25
Feb
09

On-Air : Why should you be punished if you question the Holocaust ?

“I believe that the historical evidence is strongly against, is hugely against 6 million Jews having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler”

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Most historians believe 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust.  Catholic Bishop Richard Williamson doesn’t. He thinks – or at least he did- that “just”  300 thousand died, and there were no gas chambers. 

As a result, he’s been kicked out of Argentina , where he ran a seminary, for having” “deeply shocked Argentine society, the Jewish people and all of humanity”. 

Here’s what Lord Janner , the President of the Holocaust Educational Trust said today when Bishop Williamson arrived back here in Britain :

” “It would be much better if Williamson was not here as his views are anti-Semitic, extremely offensive, and insulting to the millions who witnessed and suffered the horrors of the Holocaust. Sadly, as a British citizen, he cannot be prevented.”  

The Bishop is being “helped” by historian David Irving, who told The Times :

“”He is not a Holocaust denier. Like me, he does not buy the whole package.”

Irving himself has served a prison sentence in Austria for his views.

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He was also a guest on WHYS at the end of  2007.  We were doing a “freedom of speech” programme to mark the World Service’s 75th anniversary – it involved a group of guests who had all been “banned” for their views.

His views were the ones you objected to the most.

So, tonight, as then, we are not debating whether the Holocaust happened or how many people died. 

What we are debating is why holding these views- however odious most people find them – lead to imprisonment and losing your job, whereas denying any other historical event doesn’t seem to.

Surely denying something that in the vast majority of people’s eyes happened – is at worse just harmless at best, stupid ?.

As some of you pointed out during the atheist debate, there isn’t in some people’s eyes , any evidence for God, but believing that there is doesn’t get you into trouble.

A debate’s under way here – and of course, below.


161 Responses to “On-Air : Why should you be punished if you question the Holocaust ?”


  1. 1 Roy, Washington DC
    February 25, 2009 at 14:39

    You shouldn’t be punished for mere ignorance, even if it is of a subject as sensitive as the Holocaust. Holocaust denial doesn’t really rise to the level of a hate crime.

  2. February 25, 2009 at 14:40

    to keep the fire burning like the blacksmith does certain sections wants that huge number gassed out which has been imprinted through then media still intact .so any lessening of numbers itself is a crime to some that resulted in ousting of an argentinian bishop.no wonder as a jewish nationcalled israel was built on that huge number of deaths as claimed then inculcating worldwide sympathy which couldnt have happened of the birth of a nation state israel then if the number was only 3lakhs deaths?
    the whole world plays the NUMBER GAMES WELL for their own benefits be it politically,socially or economically as this punishing response to a comment from argentinian bishop shows..
    devadas.v
    kannur
    kerala
    india

  3. February 25, 2009 at 14:50

    There’s a heck of a lot less evidence for an historical Jesus than there is for a Holocaust. It’s troubling that Williams will not question the historical Jesus but instead question an event where we have record of 6 million people going missing, as well as actual gas chambers. His selective questioning makes him all the less credible.

    (Incidentally, my late uncle was a concentration camp survivor. They didn’t gas them there, just starved and worked them to death. Does that mean fewer people died? Hardly.)

  4. February 25, 2009 at 14:51

    It is the Catholic Church. You can be punished for being punished. Logic and sensibility are not a constant when making decisions.

    Free speech should not be punishable. However, holding and publicly broadcasting messages that are not those held by the guiding doctrine of the group should be cause for dismissal from said group. What if a Baptist leader got up and said, “Satan isn’t all that bad, and Hell should be considered as an option.” I would think that this is an opinion not acceptable by the doctrine of the Baptist church. They have every right to dismiss this representative.

  5. 5 Nanci
    February 25, 2009 at 14:57

    I do think the Holocaust is used by propogandists of all stripes. Zionists use it to promote and justify Israel and its occupation of the West Bank and its expansion of settlements in the Occupied Territories. On the other hand neo-nazis use it to justify anti-semitism. German revisionist historians are interested in portraying Germany in a more favorable light, so they are interested in promoting any evidence that the Holocaust was not as bad as portrayed.

    This is not suprising. I have witnessed the same thing in Cambodia. Various parties have vested interests in claiming how many were actually killed by the Khmer Rouge during the Pol Pot Regime. Estimates of how many were executed or died because of the regime vary between one and three million.

    I think it is fair enough to debunk the propoganda on all sides and try to get accurate of a picture of what actually took place.

    My question is what is this particular priest’s agenda and what does he have to gain by promoting the views he does? What is his angle. Is it to be sensationalist? Is it because he has former Nazis in his family, what?

    I do think the Holocaust is unfairly used as a club to hit people who are sympathetic to Palestinian nationalism over the head and to shut down any debate over the legitmacy of Israel’s apartheid policies in the Occupied Territories. Any genuine discussion of the Holocaust can only help bring more sanity to the Middle East Peace process. Israelis are not the hapless victims that many portray themselves as.

  6. 6 Steve
    February 25, 2009 at 15:03

    It shouldn’t be illegal. Make them look like the idiots they in debate.

  7. 7 VictorK
    February 25, 2009 at 15:06

    With reference to the countries of the Western tradition: no, you shouldn’t be.

    *Free speech is central to our political and civic culture; there aren’t many circumstances that justify its dilution – and this isn’t one of them;
    *free critical inquiry is what has made the West dynamic & creative – the critical spirit of Western civilisation can’t be selectively approved & applied;
    *the truth doesn’t need protection, only lies: the Holocaust deniers are demonstrably wrong – they need refutation not punishment;
    *no group should be able to silence its critics/enemies in the name of political correctness or offended feelings, however genuine the offence caused; punish in Israel, by all means, but in the West different traditions & considerations apply.

    The Iranians held an international Holocaust revisionist conference a few years ago. It was a Jew-baiting exercise, not a scholarly one. They were universally condemned by the US, UK, Germany, France & other Western states. Not one of their critics responded to the Iranian claim that the West only believed in free speech when it suited them. The value of free speech is at its greatest on subjects that people find don’t suit them. Like the Holocaust.

  8. 8 John in Germany
    February 25, 2009 at 15:07

    Anyone who is normal should be punished for denying the Holocaust.why? because the denial is intended to provocate.

    A man of the church should know better, and is as radical as any person when making such a statement. Could it be that even the return of the inquisition would be considered by such people.

    If a person is in the position to say i represent God on the World, and his teachings, then he should be beyond reproach, again beyond reproach. And a Bishop is in this position, is a leader in the Church hierarchy therefore a person representing God in the Christian World. The same should apply to all religions.

    John in Germany

  9. 9 Nanci
    February 25, 2009 at 15:10

    I think the reason the Holocaust is still a taboo subject is because Westerners do not like to think of themselves as guilty of such racism and prejudice against a particular group of people. It offends their liberal sensibilities.

    Therefore they can scapegoat the entire Nazi German regime and make it like they were an abberation of Western liberal conscience never to be repeated.

    Also, the wounds and memories of those who suffered and died is still very fresh. To question the accepted account that 6 million were gassed under the Nazi regime is somehow seen to take away from the real pain and suffering of some of the victims—it is to question the validity somehow of what they went through.

    Also, the refrain ‘never again’ was born out of this experience and lead to the formation of the United Nations and the UN Declaration of Human Rights. To question the extent of the Holocaust is somehow to question the whole legitimacy of liberal human rights as the ‘universal’ ethics for international relations.

    Personally, I do not share the views of this particular priest. He does minimize what has happened and unless he can provide evidence and substantial documentation of his views, I question his motives. I don’t think he is an objective seeker of knowledge somehow.

  10. 10 Assopiah, Ben. Ghana
    February 25, 2009 at 15:13

    Such behaviors of the type of Williamson is not criminal. Again, questioning the numbers should not necessarily be punishasble. However, one should not disregard the feelings that people affected by them hold. It is abusive or insulting to hold just a little brief for people who have caused henious crime as the holocaust. To say “just” 300 and not 6 million were affected is equal to saying that what happened was not very seious.. The sensitivity of issues should always guard our utterances.

  11. 11 Steve in Boston
    February 25, 2009 at 15:13

    1. The Holocaust is such a well-documented horrific and atrocious series of inhuman acts of depravity, that to try to rewrite history by sowing the seeds of doubt is nothing less than an attempt to reignite it.

    2. Holocaust denial actively promotes, and is the first step in, the act of committing violent crimes against Jews and others, and those who practice it, including church officials , must be treated as the criminals that they are.

    3. The documentation of the Holocaust is so incredibly overwhelming and so readily available, that denial of the event must be looked upon as a serious mental illness.

    4. In harsh economic times much of humanity is only a spark away from heading once again down the dark slippery road of barbarism and unfettered violence against fellow humans. Those who seek to set that fire need to be quickly and effectively dealt\ with, lest they succeed in unleashing another firestorm of death and destruction.

    5, To those who say free speech must be protected, and “sticks and stones will break my bones but words shall never hurt me,” I say history has proved you wrong, and that words are no less effective a weapon of murder than a finger on the trigger of a loaded gun.

  12. 12 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    February 25, 2009 at 15:15

    The historical facts of the Holocaust have been exhaustively detailed and recorded. To deny the historical record is to engage in fantasy, as if to deny the destruction of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, or the hijacking of an Israeli plane to Antibi in the 1970’s, or the murder of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, or the singling out of Jews to be murdered in the recent Mumbai attacks.

    The Flat Earth Society doesn’t believe the world is round, but we dismiss them with (earned) derision. We cannot dismiss those who deny the Holocaust because, as the above examples point out, it is still going on, albeit no longer by the Nazis, but by others who would commit genocide and are, today, actively seeking to do just that.

    The Hamas Charter calls for the destruction of the Jews in Israel, as does the government of Iran, as does El Qaeda. We ignore their calls for genocide, and ignore the proven facts of the Holocaust, at our peril. After the Jews, who’s next?

  13. 13 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    February 25, 2009 at 15:23

    Hi WHYSers!

