Should the Denial of the Shoah be Considered a Crime?

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Should the Denial of the Shoah be Considered a Crime?

#1  Postby Federico » Oct 24, 2010 2:58 pm

A new proposal has been made in Italy to pass a law making denial of the Holocaust a crime, since the first time the law was approved it was never implemented.
Do you think it is right and eventually useful to approve such a law in view of the increase of anti-Semitism in Europe?
Although in Germany it is already considered a crime, in Italy there is no general consensus for approval of this measure.
Last edited by Federico on Oct 24, 2010 8:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Should the Denial of the Shoah be Considered a Crime?

#2  Postby Sea Monkey » Oct 24, 2010 3:38 pm

I don't see why an opinion, even an ignorant and factually incorrect one, should be considered criminal.
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Re: Should the Denial of the Shoah be Considered a Crime?

#3  Postby lordshipmayhem » Oct 24, 2010 5:32 pm

Sea Monkey wrote:I don't see why an opinion, even an ignorant and factually incorrect one, should be considered criminal.

The opinion should be weighed against the potential harm it can cause. It needs to be more than just ignorant and factually incorrect, it needs to cause harm to others.

If it is used by racial supremicists to justify physical attacks against a minority, then yes. The anti-vaccination crew definitely should feel the full weight of the law, for example: they are demonstrably endangering the physical well-being of others with their demonstrably factually incorrect claims.

We can't ban an opinion just because it's ignorant and factually incorrect, though. It needs to pass the "yelling fire in a crowded theatre, when none exists" test.
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Re: Should the Denial of the Shoah be Considered a Crime?

#4  Postby GreyICE » Oct 24, 2010 6:20 pm

How about atheism? It clearly has served as an encouragement for serial killers and suicides, and its nihilistic doctrine has sparked revolutions and bloodshed around the world.

It clearly causes harm to individuals and society, and we should lock up the evil monsters who attempt to brainwash children and indoctrinate them into their insane suicide cult.
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Re: Should the Denial of the Shoah be Considered a Crime?

#5  Postby Sea Monkey » Oct 24, 2010 6:32 pm

lordshipmayhem wrote:
Sea Monkey wrote:I don't see why an opinion, even an ignorant and factually incorrect one, should be considered criminal.

The opinion should be weighed against the potential harm it can cause. It needs to be more than just ignorant and factually incorrect, it needs to cause harm to others.

If it is used by racial supremicists to justify physical attacks against a minority, then yes. The anti-vaccination crew definitely should feel the full weight of the law, for example: they are demonstrably endangering the physical well-being of others with their demonstrably factually incorrect claims.

We can't ban an opinion just because it's ignorant and factually incorrect, though. It needs to pass the "yelling fire in a crowded theatre, when none exists" test.


Unfortunately such an approach can be go both ways. In a religous fundamentalists state it could be deemed that secularism is an ignorant and factually incorrect idealogy and therefore would be banned because of the percieved harm that religious and political leaders believe it would cause to society.

Its all a matter of perspective
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Re: Should the Denial of the Shoah be Considered a Crime?

#6  Postby Federico » Oct 24, 2010 9:21 pm

Sea Monkey wrote:I don't see why an opinion, even an ignorant and factually incorrect one, should be considered criminal.


That's exactly the position taken by those who oppose the passing of a law limiting freedom of opinion.
What is wrong with this attitude is the fact there is no such thing as total freedom of opinion, as (e.g.) publicly expressing the opinion all blacks should be killed is unlawful.
It can be argued, furthermore, denial of the Holocaust having taken place, whereas an overwhelming amount of evidence testifies 6 million Jews have been slaughtered by the Nazis, may have the perverse effect of producing further acts of violence against the Jews by present day Nazis, encouraged by what may amount to official disregard for a crime against humanity of enormous proportions.
However, some say denial of other genocides (in Armenia, Rwanda, Darfur) should also be considered a crime.
Well, those genocides, although atrocious too, IMHO never reached the proportions and the planetary notoriety of the Shoah.
Furthermore, the phenomenon occurring almost everywhere in Europe of a proliferation of racism and particularly anti-Semitism bodes ill for the future of the EU and should be fought by all means.
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Re: Should the Denial of the Shoah be Considered a Crime?

