David Irving might be disqualified from an entry in the Encyclopedia by being British, but his views have its share of followers in the U.S. as well. Arthur Butz is one of the most prominent. Arthur Butz is actually a tenured Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at Northwestern University, although his colleagues have exerted some pressure on him to retire. In 1976 Butz wrote the book ‘The Hoax of the 20th Century: The Case Against the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry’, which asserted that the Holocaust did not occur and has been deliberately contrived to justify the creation of the state of Israel. He has actively used his position as a tenured professor to give legitimacy to his views (without providing the administration at Northwestern any formal reason to get rid of him).
Butz remained quiet for a while after the book, but has returned to the spotlight the last 5 years for his defense (praise) of President Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denial. In fact (in addition to a lot of long refuted claims), he called Ahmadinejad’s statements “formidable in their perspicacity” and that Ahmadinejad “understands the intellectual terror in the West” (said, apparently, without a hint of irony). Butz also pointed out that “Tony Blair made a routine pompous suggestion to Ahmadinejad: Visit the camps and see for yourself. Ahmadinejad replied: Good idea, I’ll bring a scientific team. He knows about the forensic issues too.” Yes, Butz, that reply surely establishes Ahmadinejad’s provenance as a razor sharp, non-biased critical thinker, in particular since Ahmadinejad seems to have no intention of actually following up on it. More here. Butz’s claims are thoroughly debunked here.
At least Butz clearly displays the ineptitude and ignorance of the deniers; when you praise Ahmadinejad’s unashamed anti-Semitic, zealous denialism for its rigor and good ideas, your own arguments cannot be particularly strong.
Diagnosis: Dangerous and cunning, perhaps, but a serious loon nonetheless. His influence might be limited, but its threat can hardly be exaggerated.