    Having been instructed to post a shorter comment, please allow me the opportunity to repost in shorter spurts.

    I am not so sure I am in agreement with the views expressed by this bishop in our Church. What I will say, however, is that his refusal to retract his statements about the extent of the Holocaust and the subsequent actions taken against him by the Argentine government point to the very political nature of (certain) beliefs in the modern era. There is a hierarchy of (political) and, apparently, also historical pain which warrants respect based on who is at the helm of that structure.

    The Jewish Holocaust recieves far more attention, as a result, in no small part due to the work of the Jews in keeping that memory alive and establishing funds and raising monunments to commemorate it, than do other kinds of similarly, if not more outrageous human rights abuses across the world. My pet peeve is African Slavery, which some have argued, in this very forum, was a “blessing”! How absolutely offensive! Now, those views do not seem to be as morally censured as those which call into question the historical validity of the extent of the Holocaust, or any other view held in contravention to the accepted logic of that reality.

  14. 14 VictorK
    February 25, 2009 at 15:23

    @Dwight: what part of Catholic doctrine does Holocaust denial contradict? There’s no connection between the two. The Pope might punish this Bishop for the bad publicity his views have generated, but not for being in any way heretical (in fact, the traditionalist schismatic group Bishop Williamson belonged to were notorious for being ‘more Catholic than the Pope’). If this is his genuine opinion then he’s entitled to it. He’s said he’s open to being persuaded otherwise: you can’t ask for more than that.

    Query: at what point does a person become a Holocaust denier? Is the Holocaust any less of a Holocaust if you believe that 5 or 4 million Jews died (which I understand was roughly the original estimate for several years after WWII)? After all, it’s still a Holocaust even though the 5 million non-Jews who also died in the camps are routinely ignored. I’m much more troubled by the attempt to characterise the Holocaust as a uniquely evil event (even though Mao and Stalin killed many more people than even the 11 million holocaust victims). That’s certainly an act of historical revisionism.

    Free speech is only such when there is no threat, no coercion, no intimidation by way of insult, and no fear of punishment.

  15. February 25, 2009 at 15:29

    That’s a tough one. Anything should be allowed to be questioned…..but folks do not question the authenticity of the Moonwalk, or the sinking of the Titanic, or all the Olympics that have been held. I guess the question that needs to be asked is, WHY is this person questioning the Holocaust? IS he trying to say that the Nazis really weren’t as bad as we thought they were? What is the motivation behind this questioning? I know even that may be anti-intellectual as a process for examination, but is it a vital line of critical thinking to pursue?

  16. February 25, 2009 at 15:30

    Too much is too much.Have you ever been in Dachau, Jasenovac or Auschwitz.Please don’t go this way. If you say : “there were no gas chambers” you are not questioning the holocaust!! You are doing something extremly dangerous

  17. 17 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    February 25, 2009 at 15:33

    The reality is that certain views get far more play than do others and as a result, will have far more dire consequences for choosing to oppose them. These are clearly attributed to issues related to geo-politics, clout and, very sadly also, race (among others). This is unfortunate, as it certainly does not reflect genuine ‘free speech’, in terms of what one is able to say on certain topics. If we were to punish all people who held contrary views vis-a-vis whichever issue, then the justice systems across the globe would be clogged with a number of meaningless infractions, neither worthy of state attention nor resources. Is that the same as saying the head of a religious body should use his office to propogate views which may be percieved as hostile to another group? Certainly not! However, it is to point very clearly to just how political these discussions can be and often are. Certain groups recieve far more attention for the commission of similar crimes against them, than do others. It is just that simple!

  18. 18 VictorK
    February 25, 2009 at 15:43

    @Nanci: there’s nothing taboo about the Holocaust. The taboo is questioning it.

    The German surrender to Nazism was an aberration. I wonder, are some people led to deny the Holocaust because of the way some people use it not just to condemn Germany & the Germans, but to attack Christianity and the very idea of Western civilisation (e.g. those who like to misrepresent the Holocaust as the culminating point of a long tradition of European anti-semitism)?

    @Steve in Boston: your intolerance worries me far more than the Bishop’s views.

    the Iranians were probably right: many in the West believe in freedom of speech only for the opinions they share, and in abuse and witchhunts for all other points of view.

    The deliberate, systematic slaughter of a people on grounds of race/ethnicity is enough for me, whether the numbers amount to thousands or millions. Are some of you really only moved to outrage and horror when the numbers are sufficiently high? Seems so.

  19. 19 Nanci
    February 25, 2009 at 15:46

    “…..but folks do not question the authenticity of the Moonwalk,”

    Avi, believe it or not, there are people who do question the authenticy of the moon walk. I know, ridiculous, but just saying….

  20. 20 Ron S. from Ft Myers Florida
    February 25, 2009 at 15:51

    I remember being 7, 8 years old, watching “The World at War” on TV with my dad. And when they showed the episode about the Holocaust, I could not believe what I was seeing. Of course, I asked questions because I was too young to understand what death was. When I got into senior high school, I read up on this subject again and was devastated by what had taken place. In fact, I don’t live far from the Holocaust Museum (down in Naples, Florida).

    I have always laughed when someone questions history such as this, (or the moon landings,etc), especially with all that we know about it, and those who lived through it. But they are entitled to their own opinions, no matter how skewed they may be. And they should not be persecuted for what boils down to nothing more than their opinions.

  21. 21 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    February 25, 2009 at 16:14

    @ Maria Alexander:

    (Here’s a second time to reposting this!)

    I am a little unclear about the point you made in relation to the historical evidence for Jesus, compared to say the Jewish Holocaust. I would venture that the issue here is less about a questioning of Jesus, which is a completely legitimate vocation, as compared to the extent of the punishment meted out to this Bishop for his views. It is clear that one is far more likely to recieve a particular kind of punishment for opposing certain views than others. As to whether Christ, as the overarching figure in all of Christianity, is historically valid, speaks nothing to the ‘faith’, such as it is, of the many people who call themselves believers. For my part, I am not so much interested in scientific proofs and logic, per se, as I am in the joy, peace and contentment that this ‘faith’ offers, especially in times of great personal trials. It would be very foolish (?) to throw out your ‘faith’ simply (?) on account of a lack of enough ‘evidence’ which meets with ‘scientific approval’, as a result. It is enough sometimes that you believe. Though that can be subject to change the proofs needed to sustain you may not (always) come from science.

  22. 22 AKPANDARA,ANTHONY
    February 25, 2009 at 16:15

    we all want to have our say but we cant cement the truth with our views. 40 years from now someone will deny te genocide in east Africa but the Scare will always be there. the jews know better just like the English would always have agood memory of falkland war. I tell the Bishop personal opinoin would not change the truth for generations unborn.

  23. 23 Jonathan (drizzling San Francisco)
    February 25, 2009 at 16:16

    Holocaust denial is just anti-Semitism with a wink and a nudge. Nonetheless, free speech should be absolute.

    Because Catholic bishops speak with official authority, the Church should instruct them against this hate speech, especially in view of its dismal history with respect to Judaism. The official silence is shocking and troubling.

    Jonathan
    San Francisco

  24. February 25, 2009 at 16:29

    When a person has a high position in public life makes a statement which is absolutely untrue especially in regard to the Holocaust with a rediculess distortion of the facts and it is obvious such a person should suffer the consequencess for his shamefull statement, especially in this particular case being a catholic priest who should understand that Christ,stood for good against evil. Bishop Williamson who in his high position must know better and accordingly should not hold the high position as a Bishop.

  25. 25 Peter
    February 25, 2009 at 16:36

    Nobody complain when japanese historian deny the NANJING massacres. Anyway I don’t trust historian and I make up my own mind . If I’m not allowed to speak about it . What is freedom of speech. Reminds me of an Indian guy who edit Wikipedia to state that India won the SinoIndo war and maintain he is right. Nobody punish him.

  26. February 25, 2009 at 16:42

    Picture a terrified mother in the queue for the gas chamber, her husband already removed, watching her children being forced into different queues, dreading the outcome of these selections, and powerless to resist.

    The extent of the queues is immaterial. There’s more than one camp and it’s a system. Deny that.

    The punishment for denial should not be imprisonment (free speech should be a right), but loss of job is appropriate. Ridicule suffices.

  27. 27 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    February 25, 2009 at 16:43

    Should these people be punished? I think they should be ignored. The nazis were notorious for keeping meticulous records. The facts of the holocaust are not subject to debate. Such a media circus can only create new shadows of doubt.

    The important question is, what does it matter how many were killed? If it were only one, would that not have equally destroyed the world entire? And what can the fact that this happened under the authority of an elected government teach us about the psychology that would create such false enemies, regardless of whether they were exterminated, or merely discriminated against, as they were in the US?

    Getting back to the question of numbers, shouldn’t we be asking why numbers are so important in general? Take health care and home foreclosures. People in the US have long been going without health care and losing their homes to major banking corporations. Why does the media always wait for great numbers to suffer from a system before it regards the story as newsworthy?

    The system is the story. The problem remains the same, regardless of numbers.

  28. 28 Jonathan (drizzling San Francisco)
    February 25, 2009 at 16:44

    @Nanci~~ I don’t get what you mean.

    “…They can scapegoat the entire Nazi German regime and make it like they were an abberation…”

    You’re saying the Nazi regime wasn’t an aberration? “Scpegoating” Nazis benefits whom, and how?

    Regarding Cambodia–who is making what arguments, and how would a body count of one million make a different case than two or three million? Surely the lessons are the same, aren’t they?

    Regarding Israel, I didn’t hear the Holocaust menioned by anyone in discussion of the recent unpleasantness in Gaza, or about the West Bank. How would it be relevant?

  29. 29 Nanci
    February 25, 2009 at 16:44

    Victor K—good points as usual! I always like reading your thoughtful takes on what people have contributed to various debates. I did mean to say holocaust denial and not the holocaust was taboo, so thanks for the clarification.

