Toben deeply invested in repeal of 18C: Milne

Fredrick Toben.

AUSTRALIAN Greens leader Senator Christine Milne has argued in Parliament that retaining Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act is essential to curb the activities of Holocaust deniers such as Fredrick Toben.

Toben is suing Milne for defamation after she told The Australian last year he was a Holocaust denier and an anti-Semite.

In the Senate last week, Milne said this is “in spite of [his] calling the Holocaust a lie, in spite of his being jailed in Germany for insulting the dead and in spite of his anti-Semitic writing on his websites”.

“It is clear that Toben’s views are detestable and denigrate the Australian Jewish community. Furthermore, the existence of his denialist claims sullies the memory of all those who were brutally exterminated in the Holocaust,” she said.

“I have stood at the Dachau concentration camp. I have been to the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. I have been to the Dachau memorial and the concentration camp memorials at the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris – memorials of Auschwitz and of Bergen-Belsen – and I will never stand by or allow the likes of Toben to so insult the dead or to belittle their suffering or the suffering of those who survived or those who have come after.”

Milne said that in defending the defamation charges she was making a stand on behalf of the whole Australian community but winning it would not be enough.

“We need to retain section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. Without it, Toben and his ilk will be let off the leash, free to vilify and insult Jewish people in the name of political debate,” she said.

“Toben is deeply invested in the repeal of 18C. He cannot wait for it to be removed so he can continue his assault on the Jewish community unrestrained. He has even gone so far as to call 18C the ‘Toben law’ because he egotistically claims that it targets Holocaust deniers in particular.”

Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) president Robert Goot said Milne’s speech, “movingly articulated the importance of section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act”.

He added that her trips to Yad Vashem and Dachau “demonstrate her desire to understand the darkest chapter in human history”.

GARETH NARUNSKY

Holocaust deniers Fredrick Toben.