Pacific Rim Bureau (CNSNews.com) - Australian Jews won an unexpected victory Thursday when the organizers of a film festival cancelled the screening of a film by revisionist historian David Irving, who dismisses the Holocaust as a "legend."
The Melbourne Underground Film Festival announced the decision just hours before Irving's documentary, The Search for the Truth in History, was due to screen in Melbourne.
It was to have been followed by a video link-up session with Irving from the U.S.
The festival organizers said they were unable to show the documentary because the landlord of the venue said he was concerned about safety.
They accused the landlord of "a last minute maneuver," and on his Internet website, Irving drew attention to the fact that the landlord, Albert Goldschlager, has a Jewish name.
Earlier this week, the Melbourne-based Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV), lost a legal challenge to the movie's showing, an outcome hailed by the film festival as a victory for free speech.
Jewish student groups subsequently said they would demonstrate outside the venue, although the JCCV said it would not encourage or participate in protests.
Upon learning of the cancellation, JCCV president Michael Lipshutz said it was "a victory for common sense" but added that he would rather have seen the matter settled in the courts.
Despite the cancellation, about 200 protestors turned up the closed venue. They included several Holocaust survivors.
Around 120,000 Jews live in Australia, and Melbourne is thought to be the city with the largest concentration of Holocaust survivors of any in the world, outside of Israel.
Earlier on Thursday, it was reported that an American movie-maker had pulled out of the Melbourne festival when he learned it was also showing Irving's film.
Ray Greene was quoted as saying he had immediately told the organizers he wanted his documentary, entitled Schlock! A History Of American Movies pulled from the program - and wanted festival-goers to know why.
Irving, a Briton, has been forbidden entry to Australia, Germany and Canada because of his controversial views.
He is planning a revisionist conference over the Labor Day weekend at a hotel in Cincinnati.
See earlier story:
Movie Questioning the Holocaust May Air at Film Festival, Judge Says (July 9, 2003)
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