial, a film about the disgraced historian and notorious Holocaust denier David Irving, hits cinemas later this month, attention is focusing on the ageing generation of deniers who emerged with Irving at its vanguard and are now dying out. But it appears that Holocaust denial has found new momentum in the digital age.
The UKs foremost academic on the subject claims a new internet-based generation is embracing denial, having been drawn to it out of antisemitism or a belief in conspiracy theories.
Dr Nicholas Terry, a history lecturer at Exeter University, estimates that there are now thousands of low-commitment Holocaust deniers online. Rather than recruiting from established far-right denial forums, they are attracting followers drawn to outlandish theories such as those surrounding the assassination of JFK, 9/11, the moon landing and the Sandy Hook school massacre.
In one sense, the internet means Holocaust deniers have got a lot of competition, Terry said. On the other, in this more free-form world, deniers have been able to attract a certain minority from the world of conspiracy theories. Theres a sense of disorientation taking place when it comes to where people are getting their news from.
This kind of free-for-all on the internet creates a milieu that has seen people who would normally identify along the left of the political spectrum gravitate towards ideas that are more at home on the far right.
The release of Denialwhich centres on the libel trial brought by Irving against the Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt follows the controversy that erupted when it emerged Googles algorithms were recommending antisemitic, white nationalist and Holocaust denier websites for searches of the question: Did the Holocaust happen?” The film has already been attacked by the new generation of deniers on YouTube, Reddit and Twitter.