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February 6, 2016 / 27 Shevat, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘hate speech’

Canada May Propose Defining Boycott of Israel a ‘Hate Crime’

Monday, May 11th, 2015

The pro-Israel Canadian government may be planning to include boycotts of Israel as a hate crime, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported Monday.

It said that such a move would target organizations such as the United Church of Canada, Canadian Quakers, campus protest groups and labor unions. It also would raise legal questions under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Canadian Prime Stephen Harper is unarguably the most pro-Israel head of any government in the world. He sounded like an echo of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during his visit to Israel last year.

Recently-retired Foreign Minister John Baird in January signed an agreement with Israel to fight the Boycott Israel movement, and government ministers have said they will show “zero tolerable” towards groups that are part of Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS). He described the Boycott Israel movement as “the new face of anti-Semitism.”

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney recently said that boycotts of Israel cannot be separated from anti-Semitic hate speech and the recent terrorist attacks against Jews in France.

CBC asked the government to explain the meaning of “zero tolerance,” and Blaney replied that Canada has “one of the most comprehensive sets of [hate] laws anywhere in the world.”

Last year, Canada changed its definition of hate speech to include statements made against “national origin” and not just race and religion.

That has raised fears among civil libertarians that anti-Israel remarks could be classified as statements against Jews.

The concept of associating Israel with Jews goes at the very heart of the liberal Jewish community, as well as Jews who have no interest in Judaism in Israel. Whether they like it or not, hatred of Israel and Jews increasingly makes them identified with Israel by the fact that they are Jews.

They can like it or not, but inevitably, “Jew” cannot be separated from “Israel.” They can like it not, but the “People of Israel” means Jews – everywhere.

The question is whether that definition has a legal standing.

CBC reported that the Canadian Quakers wrote a letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson in March “expressing concern” about describing boycotts as acts of anti-Semitism.

Blaney’s office did not specifically say that would be the case but noted that it is illegal to promote hatred against an “identifiable group.”

However, BDS protests in other parts of the world have been anything but violent, with frequent clashes with police such as in France.

In Israel, it is against the law to boycott the country

In France, hate speech as a crime includes statements aimed at people’s “national origin,” and BDS activists sometimes have been charged with violating the law.

Belgium is considering a similar law.

On paper, it would seem that prohibiting a group from promoting a boycott of a country – and Israel is the only nation that is targeted – because of its political polices is a violation of freedom of speech.

In reality, such protests are often like the Palestinian Authority term “resistance,” a code word to encourage terrorists to kill Jews.

Gaza War Released Explosion of Online Hate Speech in Europe, Report Finds

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (JTA) — The summer war between Israel and Hamas released an explosion of online anti-Semitic hate speech in several European countries, an international watchdog reported.

The assertion came in a report on 10 European countries released Wednesday by the International Network Against Cyber Hate and the Paris-based International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism — or INACH and LICRA respectively.

In the Netherlands, the Complaints Bureau Discrimination Internet, or MDI, recorded more instances of online hate speech against Jews during the two-month conflict than during the entire six months that preceded it, revealed the report, which the groups presented in Berlin at a meeting on anti-Semitism organized by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, or OSCE.

More than half of the 143 expressions of anti-Semitism documented by MDI in July and August, when Israel was fighting Hamas in Gaza, contained incitements to violence against Jews, the report stated. Roughly three quarters of the complaints documented in that period occurred on social media.

In Britain, the Community Security Trust recorded 140 anti-Semitic incidents on social media from January to August, with more than half occurring in July alone.
And in Austria, the Forum against Antisemitism recorded 59 anti-Semitic incidents online during the conflagration of violence between Israel and Palestinians — of which 21 included incitements to violence — compared to only 14 incidents in the six months that preceded it.

The data on online anti-Semitic incidents corresponded with an increase in real-life assaults, LICRA and INACH wrote.

The report’s recommendations included a submission by the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism, which called for OSCE member states to adopt the “Working Definition of Anti-Semitism” that the European Union’s agency for combating xenophobia enacted in 2005 but later dropped. The definition includes references to the demonization of Israel.

Not So Welcome in Australia

Friday, August 8th, 2014

Police Raid Dieudonne’s Home and Find More than $1 Million in Cash

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

The so-called French comedian Dieudonne is a suspect for money laundering after police raided his Paris home Tuesday and found more than $1 million in cash there and in a theatre he operates.

If charged and convicted, his previous hate crimes, primarily anti-Semitic slurs against Jews, will seem like petty theft, and God willing, his mate messages will be restricted to the confines of prison cell.

French authorities want Dieudonne to pay fines of nearly $100,000 for previous convictions and now think that he was scheming to declare himself bankrupt and that he may be guilty of money laundering.

Topsy-Turvy Court Decisions Ban Dieudonne – Again

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

The French government has won a last minute appeal on Thursday to France’s highest court, which reinstated a ban lifted hours before by a third court and decided that the French anti-Semitic comic Dieudonne M’bala M’bala cannot appear as scheduled in Nance.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls appealed to the Council of State, France’s highest court after judges in Nance overruled a lower court’s ban on the performance.

Dieudonne, already convicted seven times for anti-Semitic hate speech, already had arrived at the theatre where he was to perform. Not to be silenced, he announced he will put on a show next to the French court in Paris.

The court decisions centered around the argument whether Dieudonne’s show, called “The Wall,” represented “an attack on human dignity as its main object.”

The comic’s lawyers appealed the initial ban on ground that it violated freedom of speech.

He won the appeal after judges decided that his performance did not endanger public order, but the highest court thought differently.