#7  Postby Sea Monkey » Oct 25, 2010 4:03 pm

Federico wrote:
Sea Monkey wrote:I don't see why an opinion, even an ignorant and factually incorrect one, should be considered criminal.


That's exactly the position taken by those who oppose the passing of a law limiting freedom of opinion.
What is wrong with this attitude is the fact there is no such thing as total freedom of opinion, as (e.g.) publicly expressing the opinion all blacks should be killed is unlawful.
It can be argued, furthermore, denial of the Holocaust having taken place, whereas an overwhelming amount of evidence testifies 6 million Jews have been slaughtered by the Nazis, may have the perverse effect of producing further acts of violence against the Jews by present day Nazis, encouraged by what may amount to official disregard for a crime against humanity of enormous proportions.
However, some say denial of other genocides (in Armenia, Rwanda, Darfur) should also be considered a crime.
Well, those genocides, although atrocious too, IMHO never reached the proportions and the planetary notoriety of the Shoah.
Furthermore, the phenomenon occurring almost everywhere in Europe of a proliferation of racism and particularly anti-Semitism bodes ill for the future of the EU and should be fought by all means.


Those who believe that the Holocaust never took place are already set upon their idealogical path and this is just something else which conforms to their conformation bias, criminalising it won't change that. These people are idealogically blinkered and no amount of restrictions on freedom of speech is going to change that.

Note that valid criticism of Judaism can also be considered as anti-semitism so you need to be careful about granting it and other religious beliefs/idealogies excessive protection or we'll be seeing more instances like the arrest of people in the UK and France for burning the Qua'ran and causing religious offence.

My view is that individuals should be allowed to express their views in public so that they can be seen in their full glory regardless of how informed or uninformed those views are. This provides also ample opportunities for those views to be criticised in the public form and the uninformed ones to be put in their place. In the UK there are some political commentators who can be brutally cutting when they come across nonsense.

The perverseness of human nature ensures that any form of censorship, even with good intentions, innevitably causes people to think that someone is trying to hide the truth with the result that even outrageous nonsense aquires an aura of respectibility.
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Re: Should the Denial of the Shoah be Considered a Crime?

#8  Postby Shrunk » Oct 25, 2010 4:24 pm

Federico wrote: That's exactly the position taken by those who oppose the passing of a law limiting freedom of opinion.
What is wrong with this attitude is the fact there is no such thing as total freedom of opinion, as (e.g.) publicly expressing the opinion all blacks should be killed is unlawful.


Not correct. In some societies, such as the US, there is total freedom of opinion. Certain actions are prohibited, and those actions may involve speaking (such as ordering someone to kill someone else), But the expression of ideas is not restricted in any way. If one expressed the opinion that all blacks should be killed without any accompanying actions or circumstances that makes it likely that such an act will occur, it is not illegal.

It can be argued, furthermore, denial of the Holocaust having taken place, whereas an overwhelming amount of evidence testifies 6 million Jews have been slaughtered by the Nazis, may have the perverse effect of producing further acts of violence against the Jews by present day Nazis, encouraged by what may amount to official disregard for a crime against humanity of enormous proportions.


Allowing freedom of expression is not the same thing as showing disregard for a crime. On the contrary, it is the surest means of preventing a recurrence of the type of totalitarian state that allows such crimes to occur.

However, some say denial of other genocides (in Armenia, Rwanda, Darfur) should also be considered a crime.
Well, those genocides, although atrocious too, IMHO never reached the proportions and the planetary notoriety of the Shoah.
Furthermore, the phenomenon occurring almost everywhere in Europe of a proliferation of racism and particularly anti-Semitism bodes ill for the future of the EU and should be fought by all means.


So now you propose some arbitrary threshold of "atrocity" at which freedom of expression can be violated? On what basis do you determine that? I'm sure it was of no comfort to the murdered Armenians,Tutsis, and Sudanese to know that even more Jews were killed in the Holocaust.
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Re: Should the Denial of the Shoah be Considered a Crime?

#9  Postby Shrunk » Oct 25, 2010 4:37 pm

lordshipmayhem wrote:The anti-vaccination crew definitely should feel the full weight of the law, for example: they are demonstrably endangering the physical well-being of others with their demonstrably factually incorrect claims.


