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Mum’s the word

Filed on December 24, 2006

AS EXPECTED, David Irving’s release from an Austrian prison and subsequent return to England has sparked an intense debate regarding the freedom of speech in the modern era, especially with regard to subjects as sensitive as the Holocaust.


How free is it that in addition to Israel, several European countries also have strict laws against Holocaust denial. In Austria, for example — where the ageing historian/writer initially sentenced for three years — the ‘crime’ carries a prison term of up to 10 years. The relevant law states that ‘anyone who denies, plays down, approves or tries to excuse the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity’ automatically qualifies for a stint in the slammer.

That much of the world’s Jewish community continues to nurse psychological wounds from the much-reported Holocaust is understandable considering that according to popular opinion, it threatened to practically finish them off, and that too in the most gruesome manner. But there is a fine line between advocating justified sympathy and muscling all and sundry into acceptance of what is their own version of the episode, true or concocted notwithstanding. It is no secret that the slightest question posed to the Jews’ analysis of Hitler’s atrocities — even if it is with the sincerest of intentions — draws the severest reaction from right across the West. So much as a word is taboo, and one is slapped with charges of anti-Semitism even before one’s point is made completely. The media hounds do the rest and the person-in-question’s credibility is reduced to scarce more than dust.

What is it that has pushed the Zionist lobby to the verge of paranoia, if not into it? Having suffered one of the worst known human rights abuses on record in the Holocaust, they should be eager to encourage rather than shun research and analyses into it. If their claim is right and true, what other could be unearthed by those looking into it?

It bears noting that this iron-fist no-questions-asked approach is widely reflected in the Israeli character. Truth be told, history will judge them as gross violators of human rights themselves, hardly becoming of a people that have suffered injustices. It does not take genius to figure out that only those with something to hide discourage debate and reason, especially in the modern age of much trumpeted freedom of speech. Unfortunately though, it looks as if for such topics it’s going to be ‘Mum’s the word’.





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