web analytics
February 27, 2015 / 8 Adar , 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘speech’

The MTA’s ‘Demeaning’ Double Standard

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

It took a federal judge to get New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority to allow ads to run on buses calling for support of Israel against terrorist attacks. Though a year ago the MTA accepted an ad sponsored by an anti-Israel group calling for an end to military aid to Israel, it initially refused to permit display of an ad sponsored by a pro-Israel group that read, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man./ Support Israel/Defeat Jihad.”

The MTA rejected the ad, finding that it violated one of the MTA’s written advertising standards that prohibits ads with “information that demean[s] an individual or group of individuals on account of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, gender, age disability or sexual orientation.”

The MTA’s refusal to permit the ad led to a lawsuit brought by the sponsoring group, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, claiming a violation of its right to free speech.

An MTA official, Jeffrey Rosen, told the judge that the MTA’s decision was based on its position that the ad used the words “savage” and “Jihad” to identify those who fail to support Israel and this “demeans a group (or groups) of individuals on account of their religion, national origin, or ancestry, including Palestinians or other Arabs or Muslims who do not share AFDI’s views on Israel.”

Though the judge held that the references were reasonably understood to mean Muslims and Arabs, he nonetheless held that the MTA’s “demeaning” standard was too loose and provided no objective guidance as to what was permissible and what was not and allowed the MTA to pick and choose the kind of speech it would allow.

He went on to give examples of ads that were allowed in the past which were clearly uncomplimentary to individuals and groups. This state of affairs was incompatible with the constitutional notion that government may not censor speech, he said.

Those who chafe at the high-handed way New York City officials often take positions in the exercise of their official duties that go out of their way to accommodate and identify with Muslim and Arab sensitivities, should certainly welcome this decision.

Actually, in the light of the recent anti-American rioting in Benghazi, Cairo, Tunis and other Muslim/Arab venues, all Americans should welcome anything that militates against the notion of granting the slightest legitimacy to those outrages and the people who perpetrate them.

Abbas Says He Will Go Ahead with UN Bid Speech

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated on Wednesday that he will deliver a speech at the General Assembly of the United Nations to ask for recognition of Palestine as a non-member state, Ma’an reported.

The comments, which were posted on the president’s Facebook page, added that the speech would most likely take place on September 27.

“As in every year I will be tell the whole world about the suffering of my people under the Israeli occupation and its settlements, settler attacks and violations on a daily basis which contradict the United Nations and international law,” the comments said.

“We are determined despite all pressure and I am confident that you will all support my request.”

Abbas also announced that he will make a 10-day visit to Turkey in the coming week, noting that the country has always supported the Palestinian cause.

The United States opposed Abbas’ 2011 bid for UN membership, which got stuck at the Security Council, where the US has veto power.

Meanwhile, Maariv reported, citing Palestinian sources, that Abbas is planning to retire and has instructed his aids to find a replacement by the time he is back from the U.S.

Google Will Not Take Down Anti-Muslim ‘Trailer,’ But Restricts Access to Muslims

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

Google has rejected a White House request to remove the anti-Muslim video ‘trailer’ of a supposed full length, anti-Muslim movie titled “Innocence of Muslims,”” from YouTube, but is restricting access to it in certain countries.

The White House said on Friday that it had asked YouTube, the online video sharing site, to review whether the video violated its terms of use. Google owns YouTube.

YouTube said in a statement Friday that the video is “clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube.”

The short film denigrates the Prophet Muhammad, portraying him as a blood thirsty womanizer and pedophile. It ignited mob violence against U.S. and other Western missions around the Muslim world.

“We work hard to create a community everyone can enjoy and which also enables people to express different opinions,” the YouTube statement said. “This can be a challenge because what’s OK in one country can be offensive elsewhere. This video — which is widely available on the Web — is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube. However, we’ve restricted access to it in countries where it is illegal such as India and Indonesia as well as in Libya and Egypt, given the very sensitive situations in these two countries. This approach is entirely consistent with principles we first laid out in 2007.”

