Editorial Note: GPN is republishing two important articles that have appeared in earlier issues on legislation of denial by Michael Bayzler and Jacqueline Lechtholz-Zey. Both of these articles enjoyed a very wide readership when they were published originally by GPN, and they will serve as very helpful background reading at this time when we look at the new step taken by the French. As noted earlier, the article by Lechtholz-Zey has been revised and expanded.
In Issue 6 of GPN, Spring 2011, we published two articles on legislating denials by two authors Roger Smith and Israel Charny whose latest statements on denial appear in this issue. Here we reprint two earlier works by them. Both authors are among the co-founders of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) and both are past presidents. Both authors have been friends and colleagues for over 30 years, and respect and appreciate one another very much ever since meeting at a conference on genocide at Bentley College near Boston so long ago.
Roger Smith, an American political scientist has been adamantly opposed to legislation against genocide denial and against criminalization of genocide denial. Israel Charny, an American and Israeli clinical psychologist has been adamantly for legislation against genocide denial.
Smith has been at the same time an outspoken critic of denials of genocide and a devoted advocate and indeed a leader in commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. For some years he has served as Chair of the Board of the International Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies of the Zoryan Institute. There is little doubt that he firmly supports recognition of the Armenian Genocide, yet, in principle, until now he has been against legislation. Read this earlier article, originally published in GPN from a law review, and then reread Smith's new statement earlier in this section.
Charny, for many years has been an outspoken supporter of legislation against deniers, yet in the last year he has modified his position insofar as he has emphasized legislation that criminalizes those denials of genocide that incite to violence. As a psychologist he also proposes a framework for content analysis of the extent of incitement to violence in denials of genocide. Charny has previously analyzed all denials of genocide to be inherently or metaphorically celebrations and encouragement of violence, but in his recent work he focuses on more explicit incitement to violence as a possible preferred basis for legislation that may be acceptable, even in the framework of the emphatic American tradition, of nearly total free speech.