"Demonstrably factually incorrect" is the problematic phrase here. The should not, and cannot, be in the business of determining which claims are scientifically accurate. Although unlikely, it is not inconceivable that future evidence will demonstrate that vaccines are, indeed, dangerous. If your proposed law exists then, scientists will be in the untenable position of being banned from announcing their findings.
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Re: Should the Denial of the Shoah be Considered a Crime?

#10  Postby GreyICE » Oct 25, 2010 4:59 pm

Shrunk wrote:
lordshipmayhem wrote:The anti-vaccination crew definitely should feel the full weight of the law, for example: they are demonstrably endangering the physical well-being of others with their demonstrably factually incorrect claims.


"Demonstrably factually incorrect" is the problematic phrase here. The should not, and cannot, be in the business of determining which claims are scientifically accurate. Although unlikely, it is not inconceivable that future evidence will demonstrate that vaccines are, indeed, dangerous. If your proposed law exists then, scientists will be in the untenable position of being banned from announcing their findings.

In fact pressure is often exerted to prevent scientific findings in the medical field from being published already (the notorious WHO Cocaine Study incident, for instance) but to be legally banned? I don't know any scientist who thinks that sort of meddling was a good thing.

Furthermore, I don't see how people DON'T realize that this would only empower the anti-vaxxers. They gain the argument that the results that prove their claims true cannot even be legally published! Which immediately moves their claims out of the realm of science, and into the political realm, where it's far muddier.
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Re: Should the Denial of the Shoah be Considered a Crime?

#11  Postby Federico » Oct 26, 2010 9:25 pm

Shrunk wrote:
Federico wrote: That's exactly the position taken by those who oppose the passing of a law limiting freedom of opinion.
What is wrong with this attitude is the fact there is no such thing as total freedom of opinion, as (e.g.) publicly expressing the opinion all blacks should be killed is unlawful.


Not correct. In some societies, such as the US, there is total freedom of opinion. Certain actions are prohibited, and those actions may involve speaking (such as ordering someone to kill someone else), But the expression of ideas is not restricted in any way. If one expressed the opinion that all blacks should be killed without any accompanying actions or circumstances that makes it likely that such an act will occur, it is not illegal.


I'm sorry Shrunk, but you are mistaken. Indeed, an act such as burning or defacing a Nation's flag -- an expression of an opinion -- is considered a crime and punished by some States (Wiki):
  • Denmark, paradoxically, considers a crime the burning of another Nation's flag but not its own.
  • In France it's a crime to burn the Nation's flag during an official ceremony such as the 14th of july.
  • In Germany it's a crime.
  • In Serbia it's a crime.

...... some say denial of other genocides (in Armenia, Rwanda, Darfur) should also be considered a crime.
Well, those genocides, although atrocious too, IMHO never reached the proportions and the planetary notoriety of the Shoah.


So now you propose some arbitrary threshold of "atrocity" at which freedom of expression can be violated? On what basis do you determine that? I'm sure it was of no comfort to the murdered Armenians,Tutsis, and Sudanese to know that even more Jews were killed in the Holocaust.

First of all, for an atrocity to be considered a genocide according to the UN,
"acts [must be committed] with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group." Countries like France, Argentina, Greece, and Russia, where the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and their descendants live, have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide; in France, denial of the Armenian Genocide is a crime.

What happened in Rwanda is an example of international immorality.
".....In the weeks after April 6, 1994, 800,000 men, women, and children perished in the Rwandan genocide, perhaps as many as three quarters of the Tutsi population. At the same time, thousands of Hutu were murdered because they opposed the killing campaign and the forces directing it......Policymakers in France, Belgium, and the United States and at the United Nations were aware of the preparations for massive slaughter and failed to take the steps needed to prevent it. Aware from the start that Tutsi were being targeted for elimination, the leading foreign actors refused to acknowledge the genocide. Not only did international leaders reject what was going on, but they also declined for weeks to use their political and moral authority to challenge the legitimacy of the genocidal government." IMO, this was done to avoid intervening in the killing fields."