    And yes, you are partially right in that I do think some academics would see the Holocaust as the rational conclusion of western modernity. However, they wouldn’t see it as being inherently anti-semetic per se, but anti-Other, whomever that other might be—the Jews being the first ‘other’ of western modernity, but not the last….

  30. 30 Steve
    February 25, 2009 at 16:55

    @Eileen

    If people lose their jobs due to their views, that only gives them more free time to be extremist or criminal if they cannot earn a living. Everyone will know what fools they are, that’s punishment enough.

  31. 31 Dolapo Aina
    February 25, 2009 at 17:07

    A certain pattern is noticeable. Anytime anyone denies the holocaust, the individual is punished not really by the authorities but through pressure from the Jewish community. Isn’t it better if the holocaust denier is confronted through debates?
    Ignorance shouldn’t be punishable when it hasn’t been made a law.

    Dolapo Aina,
    Lagos, Nigeria.

  32. February 25, 2009 at 17:13

    @Steve

    You may be right, but removal from a position of authority seems appropriate when the denier is influential and uses his position to corrupt others’ perception.

  33. 33 VictorK
    February 25, 2009 at 17:14

    @Eileen: to admit the right to free speech but annex to it punishments such as loss of employment amounts – for most people holding controversial views – to a denial of free speech.

    Holocaust denial, and its more respectable cousin Holocaust revisionism, are both tainted by the presence of large numbers of neo-Nazi and anti-semitic adherents. But, as long as they are not inciting to violence, even they have a right to free speech. There is no evidence that Bishop Williamson falls into either category and it’s wrong to argue, or rather insinuate, guilt by association. His opinions are entirely personal and don’t in anyway represent the views of the Catholic hierarchy (there’s no doubt that Pope Benedict is embarrassed by him).

    Scholars should certainly be free to examine and re-examine even the most settled historical ‘facts’ and to have no fear in presenting whatever conclusions the truth leads them to. The weight of professional historical opinion is decisively in favour of the ‘traditional’ version of the Holocaust. There’s nothing to fear from the deniers/revisionist and no good reason to punish or terrorise them for dissenting.

  34. 34 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    February 25, 2009 at 17:14

    Regarding my earlier question about the difference between the crimes of genocide and discrimination, obviously this would make a great difference to anyone who would choose second class citizenship over death.

    My point was that there must have been a very similar psychology at work allowing the perpetrators of either crime to believe they were acting with justice on their side. I believe we deny ourselves an important lesson when we fail to examine what crime is, and the reasons crime occurs.

  35. 35 Zainab from Iraq
    February 25, 2009 at 17:19

    Salam,
    O, yes a very good question.. “WHAT’S WRONG WITH QUESTIONING THE HOLOCAUST? ” and the answer is:
    Sure, because this issue never appeall to Israel, Oh, it’s a red line.. though they are always criticizing us (i mean Muslims) for having a red line, yet it seems that Israel too (and all the countries) have that line..
    As i’m always saying it’s a double standards world where sometimes things are acceptable and considered as FREEDOM OF EXPRESION when they are related to us..AND other time, when it comes to [them] O! it’s offensive.. and one must be punished for having saying such things.

    I remember that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in many of his speeches called the Holocaust as a «myth». we see how immediately the White House called such remark as outrageous, while condemned by the European Union, and Israel said they have the means to a military response to the Iranian threat. Well instead of that and according to the “FREEDOM OF EXPRESION” they should take it with a high spirit, and show their evidence of a Holocaust to him.

  36. 36 Meg in Canada
    February 25, 2009 at 17:23

    Interesting that this is the topic today. I’m wondering if anyone watched Law and Order SVU last night…

    Although I consider the thought that the holocaust did not exist absolutely absurd, I recognize the right each individual has to believe what they so choose. However, I would advise these individuals to keep that opinion to themselves as they will surely be met with ridicule and possibly hostility.

    It’s akin to saying that HIV does not cause AIDS. The majority of people in the scientific community and outside it, accept HIV causing aids as fact. Yet there are still some who do not believe this to be true. The holocaust (in my opinion) did happen and does deserve remembrance so that we may try to prevent such awful things from happening again (whether this has worked is another topic for debate).

  37. 37 Steve
    February 25, 2009 at 17:28

    @ Dolapo

    “A certain pattern is noticeable. Anytime anyone denies the holocaust, the individual is punished not really by the authorities but through pressure from the Jewish community.”

    Have any proof of this? When Germans enforce their holocaust laws, it’s because of their past and their laws, not from Jewish pressure. I challenge you to support your claim.

  38. 38 Maccus Germanis
    February 25, 2009 at 17:28

    Assuming the power to silence or punish dissent hasn’t only a censorous effect upon the heterodox. It does also invest an inertia into the orthodox response, as such coercive censorship does require a greater degree of proof, than does personal opinion. Having no power to silence any of your guests, I feel much more comfortable calling holocaust denial a dangerous and foolish opinion. Public derision should be swift, spontaneous, entirelly within the bounds of law, and with no coercive power of gov’t, (or vigilantes) confusing the issue.

  39. 39 Steve
    February 25, 2009 at 17:30

    @ Zainab

    “Well instead of that and according to the “FREEDOM OF EXPRESION” they should take it with a high spirit, and show their evidence of a Holocaust to him.”

    Wow. Nobody said that Ahadmenijad isn’t allowed to have his opinions. Everyone knows he’s a hateful crazy person, and he hasn’t gotten in legal trouble for denying the holocaust. I’m curious, how many people have died from speaking their mind to deny the holocaust vs. people killed over the mohammed cartoons?

  40. 40 Anthony
    February 25, 2009 at 17:32

    Just curious, whats the big deal with questioning it? How will a very small % of people thinking this effect anything?

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  41. 41 Meg in Canada
    February 25, 2009 at 17:34

    I also wanted to add something quick to my previous post:

    *The reason WHY a person expressing such views about the holocaust is often met with anger, resentment, hostility, etc is because this event is extremely emotional. Just as any event that results in the needless slaughter of people is extremely emotional. We can point fingers all we want at how silly/not silly this may be, but at the end of the day we are imperfect human beings, and emotions are just part of the package.

  42. 42 Nanci
    February 25, 2009 at 17:40

    I think the debate is interesting in that it highlights that history isn’t as objective as we think it is. It can be manipulated by people to promote certain political agendas. Interpretations of historical events are political and have political consequences.

    That said, I really don’t think people should be punished for being Holocaust deniers.

  43. 43 Mark Sandell
    February 25, 2009 at 18:02

    Isabelle in Antwerp on e-mail :

    Denying one of the four genocides that took place during the 20st century equals killing the victims over and over again: the genocides killed them physically, their denial kills their memory.

    It is unbearable, unacceptable, disgusting, appalling, despicable…

    It is indeed very hard to accept, as human beings, that humanity is also capable of such inexplicable mass murders. It is unpleasant and uncomfortable to live with, but all should be able to look at ourselves in the faces: we, human beings, can be much worse then animals. Denying it does not resolve anything, it only confirms how contemptible the human kind can be.

    The only way of evolving towards a more human humanity is to face the truth, that is the very first step towards healing and transcendence.

    (I am myself a grandchild and child of victims of the holocaust)

  44. February 25, 2009 at 18:03

    Salaam Chloe,
    The holocaust did take a place; OK, I have got no problem with that…
    Six million innocent Jewish people were murdered brutally by the Nazis; OK, I have got no problem with that either…
    BUT my brothers and sisters down there in our beloved Palestine never took part in the Holocaust, so when ‘someone’ goes and brutally punishes the Palestinian people for something they’ve never done just because that ‘someone’ feels guilty about what happened in the Holocaust, then that’s what I do have a very serious problem with… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  45. 45 someone from somewhere
    February 25, 2009 at 18:04

    has anyone ever thought of asking him why he is denying the full extent of that holocaust? i mean…if he says something so disturbing (to you all) isn’t it obvious that he has some sort of reasons for why he said that!

    admit it, you people are all being just too unreasonable…

  46. 46 ecotopian
    February 25, 2009 at 18:07

    Daiv,

    Actually, people do question the moon walk. Google “moon landing hoax” and you get 350,000 hits.

  47. 47 Nanci
    February 25, 2009 at 18:10

    Good post Lubna. I wanted to make that same point in reference to Jonathan’s comments on my post. Every time I go to the Occupied Territories, the Palestinians ask me why they are being punished for the Holocaust since they aren’t the ones that are responsible for it?

    What a lot of people don’t realize is that Israel was land in the former British Palestinian Mandate out of guilt for the Holocaust. During WWII most European nations did not allow Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazi regime into their countries. After the war, when they realized the size and scope of the Holocaust they thought taking land from another marginalized people and giving it to the remaining Jews would absolve them of their guilt

  48. 48 Venessa
    February 25, 2009 at 18:10

    Punishing someone for free thought is absolutely ridiculous. People live in denial every day or have crazy viewpoints. Choose to be offended but these individuals have a right to believe what they like despite contrary evidence.

  49. 49 rotoye
    February 25, 2009 at 18:14

    questioning the history of a people is an insult to their right to have a preserved history. besides the holocaust is a very sensitive injury against a race. denying its content is a way of saying all or part of it fictitious. he was not there so on what bases is he questioning the fact, when witnesses have corroborated the facts. its like saying there was no slavery in the US only forces labor. its an insult.

  50. 50 Brad From Canada
    February 25, 2009 at 18:14

    We should have the freedom to Question History, and look at the facts. The Facts should support what it is that we believe. If it doesn’t then it needs to be adjusted.

  51. 51 Rose in Florida
    February 25, 2009 at 18:16

    Look, If people didn’t have a right to say what they feel, believe in and stand for, what would WE TALK ABOUT?

  52. 52 Maureen
    February 25, 2009 at 18:16

    I find it interesting that Bishop Williamson’s views of 9/11 (a conspiracy theory that the government had professional demolition crews cause the damage) is not brought up in discussions of this man. I view his beliefs on such subjects incorrect. It is not just the Jewish people’s history he is saying bizarre things about.