YouTube’s community guidelines say the company encourages free speech and defends everyone’s right to express unpopular points of view. But YouTube says it does not permit hate speech.

“‘Hate speech’ refers to content that promotes hatred against members of a protected group,” the guidelines say. “Sometimes there is a fine line between what is and what is not considered hate speech. For instance, it is generally okay to criticize a nation, but not okay to make insulting generalizations about people of a particular nationality.”

Photo Essay: Palestinians Protest

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

Arabs in Gaza, Jerusalem, Yafo and the Israeli territories protested against America, free speech, and the “Innocence” movie. From Al Qaida supporting Salafists to Hamas, the entire range of Palestinian culture was represented on Friday’s protests across the country.

A group of Israeli hikers, who every Friday hike around a different area of the country, had stones thrown at them by 20 Palestinians near Beit Hagai. No hiker was injured.

To Protect Jewish Students, California University Committee Recommends Ban on Hate Speech

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Each year at many California universities, pro-Israel students dread the inevitable arrival of “The Wall,”—the centerpiece of Israel Apartheid Week. These programs, sometimes known as Justice in Palestine Week or Palestinian Awareness Week, usually take place sometime between late-winter and spring and focus on charges that Israel is an Apartheid state that illegally occupies Palestinian territories.

But what if the wall wasn’t allowed to go up?

Speculation on the future of anti-Israel demonstrations on University of California (UC) campuses has increased in recent weeks after a mid-July report compiled by the UC President’s Advisory Council on Campus Climate recommended that UC consider banning all hate speech from its nine campuses.

Between October 2011 and May 2012, a group of professionals handpicked by UC President Mark Yudof travelled to six UC campuses (Santa Cruz, Davis, Irvine, Berkeley, Los Angeles, and San Diego) to assess the social conditions of Jewish students as well as Arab and Muslim students.

Jewish student leaders on the campuses were interviewed by the council, which evaluated the students’ biggest concerns as Jews on campus.

A separate report, providing background and recommendations on behalf of Arab and Muslim students was also released in mid-July.

Ultimately, the council recommended that hate speech, particularly anti-Israel demonstrations, be banned because of the unsafe and uncomfortable environment that can ensue on campus.

“UC does not have a hate-free policy that allows the campus to prevent well-known bigoted and hate organizations from speaking on campus such as the KKK,” the council wrote in the report. “UC should push its current harassment and nondiscrimination provisions further, clearly define hate speech in its guidelines, and seek opportunities to prohibit hate speech on campus.”

The council recognized that such a ban, if put in place, almost certainly would lead to legal action challenging it. Already, a petition asking Yudof to table the recommendations has gathered over 2,300 signatures.

Opponents of the recommendation claim that the report, released July 9, does not consider all viewpoints of Jewish students on campuses—particularly those of Jews who are critical of Israel.

In response, StandWithUs started a counter-petition urging the UC Office of the President (UCOP) to accept and implement the recommendations outlined in the report. While the first petition targets the hate speech ban proposal, the StandWithUs petition focuses on implementation of the entire report’s recommendations which include ensuring that kosher food options be available on UC campuses and that anti-Semitism be clearly defined and banned.

The advisory council also recommended that UC staff members receive cultural competency training and that accurate data be kept on Jewish students to better evaluate their needs.

There has been mixed reaction to the report in the pro-Israel community. Sharona Asraf, a StandWithUs Emerson Fellow and board member of Tritons for Israel at UC San Diego, created a Facebook event promoting the petition and said she supports the Council’s recommendation to ban hate speech.

“This will verbalize protocol and will elaborate what the consequences are for hate speech,” Asraf said.

However, Daniel Narvy, President of Movement for Peace in the Middle East at UC Irvine, said that while he thinks hate speech should not exist, banning it on UC campuses could actually make life more difficult for pro-Israel students.

