film festival to screen irving film

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    VICTORIA'S Jewish community has failed in its attempt to stop the screening of a film by Holocaust revisionist David Irving but may appeal against the decision in the Supreme Court.

    An application for an interim injunction preventing the screening of The Search for the Truth in History at the Melbourne Underground film Festival (MUFF) on Thursday night was dismissed today by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
    Festival director Richard Wolstencroft said the decision was a victory for the freedom to express unpopular beliefs.

    "We don't support David Irving's ideas but we do support his right to freedom of speech," he said.

    "Australians do have the right to hear his perspective."

    The Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) claims that the film and a planned live phone link from United States with the historian, promoted his assertion that the Holocaust is a 50-year myth perpetrated by Jews.

    The council's president, Michael Lipshutz, said he would fight "anti-Semitism wherever it is found" and would decide tomorrow morning whether to appeal.

    "It's incomprehensible that anyone can say that the denial of the Holocaust and the fact six million died isn't offensive and doesn't vilify Jews," Mr Lipshutz said outside the tribunal.

    An application before the Equal Opportunity Commission alleging the film - made in response to the refusal to allow the British historian entry to Australia in 1993 - breached the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act remains.

    Judge Michael Higgins said while some parts of the film were offensive to Jewish people, he did not find any grounds that would justify a breach of the Act.

    The film is generally available for sale or hire but Mr Lipshutz said the issue concerned was its public display.

    Counsel for the festival, Peter Clarke, told the tribunal there was "no evidence MUFF was a stalking horse for David Irving" and had printed in its program that it did not support his views.

    He said the festival attracted film aficionados "who were tertiary-educated and keen to be challenged" and urged the Jewish community to attend the link-up and put forth their side.

    Mr Lipshutz said such a suggestion was offensive.

    "The issue of the Holocaust is not for debate, one can't say it never happened," he said.

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