  53. 53 VictorK
    February 25, 2009 at 18:16

    @Zainab: I was hoping to hear a Muslim opinion, given that Holocaust denial is all the rage in many parts of the Islamic world.

    Muslims have greater freedom to deny the Holocaust than people in some Western countries. But free speech is unknown in most of the Muslim world. What they enjoy is the freedom to verbally assault Jews with the kind permission of their (mainly) despotic rulers. Even when there are laws against Holocaust denial in places like Germany and Austria, these are still places that have free speech (albeit qualified). Those laws are less about free speech and more an acknowledgement of a particular role those countries played in history. I assume that Holocaust denial is illegal in Israel: and so it should be.

    You might want to ask yourself: what if people were to argue that the Palestinians didn’t exist; the camps in Gaza and the West Bank were all stage props; and that Palestine had been empty for hundreds of years until plucky Jewish pioneers decided to settle there. Would you and your fellow Muslims regard that as just free speech or as outrageously insane? In the same way Ahmadinejad’s opinions are not a nuanced and informed critique but a piece of motivated lunacy.

  54. 54 Rose in Florida
    February 25, 2009 at 18:16

    THE PROBLEM OCCURS WHEN PEOPLE USE THEIR POWER TO FURTHER THESE BELIEFS AND THAT’S A MATTER FOR THE POPE TO DECIDE…

  55. 55 Bruno
    February 25, 2009 at 18:17

    I don’t think it should be illegal.
    Of course it’s very stupid and disrespectful to question it but it shouldn’t be illegal. Freedom of speech shouldn’t make ANY exceptions.

  56. 56 Brad From Canada
    February 25, 2009 at 18:18

    Why should we not be able to Question whether or not something Happened? Should people not have to prove that something in fact happened?

  57. 57 Ibrahim, Baghdad
    February 25, 2009 at 18:20

    The question in my mind now is: would a person (even in a high position) be punished if denying/questioning what had happened in Halabjah (northern Iraq) when the Iraqi former regime committed the genocide against the Kurds-even when, in this case, it has been documented more vividly? I guess not. Why is that?!

    Would Iraqis have the right to keep throbbing the US and its each and every administration *for ever* for what had happened in the prison of Abu Ghurayb?

    @ Roy, Washington DC (February 25, 2009 at 14:39): Why it is “a subject as sensitive as the Holocaust”. Why it has become “sensitive”?

  58. 58 mel
    February 25, 2009 at 18:20

    why not question the success of Hitler? I think it would be wonderful to expose that he wasn’t successful as he wanted to be.

  59. 59 Dan
    February 25, 2009 at 18:20

    @Lubna
    The “Palestinians” DID participate in the Holocaust and that too is part of historical FACT.
    The Grand Mufti met with Hitler to help effect the “Final Solution”.
    You need to understand history in full.

  60. 60 John in Scotland
    February 25, 2009 at 18:20

    Surely punishment isn’ t really the issue here . We need to know who these people are, their connections and political allegiances . Consistently they are reactionary and far right and can be found in all walks of life .

    It isnt an accident that these people are now crawling out the woodwork ‘ and they will only become bolder . They ‘re out to minimise the holocaust and to sanitise Hitler and fascism as a creed inorder to offer it up again as a ‘solution’ ….a way forward .

    Lets confront them for what they are …distorters of history and a pernicious reminder that there are still those who believe in ”might is right ”.

    To ‘moralise’ with these people is just a waste of time.

  61. 61 Ken
    February 25, 2009 at 18:20

    I think the larger question with Bishop Williamson is whether he should be rewarded by the Church, despite his views.

    Given that Pope Bendict himself has a history of inflammatory speech towards other religions, I would think the Cardinals have already made their positions known on this.

    However, as someone who lives in world with a multitude of faiths (and non-faiths), I do not see this Pope, nor his efforts to reconnect with anti-Vatican II conservatives, as positive developments.

    The Church lost more than a great man when JP2 passed.

  62. 62 Mark Sandell
    February 25, 2009 at 18:21

    Maureen, to my knowledge he wasn’t thrown out of Argentina because of his views about 9/11.

  63. 63 Mark Sandell
    February 25, 2009 at 18:22

    Joe on e-mail :
    hi,

    how was the figure of 6 million deaths established, not a denier just curious as to how we know the numbers

    Joe, Edinburgh

  64. 64 Ogola Benard
    February 25, 2009 at 18:22

    Every one is entitled to his opinion but you can delete world war history,something that has been recorded , researched and is being studied at secondary level in various schools and colleges and universities. An opinion strange of this kind could have been reached maybe out an researched views.
    Every elite knows well that Hitler accorded the racial purity and the gassing of disabled people at Berehor -left meant gas chambers and right meant labor!
    Our biggest problem is that – We have adapted black and gray propaganda. such propaganda is actually adversary to the brain!

  65. 65 Mark Sandell
    February 25, 2009 at 18:22

    Isabelle in Antwerp again:
    the number of 6 millions is symbolic
    maybe there were 5 999 999 victims, maybe there were 6 000 001 victims, it doesn’t matter one human being being killed because he is armenian, jew, khmer or tootsie is an unbearable crime against humanity that has to be denounced again and again

  66. 66 Anthony
    February 25, 2009 at 18:22

    The moment we can’t question History…thats when the world turns into “1984”. I still question everything I was told about the Iraqi invasion.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  67. 67 Justin in LA
    February 25, 2009 at 18:22

    Ideas should never be punished simply for being ideas. But what really bothers me is when someone is labeled a “Holocaust Denier” simply because they question the official number of people killed. Saying “6 million killed is an exaggeration” is far different from saying that “The holocaust never happened.”

  68. 68 Travis
    February 25, 2009 at 18:25

    Questioning the holocaust is not the issue: this is the purpose of holocaust scholarship, what are the numbers, what level of culpability do we assign, what was the apparatus etc.

    Denying the holocaust is different then questioning it. At least for the average citizen. The bishop is a leader of church that endorses a principle of divine infallibility for its primate, thus the opinions expressed by the primates minions can, and are interpreted as the message of the primate. Aside from the fact that this blows the bishop’s sympathizers out of the water (they can hardly claim he is a man of reason in world of politically motivated rationalists; he believes one man knows the truth and is never, can not be, wrong), it is the church’s historical persecution of jews sheds any commentary by the catholic clergy on the holocaust as, at the very least insensitive and irresponsible and at worst a tacit endorsement of antisemitism. Why? Because deniers maintain that it is the jews using an inflated, even falsified version of history to justify establishment of Israel and achieve elevated social status and compensation in Europe. In their minds just another example of jews manipulating world events from behind the scenes.

  69. 69 Mark Sandell
    February 25, 2009 at 18:27

    Simeon in Ecuador on e-mail

    The problem is that nobody will say what the real debate is about. Most of those that deny the holocaust are doing so in response to Isreal’s use of the holocaust to try to justify their policies, by arguing that somehow settling Palestenian land and other human rights abuses are justified due to past sufferings of the Jewish people. We should protest any uses of historical tragedies for political goals, both those arguing for and against Isreali policies. But we should be up front about what we are really talking about and realize that holocaust denial and political use of the holocaust are equally offensive. There is debate around this issue only because of the current conflicts in the middle east.

  70. 70 Shaun in Halifax
    February 25, 2009 at 18:28

    Should questioning the holocaust be illegal?

    Of course not.

    The only way one ever gets to the bottom of things is by asking questions. And part of freedom of speech is being able to think and say things that are controversial. Until the Thought Police evolve, nobody can tell you what you may or may not think.

    You have a right to get on a soapbox and say whatever you please. However, by that same token, if I think that your opinion is silly and wrong, I have as much right to ridicule it as you have to say it.

  71. 71 Mark Sandell
    February 25, 2009 at 18:28

    Jay on e-mail :
    Hello, I am an American listener and would like to offer the following comment:

    Your guest in favor of allowing “questioning” of the historical events of the holocaust on the grounds of free rational inquiry in the Classical tradition, is unfortunately conflating the legitimacy of rational inquiry with provocative incitement. Indeed, the first amendment to the American Constitution, guaranteeing free speech, does not allow anyone to say anything without consequence. If I yell “fire” in a crowded building, it is a crime in America.

    Similarly, willful denial of the events of the Holocaust **without substantive proof** is the historical equivalent of yelling FIRE!

    I am not opposed to free inquiry of historical events… however… it is highly probably, I repeat, HIGHLY PROBABLE that those individuals who try to minimize the horrors of the Holocaust in particular with regard to the impact on the Jewish population are in fact, highly anti-semitic and racist. it is in that context, that the freedom to incite anti-semitism be met with a consequence on par with the Klu Klux Klan printing hate material in the United States against blacks or any other race.

    Thank you,

    Jay

  72. 72 Rose in Florida
    February 25, 2009 at 18:31

    IF WE DON’T TALK ABOUT EVERYTHING, HOW CAN WE SHOW THE YOUTH OF THE WORLD -THROUGH HEALTHY DEBATE- WHAT IS RIGHT AND WRONG? COMMUNICATING DOES NOT LEGITIMIZE IDEALS, IT HIGHLIGHTS THE MAJORITY VIEW AND USUALLY GOOD MORALITY WINS THE MAJORITY.

  73. 73 Tom D Ford
    February 25, 2009 at 18:32

    What do deniers get out of their views?

    How do they benefit? Who benefits?

    Who backs them and funds them?

    What is their payoff?

    How did they learn their views?

    What a strange thing.

  74. 74 Glenn
    February 25, 2009 at 18:34

    Here in the USA it has long been understood that “freedom of speech” does not include permission to scream “Fire!” in a crowded theater. That’s what people like the Bishop are doing when they voice these inflamatory opinions in public.

    Furthermore, whenever a person represents their employer in public the employer has a right and a responsibility to make sure that their employee represents them properly, and to discipline them properly when they fail to do so, up to and including termination of employment. Let the church fire him.