“I can promise that SJP will claim the university is Islamaphobic and complain until they get their way,” Narvy said. “Do I think the hate speech, which it clearly is, should be there? No, but the university cannot use prior restraint and just censor a club just because [some members of the club] are obnoxious .” Richard Barton, who is the national education chair for the Anti-Defamation League, co-wrote the report with Alice Huffman, president of the California NAACP. Barton defended the report in an Aug. 23 op-ed in the San Francisco Gate.

“By including an examination of the climate for Jewish students, the Campus Climate Council has truly advanced the notion of honest and critical examination that lie at the heart of the UC’s core values,” Barton wrote.

Though UCOP is not expected to finish evaluating both the Jewish and the Arab and Muslim reports until late October, Yudof noted that ensuring a right to free speech would remain a priority.

“The Council will continue to address issues for a broad range of campus community members,” Yudof said in an August 8 open letter to the UC system. “None of this is designed to stifle free speech, but rather to ensure that our campuses are welcoming to a broad diversity of students, faculty and staff.”

Better Than They Are

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

On these shores, Americans commemorated the cold-blooded gleeful murder of thousands of their fellow men and women by bowing their heads and enlisting in one of the free work projects of the National Day of Service listed at Serve.gov, a combination that says all that needs to be said about our present day relationship with our government.

In newly liberated Benghazi, the city that Obama named as his moral imperative for fighting an illegal war against the will of the American people, gunmen opened fire on the American embassy and killed an American security guard. That dead man is the first American casualty in the Libyan War– a casualty that will be acknowledged and honored around the same time that someone in the media calls the Libyan War, a war, instead of sticking to the shameless lie of a No Fly Zone.

In Cairo, a mob of a thousand climbed the wall, tore down the American flag, tore it to pieces, burned it and tried to replace it with their own flag with the words, “There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his messenger”. That message was the same one that the murderers of Americans have shouted, written and videotaped themselves chanting in one form or another.

As befits a great power, the US Embassy in Cairo responded by condemning “the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.” The US Embassy’s statement was virtually indistinguishable from the one issued by the beleaguered Christian Copts of Egypt. The Christians of Egypt act that way because they live at the merciless mercy of Muslims. Apparently so do we.

When the Prophet-Criers climb our walls and murder us, we apologize for having offended their religious feelings. The same religious feelings that took down the World Trade Center as part of a murderous crusade going back over a thousand years. They kill us and we elect a man with a Muslim background to tour the world and explain to all the angry Muslims that we’re really very nice people once you get to know us.

If they want to be ruled by Muslim governments under Islamic law, we’ll give that to them. If they want a billion dollars, we’ll send it to them. If they want us to apologize for having free speech, we’ll do that too.

If they burn a couple more embassies, we’ll even see do something about that Bill of Rights which does not permit the gendarmes of tolerance to arrest a man for blasphemously calling Mohammed a pedophile and burning a Koran bought and paid for with his own money. Not like our more enlightened European cousins who put a stop to that behavior long ago and are sniffing around the flanks of Sharia law to see which parts of it can fit safely into their tolerant order.

And of course burning a Koran is ridiculous. So what if they burn American flags. So what if they burned 3,000 people, the ones who didn’t jump or kill themselves some other way. So what if their great ambition in life is to climb over all our walls and kill most of us and enslave the rest because the Koran, that most holy book which unlike New Yorkers must not be burned, tells them to do it. So what?

They can kill us because someone somewhere insulted their prophet. But when they kill thousands of us, then we must feel eternal shame because we renditioned some of the perpetrators, put them in a room and then, under medical supervision, poured water on them until they eventually told us about all their other plans to kill us.

The answer, you see, is that we are better than they are. And we get plenty of opportunities to show off how much better than them we truly are.

They kill us and we apologize to them. They kill us and we spend a fortune developing drones that will be able to take out the leader who ordered the attack with as little collateral damage as possible. And then when the natives dig up the daughters they murdered last week and the brother-in-law they beat to death last month in a clan feud, and dump them on the smoking vehicle, and the local stringers who have arrangements with Al Qaeda and the Taliban snap away at the wreckage, we will feel bad because after all the billions we spent developing and deploying a weapon meant to kill as few people as possible– there are the bodies that prove we are terrible people.

