Hilton has become the latest brand to welcome Nazis, after a sting by The Herald exposed a secret conference at a Hilton in Glasgow at which Holocaust denier David Irving made racist remarks about Jews.
As the Lord Provost greeted guests for a black-tie Burns Supper banquet elsewhere in the hotel on Friday, Irving sat in a moth-eaten jumper and gave an audience of forty people, including a child, a self-pitying account of his life, peppered with racism.
His delusional views about Jews were on open display. He began by attacking historian Martin Gilbert’s books on Sir Winston Churchill, noting that the books were “very good, but he’s Jewish. Everything negative towards the Jews has been cut out. That’s what happens”.
He also complained about negative reviews of his own books, saying: “I remember we got a four-page review in the Sunday Times from Arthur Koestler. He didn’t like the book. [There was] another Jew, what was his name, Rosenthal… something like that. He called it a ‘bucketful of slime’.”
According to The Herald, after signing books at the mid-way point of the event, Irving appeared to relax and stepped up his hateful comments: “I am very conscious of the fact that we are not being disturbed here this evening. I am wondering whether this means that the Jews now have given me carte blanche and said, ‘Lay off him, he’s getting old’.”
He then began voicing antisemitic conspiracy theories, saying that after 1938, “we allowed in hundreds of thousands of Jews who have taken over the country,” before a woman interrupted to shout: “And the judiciary”. Irving continued: “When you look at the way these people for the last 50 years have spent 50 years trying to destroy me and my family, as Jews, they have done this as Jews, I criticise them and they accuse me of antisemitism.” Irving also repeated his debunked fantasy that “Hitler was uninterested in the Jews and was constantly applying the brakes on all these anti-Jewish operations.” Asked by his audience about President Trump, Irving replied: “It’s very interesting to see the problems he is already having with the judiciary and the Jews.”
Irving’s audience clearly shared his views. When Irving said that there had been a plan during the Second World War to expel Jews to Madagascar, a man sneered: “Certainly improve the banking industry.”
Irving famously bankrupted himself by suing historian Deborah Lipstadt and her publisher for libel after she called him an antisemite and Holocaust denier. The case has been retold in the film Denial which was released in the UK last month. Irving has also been jailed in Austria for calling the gas chambers at Auschwitz a “fairytale”.
Perhaps Irving’s revolting views therefore come as no surprise, but the views of the Hilton management were startling. Rather than condemning Irving and explaining that he had reserved a room through a company which does not bear his name, a spokesperson for the DoubleTree by Hilton Glasgow Central said: “The hotel management does not adopt, share or promote the views of the individuals or groups to which we provide accommodations and services.”
Neutrality on antisemites and Holocaust deniers seems to be a newly-discovered problem amongst British hotels. Just last week, Campaign Against Antisemitism exposed the disgraceful neutrality of the InterContinental Hotels Group towards neo-Nazis.