Now I have talked vehemently about supporting free speech while talking about the Everybody Draw Muhammad day, and being tolerant to burning of the Quran. The critique that I have received is the Holocaust Denial Laws. I must admit, it is a very valid critique, and one that makes the so called supporters of free speech, well, definitive bigots.
I would like to present in this post the critique, its back ground and the impact it should have on our behavior. The denial really is saying out aloud that the number of Jewish people culled during episodes leading into and while the WWII are over stated. One Ernst Zundel is spending 5 years in a German prison for saying that! And the list is rather long, but Ernst has by far been dealt the worst hand.
In 2001, during the German presidency of the European Union the European Union’s Executive Commission proposed a union wide anti-racism xenophobia law which included the holocaust denial. Fortunately, the United Kingdom and the Nordic countries blocked the motion for want of freedom of expression. Individual countries however, continue to exercise denial persecution under various legal areas ranging from Public Incitement to Denial of Crimes against Humanity and Genocide. So while denial is actually legal in Spain as of November 7, 2007, since March 13, 2002 it is an offence punishable with imprisonment from 6 months to five years in Romania. Austria, Germany and France perhaps lead the pack of their strictness on anti-denial laws. I am not even going to consider Israel’s stance on the law for obvious reasons. Israel however was the first country to pass an anti-denial law back in 1986.
While denying a genocide and Public Incitement are deemed to be separate legal areas, they are closely linked as either one, might lead to the other. Public Incitement is also defamation of articles or people considered respectable to certain classes. Albeit mocking Muhammad Pbuh, or burning the book. One can’t help but wonder why would the protestors who consistently hit the streets around the world, do not make use of the law and file complaints against Van Gogh’s of this world, instead of murdering them? Lack of civilization perhaps…