by INN Staff – 21.03.2010
(IsraelNN.com) Hungarian lawmakers have passed legislation to punish those who deny the history of the Holocaust. Along with the Hungarian Social Party, which sponsored the bill, a wide Christian-Jewish coalition helped push the law through.
The bill passed by a vote of 197-1; however, there were 142 abstentions, signaling the lingering ambivalence of many Hungarian lawmakers over the issue.
%u201CThose who publicly hurt the dignity of a victim of the Holocaust by denying or questioning the Holocaust itself, or claim it insignificant, infringe the law and can be punished by a prison sentence of up to three years,%u201D according to the new legislation.
The main opposition party, Fidesz-Hungarian Civic Union, was among those who abstained. A party spokesman, MP Robert Repassy, said the party %u201Cintended to draw up legislation after the general election which penalizes sympathy expressed for the Nazi- and Communist-era crimes on equal terms.%u201D Elections are set for April 11.
The law, which takes effect in early April, brings Hungary into line with numerous other European nations who have enacted similar measures, Germany among them.
SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — A Holocaust denier released from an Australian jail after publishing material offensive to Jews says he is ‘unbroken’ and ‘unrepentant.’
Dr. Fredrick Toben, the founder of the Adelaide Institute, emerged from three months in a South Australia prison on Nov. 12.
The Federal Court had found him in breach of a 2002 court order to remove all offensive material from his institute’s Web site.
Toben’s site this week carried a message saying that he is ‘unbroken and unrepentant,’ and appears ‘refreshed and relaxed’ after his ‘little holiday.’
The site features three links to video clips on YouTube during which Toben, 65, vows to continue his work ‘demolishing the Holocaust.’ It also carries a banner saying that ‘The days are numbered for the greatest lie in the history of mankind.’
Toben also spent two months in Wandsworth Prison last year as German authorities tried unsuccessfully to extradite him on a European Arrest Warrant for publishing Holocaust denial material — a crime in Germany. Toben was arrested at Heathrow Airport on his way to Dubai from America.
He had spent several months in prison in Germany in 1999 for denying the Holocaust.
Call for hate groups to be taken offline – The National Newspaper: “Call for hate groups to be taken offline
Erika Niedowski, Washington Bureau Chief
Last Updated: June 14. 2009 8:59PM UAE / June 14. 2009 4:59PM GMT
An investigator inspects bullet holes in a door at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, on Thursday. Mike Theiler / Reuters
WASHINGTON // Last week’s fatal shooting at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in the US capital by a man authorities say has deep ties to white supremacist and neo-Nazi organisations has renewed calls by some for Holocaust denial groups to be shut down on popular social networking sites.
Brian Cuban, an attorney in Texas who writes a blog called The Cuban Revolution, is seeking to have groups such as Facebook’s ‘Holohoax’ and ‘Holocaust: A Series of Lies’ removed from the site, calling them a ‘hateful form of speech that promotes violence’.
‘It’s not a historical theory, it is a pretext to bring together people who hate Jews,’ Mr Cuban said of Holocaust denial. ‘Holocaust denial is hate. And what more do you need to show that Holocaust denial is hate than somebody who is a denier walking in the museum and killing somebody?’
The suspect in Wednesday’s shooting, James von Brunn, 88, has a ‘long history of associations’ with neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama, one of the country’s foremost authorities on hate groups. Von Brunn had created a website called holywesternempire.com, which the centre designated as a hate site in 2003.
Among the things reportedly found in von Brunn’s vehicle after the museum shooting that left Stephen T Johns, a 39-year-old African-American security guard dead, was a note that said: ‘The Holocaust is a lie. Obama was created by Jews.’
Von Brunn is expected to survive the injuries he sustained when other museum guards returned fire, according to the FBI.
Facebook, for its part, has said the existence of such groups – while ‘repulsive’ and ‘ignorant’ – does not violate the site’s terms of service. Those terms disallow hateful and threatening speech, but officials say the Holocaust groups Mr Cuban is seeking to have removed have not crossed that line. In some countries, Holocaust denial is a crime, though not in the US.
‘Just being offensive or objectionable doesn’t get it taken off Facebook,’ Barry Schnitt, a Facebook spokesman, told CNN last month. ‘We want it to be a place where people can discuss all kinds of ideas, including controversial ones.’