And when Karzai, whose prisons are full of raped and mutilated women, yells at us in front of the camera, before taking a hit of coke, and going off to have sex with one of his dancing boys, tells us that we are terrible people, we will believe it. Because we are better than them and we have a conscience.

This collective conscience does not respond to the mutilated bodies of Americans, in Afghanistan or in New York. It is a conscience deaf to the pain of the thousands of soldiers and their families who died or suffered crippling injuries because the new administration wanted to win the hearts and minds of Muslims, the only people who truly matter, by minimizing civilian casualties. But show that conscience a naked Muslim with women’s underwear on his head and it will shriek and clutch its pearls. It will turn that Muslim into the shame of America, while looking away from the Rape Rooms that same Muslim supervised.

After September 11 we could have struck back, the way we struck back at Japan, without mercy or empathy, with no concern for the enemy as anything but a faceless mass that hurt us. We could have leveled their cities, brought their civilization to the ground and done it with no more concern than a government legislator deciding how much money to squeeze out of the taxpayer for this year.

But we didn’t do that. We did not come to hurt them, but to save them from themselves and teach them how to be good people like us. We wanted to make them into the kind of kind noble people who only respond with the minimal amount of violence possible to an attack. The kind of people who will let thousands of their own people die rather for the sake of their conscience. Good people like us.

Our experiment at civilizing the savage failed miserably in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will go on failing as often as we keep attempting it. And at the end of the experiment, there will be burning embassies and savages crying, “There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his messenger,” the same words that the bearded bandit who was one of the first Muslims and their many times great-grandfather was crying out as he was raping the shamelessly unveiled tribal woman who would become their many times great-grandmother.

“There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his messenger” means that the Muslim need not waste time worrying about his conscience. His conscience is a Koran and that book says that he’s entitled to kill any time that an infidel offends Islam by mocking his prophet, walking in front of him or building a skyscraper that is taller than a mosque. The Muslim need not waste time pondering the ethical implications of killing another human being to know that he is better than we are. His little black book assures him that he is better than us, that he has every right to kill us and that if he fails, he will be raping demon virgins who are so anorexic that their bones can be seen through their flesh.

But, we oh what good people we are, we will apologize for having an embassy and for having free speech and for getting our embassy in the way of their mob and our free speech in the way of our religious sensibilities. And we will see about getting all of the above out of their way. After Muslims killed thousands of Americans we did everything we could to learn about their religion, to celebrate it and soothe their ruffled feathers. Like an anxious host, we are still rushing around to see that our Muslim guest has enough coffee and egg rolls while promising to do something about that free speech that offends him.

Like all good people, we are expert at blaming ourselves. Aside from the rabble who claim that there really were no Muslims on those planes and possibly no planes at all, just a vast conspiracy by the people in our own government who were not at all Muslims, there are the other rabble who claim that our foreign policy motivated the attacks. One way or another, we are to blame. That is how we know that we are good people… by blaming ourselves. The more we apologize and ask our murderers to forgive us, the better people we know ourselves to be.

One day, and this is our highest hope, we will look a Muslim terrorist in the eye right as he shoots us and beam into his soul a message of hope and peace, and just as the life bleeds out of our veins, the Muslim will fall at our feet and be filled with the understanding that all life is precious and sacred. And even if we are the last of our kind, our deaths will have been worthwhile if by the final sacrifice of our civilization we can elevate the savage out of his savagery.

We are you see, good people. Not moral people nor sane people. Morality requires values and sanity demands contact with some outpost of the real world outside the simulacrum of outraged noise on all the channels, real and virtual. Morality is hard, goodness is easy. Morality is about right and wrong, but goodness is about condemning those most like you in order to feel better about yourself.

