UK ‘no’ to Ger­man Shoah law

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS -

BRI­TAIN HAS re­jected plans by Ger­many to crim­i­nalise Holo­caust de­nial and the dis­play of Nazi sym­bols through­out the Euro­pean Union as part of a se­ries of anti-racist laws to be in­tro­duced dur­ing its EU pres­i­dency.

A White­hall source told the JC that the UK gov­ern­ment would “strongly op­pose” the ini­tia­tive an­nounced by Ger­man Jus­tice Min­is­ter Brigitte Zy­pries. The of­fi­cial pointed out that deny­ing the Holo­caust and the dis­play of Nazi sym­bols were not il­le­gal in the UK and the gov­ern­ment had “no plans to make them so”, and that min­is­ters were against such a blan­ket ban.

“Of course, if a per­son de­nied the Holo­caust or used Nazi sym­bols in a threat­en­ing, abu­sive or in­sult­ing man­ner that in­cited racial ha­tred, or was likely to do so, that would be un­law­ful,” said a spokesper­son for the De­part­ment of Com­mu­ni­ties and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment.

There was also a cool re­sponse from An­glo-Jewry to the Ger­man plans, which will be con­tro­ver­sial in a num­ber of EU mem­ber states. A pre­vi­ous bid to in­tro­duce such a law in 2005 was re­jected by sev­eral EU states in­clud­ing Bri­tain.

Board of Deputies chief ex­ec­u­tive Jon Ben­jamin said that al­though leg­is­la­tion against Holo­caust de­nial could be suit­able in Ger­many, Aus­tria and other coun­tries that once were un­der di­rect con­trol of the Nazis, “dif­fer­ent con­sid­er­a­tions ap­ply to the UK”. Us­ing Holo­caust de­nial to in­cite racial ha­tred should be pros­e­cuted un­der ex­ist­ing leg­is­la­tion.

Labour peer Lord Janner, pres­i­dent of the Holo­caust Ed­u­ca­tion Trust, said he was pleased about the Ger­man pro­pos­als but “doubt­ful” if Bri­tain needed such a law.

There were sim­i­lar com­ments from Ti­mothy Kirkhope, head of the Con­ser­va­tive MEPs, who said that, rather than an EU-wide ban, he would pre­fer in­di­vid­ual na­tions en­act­ing such law. Lib­eral Demo­crat MEP Baroness Lud­ford said she was against a le­gal ban on Holo­caust de­nial. “The way to deal with the David Irvings of this world is to ridicule them and re­peat the facts of the Holo­caust,” she said.

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