Monday, November 26, 2007

Oxford University: Host to Anti-Semitism?

Oxford University, host to famous individuals such as Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama, plans to feature David Irving and Nick Griffin, two openly anti-Semitic men, in an open debate on the college campus. David Irving is a historian who spent a year in an Austrian jail after denying the Holocaust. Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party, was convicted for publishing material denying the Holocaust.

Voltaire once said, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Should this approach be taken with Irving and Griffin? Does the issue of freedom of speech apply to these openly anti-Semitic men? Will hosting this debate at Oxford University serve only to spread fear throughout the British community? Or, is an open debate the most effective means of discrediting the men? Perhaps exposing racial or religious hatred is the solution to eradicating it.

The students of Oxford voted in favor of the men speaking. How would you vote?

5 comments:

smg22 said...

I would vote to approve the debate. Open debate is perhaps the best possible educational forum for such a topic. This situation is reminiscent of the Skokie case, when the ACLU defended the proposed Nazi demonstration, despite the general antipathy it provoked. Freedom of speech encompasses the right of the speakers to profess their beliefs and the right of the students to reject or oppose them as they see fit. Silencing the debate would rob the institution of an educational opportunity for its students.

Jen said...

I absolutely believe that the debate should occur. As we discussed in regards to Ahmadinejad's appearance at Columbia, the public is likely to listen to and subsequently discredit persons they find to be in the wrong. Therefore, allowing the anti-Semitic speakers to publicly deny the Holocaust occurred is not truly advancing their cause. In situations where a controversial speaker is banned from speaking, the public becomes intrigued and often wonders what the speaker had to say that the government is so afraid of.

yanks23 said...

A few months ago, there was a similar issue of whether or not a debate should occur,President Ahmadinejad at Columbia University. Personally, when that ongoing debate occured, I took a strong stance against him speaking. Similary, Oxford University SHOULD NOT allow these men to speak at their school. I just don't understand why it's necessary for openly anti-Semitic men to speak in such high regarded places. All it does is create arguement after arguement. Without them even speaking, it is clear what their anti-Semitic/ evil beliefs are, do they really need to stand up in public and repeat them? These men deny the Holocaust, when their is clear factural evidence that it actually occured. How can anyone take their stances seriously when they disprove something so real. All this debate does is create more and more unneccesary anti-Semitism.

gchabrier said...

There is no doubt in my mind that the Holocaust has occured, however I do think that Irving should be able to speak at the debate, and I believe that if I had been in the student's poistions I would vote for him to speak also. I think that we need to remember that one of the most important human right's is the freedom of speech and although I do not think that this man should be able to publish any of his theories,I do think that the debate would be interesting in that I would like to see how he would actually defend his point. I think that we are in a day and age where the vast majority of the pulbic would not agree and therefore not be influenced in any way after hearing what he said.

Kat said...

I would vote to approve the anti-semetic debate. I think in today's world, it is enough of a given that people, especially educated like those at Oxford, know the Holocaust did indeed happen. Getting other people's views can only strengthen your own opinion on the issue, no?