  75. 75 Dena
    February 25, 2009 at 18:34

    Surely if the argument is that denying the Holocaust is merely a cover for antisemitism and inciting racial hatred it would be much more effective to have these views out in the open so that they can be confronted rather than pushed underground where people like the Bishop become martyrs and part of an argument of a Jewish conspiracy.

  76. 76 sulayman Dauda
    February 25, 2009 at 18:35

    Only a trouble maker raises the ashes by reversing the fast. holocoust or no holocoust only GOD can judge. and if at all it hapens, why then is social justice and what about freedom of speech?

  77. 77 Shaun in Halifax
    February 25, 2009 at 18:35

    @ Tom D Ford

    Here’s a little story from my home province.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Keegstra

  78. 78 Fred
    February 25, 2009 at 18:37

    A friend of mine has written

    My cousin who is a 91 year old survivor of ghettos and camps once said to me “I would not dignify such a debate by taking part in it” when talking of Holocaust deniers. This piece of drek says that he does not believe there were gas chambers, someone should ask him where my uncles, aunts and their children are then. They numbered hundreds on both sides of my family and within this number were infant twins.

    While you are about it he should be asked where the Jewish populations have gone from Poland, Ukraine, Romania, Lithuania, France, Austria, Belgium, Belorussia, Hungary, Russia, Greece, The Netherlands and and and……….. they are not there now where does he think they’ve gone????

    This is the lowest of the low and the BBC are coluding with this filth in questioning it DISGUSTING. By debating it you are legitimising it and if you want to send this (or me to send it to the BBC) I will do so willingly.

  79. 79 Rosalie
    February 25, 2009 at 18:38

    He as a Church leader should know better than to say a statement like that. However, he shouldn’t be punished for stating his view. And the Holocaust isn’t the only event that can be questioned because of “lack” of evidence. It’s just the most recent and more famous.

  80. 80 Saray
    February 25, 2009 at 18:38

    Freedom of speech is a flawed ideal. We can only be as free as others allow us.

    Everything should be questioned without question.

  81. 81 BGiant
    February 25, 2009 at 18:38

    As uncomfortable as some peoples opinions are we must protect there right to express them.

    Look at what your show is doing right now it is giving the world another chance to discuss and disprove the Bishops views all over again. The state enforcing censorship is a far greater risk to all in question.

    I would however like to remind people that there were also an additional 5 million non Jews who were slaughtered in the camps as well. It is not just a Jewish issue.

  82. 82 Mark Sandell
    February 25, 2009 at 18:40

    Ben in NY on e-mail

    I think the main impulse to want to punish people who deny the Holocaust comes from our fear that someday these people will be in the majority. If we truly believe in democracy we must have faith that the truth will always be stronger than the falsehoods that Mr. Williamson is preaching.

  83. 83 Mark Sandell
    February 25, 2009 at 18:41

    Jim in Mauritius on e-mail

    WHYS,

    My comment is general and that is that the premise of your programme, that you are having a debate, is misguided. These phone-ins are not debates and whatever they are they are too poorly chaired to be credible. I have listened time and time again in the hope of a well-delivered programme but always switch off well before the end.

    I think the BBC needs to re-think the format of the programme, think more seriously about the subjects of discussion and how they should be developed, and equally important find some more capable and suitable chairpersons.

    Thanks for your time.

    Jim
    Mauritius.

  84. 84 Matthew
    February 25, 2009 at 18:41

    Let’s accept that the Holocaust happened and that millions of Jews were killed by the Nazis and their allies.

    Many Jewish people get very upset, justifiably so, when people question whether the Holocaust happened. The irony of today is that now many Jewish people deny the ethnic cleansing and the brutality which the Israeli state visits on the Palestinian people and has done so for the last 60 years. I recall a report on the BBC in which Israeli government officials were trying to outlaw the use of the term the Palestinians use which means “the disaster” referring to the expulsion of the Palestinians from their native lands. I recall statements by Golda Meyer, late Israeli prime minister, in which she denied the existence of Palestinians.

    It is not right for my Jewish brothers and sisters to have this sort of double standard– get up in arms when people try to deny the Holocaust, and then practice denial– even at the official Israeli government level– regarding the ethnic cleansing and brutality that Jews have visited on to the Palestinians.

    Those who have been brutalized can become brutalizers. Those who where victims can become victimizers. That seems to be what has happened in Israel.

  85. 85 Mark Sandell
    February 25, 2009 at 18:42

    Anait in California on e mail; i agree that denying holocaust or genocide is equivalent to killing the victims again. And what is even more important, that makes any future genocide a more probable event in the future.

    But why such a selective attitude exists in the world about crimes of that type?

    There are many people in the world denying the first genocide of 20th century, the Armenian genocide executed by Turkey in 1915. This crime is denied by Turkey, US, UK, and, by the way, by Israel , and this is in spite of the fact that Armenian genocide and driving it into oblivion partly inspired Hitler to commit crimes against Jews during Second World War. Why there is no such an outrage against those deniers?

  86. 86 Maccus Germanis
    February 25, 2009 at 18:42

    Not only does holocaist denial fail to rise to the level of “falsly shouting fire in a crowded theater,” the ruling, of which that phrase was a part, has been overuled. Holocaust denial is fully legal and Constitutionally protected speech, in the United States.

  87. 87 rudy
    February 25, 2009 at 18:43

    if i have the right to question the existence of God, i can question anything.

  88. 88 Ibrahim, Baghdad
    February 25, 2009 at 18:44

    @ VictorK (February 25, 2009 at 18:16) “what if people were to argue that the Palestinians didn’t exist … Would you and your fellow Muslims regard that as just free speech or as outrageously insane?”

    VictorK, isn’t this what actually has been happening for decades “to argue that the Palestinians didn’t exist…” or even their rights in general! For me, however, I don’t consider it as “outrageously insane” but rather an ignorance (forgive me).

    I know what I know, I can not punish others just because they are ignorant or else, have motives–blackmailing and achieving their own goals out of such claims.

  89. 89 Janis in Latvia
    February 25, 2009 at 18:44

    Concealment of evidence of a crime is a criminal offence. Person who commits such action is held responsible.
    Person who denies Holocaust is trying to conceal the evidences of crime.
    Deniers of Holocaust identifies themselves with the criminals. Catholic Church employs person that identifies himself with criminals.
    But I shall not prohibit such deniers to express their erroneous beliefs, because it would be against freedom of expression.

  90. 90 ckennison
    February 25, 2009 at 18:46

    I don’t hink it is a problem with the people who question history. This is a necessity that the world cannot live without. By censoring and punishing those with views different from our own is something we must not allow. While I believe the holocasut was a horrible event in the history of the world and these actions must be condemned. History must be questioned to provide thourough investigation and discovery of the truth and falshoods. Ignorant people may voice there opinions just as intelligent people voice their own. People must control their emotions and allow stupid people to make fools of themselves.

  91. 91 Meg in Canada
    February 25, 2009 at 18:46

    @ Shaun in Halifax,

    Excellent point, but did you read Mark Sandell’s post on behalf of Jay? How do you feel about his point regarding the context in this case? Just curious.

  92. 92 Paige
    February 25, 2009 at 18:47

    Chloe,

    I think that people should be able to say what they want. The important distinction is that our children should not be taught that the Holocaust didn’t happen. Freedom of speech is nice, but distortion of fact should not be spread down through generations.

    Lady Rounoff (or whatever her name is) was just about to talk about education standards recently set for info about the Holocost, and I was really interested in what she was going to say, but you cut her off. She is in the minority, so her point of view seems like it would be good radio. I wanted to hear what the Holocaust survivor had to say too. You say you want people to debate, but then cut them off before they get to anything of substance. I understand you have to be strict, but please let people get to the end of their sentences.

  93. 93 Bruno
    February 25, 2009 at 18:48

    If you believe in freedom of speech and if you think it should be legal to represent the prophet Muhammad in cartoons, or claim that the earth is flat, then why on earth should it be illegal to question the holocaust ?

    There should be no exceptions in freedom of speech.

  94. February 25, 2009 at 18:48

    I dont think he should be punished or even banned out of Argentina,he has the right to say what he feel and like. If he belive that the holocaust dosen’t happen then it is his own opinon.If you belive that it happen then stick to it.I don’t think that Argentina is a democratic country because if it is a democratic country,they must allow freedom of speech.My advice to people going to Argentina is that becareful of what you say and do or else you would be jail,or drive out of the country.

  95. 95 Steve
    February 25, 2009 at 18:49

    Listening to the “Lady” speak makes me want to vomit, though she has a right to be the hateful bigot that she is.

  96. 96 Ibrahim, Baghdad
    February 25, 2009 at 18:50

    I am sorry, my last paragraph in (Ibrahim, Baghdad February 25, 2009 at 18:44) should read:

    I know what I know, I can not punish others just because they are ignorant about my beliefs, unless I intend to use my own case to blackmailing and achieving my own goals out of it!

  97. 97 Venessa
    February 25, 2009 at 18:51

    I can’t believe what I’m hearing. People are being denied their right to believe what they wish and others are happy to punish them. This is a scary path to go down. Anyone read the book Anthem?

    This idea of punishing people for their opinions is purely emotive and has no place in law. Let’s just go ahead and start drawing up legislation for anything that upsets someone. It offends millions of people that many believe God doesn’t exist. Let’s start throwing those people in jail too or punish them in some way.

    History books have been written and if someone chooses not to believe it that is their right. Get over it; if you don’t like how someone thinks or speaks you don’t have to listen or pay attention.

  98. 98 Steve
    February 25, 2009 at 18:52

    @ Janis

    I disagree. They are only denying the evidence, saying they don’t recognize it. It’s no different than if I say the US never had slavery. I’m not hiding anything, like how the holocaust deniars aren’t hiding anything other than the truth. If they wen’t and destroyed physical evidence, then you’d be on to something.

