Monday, 16 July 2007

Outlawing Holocaust-deniers

First-off: sorry for this ridiculously long blogging absence. I've been suffering from a rather foolish choice of summer internship, and haven't found the time to write. The next weeks, I promise, will bring many more entries.

For now, I thought I'd share this thoughtful stance on holocaust denial - which is written by Deborah Lipstadt, the historian who criticized the holocaust-denier David Irving and, after he sued her for libel, had to prove that the Holocaust happened in a British court.

Lipstadt, even though she couldn't have been sued for libel had a law against holocaust-denial existed in Britain, opposes such laws. What is more, she holds a position which I have rarely heard, but agree with: that there may nevertheless be a justification for such laws in Germany and Austria, because "the swastika or denial of the Holocaust has a different resonance in Atlanta than it does in Berlin or Vienna."


Anonymous said...

Well maybe if the Israelis did not continually use the Holocaust as a tool against Germany to further their own selfish needs, then denial of the Holocaust might not have become a consideration.

Gracchi said...

I agree with you Yascha- I think that ultimately in most parts of the world the best thing to do wtih extremists is to confront them with arguments. But in Germany and Austria things are different possibly.

As for anonymous- I think that you are missing a key issue- knowing the child of a holocaust survival who has precisely the hoarding the article identifies- there is something there which people need helping with and ultimately someone has to bear the cost of that- I don't think that is Israel operating against Germany- so much as people with real problems seeking help through the courts to deal with those problems. Whether a law suit against Germany is the appropriate means is a different matter- but I think we should be careful about arguing that someone with a real disability is actually furthering their own selfish needs by seeking some kind of help.

Anonymous said...

Gracchi, that was one example of Holocaust survivor greed. One out of millions.
The Holocaust has become a business.

Oddly, you don't hear much about survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki filing law suits to get restitution money for psychotherapy sessions...

Gracchi said...

Well actually the Japaneese government uses Hiroshima and Nagasaki for political ends- see Ian Buruma's book on Japanese and German war guilt for examples. But first anonymous we aren't talking about Israelis there- we are talking about Jews who may or may not be Israelis. The thing is you can't make a blanket accusation of that without offering proof- and I don't think the proof you have offered stands up so far.