moving back to the admiration mode-p
At 11:53 AM 2/17/99 -0500, you wrote:
>[Hitchens may be Snitchens, but this is too much.]
>Hitchens-Blumenthal feud escalates
>Beltway dispute takes ugly turn
>with charge of Holocaust denial
>The falling-out between writer Christopher Hitchens, left, and White House
>aide Sidney Blumenthal has escalated.
>By Jonathan Broder
>SPECIAL TO MSNBC
>WASHINGTON, Feb. 16- The bitter personal feud between White House aide
>Sidney Blumenthal and British journalist Christopher Hitchens has escalated
>from harsh charges of perjury and perfidy to one of the most emotionally
>charged accusations one can level at a political foe in the United States:
>Recalling conversation with Christopher Hitchens author Edward J. Epstein,
>a friend of Blumenthal, told MSNBC that four years ago, Hitchens questioned
>whether the Holocaust had ever taken place. The Anti-Defamation League,
>which monitors anti-Semitism around the world, says Hitchens is not a
>Holocaust denier, and now Hitchens, a caustic critic of President Clinton,
>is accusing Epstein of launching a plot to destroy his reputation and is
>considering legal action against him.
>"Why now?" Hitchens said in an interview. "I suspect it is an effort by the
>Clintonoids to change the subject."
>The White House denies it had anything to do with Epstein's charges.
>The public falling-out between Hitchens and Blumenthal occurred earlier
>this month when Hitchens swore in an affidavit that the senior White House
>aide had passed on to him Clinton's description of Monica Lewinsky as a
>"stalker" over lunch last March. Because Blumenthal recently testified that
>he did not mention the "stalker" to any reporters or friends, he now faces
>possible perjury charges.
>A THEORY OVER DRINKS
>Within the small world of Washington journalists and policymakers, where
>Hitchens and Blumenthal had been friends for 15 years, some have accused
>Hitchens of treachery while others, mostly Republicans, have hailed his
>courage. Hitchens said the target of his affidavit was Clinton, not
>But their feud, already a cause celebre in intellectual and literary
>circles, has now grown decidedly uglier with Epstein's charges.
>Epstein told MSNBC that Hitchens had expressed his views on Holocaust
>denial on Feb. 12, 1995, as they ate dinner together with several others at
>the Royalton Hotel in New York after attending the 70th anniversary
>celebrations for The New Yorker magazine at the Hudson Theater. Epstein
>said Hitchens' remarks were so disturbing that he noted them in his diary
>when he got home that night.
>"Once seated in a booth, and freely sipping his free red wine, Hitchens
>advanced a theory more revealing than anything going on at the Hudson
>theater," Epstein wrote in his notes at the time. "His thesis, to the shock
>of everyone at the table, was that the Holocaust was a fiction developed by
>a conspiracy of interests bent on 'criminalizing the German Nation.'
>"He explained that no evidence of German mass murder had ever been found -
>and what gruesome artifacts had been found had been fabricated after the
>event," Epstein wrote. "What of the testimony of Nazi generals at Nuremberg
>about the death camps, I asked. He explained, without missing a beat, that
>such admissions were obtained under Anglo-American torture. I then asked,
>'But what happened to the Jews in Europe?' Hitch shrugged and said, 'Many
>were killed by local villagers when they ran away,' others died natural
>deaths, and the remainder made it to Israel."
>'A TRAP QUESTION'
>In a telephone interview from California, Hitchens would not comment on the
>conversation with Epstein that night.
>"It's a trap question, like 'When did you stop beating your wife,' " he
>said. "There is no point of getting into denials."
>Hitchens noted, however, that the dinner conversation took place a few
>months after he had written a piece in The Nation, a left-wing magazine,
>about French Holocaust denier Robert Fourisson, and about a year before he
>wrote another piece for Vanity Fair about British Holocaust revisionist
>"I'm very interested in the subject," said Hitchens, 49, who discovered
>only 12 years ago that his mother was Jewish.
>Hitchens, an iconoclast whose targets have included Mother Teresa, the pope
>and Princess Diana, raised a forest of eyebrows with his 1996 Irving piece.
>In it, Hitchens flayed St. Martin's Press for canceling plans to publish
>Irving's book on the papers of Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda
>minister, after protests from other Holocaust historians and commentators
>who labeled Irving an anti-Semite.
>"It's unimportant to me that Irving is my political polar opposite,"
>Hitchens wrote. "If I didn't read my polar opponents, I'd be even stupider
>than I am," Hitchens also noted that "Irving is not just a Fascist
>historian. He is also a great historian of Fascism."
>Vanity Fair later published a reply from Abraham Foxman, national director
>of the Anti-Defamation League. "Intellectual dishonesty pervades
>Christopher Hitchens' comments on the well-known Holocaust denier and Nazi
>apologist David Irving," Foxman wrote. "He glosses over Irving's extensive
>record as an anti-Semite."
> But when asked if the ADL considered Hitchens a Holocaust denier himself,
>spokesperson Myrna Shinbaum said Tuesday, "No. He's a writer. We don't
>always agree with what he writes about, but he's not a Holocaust denier."
>Joshua Muravchik, a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise
>Institute, describes Hitchens as an "intellectual entertainer," one who
>often takes controversial positions "simply for the fun of exercising his
>A number of Hitchens' friends said he also often drinks too much, an
>observation Hitchens does not dispute.
>Among those who were present at the controversial 1995 dinner were Vogue
>editor Anna Wintour, who said through a spokesman that she did not recall
>the conversation that Epstein described.
>Epstein, however, is adamant about his recollection of what Hitchens said
>that night. Moreover, he insists that he didn't keep it to himself until
>now, as Hitchens claims, but that he shared it with a number of people at
>the time, including Hitchens' editor at The Nation, Victor Navasky.
>Navasky confirmed in an interview that Epstein had told him about Hitchens'
>alleged remarks at the time, but he said they did not trouble him and he
>never brought up the subject with Hitchens.
> "I never took it seriously as a charge," Navasky said.