Mr Cuban and others had been attempting to get Facebook to take action even before the shooting.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish rights organisation, released a report last month titled Facebook, YouTube: How Social Media Outlets Impact Digital Terrorism and Hate, which said that the ‘extremist use’ of such sites has grown. It documented a 25 per cent increase in the past year of ‘problematic’ groups on those sites.
Facebook has taken action in some cases. The site recently disabled the group ‘I Hate Muslims in Oz’ because it contained an ‘explicit statement of hate’. It also removed a Ku Klux Klan group, a blog at CNET.com reported.
The Holocaust denial groups are relatively small. ‘Holocaust is a Myth’ listed 64 members on Friday, while ‘Holohoax’ had 59. An attempt to reach the person listed as the creator of Holohoax, Jimmy Degrace, was unsuccessful.
A counter-group that has sprung up, United Against Holocaust Denial on Facebook, has grown quickly to 49,000 members.
The Jewish internet Defense Force (JIDF), an online organisation that works to remove material from the internet that supports Islamic terrorism and racial hatred, has launched a letter-writing campaign to 20 companies – including Radio Shack, Sprint, AT&T and Microsoft – that it says advertise on Facebook ‘side-by-side with material which denies the Holocaust’. They are asking the companies to pull their ads.
Barack Obama, the US president, recently visited the concentration camp in Buchenwald, Germany, with Elie Wiesel, a Nobel Prize-winning author and Holocaust survivor. Mr Obama said there that denying the Holocaust is ‘baseless’, ‘ignorant’ and ‘hateful’.
Last week, about the museum shooting, Mr Obama said: ‘This reminds us that we must remain vigilant against anti-Semitism and prejudice in all its forms.’
Mr Cuban does not draw a direct connection between the suspect in the shooting and the Facebook sites he opposes. But he did call such sites ‘training grounds’ for those with the same supremacist ideas as the ones allegedly held by von Brunn. He has reported that several European companies did pull their ads from Facebook because they did not want to be associated with Holocaust denial content.
‘It is time for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to once and for all close down his Facebook recruiting ground for the ‘James Von Brunns In Training’ of the world,’ Mr Cuban wrote in his blog. ‘They are training unchecked in the giant social media universe of Facebook. It is time to send the message that this hatred and violence being spawned on Facebook will no longer be tolerated.’
‘It’s silly games with semantics,’ Mr Cuban said in an interview. ‘Because the site doesn’t say ‘We hate Jews’, and they call it Holocaust denial instead, that does not qualify it as a hate group. It’s semantics. It’s ignorant semantics and it’s naive semantics.’
Simon Wiesenthal Centre: Facebook used to ‘promote hatred of Jews’: “Facebook was under increasing fire tonight for allegedly hosting pages
promoting hatred against Jews after a report found that militants and hate
groups were increasingly using social networking sites as propaganda tools
to recruit new members.”
Media For Freedom – news, articles and views e-magazine: “Holocaust Denial at the UN Durban II Planning Committee:
‘Anti-racism’ Forum Provides Platform for Antisemites
The Durban II planning committee, now meeting in Geneva, today took up the Holocaust sections of the ‘draft outcome document.’ In final form it is scheduled for adoption at the April Conference. Anne Bayefsky, Editor of EYEontheUN, commented: ‘The Durban II platform was the perfect opportunity for Iran and Syria to deny the facts of the Holocaust. Providing a forum to spew antisemitism is apparently the UN’s idea of combating racism.’
Today’s events ought to signal an end to the U.S. State Department discussion about whether it is in the best interests of the United States to attend Durban II. ‘If Secretary of State Clinton agrees to go to Durban II, or engage in a political dialogue over the draft outcome document,’ says Professor Bayefsky, ’she will legitimize an avenue for spreading hate – not tolerance.’
