Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2000/04/12/antiracists_sue_yahoo_over_nazi/

Anti-racists sue Yahoo! over Nazi auction

Is 55 years not long enough for some common sense?

By Kieren McCarthy

Posted in Business, 12th April 2000 13:22 GMT

A French anti-racist group is suing Yahoo! over what it calls illegal auctions of Nazi paraphernalia. French law is very strict against anything that incites racial hatred and as such Nazi memorabila cannot be sold. LICRA, the League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism, says that because a person situated in France can buy the gear through the US website, Yahoo! is breaking the law. The items are not available on Yahoo!'s French site. No matter which way you look at this, it is clearly barmy and yet another example of politically correct gibberish. First of all, The Register would like to solve the legal problem for both parties - simply state that no Nazi-related items will be shipped to France. Now, how can Yahoo! be to blame if it is based in the US? The person at fault is the would-be French buyer. Also, since this case is even being considered, it is a poor reflection on French people since the law implies that even looking at Nazi artifacts is enough to cause racial violence. We had a look at the items available for sale on the US site (1141 "Nazi" items were returned) and could find none that were anything more than simple war artifacts - pictures of soldiers, uniforms, medals etc. For all intents and purposes, it appears that the appearance of the swastika on any item from duffel bag to knife is deemed to be sufficiently emotive to cause racial hatred. Is it really possible that 55 years after the collapse of the Nazi Party, we are still incapable of separating history and historical events from emotional paranoia? A clear case was made yesterday at the High Court in London, when David Irving lost his libel case against another historian who had accused him of distorting facts to prove that the Holocaust was far smaller than is accepted and that no gas chambers existed in Auschwitz. The judge said that Irving was "an active Holocaust denier; that he is anti-Semitic and racist and that he associates with right-wing extremists who promote neo-Nazism". He faces a £2 million legal bill. Irving was rightly condemned and ruined due to his conscious distortion of an important historical event and that is what the legal system ought to be used for: given unlimited access to all the facts, the law can then concern itself with distortion, not prohibition. ®