U.S. Drafts Holocaust Denial Resolution at U.N.

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The United States has drafted a U.N. resolution condemning the denial of the Holocaust, a spokesman said Monday, a month after Iran provoked widespread anger by holding a conference casting doubt on the Nazi genocide of Jews during World War II.

According to a copy of the draft made available to The Associated Press, the proposed resolution urges all member states to "reject any denial of the Holocaust," saying that "ignoring the historical fact of these terrible events increases the risk they will be repeated."

The draft resolution "condemns without any reservation any denial of the Holocaust," but doesn't single out any specific country for criticism. The U.S. said it planned to circulate the draft to General Assembly members on Monday.

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Andrew Allan - 1/29/2007

I suggest that the resolution is bad policy for several reasons.

First and foremost, the United States should always stand for principles of free speech, free thought and rational discussion. This is particularly true in United Nations General Assembly, which under Articles 10 and 11 of the United Nations Charter is to be a Forum for discussion. The proposed Resolution does the opposite, condemning the expression of different historical views.

Secondly, the advocacy of a particular view of history is not the realm of politicians. While the present Persian government may have made history a political issue, it is as unseemly for the United Nations to demand a correct reading of history as it would be for the august body to demand a particular view of astronomy. The United States should
resist all efforts to politicize history.
Thirdly, the field of Holocaust studies continues to develop. An example was announced on December 23, 2005 by the Auschwitz State Museum under the title
Latest News “Changes in History Books?” http://www.auschwitz-muzeum.oswiecim.pl/new/index.php?tryb=news_big&;language=EN&id=879
I suggest that the esteemed members of the United Nations General Assembly may not know of the significant changes occurring in the history books today. Attempting to decree the final writing of history at this time may be a bit too soon. Perhaps in another 60 years!

Finally, the United States’ Resolution was extreme. The Resolution "condemns without any reservation any denial of the Holocaust."But then it goes on to
"urge all member states unreservedly to reject any denial of the Holocaust as a historical event,
either in full or in part, or any activities to this end." http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070126/wl_mideast_afp/israeluniranholocaust_070126212236

What is denial “in part” or what are “any activities to this end"?
Is Raul Hilberg to be condemned for his lower numbers of victims? Is the reading suspect books “activities to this end?”
I am an attorney and a history major whose thesis was on German history. Perhaps I parse the terms of the Resolution too finely but Ambassador Wolff (who introduced the Resolution) makes his intent clear when he moves from condemning “denial” to his comments regarding those people (like me) who raise questions regarding politicians decreeing what is correct to believe in history.
The Ambassador writes, “Some will cloak their hatred and hidden agenda by invoking the right to free speech and academic freedom.”
http://www.usunnewyork.usmission.gov/07_011.htm The honorable Ambassador seems to feel that even speaking in favor of speaking openly is to be condemned.

Rememberance of the Holocaust is
fine and necessary but I think those who claim that Remembrance requires suppression of human rights
have failed to learn the most basic lesson of the Holocaust.

Write to the United States UN Mission
at USUNPublicAffairs@state.gov

Jonathan Dresner - 1/24/2007

It is conventional to refer to resolutions, bills and policies by their topic, omitting the "opposed to" part. It is a bit non-literal, but not incomprehensible.

Al Johnson - 1/24/2007

It is not a Holocaust Denial Resolution. The body belies the headline. Your headline writers need to repeat English 101 (or 7th grade English)