World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder  called on France to “confront this preacher of hate head on,” and President Francois Hollande had earlier urged French officials to the ban on the show.

Dieudonne remains are scheduled to perform in other events, but Bordeaux and Marseilles already have cancelled the shows.

Jewish TV Host Apologizes for Anti-Roma Rant

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

A controversy-courting Canadian Jewish television host apologized for a rant against the Roma people.

Ezra Levant of the Sun TV network sparked widespread outrage in September when he referred to Roma as “gypsies” and “a culture synonymous with swindlers…one of the central characteristics of that culture is that their chief economy is theft and begging.”

He also said: “The phrase ‘gypsy’ and ‘cheater’ have been so interchangeable historically that the word has been entered into the English language as a verb: he gypped me. Well, the gypsies have gypped us. Too many have come here as false refugees,” Levant said on the segment, which was titled “The Jews Verses the Gypsies.”

The attack came amid news reports about a crime ring of Romanian immigrants working in the Toronto area.

Canada’s Roma community on Monday asked Toronto police to investigate Levant for hate crimes.

Levant referred on Monday to the segment as “a pretty good rant” but added: “To those I hurt, I’m sorry….It’s just wrong to slur a group of people. I made the moral mistake of judging people collectively.”

Known for his blustery talk and fervent belief in free speech, Levant said, “I don’t apologize simply for the sake of being consistent in my views. I regret having made these statements and I’m hopeful that those remarks will serve as an example of what not to do when commenting on social issues.”

Sun News apologized for the segment last fall and pulled the offending video from its website.

Writing in the National Post newspaper in the wake of the broadcast, three prominent Jewish community leaders said, “If the Sun News Network had aired an attack on Jews, the whole country would be outraged.”

Some have said that Levant’s apology is suspiciously timed, as the Sun network is in the midst of asking Canadian broadcasting regulators for inclusion on digital basic cable for five years.

Mocking Muhammad Is Not Hate Speech

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

To stop Islamist violence over perceived insults to Muhammad, I argued in a FoxNews.com article on Friday [also republished on the JewishPress.com], editors and producers daily should display cartoons of Muhammad “until the Islamists get used to the fact that we turn sacred cows into hamburger.”

This appeal prompted a solemn reply from Sheila Musaji of The American Muslim website, who deemed it “irresponsible and beyond the pale.” Why so? Because, as she puts it, “The solution to escalating violence and hate speech is not more hate speech.”

Hate speech, legal authorities agree, involves words directed against a category of persons. Here’s a typical definition, from USLegal.com: “incitement to hatred primarily against a group of persons defined in terms of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and the like.”That sounds sensible enough. But does mocking Muhammad, burning a Koran, or calling Islam a cult constitute hate speech? And what about the respectful representations of Muhammad in the buildings of the U.S. Supreme Court or the New York State Supreme Court? Even they caused upset and rioting.

Attacking the sanctities of a religion, I submit, is quite unlike targeting the faithful of that religion. The former is protected speech, part of the give and take of the market place of ideas, not all of which are pretty. Freedom of speech means the freedom to insult and be obnoxious. So long as it does not include incitement or information that urges criminal action, nastiness is an essential part of our heritage.

On a personal note, I have had to learn to live with torrents of vulgar venom, in speech and in pictures alike, from those who disagree with me; you don’t hear me whining about it. More broadly, Catholics, Jews, Mormons, and other faith communities in the West have learned since the Enlightenment to endure vicious lacerations on their symbols and doctrines.

If proof be needed, recall Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Terrence McNally’s Corpus Christi, Andres Serrano’s Piss Christi, and Chris Ofili’s The Holy Virgin Mary. Or the avalanche of antisemitic cartoons spewing from Muslims.

For an over-the-top recent example, The Onion humor website published a cartoon under the heading, “No One Murdered Because of This Image.” It shows Moses, Jesus, Ganesha, and Buddha in the clouds, engaged in what the caption delicately understates as “a lascivious sex act of considerable depravity.” As the Onion mock-reportingly but accurately goes on, “Though some members of the Jewish, Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist faiths were reportedly offended by the image, sources confirmed that upon seeing it, they simply shook their heads, rolled their eyes, and continued on with their day.”

I asked for the cartoons to be published again and again to establish that Islamists must not chip away at the freedom to mock and insult by hiding behind bogus claims of incitement. Name an instance, Ms Musaji, when biting remarks about Muhammad, the Koran, or Islam have led to riots and murders by non-Muslims against Muslims?

I cannot think of a single one.

When attacks on Muslims take place, they occur in response to terrorism by Muslims; that’s no excuse, to be sure, but it does indicate that violence against Muslims has no connection with lampooning Muhammad or desecrating Korans. Muslims need to grow thick skins like everyone else; this is one of the by-products of globalization. The insulation of old is gone for good.

To make matters worse, Islamists tell us Be Careful with Muhammad! and threaten those with the temerity to discuss, draw, or even pretend to draw the prophet of Islam, even as they freely disparage and insult other religions. I can cite many examples of actors, satirists, artists, cartoonists, writers, editors, publishers, ombudsmen, and others openly admitting their intimidation about discussing Islamic topics, a problem even Ms. Musaji herself has acknowledged.

To cool the temperature, Muslims can take two steps: end terrorism and stop the rioting over cartoons and novels. That will cause the antagonism toward Islam built up over the past decade to subside. At that point, I will happily retract my appeal to editors and producers to flaunt offensive cartoons of Muhammad.

Originally published at Foxnews.com on Sept. 24, 2012. See also Danielpipes.org.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/mocking-muhammad-is-not-hate-speech/2012/09/27/

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