  99. February 25, 2009 at 18:53

    I see parallels between this debate and that of global warming. When 99% of historians (scientists, in the case of G.W.), the public at large can tell who is right or wrong. Leave behind the arguments about facts and whether or not this is more certain than global warming. When the 1% speak out, they simply demonstrate yet again why they are on the fringe.

  100. 100 Rhain
    February 25, 2009 at 18:56

    During my graduate studies in communication we spent a great deal of time debating the limits of free speech in classes. I concluded during these studies that hate speech and dangerous speech are not protected. The danger case such as screaming “fire” in a crowded building is well documented. Denial of this horror is simple anti-semitism and in my opinion not protected speech.

  101. 101 Ben
    February 25, 2009 at 18:56

    On one hand its not okay to deny Holocaust . On the other its okay for the Zionist to hatch and execute modern day Holocaust in Palestine. A replica of concentration camp is being replayed in Gaza in which millions of Palestinians are being exterminated and denied basic human rights (right to exist) . What is the difference between this and what happened in Germany ?

  102. 102 Darren - late, late Singapore
    February 25, 2009 at 18:57

    Questioning the Holocaust only brings on such heated reactions because there are people have suffered through or knew people who have suffered through the horrors of such dark times.
    However, as time passes by, whatever will be accepted as the truth in the future will be written by people who were victorious in the war. You can be sure that if the Nazis had their way, this would be a discussion about how people are punished for speaking out that the Holocaust happened!

  103. 103 Mark Sandell
    February 25, 2009 at 18:58

    Paige, on behalf of Chloe : we made it clear it wasn’t a debate about whether the Holocaust happened (please read my original post) and we made that clear to everyone appearing on the show. We are trying to talk about whether denying the Holocaust is any better or worse than denying any of history’s crimes or events. We were trying to keep the debate on track. Apologies if it sounded rude.

  104. 104 Howard
    February 25, 2009 at 18:58

    Why would anyone put energy into denying the Holocaust, when there are so many needy charities that need energy. People who are concerned with Holocaust denying are obviously corrupted, because they are spending time and energy on nothing good.

  105. 105 Rose in Florida
    February 25, 2009 at 18:58

    YAY HOWARD!!

  106. 106 Mark Sandell
    February 25, 2009 at 18:59

    Sarah on e-mail;
    Hi, there!

    I am a witness to the Holocaust, via my uncle who was with Patton’s Third Army and photographed all the bodies in the camps and photographed the camps as the US army found them.

    Thus, this is historical fact.

    Denying the holocaust is like denying global warming — and the people who do it are the same people who want to roll back human rights around the world.

    Thanks,
    Sarah

  107. 107 rudy
    February 25, 2009 at 19:00

    truth is never afraid to be questionned. in fact, this is where truth derives its strength.

  108. 108 Chris O'Neill
    February 25, 2009 at 19:00

    Without freedom of speech, we are opening the door to another holocost.

  109. 109 ckennison
    February 25, 2009 at 19:00

    In this context people are outraged by the horrible events that occured which happened on such an enormous scale it touched so many people and horrify myself and so many people all across the world. As much as I disagree with the people who have these views I feel that it is necessary to allow as a general right fro people to speak their opinions however unfounded.

  110. 110 Steve
    February 25, 2009 at 19:01

    @ Glenn

    you cannot compare the holocaust to global warming, because there isn’t a concsensus on global warming. We know for a fact that the earth has gone in and out of ice ages throughout its history, so there has been global warming before there were even humans. So can we say for 100% certainty like we know the holocaust happened that humans are CAUSING the global warming rather than perhaps just speeding it up?

  111. 111 Paige
    February 25, 2009 at 19:02

    You’re forgiven🙂 Thanks for listening to my input – even when it is nitpicky.🙂

  112. 112 Steve
    February 25, 2009 at 19:03

    @ Sarah

    But your point could be used to prove that there were no gas chambers or crematoria. If they had been gassed, why were they not buried? Many of the pics of the dead that you see are people who died from starvation and disease, whereas the newly arrived were immediately gassed and disposed of. the pics we see are of people who weren’t gassed in most cases.

  113. February 25, 2009 at 19:04

    Was there freedom of speech in Nazi Germany?
    I assume not. Without Freedom of speech we are doomed to another Holocost. We will judge those who speak on our own accord.

  114. 114 Shaun in Halifax
    February 25, 2009 at 19:09

    @ Meg in Canada

    I presume you are referring to his point that it is HIGHLY PROBABLE that those individuals who try to minimize the horrors of the Holocaust in particular with regard to the impact on the Jewish population are in fact, highly anti-semitic and racist.?

    I can’t stop a racist from having his or her opinion. The only thing I or anybody can do is apply some critical thought to the argument. If the argument doesn’t pass muster or seems completely absurd, then I point and laugh, shake my head and go about my day. That’s all I can do. And I’d rather the racist state his/her opinion so I know s/he is a racist, then keep it to him/herself.

  115. 115 Tom D Ford
    February 25, 2009 at 19:13

    @ Shaun in Halifax
    February 25, 2009 at 18:35

    on:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Keegstra

    Thanks, I read that but I still don’t see what they get out of their pathologically distorted views. But then I don’t see what Hitler got either. What strange people.

  116. 116 Sergey, St.Petersburg
    February 25, 2009 at 19:28

    Note that Nazi rulers of Germany being overtly antisemitic, still were anxious not to make public, that Jews were being physically exterminated or that concentration camps/gas chambers existed.
    Whatever were their reasons, they may be similar to reasons on which some deny holocaust in our days, therefore making them suspiciously and dangerously solidary with Nazis. The German Law makes sense.

  117. 117 Tom D Ford
    February 25, 2009 at 19:29

    There seems to be a missing side here in that while there is a right to free speech there is also an obligation, a duty, for people who know the truth to speak out against the liars.

    Hitler ought to have been constantly confronted by the decent Germans and prevented from spreading his views without question.

    Freedom of Speech implies that the Truth will confront any Lies. Without that confrontation people like Hitler make Free Speech dangerous.

  118. 118 Dan
    February 25, 2009 at 19:35

    @Steve
    There were bodies as they could not be burned as quickly as they were being gassed to death.

  119. 119 VictorK
    February 25, 2009 at 19:38

    I looked at the Wikipedia entry for Lady Renouf

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michele_Renouf

    It was…interesting.

    Was there really nobody else, or in addition, to speak in defence of free speech (rather than against the Holocaust) who wasn’t encumbered by such baggage? Doesn’t it undermine a position when you select someone to speak for it – however well, and she didn’t do badly – with such unfortunate associations? Your selection of guests can be balanced & neutral or hint at a BBC point of view. Like Paige, I was interested in hearing the purely factual point that Ly. Renouf had to make about how schools are officially encouraged to take a propagandistic approach to teaching the Holocaust, and stifling debate, something that was fully relevant to the discussion. But she was rudely interrupted – it came across that way because that’s exactly what happened – and lectured on giving speeches when she was trying to get a valid point across. Very unfair. I expect that on Ch. 4 or the Today Programme, but not WHYS.

  120. 120 Ana Markosian
    February 25, 2009 at 19:39

    It does not really matter how the Jewish people were killed in the concentration camps. Gas chambers or not, there was a conscious effort to exterminate Jewish population. This is what is considered to be a criminal intention and needs to be publicly denounced, regardless of the methods the given intention was converted into real deeds. The denial of Holocaust is an attempt to diminish its horrific meaning, an attempt to make it look like just another historical fact which, as any other historical fact, can be disputed.

    Freedom of speech , just like freedom in general, does not mean that you can do or say whatever you want. Freedom is when a human being consciously puts certain limits on his/her personal desires and drives, so that society as a whole can be healthy and functional. Freedom of speech means that while we are free to express our personal beliefs and opinions, we should be also very conscious about the impact that such expressions might have on the society around us. This is especially true if freedom of speech is executed by people who are viewed as spiritual leaders in their communities.

  121. 121 Brian
    February 25, 2009 at 19:45

    The issue is not as complex as it may seem. As repugnant as the non-evidenced based views are, free speech is part and parcel of a democracy Provided That the person espousing a particular view does not incite to riot or violence against a society or any members in it nor seek to spread anti-racial or ethnic hatred that might contribute to physical harm or discrimination against any person on the basis of race, ethnicity, creed or national origin.

    I, personally, am Jewish. I have visited concentration camps and seen ovens in Poland and hats and shoes of people who were killed during the holocaust. Nonetheless, other than for the reasons mentioned above which are harmful to the society we live in, I support the right of anyone to say anything however outlandish or non-evidence based.

  122. 122 Ian, Las Vegas (via London)
    February 25, 2009 at 20:04

    Yes he should be punished at least 20 years imprisonment, or hard labour. He should never get out of jail. He should be imprisoned and ridiculued because he had an opinion. NOT! In these modern times we should be given a booklet of the OPINIONS we are allowed to hold and those that we are not. Sure he may have offended some people. Tough, get over it people. There is too much emphasis on offence today. If he attacked some Jews then thats different, but he didn’t he just hurt their feelings. There is a major difference between offence and harm. I am so tired of this public shaming that the PC left try to do, as they did with Prince Harry and Carl Thatcher. This really is 1984 where the state now controls your very thoughts and ideas. They try to stop you talking by labelling everything as a hate crime. Rubbish. When did you ever see anyone ridiculed for saying foul things about God or Jesus – never, because Christians are not one of those protected victim groups. I know the holocaust happened, we have evidence. But now I am going to tell everyone it didn’t happen that it was a lie. Why because I am free to have an idea or opinion. Last time I checked you were still allowed the freedom to offend

  123. 123 archibald in oregon
    February 25, 2009 at 20:30

    People deny the existence of Japanese interment (concentration) camps in the U.S.A. in similar ways to the “holocaust” denials and they occurred, almost simultaneously, on two different continents . This does not make them a myth, it only proves that there is a human propensity toward the denial of horrific acts against other humans, based on a rationalized sense of survivalist necessity, (ie. “dropping the A-bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved millions of lives, because it stopped the war with Japan.
    This topic really exposes the flaws in historical record keeping and difussion of said knowledge. We all should have a much better sense of history than we do, because if we did, this debate would be mute and laughable. The subjective nature of the human animal, skews even the broadest and most universal points in our history and reduces them to idle speculation. A true waste………….so much for the ego…….