What happened in the Darfur region of Sudan is even worse.
"The government of Sudan and militias have acted together in committing widespread atrocities in Darfur that should be prosecuted by an international war crimes tribunal, but the violent acts do not amount to genocide, a U.N. commission has said.....In particular, the commission found that government forces and militias conducted indiscriminate attacks, including killing of civilians, torture, enforced disappearances, destruction of villages, rape and other forms of sexual violence, pillaging and forced displacement, throughout Darfur," the commission said in its 176-page report. ....These acts were conducted on a widespread and systematic basis, and therefore may amount to crimes against humanity.
However, the commission said it does not believe the atrocities committed amount to a policy of genocide, as the United States has alleged..... The crucial element of genocidal intent appears to be missing, at least as far as the central government authorities are concerned." Here again, IMO, the real missing thing was the will to intervene in the field by international forces.


In conclusion, one may cynically say that for an atrocity to be considered a genocide and, eventually, its denial to be considered a crime, it takes several things. Accordance with the UN definition; preferably the victims must be white, Christians or Jews; it helps a lot if the proponents have powerful friends and lobbyists.
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Re: Should the Denial of the Shoah be Considered a Crime?

#12  Postby GreyICE » Oct 26, 2010 9:30 pm

Federico wrote:
Shrunk wrote:
Federico wrote: That's exactly the position taken by those who oppose the passing of a law limiting freedom of opinion.
What is wrong with this attitude is the fact there is no such thing as total freedom of opinion, as (e.g.) publicly expressing the opinion all blacks should be killed is unlawful.


Not correct. In some societies, such as the US, there is total freedom of opinion. Certain actions are prohibited, and those actions may involve speaking (such as ordering someone to kill someone else), But the expression of ideas is not restricted in any way. If one expressed the opinion that all blacks should be killed without any accompanying actions or circumstances that makes it likely that such an act will occur, it is not illegal.


I'm sorry Shrunk, but you are mistaken. Indeed, an act such as burning or defacing a Nation's flag -- an expression of an opinion -- is considered a crime and punished by some States (Wiki):
  • Denmark, paradoxically, considers a crime the burning of another Nation's flag but not its own.
  • In France it's a crime to burn the Nation's flag during an official ceremony such as the 14th of july.
  • In Germany it's a crime.
  • In Serbia it's a crime.


Denmark, France, Germany, and Serbia have not yet been granted admission to the United States, much to their extreme chagrin (I'm sure).
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Re: Should the Denial of the Shoah be Considered a Crime?

#13  Postby Shrunk » Oct 26, 2010 9:36 pm

Federico wrote:
Denmark, paradoxically, considers a crime the burning of another Nation's flag but not its own.


Thanks. This delightful bit of information justifies the existence of this thread all on it's own.

As for the rest of the post, I have no idea what it has to do with the topic we're discussing.
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Re: Should the Denial of the Shoah be Considered a Crime?

#14  Postby Federico » Oct 27, 2010 2:31 pm

GreyICE wrote:
Denmark, France, Germany, and Serbia have not yet been granted admission to the United States, much to their extreme chagrin (I'm sure).

I didn't write admission in the US. I was referring to freedom of expression which would include also freedom to campaign hatred for some ethnicities if such freedom was total even in the US where (e.g.) you can say you don't like the President in office but you go to jail if you say he should be shot.
Denial of the Holocaust belongs within the freedom of expression protection according to some States but not for others, and this reflects the differing opinion of the general population as you can learn by reading the Wikipedia chapter on Laws against Holocaust Denial.
To summarize, those opposing such a Law say it would be futile and soon forgotten, while the best solution would be teaching the history of the Holocaust and providing all the evidence which certifies the authenticity of the worst genocide in human history.
Those in favor of such a Law say it is important for the few survivors of Nazi concentration camps and for the youth in general, that such a denial is akin to a new massacre and, in view of the rising number of extreme right parties who thrive on such denials and on the old clichés denigrating the Jews, a helping hand to win elections.
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Re: Should the Denial of the Shoah be Considered a Crime?

#15  Postby GreyICE » Oct 27, 2010 2:56 pm

Federico wrote:
GreyICE wrote:
Denmark, France, Germany, and Serbia have not yet been granted admission to the United States, much to their extreme chagrin (I'm sure).

I didn't write admission in the US. I was referring to freedom of expression which would include also freedom to campaign hatred for some ethnicities if such freedom was total even in the US where (e.g.) you can say you don't like the President in office but you go to jail if you say he should be shot.