The draft under discussion affirmed ‘…that the Holocaust…resulted in the murder of one third of the Jewish people, along with numerous members of other minorities…’ Syria objected and called for the words to be removed on the following grounds: ‘I don’t think we should get into a kind of statistical debate. As far as I know that there is no agreement on the consensus on the percentage of those who perished in the Holocaust. Maybe there is some kind of consensus on the figures on the percentage, but we are not quite sure. Maybe those who perished half of the jewish people, maybe less than half, maybe third, maybe less…’
Then the European Union suggested the addition of a new paragraph: ‘Recalls and urges states to implement UN General Assembly Resolutions 60/7 and 61/255 which observe that remembrance of the Holocaust is critical to prevent further acts of genocide; condemned without reservation any denial of the Holocaust; and urge all member states to reject denial of the Holocaust as an historical event, either in full or in part, or in any activities.’
Iran objected: ‘There is a notion inside this paragraph where there is talk about condemning without reservation any denial of holocaust. This entails with it implicit restriction on elaboration and review, or critical examination and review and study of holocaust – which is a very clear example of a violation of freedom of expression…a fundamental principle right for a democratic society….We suggest the deletion of this paragraph.’
Neither of the paragraphs could be agreed upon since the Durban II process is to work by consensus.
At the Durban I Conference a minimalist reference to the Holocaust was agreed upon in exchange for condemnation of Israel as racist. Today it emerged that the same ‘trade-off’ is in the offing for Durban II.
The Planning Committee also took up the latest draft sections alleging Israel is racist – the only such country-specific allegation in a document purportedly having global application. They include:
* ‘Expresses deep concern at the practices of racial discrimination against the Palestinian people as well as other inhabitants of the Arab occupied territories’
* ‘…the Palestinian people…have been subjected to… torture…’
* ‘…a foreign occupation founded on settlements, laws based on racial discrimination… contradicts the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations…’
The European Union indicated it wanted the sections removed. Saudi Arabia called the provisions ‘very important’, and talked about Israeli ‘massacres’ and the ’suffering of the Palestinian people.’
Pakistan told the EU that the paragraphs condemning racist Israel were in the document to stay since Israeli racism was already a feature of the first Durban Declaration and Programme of Action: ‘May I remind – we are not here to renegotiate the Durban Declaration and it is already there; we are at the Review Conference and we cannot renegotiate. We have to review what…has been implemented or not, what’s lacking and what possible course of action we can suggest for addressing this particular cause.’ Pakistan is correct that the allegation of racist Israel is a part of the Durban I Declaration. No amount of negotiation will change that, and on Tuesday of this week’s meeting the European Union already agreed to ‘reaffirm’ Durban I.
All participants are aware Durban I was widely perceived as being an antisemitic and anti-Israel hatefest. The prospect of President Obama announcing the U.S. will not attend, and some European Union countries deciding not to participate, is the elephant in the negotiating room. But the Palestinian delegation made it clear that they will not permit their chief Durban II interest – labeling Israelis as racists – to go off the agenda in exchange for Western participation. ‘We will not allow taking the issue of Palestine as hostage to the…ongoing process of negotiations or the Durban Review Conference in general.’ On the contrary, they are convinced the European Union will agree to some form of a condemnation of Israel, regardless of the fact that no other country is in the docket. They watched it happen at Durban I in 2001 and they expect more of the same at Durban II.
The Australian, Pia Akerman | January 24, 2009
REVISIONIST commentator Fredrick Toben will fight charges of Holocaust denial in Germany within weeks of escaping extradition proceedings in London, after negotiating with German prosecutors to face a European court.
In a video posted on YouTube, Dr Toben declares he will travel to Germany to meet Mannheim prosecutor Andreas Grossman, responsible for the failed extradition case against the former Adelaide schoolteacher in Britain last year.
‘Mr Grossman, here is a message for you: that in the near future I shall be travelling to Germany, I shall be visiting you and we shall be thrashing it out in the German court,’ Dr Toben says in the video.
‘I am progressing to that next stage in our battle for truth, in our battle for civilisation, in our battle to liberate the people who are oppressed. ‘We shall see whether truth will prevail … whether we can in fact get some justice or whether you are simply going to demolish me, criminalise my thoughts and therefore further kill the German soul.’
Dr Toben, 64, declined to say when he would go to Germany when contacted by The Weekend Australian yesterday.
But he said he had already been in email contact with Mr Grossman to arrange the court proceedings.
‘I don’t like being threatened by people who say they are going to hunt me down,’ he said. ‘Let’s be civilised in these things, and discuss it and thrash it out.’
