Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 33, No. 6 6 May 1970
Eric D. Butler
Eric D. Butler
Who is Eric D. Butler? This man, the National Director of the Australian League of Rights, is a familiar figure at Aid Rhodesia and other right wing meetings in New Zealand. He has organised petrol tankers for Ian Smith, declared that "Rhodesia sees New Zealand as its main hope for an ally", and stumped backblock Australia to warn of the "Red Peril". His political career is remarkably consistent. Before the Second World War he wrote a book called The International Jew" which accused the Jews of being responsible for the First World War, the Bolshevik Revolution, the Depression, and the rise of Hitler. After the war he wrote another book, "The Great Lie" in which he claimed that Hitler's murder of 6,000,000 Jews was a Jewish invention and that the Jews had actually always co-operated with Adolph. During the war his activities were investigated by the Australian Government, the investigation report stating that his "activities were prejudicial to the war effort".
In recent years Mr Butler has mellowed a little, and appears to have sought a more responsible image. But his League of Rights has continued to disseminate claims of a Communist conspiracy. One claim is that the Fabian Society and the London School of Economics are centres of operation for the International Jewish-Communist conspiracy. Mr Butler today claims that he no longer [unclear: rgrees] with everything he has published—"Some of my best friends are Jews", he has said. But his record speaks for itself. He has distributed anti-semitic and pro-fascist literature written by Sir Oswald Mosley, the British Fascist, and Lincoln Rockwell of the American Nazi Party. A typical literature stall at one of his meetings some years ago included anti-fluoridation literature published by his League of Rights and imported anti-semitic, John Birch Society, and anti-negro publications.
In 1965 Melbourne journalist Ken Gott compiled a list of Butler's policies and some quotations from his paper New Times. Published as Voices of Hate, this pamphlet quoted Butler as expressing views which were anti-semitic, anti-fluoridation, anti-Salk Vaccine (the Christian way is chiropractice!), anti-artificial fertilisers, anti-United Nations, anti-Roosevelt, anti-Churchill, anti-Labour, anti-Common Market, pro-Social Credit and pro-Racism.
Some of the quotes Gott collected were. "Winston Churchill's policies are largely responsible for the present plight of the world"; While it is certain that there was an enormous amount of brutality in German prison camps, it is also certain that much of the evidence about the ovens and other methods of disposing of the Jews was deliberately invented to exaggerate the number of Jews murdered in order to make it easier for the political Zionists to try and justify their own murderous and totalitarian policies"; and "Roosevelt was a Jewish stooge".
It is tempting to discount Mr Butler as a flamboyant but unimportant individual. In recent years, however, his views have moderated and with the Rhodesia issue he has obtained a position of some influence in Australia and New Zealand. Strangely, he seems to be taken more lightly in South Africa, where one usually reliable source says the Vorster government regards him with a mixture of suspicion and embarrassment. In Rhodesia, however, he enjoys popularity and is frequently quoted in material published by the Rhodesian regime as an international commentator of some note.