  124. 124 Michel Norman
    February 25, 2009 at 22:03

    A myth exists that the Jewish people were given Israel as compensation for the holocaust, so if you want to attack Israel then deny the holocaust goes the logic. Lubna- the Palestinian leader at the time, the Mufti of Jerusalem spent the war years in Berlin pushing Hitler to kill more jews in case they would want to go to the land of Israel. Hundreds of thousands of jews who had wanted to flee to their national homeland were stopped by the Arab revolt of 1936 and the notorious white paper that the British authorities issued inits wake, condemning them to the gas chambers. Israel is the expression of self determination for the British people, and the only logical explanation of why so many people are fixated on Israel being the great evil is that following the holocaust anti-semitism is considered to be bad form so anti-zionism is the only way for anti-semites to express themselves.

  125. 125 Meg in Canada
    February 25, 2009 at 23:05

    @ Steve re: global warming (as an aside)

    From my knowledge, no one is saying that humans are CAUSING global warming. There used to be a debate regarding whether we were affecting the rate at which it happens. This is no longer up for debate within the scientific community. I haven’t heard anyone claim that humans are causing global warming, as it is a naturally occurring phenomenon; without it the planet would not have temperatures in a range that allows it to sustain life.

  126. 126 Gary in Maryland US
    February 25, 2009 at 23:07

    Depends on what kind of punishment. Held up for public ridicule? absolutely. Made to show himself off as the idiot he is? absolutely.
    Imprisoned? Probably not – that would be stooping his level.
    Sent to Siberia for reeducation or to do forced research to try to prove his stupid ideas? absolutely. Let him prove it. If he’s “right,” we’ll take his dribble under advisement. If he’s still wrong, at least he was out of the way for the time being.

  127. 127 Roberto
    February 26, 2009 at 00:56

    Again, speech is just a tool and tools can be used by humans for any purpose good, bad, and everything in between.

    This chap is a religious leader, so he’s influencing a large number of people to adopt a hurtful philosophy. In a free society, unfortunately we have to put up with some terrible characters.

    It’s not illegal to lie about folks although big shots can file slander suits in certain cases. What the global ponzi schemers did is a million fold more damaging to the world than what this nutcase is doing. On this forum I hear nonsense very comparable to what this poor chap stumbles over.

    It’s the nature of the human species and I wish science could find the genetic reason as it’s very taxing for the average person to have to work around these idjits and it’d be nice to at least have a reasonable cause for sympathy instead of disgust and anger.

  128. February 26, 2009 at 01:20

    If only one Jew died in the holocaust it would be tragic But we know that 6 million died Bishop Williamson may have difficulty in taking in the concept of millions of Jews dying in the Holocaust Yet he gives a number of 300,000 thousand When we read about an airplane crash where over 200 people are killed we think of it as tragic When the numbers are in the millions it is overwhelming There are Catholics who deny that Jesus was a Jew Yet Jesus lived and died a Jew I was raised a Christian In the 1980’s I interviewed men who had severed under Gen Patton in WW2 Sen John Sherman Cooper said that he would never” forgive nor forget the inhumainty “of what the Germans did to the Jews in the concentration camps In a film on Cooper’s life Gentelman from Kentucky there is a scene where Gen Patton is forcing Germans to look at the some of the remains of Jews who were experimented on by Nazi doctors in the death camps The Germans who were forced to look could not and turned their faces away from the horrors Before Hitler came to power Germany gave to the world gifted Germans in all walks of life -Christains and Jews We can only pray that another Hitler does not come to power in some country and plunge the world into war

  129. 129 Virgil H. Soule
    February 26, 2009 at 01:44

    Has anyone thought to ask the bishop what he is trying to accomplish by airing his views? It sounds like he’s trying to start a fight, which makes him equivalent to an arsonist. He falls in the same category as the child-molesters that have caused so much misery foe American Catholics.

  130. 130 Peter
    February 26, 2009 at 02:27

    This subject and many of the issues mentioned in the above comments are addressed by Daniel McGowan in an article on the website dissidentvoice.org

  131. 131 Zainab from Iraq
    February 26, 2009 at 03:55

    Salam
    @ Steve February 25, 2009 at 17:30 ,
    Well, here you are condemning him saying “he’s a hateful crazy person” just because his saying doesn’t suit you.
    In fact i don’t understand how you’re comparing an individual acts with an official act..and how you criticize us for doing something and having doing the same?!!! Now see how many people have punished or condemned officially (by countries believe themselves to be the sponsor of FREEDOM) just bcuz they discussed or denied the holocaust.. I’m curious how many genocides Israel has made to the Palestinians and the world is blind and silent..

    PLEASE just admit it, anything is connected to israel is a taboo.

    @VictorK
    Though i haven’t much information about the holocaust, I don’t deny it…
    you said “But free speech is unknown in most of the Muslim world” i agree , but let’s make it Free speech is unkown in most of the WORLD.. i think it’ll be truer, since i find no difference between the muslim world and the other world, except that the other world is holding mottos of FREEDOM OF EXPRESION, DEMOCRACY, EQUALITY…etc, that they don’t practice..i mean just lip words.

  132. February 26, 2009 at 06:20

    No person should ever, and i mean ever face any repercussions because he/she question the validity of the holocaust. Too bad free speech is not absolute.

    Everyone has the right to offend to be the offended, and yes, the Jewish people are included, regardless if they’re ‘holy’ or not.

  133. February 26, 2009 at 07:15

    Everyone should have freedom of speech. Ignorance and evil eventually always will loose in the end of things. Disagreement and misunderstandings of beliefs are always going to be in everyone’s lives. Wrong or right, fact or fiction only gives everyone equal opportunity to support or disprove what others might state. Not letting someone speak there opinion, as ridicules or terrible as it seems, is only wrong. By respecting and being civil is the first step, regardless of the dislike of other opinions unlike yours.
    The Bishop disagreed in some of the historical facts of the Holocaust. He did not deny the Holocaust. The facts of the Holocaust can have discrepancies. We find things like this all through out history of the world. There obivious proofs and not so proof positives. What if we found out he was right, 300 hundred people, instead of 6 million? 6 million people might be questionable. It still does not make the Holocaust any less horrific in my eyes.

  134. February 26, 2009 at 07:51

    if your questioning is meant to affect current jews or any people with such histories,then you must be punished.but the questioning can also be allowed to stay if at all no current or future jew gets affected or evicted..for after all,its not the current jew who is your neighbour, participated in writing that holocaust history…but woe to anyone who not only questions but refuses to believe that jews were saved from Egypt by Moses,and through a dried up red sea through Gods miracle.
    Lastly,what is urgently needed here on earth is for everyone to make up so that the past bad history does not affect anyone in the future…and that catholic bishop should be preaching things that bring harmony and lets everything coexist according to love.

    TAMBUA,HAMISI,KENYA.

  135. 135 Fwanshishak
    February 26, 2009 at 08:38

    The extent to which we are all willing to push this freedom of speech thing is just too harrowing! The other day its the possibility of a woman making a big brother carnival out dying with cancer, now someone is denying the holocaust. Off course God has been denied and banished a long time ago, its freedom of speech, soon we will deny saddam Hussein ever existed, we will deny 9/11, the congo genocide, hell Obama was never the President of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! What is going on for God’s sake?

  136. 136 Dodoy
    February 26, 2009 at 09:35

    I think the idea that we don’t have the freedom to Question Holocaust makes me doubt it… if the Holocaust is well documented as it is claimed to be, why questioning it is considered as a crime.

    The argument that questioning the Holocaust is racisim or encourages racism or anti-semitic is just as follish as the idea that questioning 11/9 means being pro-Al Qaeda.

    I don’t believe in 9/11 official story, the idea that the american government couldn”t give soild proofs on it an yet by threatining people could make 9/11 a truth, makes me feel that the same was done for the Holocaust.

    If the Holocaust is a truth, questining some of its details shoud be considered as a healthy thing not as a crime!

  137. 137 Bryan
    February 26, 2009 at 11:17

    Sometimes a single act cuts through the pseudo academic babble of the Holocaust deniers like a scythe. Just as one would grab an obnoxious drunk by the scruff of his neck and the seat of his pants and fling him out of a pub, the Argentinians ejected Williamson from their country. I believe the fact that he misrepresented his stay on official forms was a secondary issue.

    I believe in freedom of speech. I also believe in the right of any country to deny residence to an undesirable. Good for the Argentinians. I guess they are taking a serious look at their history of sheltering and pandering to the Nazis and trying to make amends for that.

  138. 138 Ted Krasnicki
    February 26, 2009 at 12:44

    This man Williamson is not a bishop in the Roman Catholic Church. He was excommunicated 20 years ago precisely because he was consecrated a bishop invalidly. The excommunication was lifted as an act of charity so that now he can make confession for his sins and receive Holy Communion in the RCC. But he still has no official status in the RCC. Why is it so hard for the Western mass media to understand this? Or is it that the MsM is so against the Catholic Chruch that anything goes in smearing the pope? So much for acts of charity in this world!

  139. February 26, 2009 at 12:56

    The problem with questioning the Holocaust is that we will have to question the genocide in Cambodia and Rwanda. Inhumanity must be documented so it will not be repeated.

  140. 140 Zainab from Iraq
    February 26, 2009 at 13:13

    @Dodoy February 26, 2009 at 09:35

    -Very interesting point.

  141. 141 Luise
    February 26, 2009 at 14:18

    It is shocking that there are still some people that believe there was no holocaust, or at least say it. You can’t accept this. Richard Williamson should be punished for saying something dumb like that. He says it were only 300.000- what does it matter? That is just a lame excuse for his sentence.