Man, it's too bad these forums aren't housed on some enormous database that keeps track of all of these conversations so we can see if that's what happened.

Oh wait.
Federico wrote:
Shrunk wrote:Not correct. In some societies, such as the US, there is total freedom of opinion. Certain actions are prohibited, and those actions may involve speaking (such as ordering someone to kill someone else), But the expression of ideas is not restricted in any way. If one expressed the opinion that all blacks should be killed without any accompanying actions or circumstances that makes it likely that such an act will occur, it is not illegal.


I'm sorry Shrunk, but you are mistaken. Indeed, an act such as burning or defacing a Nation's flag -- an expression of an opinion -- is considered a crime and punished by some States (Wiki):
  • Denmark, paradoxically, considers a crime the burning of another Nation's flag but not its own.
  • In France it's a crime to burn the Nation's flag during an official ceremony such as the 14th of july.
  • In Germany it's a crime.
  • In Serbia it's a crime.


Well now...
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Re: Should the Denial of the Shoah be Considered a Crime?

#16  Postby GreyICE » Oct 27, 2010 2:59 pm

Federico wrote:
I didn't write admission in the US. I was referring to freedom of expression which would include also freedom to campaign hatred for some ethnicities if such freedom was total even in the US where (e.g.) you can say you don't like the President in office but you go to jail if you say he should be shot.

And by the way, your grasp of US law is no firmer than your grasp of US states. People opined similar during Bush's term in office, and Obama has received the same treatment from fanatics.

It's definitely not a crime to say the president should be shot. I'm wondering if you're going off of some more restrictive law books where opinions like that and bomb recipes and things are banned. This is the United States of America you're looking at, not the United Arab Emirates, right?
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Re: Should the Denial of the Shoah be Considered a Crime?

#17  Postby Federico » Oct 27, 2010 9:21 pm

GreyICE wrote:[is considered a crime and punished by some States (not States of the US for Pete' sake)
  • Denmark, paradoxically, considers a crime the burning of another Nation's flag but not its own.
  • In France it's a crime to burn the Nation's flag during an official ceremony such as the 14th of july.
  • In Germany it's a crime.
  • In Serbia it's a crime.
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Re: Should the Denial of the Shoah be Considered a Crime?

#18  Postby Federico » Oct 27, 2010 9:34 pm

GreyICE wrote:
It's definitely not a crime to say the president should be shot. I'm wondering if you're going off of some more restrictive law books where opinions like that and bomb recipes and things are banned. This is the United States of America you're looking at, not the United Arab Emirates, right?


Your knowledge of US Law is as poor as that of a skunk.
Read this link and make amends, which you probably wan't as you are full of S---t.

"U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown found David Earl Anderson, 27, guilty of threatening to kill the president, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison."
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Re: Should the Denial of the Shoah be Considered a Crime?

#19  Postby Shrunk » Oct 27, 2010 11:46 pm

Federico wrote:
GreyICE wrote:
It's definitely not a crime to say the president should be shot. I'm wondering if you're going off of some more restrictive law books where opinions like that and bomb recipes and things are banned. This is the United States of America you're looking at, not the United Arab Emirates, right?


Your knowledge of US Law is as poor as that of a skunk.
Read this link and make amends, which you probably wan't as you are full of S---t.

"U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown found David Earl Anderson, 27, guilty of threatening to kill the president, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison."


Can you really not tell the difference between threatening to kill the president, and saying the president should be shot?
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Re: Should the Denial of the Shoah be Considered a Crime?

#20  Postby GreyICE » Oct 27, 2010 11:49 pm

Federico wrote:
GreyICE wrote:
It's definitely not a crime to say the president should be shot. I'm wondering if you're going off of some more restrictive law books where opinions like that and bomb recipes and things are banned. This is the United States of America you're looking at, not the United Arab Emirates, right?


Your knowledge of US Law is as poor as that of a skunk.
Read this link and make amends, which you probably wan't as you are full of S---t.

"U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown found David Earl Anderson, 27, guilty of threatening to kill the president, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison."

Um, you read your own fucking story, then explain why your interpretation is fucking stupid.

Note where it details an actual plot to kill the president. Plotting to kill the president, or any other person, is of course a crime. Saying "someone should shoot that man" is not.
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