The Bishop and the Beauty Queen

Few things bring as much joy to a British tabloid headline-writer than a scandalous tale involving a bishop, and the  previously-obscure Bishop Richard Williamson has returned to the UK to massive media interest: “Nazi lie bishop hits Britain” was the Sun‘s take. Despite his extreme and uncompromising patriarchal views, it was a woman who rescued Williamson from the scrum of photographers and hacks at Heathrow airport [UPDATE: Actually, not quite; the Times reports that he “hurtled through Heathrow so fast last Wednesday that he didn’t speak to the mysterious blonde…[H]e made a beeline for members of his religious order…who bundled him into a Land Rover”.]

The Guardian reports:

Williamson did have one supporter at Heathrow; Michele Renouf, a socialite turned documentary-maker, said she wanted to represent and support him in getting his views across to the public.

She blamed Germany – which has a Holocaust-denial law – for causing the “scrum of Jewish protests” and said it was a “disgrace” that there could be no debate on the issue. Renouf, who came to Heathrow with her legal team, has become increasingly known in recent years for associating with those who deny the Holocaust. She supported the historian. David Irving, during his trial in Vienna for Holocaust denial. Last year, she helped put together a legal team for an Australian academic, Frederick Toben, after he was arrested at Heathrow airport.

Williamson’s links with Irving are discussed by Ruth Gledhill here; the bishop attended an party organised by Irving last year (the photos show Irving to be a grim-faced host), and Irving wrote to him with some advice about the need to admit some Nazi war crimes while maintaining a general revisionist position.

Michele Renouf, meanwhile, has featured on this blog before; in early 2007 I noted a Searchlight report concerning the Iranian Holocaust-denial conference:

During the course of her rambling and rather dull anti-Semitic speech Rabbi Moishe Freidman, head of the Orthodox Neturei Karta sect in Austria, got up to leave the hall only to be told by Renouf, “I’m sorry for those who feel thay have to leave the room in order not to hear de-conditioning!” Amid peels [sic] of laughter the pliant rabbi politely returned to his seat.

Renouf was also present at the October 2006 Right Now! conference held at Mark Mason’s Hall in Central London – I’ve also blogged on this event before. Searchlight reported that she wasn’t much of a hit among other attendees:

True to form she asked whether “International Zionism” was to blame for…well everything by the sound of it. “Utter nonsense” came the reply. There was a brief silence…Unperturbed by the rebuff Renouf set out a number of volumes of David Irving’s works on the stall at the side of the room…Inadvertently she put them on the free literature side of the table, with the result that delegates took a number of books and CDs in the mistaken belief that they were free.

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(Renouf is often mis-spelled as “Michelle Renouf”)