Expanding Holocaust Denial and Legislation Against It

Michael Whine

in Extreme Speech and Democracy

Published in print February 2009 | ISBN: 9780199548781
Published online May 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720673 | DOI:
 Expanding Holocaust Denial and Legislation Against It

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Holocaust deniers and the media they use are changing as a consequence of developing technologies and international political developments. Neo-Nazis have now been joined by the government of Iran, which incorporates denial as an element in its foreign policy strategies, and some Arab states and radical Islamists. Deniers' arguments are also developing, from outright denial to trivialization and inversion. International agreements between states have noted the need for better Holocaust education as well as more effective legal instruments and now half the states of the European Union criminalise denial. The 2007 European Common Framework agreement will now force member states to legislate against Holocaust denial if it is promoted in a manner that is threatening, abusive, or insulting if they do not have legislation that permits such punishment. While some European states prosecute Holocaust denial vigorously, the evidence suggests that better education might provide a more effective long term remedy against extremists who seek to rewrite history and undermine democracy.

Keywords: Holocaust denial; international agreements; legislation; cases; Holocaust education

Chapter.  8485 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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