This is from an article in the Jerusalem Post on 01 March 2006 titled "David Irving has a right to free speech, too" written by Peter Singer, defending freedom of speech.
Here's an excerpt:
"We cannot consistently hold that cartoonists have a right to mock religious figures but that it should be a criminal offense to deny the Holocaust. I believe that we should stand behind freedom of speech. And that means that David Irving should be freed.
Before you accuse me of failing to understand the sensitivities of victims of the Holocaust, or the nature of Austrian anti-Semitism, I should say that I am the son of Austrian Jews. My parents escaped Austria in time, but my grandparents did not. "
I applaud the writer for defending freedom of speech (David Irving's, in this instance).
What I do not understand is why he had to state that his grandparents were victims in Austria whilst doing so. If his grandparents had survived Austria, would that make his opinion illegitimate? What if they weren't Jewish?
The principle of freedom of speech entitles one to an opinion and the right to express it - irrespective of the circumstances of the life (or death) of one's ancestors.
I believe it is actually detrimental to the cause of free speech when its supporters lack the courage of conviction to express their opinion without avaling of artificial safeguards in terms of nationality, race, veteran record, gender, disability, religion, ancestry, language, food habits etc. - which are not generally available to all.
Mr. Irving is English. What if he shared Mr. Singer's heritage? Would that affect the truth value of his thesis? I sincerely hope not.