Dr Toben spent seven months in Mannheim prison in 1999 for inciting racism. He will now face up to five years in jail, with parole an unlikely prospect unless he recants his claims.
British police arrested Dr Toben last October on a plane at Heathrow airport, acting on a European Union arrest warrant issued in Germany, which accused him of publishing internet material ‘of an anti-Semitic and/or revisionist nature’.
A British judge ruled the arrest warrant invalid, a decision Germany initially appealed against before withdrawing.
Dr Toben would not say if he had already arranged legal representation, as he will almost certainly face another jail term. ‘Nothing is ever certain, but I just don’t like this nonsense of being targeted and pulled off a plane,’ he said. ‘This is just primitive.’
In the YouTube video — where he speaks in front of Canberra’s Parliament House — Dr Toben foreshadows a visit to an upcoming revisionist conference to be held in Tehran.
He was a speaker at a similar conference organised by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the Iranian capital in 2006 that sparked strong condemnation from international leaders.
Meanwhile, a Federal Court judgment in a civil case against Dr Toben is still pending. He has pleaded not guilty to 28 charges alleging he breached orders by the Federal Court in 2002 not to publish offensive material on his website. The material breached the Racial Discrimination Act, implying that the Holocaust did not happen and doubting the existence of gas chambers at the Auschwitz concentration camp.
He faces a finding of criminal contempt if found guilty.
November 20, 2008, Holocaust denier Fredrick Toben wins German extradition fight
Dr Frederick Toben, an Australian citizen, is wanted in Germany for publishing anti-Semitic material on the internet
The Holocaust denier, Frederick Toben, has been released from custody after the German government gave up its legal battle to extradite him from Britain.
The controversial historian was arrested at Heathrow last month on a European arrest warrant accusing him of racism and anti-Semitism. German prosecutors were then forced to appeal to the High Court after a British Court refused to hand him over.
Kevin Lowry-Mullins, Dr Toben’s solicitor, confirmed today that the appeal had been withdrawn and he had signed a consent order with the German government to end the case.
Mr Lowry-Mullins told The Times: ‘Dr Toben was released from custody yesterday. He’s over the moon.’
Liberty and the BNP, November 20, 2008
For the far right to appeal to a liberalism they hold in contempt is pathetic, but there is a strong practical case to defend free association
Last month, a leading Holocaust denier, Dr Fredrick Toben, was arrested at Heathrow on a European arrest warrant. In court he complained that there was a witch-hunt mentality in Germany and that the Germans were out to get him. He appeared not to appreciate the irony of this accusation.
In the same way, it is hard to take entirely seriously the lamentations of the British National Party over the publication of its membership list. Having complained that the publication of the list opened its vulnerable members to violence and intimidation, Simon Darby, the BNP spokesman, announced that the person responsible for publication had made a serious mistake. ‘I wouldn’t want to have done that,’ he said. ‘I wouldn’t be sleeping well tonight.’ The juxtaposition of plea for sympathy and veiled threat was not, as with Dr Toben, intended to be ironic.
Nor was Nick Griffin, the party leader, employing irony when he announced that he believed that the human rights of his members had been breached and that he might use the Human Rights Act to seek redress.
The exposure of the British National Party’s hypocrisy – appealing to a liberalism that it holds in contempt – is one reason to welcome the list’s publication. A second is that it reveals that the party remains tiny and weak, despite its electoral success. Finally, the breach of security is likely to undermine and distract the party leadership at a time when it might be hoping to use the recession as a recruiting sergeant. Yesterday numerous party members were calling for Mr Griffin to resign.
Yet for those who believe, as The Times does, that liberty is the best defence of liberalism, satisfaction at the blow to the BNP should be limited. The breach of the privacy of members, with the publication of their addresses and telephone numbers, is regrettable. If a concentrated effort were made to prevent BNP members from earning a living that would be more regrettable still.
These concerns are not inspired by a naive belief that the purity of liberalism must never be sullied. They derive from a cool and practical assessment of the advantages to be gained from a defence of free association.