  142. 142 Askanasti
    February 26, 2009 at 15:16

    The real holocaust was what happened to Dresden during WW2
    also the 42 plus million Allied forces who died to make the world free
    Like many others,I find it difficult to believe that Six million Jews perished
    I wonder now why Jack Straw wants to prevent the truth comiing out about the Iraq war which was really mass murder
    Was the story of the so-called weapons of mass destruction invented by Mossad?

    Perhaps in the near future the American Freedom of Information Act will really help to disclose why so many Iraqis were murdered, and who really benefited from the war,
    I didn’t. and it was not done in my name!

  143. 143 Fred
    February 26, 2009 at 17:48

    Roberto is right – the danger with these deniers of facts is that thye try to excuse what went on by saying it did not .happen
    We now have the irrelevant contribution from Ask a nasti saying almost exactly that .
    Meanwhile 1 out of 3 Jews in the World who were alive in 1939 were NOT alive in 1945 . If you had 3 brothers and 1 disappeared you would know it

    Millions of others also died as civillians or in the various armies .

    This was the fault of the Germans who were looking for WAR and an Aryan Europe – no Jews , no Gypsies, and Slavs as slaves .
    Dresden was not in same category – even in the last year of the War [1944–1945 ] the German railways were transporting Jews in cattle trucks form Hungary and Greece and all over Europe to be murdered in death camps .

    Does it matter HOW they died ? — they were killed either by gas or starvation or as Lady R says by typhus which they would not have suffred from if they had beem allowed to stay where they are .
    SO what is there to deny or look into again ?

  144. 144 Kelly, from Chicago, IL, USA
    February 26, 2009 at 17:50

    History is a flexible thing that is often biased and strongly affected by whoever is writing it. You can see it very simply in the history books we give our kids–study history books over the years and the stories can change as new evidence, new opinions, or new cultural trends take place. When I think about it, I have no proof that the Holocaust occurred besides the books I have read on my own time and the history I was taught in school. I believe the Holocaust occurred and that it was a very tragic thing, but I have no real proof. No one in my life was directly affected.

    I find it disturbing that the priest questions the gas chambers and the number of Jews killed by them, but this is because I feel like as a man who lives his life in faith, he should focus on empathy and compassion rather than making a stink with controversial statements.

    No one should ever be jailed just for their beliefs. Isn’t that essentially what happened to the Jews in WWII in the first place? Will we recreate the Holocaust by jailing others for their views on it if it doesn’t fit our current view of history and cultural trends?

  145. 145 Fred
    February 26, 2009 at 19:21

    How ever did a man like this with such a juvenile mind ever become a
    Bishop ?
    What is his motive ?
    The idea of Holocaust remembrance was to try to stop other genocides
    happening .
    Hitler said when talking about what the German Nazis were planning to do
    with the Jews ” Who remembers the Armenian Genocide ” so who will remember this ?

    I heard a lecture given by a Black History teacher 2 weeks ago and she was so angry that anyone could peddle this denying filth .
    She said the evidence is there and has been out there for 60 years
    So what is the motive of the Neo Nazis who come back again and again ?.
    She said once you demonise one set of people you demonise and dehumanise them and countless others . She saw a continuing thread form the Holocaust to Human Rights -that is the reason the H R accords were made after WW2 and based on that Balck Americans eventually got their equality as did many others all other the World once Colonialism was done away with .

  146. 146 Fred
    February 26, 2009 at 19:36

    I have just heard on BBC World Service that the BISHOP

    has apologised 19.30 GMT Thu 26 Feb

    What a clever man – I dont think

  147. 147 Tom D Ford
    February 26, 2009 at 19:48

    @ Fred
    February 26, 2009 at 17:48

    “Does it matter HOW they died ? — they were killed either by gas or starvation or as Lady R says by typhus which they would not have suffred from if they had beem allowed to stay where they are .”

    The book “Masters of Death: The SS Einsatzgruppen and the Invention of the Holocaust” by Richard Rhodes is very enlightening about what happened. It is a very depressing book to read but does a good job of the history of the people who actually did the killing.

    It tells how they died and has actual photos of it. But be ready for tears if you read it.

  148. 148 Jed Nightingale
    February 26, 2009 at 19:56

    The pseudo-historians that question the Holocaust experience remind me of the old Southerns that preached that slavery in the South was not so bad and that the Blacks were treated very humanly and with all the courtesy and charm that Southerners can show…. How does that grab you ….?????

  149. 149 CJ McAuley
    February 26, 2009 at 20:45

    Well put, Daiv!

  150. 150 Karsten
    February 26, 2009 at 23:00

    First of all the Holocaust happend and it was one of the worst moments in World History. Millions of Jews and other people were systematically killed. Everybody who does not believe it shall visit those places personally in Germany called “Buchenwald”, “Dachau” or in Poland called “Auschwitz” just to name a few.
    Those who deny it, deny the dead of millions of people, punish their relatives and/or don’t respect those who suffered and survived.
    They are at the same level like those who would deny the fact of geocide in Ruanda or the 9/11 events in the US. They turn proven and even contemporary proven facts from reallity to irreallity or true to lie.
    With their false statements/arguments they blind others and play serious events down.

    Minds are free and shall be free and there is also a right to question issues but not proven facts in public. Where does that Catholic Bishop show his respect for human beings in denying the Holocaust where he is actually due to his profession obliged to pray for?

    Herewith I would like to quote Berthold Brecht in “Life of Galileo Galilei”:

    “Someone who doesn’t know the true is a fool, but someone who knows the true and call it a lie is a criminal”

  151. 151 Will, British Columbia
    February 27, 2009 at 06:25

    It really bothers me that in free, democratic societies that we would try to force people into what they should believe in as truth. This bishop might as well be telling us that 2 +2 is 3 or that the earth is flat; all three claims are easily debunked, so why put the spot light on these ignorant people and let them shine? We are lucky enough to have the right to hold our own opinions, to agree with others or disagree without fear of ending up in prison camps because we fight words with words, ideas with ideas and claims with facts. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

  152. 152 Fred
    February 27, 2009 at 11:37

    Is it not all now about MOTIVES ?

    What point was he trying to make ?

    And look at those who support him !

  153. 153 Count Iblis
    February 27, 2009 at 12:54

    I disagree with Steve about there being no consensus on global warming as opposed to the Holocaust. The people who deny the Holocaust do so because of a hidden agenda, the same is true for people who question the fundamentals of climate science when they say they don’t believe in global warming caused by humans.

  154. 154 Dolorosa
    February 27, 2009 at 16:55

    I think you all need to read the book by a Jewish man, Norman Finkelstein, “The Holocaust Industry” to understand there is much more going on then people realize. Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering is a book published in 2000 by Norman G. Finkelstein

  155. 155 Bryan
    February 27, 2009 at 21:25

    Count Iblis – Let’s not take flights of fancy to ridiculous extremes. There is no comparison between Holocaust denial and global warming denial.

    Dolorosa – Yes there is a Holocaust industry. Even now, people still do a brisk trade in Nazi memorabilia.

    It is obvious that Williamson got his information on the Holocaust from those whose intention is to desecrate the memory of the murdered Jews and/or portray the Nazis in a better light. Nobody ever claimed, as Williamson implied, that all of the six million Jews were murdered in the gas chambers. The Germans forced whole communities of Jews to dig mass graves and shot them at the edge of those graves. Jews were worked and starved to death in concentration camps and left to die through untreated diseases. They were starved and shot on forced marches. And yes, they were gassed in the gas chambers of the death camps. So Williamson begins with a false premise and then denies that premise. It is cunning, but hardly original. And it is staggering coming from a bishop.

    The Holocaust was an event of such extraordinary evil that it’s repercussions are still being felt worldwide today. Those who deny the Holocaust can only be motivated by hatred of Jews and/or the intention to absolve the perpetrators and those who colluded in the genocide of their guilt.

  156. 156 Fahad from Saudi arabia
    February 28, 2009 at 16:11

    The question is not whether it happened or not or what is the actual number. The question is why does the west apply double standard about freedom of speech? Why is someone denied his right to express his opinion about a specific issue for such a subject?
    Why is it that what i say about such a subject has to be anything but deny or lower the number? Where is the freedom of speech here? Why is it a crime in some countries to deny it (regardless of the its facts)?

    I do not understand the contradiction.

    Can some explain please?

  157. March 1, 2009 at 00:09

    I dont think he should be prevented questioning it,
    I think you should say what you believe to be true.
    This will then enable others to prove to you that
    you are either a pratt or a genius, its always best
    to find out early in life. I think its too late for
    this chap, I think he is talking through his back
    passage, and being a priest I think this is what he
    will be told by his Maker if he has the pleasure of
    meeting him. Bye.

  158. 158 Jim Newman
    March 1, 2009 at 11:58

    hello again
    I agree completely with Mathew and Nanci but I daren’t enlarge upon the points raised for fear of being zapped.
    Jim

  159. 159 Joe Polly
    March 1, 2009 at 13:14

    As individuals no one should be punished for what they think ,say or, within legal limits,what they do. However, where people are accountable in one capacity or another they have to command the majority support of those to whom they are accountable. This bloke did not so he was removed

  160. 160 Mike, Upstate, NY
    March 1, 2009 at 15:11

    I don’t believe he should be so much punished as made to understand that he occupies a unique position to influence many people who will never question his assertions.

    As a Bishop, he should stick to his calling and not historical interpretation.

    Mike

  161. 161 Tina Lane
    February 5, 2010 at 04:03

    Questioning the numbers IS important for historical fact. If 6 Million were gassed, how much gas was used? where they were buried? it would have required massive graves, if cremated that would have required massive amounts of energy, possibly coal. Germans were fighting the war, so how many Germans were involved in killing and disposing of such huge number of bodies? Also what about all the other mass killings around the world, why questioning those NOT a crime but questioning only the killing of jews is? How many Palestinians have jews killed since creation of Israel?


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