Thursday, January 12, 2006

Criminalizing Holocaust Denial

In 2000, historian Deborah Lipstadt confronted Holocaust denier and pseudo-historian David Irving in one of the most famous trials in recent British history. Irving had sued Dr. Lipstadt for libel after she correctly labeled him as a Holocaust denier. By the time the trial was over, Irving's case, and the remnants of his reputation, had been thoroughly demolished.

Recently, David Irving traveled to Austria and was arrested under terms of a law that makes Holocaust denial illegal in that country. If convicted, Irving could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.

Deborah Lipstadt has responded to these events not by gloating, but by calling for Irving's release, correctly in my view:

"Generally, I don't think Holocaust denial should be a crime," she says. "I am a free speech person, I am against censorship."

"I don't find these laws efficacious. I think they turn Holocaust denial into forbidden fruit, and make it more attractive to people who want to toy with the system or challenge the system.

(link courtesy of Harry's Place)

Holocaust denial is utterly repugnant and a vile affront to historical truth and memory. It should be shunned and condemned. But it should not be banned or censored.


Blogger Brooks Lindsay said...

Hi, just quoted from this article on Debatepedia's article on Holocaust criminalization. Hope our article helps in weighing the pros and cons.

12:14 PM  

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