First, democrats gain when political arguments are advanced by open debate and settled by ballot. Extremists prefer threat and counter-threat. Far-left and far-right groups often seek to dominate politics by trying to ban each other and using violence to silence their opponents. In this way they feed off each other. Threats made against BNP members and by BNP members in the past 48 hours illustrate this danger.
Secondly, the introduction of a political test for employment might quickly become a serious blow against liberty. If membership of the BNP is regarded as grounds for dismissal, how long before the same is true of membership of other parties or of certain religious sects? In universities, bans that start as injunctions against members of far-right groups have often mutated to much more serious, and broader, threats to free speech than the far Right itself poses.
This potential for a creeping threat to liberty has to be balanced against the immediate harm that allowing BNP members to be employed in public service might cause. There have been moments in history – the American Communist Party in the 1940s, for instance – when a political organisation is an active conspiracy against democracy and seeks to work inside the State in order to subvert it. Where such an organisation has muscle and finance, there may be a case for a ban. The BNP, for the moment, is thankfully nowhere near such a point.
The defenders of liberty should remain willing to trust the power of their ideal.
District judge says German extradition warrant ‘not valid’ and must be discharged. Fredrick Töben granted bail pending appeal by Germany but on strict conditions.
By Joshua Rozenberg, 29 October, 2008
Fredrick Töben, the alleged Holocaust denier detained in London a month ago, will be released on bail if he can raise £100,000.
The sum of money is described as ‘security’ rather than a surety because it must be lodged with the court and not merely pledged.
Other bail conditions imposed by District Judge Daphne Wickham are residence at an approved address, daily reporting to the police, surrender of all passports, no participation in public meetings, no media interviews and no use of the internet — even to receive information.
It is difficult to see how this last condition could be enforced.
In any event, it may be some days before arrangements can be made for Dr Töben’s release as the district judge ordered inquiries into other passports that he may have been issued in Australia, where he has citizenship.
Ben Watson, for Dr Töben, applied for bail after the district judge at City of Westminster Court ruled that the warrant under which his client had been arrested was not valid.
This was because it did not say where and when he is alleged to have committed the offence, under German law, of Holocaust denial.
It merely referred to ‘worldwide internet publications’ and alleged that ‘the offender is committing the acts in Australia, Germany and in other countries’.
The court rejected an argument by Melanie Cumberland, for the German authorities, that the required information could be supplied.
The district judge said: ‘Compliance, in my view, cannot be fulfilled by a drip-feed of information as and when the issuing authority provides it.
‘I find that the particulars are vague and imprecise, I find the warrant invalid and therefore discharge the defendant.’
She added that she had not been required to decide at this stage whether the alleged crimes were valid extradition offences.
Miss Cumberland said the German authorities would appeal to the High Court.
As I suggested in earlier reports, the arrest warrant may have been drafted in a deliberately vague manner.
Once the German authorities accept that the material that forms the basis of the charge was published in the United Kingdom as well as in Germany, Dr Töben may have a defence to extradition.
ADELAIDE man Fredrick Toben has won at least a temporary reprieve from being sent to Germany to stand trial for Holocaust denial.
In London’s Westminster Magistrates Court, Judge Daphne Wickham ruled yesterday that a European Union arrest warrant under which Toben was picked up at Heathrow Airport on October 1 was invalid as it was not detailed enough.
The AJN understands that the German warrant, which is based on Toben’s alleged violations of Germany’s criminal code between 2000 and 2004, may have deliberately avoided greater detail in order to facilitate his extradition.
Holocaust denial is a crime in Germany, but not in Britain where Toben was arrested or in Australia where the offensive content was posted on his Adelaide Institute website. However, it is prohibited by Australian anti-discrimination laws.
Lawyers for prosecutors from Germany’s Mannheim court are now preparing to appeal the ruling in Britain’s High Court.
Meanwhile, Judge Wickham has granted Toben bail with strict conditions, including a surety of 100,000 pounds, banning him from using the internet and requiring him to report to police daily.
If Toben manages to avoid being sent to Germany and convicted there of Holocaust denial on the internet, he still faces judgement and sentencing in a contempt case now before the Federal Court of Australia.
Jeremy Jones, who was president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry in 2002 when the Federal Court ordered Toben to remove and not replace offensive material denying the Holocaust on his Adelaide Institute website, launched the contempt action in 2006 after repeated violations.