Is Humanity in Denial?
Jodie Ginsberg, Jane Haynes, Keith Kahn-Harris, Mark Levene, James Libson
Chair: Lucy Siegle
The Holocaust never happened. The planet isn’t warming. Vaccines cause autism. All of us deny inconvenient truths sometimes, but what happens when denial becomes ‘denialism’, a systematic attempt to overturn established scholarly findings? And how do we relate to this phenomenon in a ‘post-truth’ age? Our panellists, whose expertise covers history, contemporary culture, the law and psychotherapy, discuss the significance of phenomena such as Holocaust denial and climate change denial, and how they relate to ‘everyday’ denial.
Jodie Ginsberg is chief executive of Index on Censorship. She is a passionate believer in the power of words.
Jane Haynes is a psychotherapist who works through dialogue and relationship. She was part of a team responsible for contributing to the training syllabus in Russia after President Yeltsin permitted analytic psychotherapy to be returned to the academe. For several years Jane was consultant to the Training Board at Leo Baeck College regarding the psychological profile of applicants for rabbinical studies. She has written several books of which the latest are Doctors Dissected (With Dr Martin Scurr) and her memoir: If I Chance to Talk A Little Wild (2018) both published by Quartet Books.
Dr Keith Kahn-Harris is a writer and sociologist. He teaches at Leo Baeck College and Birkbeck College and runs the European Jewish Research Archive at the Institute for Jewish Policy Research.
Mark Levene has been an environmental-cum-peace activist, an academic, and an unsuccessful advocate of their merger. He writes, mostly about genocide and climate change. He also runs study tours to the once multicultural city of Salonika (The Greek Project http://www.greekproject.co.uk)
James Libson is a partner at Mishcon de Reya, solicitors, where he has been for 27 years. He has acted in many high profile cases including for Deborah Lipstadt in her case against David Irving, Gina Miller in her challenge to the government over Article 50, and most recently on behalf of Margaret Hodge MP resisting her expulsion from the Labour Party. He chaired World Jewish Relief from 2011-16 and currently chairs Prism, the Gift Fund. He has an Honorary Ph.D. from the University of Law.
Lucy Siegle is a writer and TV presenter specialising in environmental issues, ethical shopping and lifestyles. She is an authority on the environmental and social footprint of the global fashion industry. She co-founded the Green Carpet Challenge with Livia Firth and she was the Observer and Guardian’s eco agony aunt. She is known on TV as a reporter and presenter on BBC1’s The One Show and has been reporting on the problem of single use plastic since the show began. Her book, Turning the Tide on Plastic: How Humanity (and you) Can Make Our Globe Clean Again will ignite the plastic activist in all of us.