graeme_p - 6:07 pm on Mar 9, 2011 (gmt 0)
@frontpage, the question is not whether Shamir is a holocaust denier: it is whether Assange can reasonably believe he is not.
Your quote would be cut and dry evidence if it was accurate. What I found on the site you link to is very different:
As for the accusation of “Holocaust denial”, my family lost too many of its sons and daughters for me to deny the facts of Jewish tragedy, but I do deny its religious salvific significance implied in the very term ‘Holocaust’; I do deny its metaphysical uniqueness, I do deny the morbid cult of Holocaust and I think every God-fearing man, a Jew, a Christian or a Muslim should reject it as Abraham rejected and smashed idols.
In other words he is not denying the historical facts (like David Irving, for example), but regards the holocaust as qualitatively no different from other genocides and mass murders (he mentions the Khmer Rouge, the Turkish genocide of the Armenians, the alleged Soviet starving of millions of Ukranians etc.)
There may be other evidence that he is a denier soft soaping it for public consumption, but I have not found any so far.
The newspaper quotes merely confirm that he has been accused of it: if he had not been there would be no argument for Assange to get involved in.
I have no particular interest in defending Shamir (I think his articles range from reasonable, but nothing special, to idiotic). The question is whether Assange is reasonable in defending him - not whether Assange is right to do so.
Samizdata's summary is good, but its worth adding that many people suspect that Assange is a victim of a sustained campaign by the US government. The recent mistreatment in prison of the man who leaked the cables (forcing him to sleep naked) only confirms that the US is out for vengeance.
@wyweb, I agree that holocaust deniers are repulsive, but its worth checking whether the accusations are true.