Posted Tuesday, August 25, 1998


Traditional Enemies of Free Speech Make Fresh Plea

Ottawa Citizen, June 16, 1998

Make Holocaust denial a crime: B'nai Brith


B'nai Brith Canada wants to make denying the Holocaust a criminal offence in Canada.

Last year, delegates to the national Jewish organization's annual meeting in Ottawa unanimously passed a resolution calling for the government to maize it illegal for individuals to 'propagate denial that the Holocaust ever took place."

According to B'nai Brith, the resolution deals only with the Jewish Holocaust of the Second World War, and doesn't apply to other instances of mass extermination, such as the socalled ethnic cleansing in the Baltic states.

Delegates to this year's B'nai Brith national assembly, held again in Ottawa, discussed yesterday how to step up pressure on the federal and provincial governments to have the resolution incorporated into the Criminal Code.

"The only people who can talk against (Holocaust denial) are the Holocaust survivors, and they're dying off," said Alfred Rosenberg, the Montreal-based B'nai Brith member who introduced the resolution last year. "That's why I feel so strongly about it."

According to Mr. Rosenberg, other nations have instituted laws governing the discussion of the slaughter of more than six million Jews during the Second World War. He said Germany considers Holocaust denial a criminal offence, and Austria, Lithuania and France have strict laws about writing about the Holocaust.



He said it's time Holocaust denial became illegal in Canada because moral suasion is no longer sufficient.

"The moral pressure becomes less and less. Things tend to be forgotten," he said. "As years go by, if it's not a crime to deny the Holocaust, people question whether it ever took place."

B'nai Brith president Lyle Smordin said he met with federal Justice Minister Anne McLellan late last year to discuss incorporating the resolution into the Criminal Code. "She's extremely receptive," he said. I think her intentions are very positive. The only problem is a question of priorities."

He said the ministry is preoccupied with such matters as calls to reform the Young Offenders Act. He added that no one in the ministry has indicated when or whether the government will act on the organization's resolution.

The resolution calls for "fines and/or jail sentences" for those found guilty. Mr. Smordin said B'nai Brith has not yet defined the extent of the proposed punishment.

He dismissed the concerns of some civil libertarian groups that criminalizing Holocaust denial would be too restrictive of free speech.

"Even our charter (of rights) has limitations to free speech. Free speech stops when it becomes hurtful to someone else. And this is really hurtful."

Mr. Rosenberg said B'nai Brith delegates will today discuss increasing their lobbying efforts, including initiating talks with members of all five political parties and provincial leaders.   

The above news item is reproduced without editing other than typographical

 Register your name and address to go on the Mailing List to receive

[ Go back to AR Online Index | Index to AR.#14 | Go to Main Action Report Index ]

Order books | Auschwitz Index | Irving Index | Irving Page | Irving Book-List | Other FP Authors
Buchladen | Auschwitz | Irving-Verzeichnis | -Hauptseite | -Bücher | Weitere FP-Autoren
© Focal Point 1998 write to David Irving