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Argument: Allowing Holocaust denial helps expose and deligitimize it

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Ben Macintyre. "Let the Holocaust deniers speak out". Times Online. December 22, 2006: The proper reaction to Mr Ahmadinejad’s provocation is not to demand that such events be outlawed, and still less to try to silence or imprison cranks such as Irving. Instead, the global community should hold its own conference, inviting history scholars and witnesses to the Holocaust, but also the intellectual pariahs of Tehran.

Would it dignify the deniers to be permitted to share a platform with genuine historians? I doubt it. There is nothing dignified in seeing your arguments demolished. Imagine Irving’s paltry manipulations alongside, say, the moral authority of Elie Wiesel, the writer and Auschwitz survivor.

When lies are dragged into the light, common sense can usually see them for what they are. I defy any sensible person to read Mein Kampf and not immediately recognise it as semi-literate, barbaric and illogical. Hitler’s manifesto has lost its emotive power precisely because we can buy it openly, read it freely, and reject it utterly.

The same is true of the Holocaust deniers. Hidden, banned and imprisoned, they achieve a cachet and a credibility that they do not deserve. Let them speak, and with every word, they condemn themselves.

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