Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Armenian Genocide: Statement by Scholars

The French intellectual, Bernard-Henri Levi, has a intriguing piece in The New Republic calling for institutions of laws against genocide denial. He refers in the main to Holocaust and the Armenian genocide.

His article is prompted, in part, by the recent online petition of 200 Turkish writers, academics, and intellectuals apologizing for the massacre. According to Internet sources over 800 Turks have since added their name to the petition.

I do not agree with Levi's stance as I have frequently stated. However, his article raises some interesting issues.

At one point he makes reference to Irving v. Penguin UK and Lipstadt.

Take France's Gayssot law, which criminalized the denial of crimes against humanity, and which as yet has been applied only to denial of the Jewish Holocaust. This is a law that reins in the fringe and extremist politicians who engage in lightly cloaked anti-Semitism and who may be tempted to advocate Holocaust denial. This is a law that prevents masquerades like that of historian David Irving's trial in London in 2000.

Irving brought a libel case against Deborah Lipstadt, author of "Denying the Holocaust," who had labeled him a spokesman for Holocaust deniers. Though the judge ruled in notably strong language that Irving was indeed a Holocaust denier, in the absence of laws penalizing this offense, Irving walked free.

In fact, had there been a UK law against Holocaust denial Irving could never have brought his case. Before the trial I might have thought this was a good thing.

But as a result of the case, not only was Irving declared by the court to be a denier, racist, and antisemite but as a result of excellent research by our historical team we exposed the lies, distortions, falsifications, and inventions upon which Irving relied in each and every one of his comments about the Holocaust.

It was costly, time consuming, and, at times, overwhelming. But there is now a official court record attesting to the fact that denial is naught but a pack of lies. But more important that the court record is the work down by the historians. But for the trial it is highly doubtful that anyone would have devoted their time to showing how he lied and invented regarding the Holocaust.


karenpurplequeen said...

actually 8,000:

"Thousands In Turkey Sign Armenian Genocide Apology
Everything started from the point where about 200 Turkish intellectuals issued an apology to the Armenian people for the violent past. This was a major step toward the Turkish Armenian reconciliation, but the movement took pace and by now already more than 8000 in Turkey have signed the apology at"

better, eh?


Irving claims to be a 'leading World War 2 expert and historian' [sic] If that's correct then I look forward to purchasing a book written by him which analyses and lists the countries in the world who have brought in Holocaust denial laws. I think it's his duty to reprimand his fellow WW2 historians for their lack of holocaust knowledge. Maybe an Irving Top 10 list of WW2 authors to avoid might be useful?

The Turkish writers decision is a step forward, and a reminder to all Politicians that 'walls have ears' and there's no such thing as a secret police state.

Hai said...

I am Armenian and (soon to be) Jewish, and I agree with you: Holocaust/Genocide denial should not be illegal. At the same time, belief in both should not be illegal, but the latter sadly is in Turkey.

Hopefully Turkey will eventually muster up the self-confidence to do away with that part of its penal code. Likewise, hopefully Austria and Germany will eventually be able to do away with their laws, letting the likes of David Irving dissolve in the ignominy he deserves.

hockey hound said...

"I am Armenian and (soon to be) Jewish"

Congratulations, Hai! As my Jewish friends would say, Mazeltov!