German proposal for EU-wide ban on Holocaust denial falters
Germany's hope of using its EU presidency to persuade all 27 member states to make Holocaust denial a crime has received a setback in Italy and is expected to run into more resistance.
Berlin on Friday won moral support from the United Nations which adopted a resolution urging members to "reject any denial of the Holocaust as a historical event".
What "moral support"? So far as I can see, the UN resolution did not urge UN members to make Holocaust denial a crime. That UN resolution was introduced by -- guess who -- the good ol' USA, and the USA presumably would not urge other governments to do something that the USA's own constitution prohibits.
The USA is always criticizing and sanctioning other countries for civil rights violations but has a blind spot concerning denial of freedom of speech concerning the Holocaust.
The article says that Italy rejected -- as I noted in a previous post -- an express ban on Holocaust denial:
Hours before the UN resolution was passed, the Italian government published a draft law which proposes penalties of up to three years in jail for inciting racial hatred, but stops short of making Holocaust denial a crime.
Some 200 historians had voiced their objection, arguing that it would infringe on free speech, and Justice Minister Clemente Mastella failed to win support for a more explicit bill.
Germany had looked to Rome for support for its drive for a common EU law, saying the support of the new Italian government would leave "the road clear" for standardization.
A similar attempt by Luxembourg in 2005 was blocked by Britain, Denmark and notably Italy, where Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right coalition was still in power.
"Standardization"? Before you can have "standardization," you've got to have something to standardize, but currently only 10 of the 27 EU countries ban Holocaust denial. And unanimity is required for an EU-wide ban. And how would Italy's support for a ban "leave 'the road clear'" for "standardization"? A recent UK poll showed strong opposition to a ban -- 63 percent opposed and only (NOT!) 16 percent in favor. Also, Denmark, which allowed the publication of cartoons ridiculing the prophet Mohammed, is in a particularly bad position to support a ban on Holocaust denial. Moslems have already rioted in response to the cartoons. The article discusses other barriers to Germany's proposal.
The article says,
In Europe, only Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, Romania and Spain have laws that specifically target revisionism, leaving Berlin to convince 20 others to come on board by July.
According to this news report, Lithuania, Czech Republic, and Slovakia also ban Holocaust denial. That brings the total to 10.
Another news article says of Luxembourg's 2005 proposal,
The Luxembourg blueprint, which Germany is studying with a view toward copying it, says that racist declarations or Holocaust denial will not be prosecuted if they are expressed in a way that does not incite hatred against an individual or group of people.
Well, Luxembourg's proposal that "racist declarations or Holocaust denial will not be prosecuted if they are expressed in a way that does not incite hatred against an individual or group of people".is more reasonable. But I think that the general practice in the USA is the best -- hate speech in the USA is generally considered to be criminal only when it incites a mob to commit violence (a notable exception is the prohibition of the symbolic speech of cross-burning). Also, Holocaust revisionism could be considered to be an indirect accusation that Jews have fabricated Holocaust history and that by itself might in a stretch of the imagination be considered to be an incitement to hatred, so there is kind of a Catch-22 situation here. Most of the Holocaust-revisionist literature I have seen does not directly incite hatred. Holocaust-revisionist literature may be seen on the websites of the Institute for Historical Review and the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust (CODOH), which are probably the biggest Holocaust-revisionist websites.
This issue of European bans on Holocaust revisionism is also discussed here.
Comments about Germany's policies on Holocaust revisionism may be submitted on this contact form, on the website of the German Embassy in Washington, DC. The contact form almost treats California as a separate country -- Californians are not asked to identify their state but are asked to identify their counties -- LOL. For the subject of the comment, I recommend "German domestic policy" because even EU policy is somewhat of a domestic matter for Germany.
Labels: Holocaust revisionism (1 of 2)