Goodness is childishly easy. Go to a movie theater and wait for people to talk. Then feel good about not being one of the talkers. Goodness is watching thousands of people getting killed and feeling good because unlike those crazy rednecks or the bridge and tunnel crowd, you feel no yearning for vengeance. Goodness is watching Americans die and then picking out a Muslim convenience store and offering him whatever support he needs against all those bigots who are sure to show up with American flags and torches sooner or later, because unlike you, they aren’t good people at all.

We are a nation led by immoral people who think they are good, by politicians, professors, priests, rabbis, pundits, crackpots and activists who having no values are determined to excuse all the evil that they do by being relentlessly good people. When they sacrifice something, whether it’s a night out or your life, then they will make sure that everyone knows it. And when you protest, they will tell you about all the sacrifices that they are making, because despite all the blood and filth on their hands, they are good people. Good amoral sociopaths who learned everything they know about right and wrong from television and feel-good slogans.

The bigger their hypocrisies, the bigger their sacrifices, and they love nothing so much as sacrificing others. Their conscience is always bothering them and they put it to sleep with showy acts of public goodness. They will not feed a beggar on their street, but they will go around the world to feed an orphan, especially at someone else’s expense. And that way they remember that they are good people. Not just good people, but better people than us, the miserable mob waving torches and flags who don’t know the value of condescending to an Imam at an Iftar dinner or feeding a Bangladesh orphans on someone else’s dime or spending thousands of lives to enable Muslims to be the good people that they must be somewhere underneath all those ugly layers of murder, child-murder and mass murder.

So, no we will not fight back after September 11. Nor will we fight back when our embassies are attacked. The good people running things will take stock of what we have done that could have caused this and apologize for it and remind us to feel good about being such good people who diplomatically apologize to others instead of bombing them from the sky. They will feel worse about a burnt Koran than about a dead American because they are sociopaths with no more understanding of right and wrong than the teleprompters who feed them their lines. All their morality is learned behavior and their teachers were liars, morons and lunatics who passed on their disease to the next generation.

Embassies can burn and so can skyscrapers, but like all amoral people, they will cling to the moral high ground with their fingernails because it is the only thing between them and the abyss. They will tell us that we act the way we do because we, as a nation, are better than they are. We don’t lash out, we don’t get angry, we don’t go to war for revenge. We are not meant to feel anything except for the satisfaction of serving others, whether it’s picking up trash outside an inner city school on a National Day of Service, that happens to coincide with something called 9/11, or dodging Taliban bullets so that Afghan schoolgirls can get a proper education.

We are meant to be good people and that is what good people do. They give until it hurts and then die knowing that their giving natures kept them on the moral high ground of being six feet under.

We are good people. Too good to fight. Too good to defend ourselves. Too good to keep our laws and retain our traditions. Too good to be angry when we are killed. Too good to want to do anything but make our killers understand our pain. Too good to respond to our own murder with anything but immediate guilt.

We are better than they are. Not better at survival, but better at rationalizing our own destruction. We are so good that we open up our cities to our own murderers and close our eyes at the airport so as not to make a single one of them feel bad. We could fight back, but we’re too good. And if we start defending ourselves, then we will be forced to ask, “What is the difference between us and them?” Once we start killing, we will become murderers and it is better to be murder victims, it is better to mourn in defeat than to celebrate a victory, it is better to serve as Dhimmis than to live as conquerors.

We could fight back, but we are better than they are. That is a decision that our leaders have made and they remind us of it every September 11. They remind us that they are too good for victory. We could object, but they would only remind us that they are better than we are.

Charge: Facebook Pages Spew Blood Libels, Attack Jews and Aborigines, Mock Anne Frank

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

There is no scientific equation to determine what is hatred, but a Facebook picture of a smiling Anne Frank surrounded by the caption, “What’s that burning?  Oh it’s my family” is an easy one.  So is a Facebook picture of a baby on a scale emblazoned with a Jewish Star, where the bottom of the scale is a meat grinder with raw ground meat (presumably, a baby’s) oozing out.

Is there any doubt in your mind that those images constitute hate speech (one of the official categories for removal under Facebook’s Terms of Service) and should be removed from Facebook?  That was the basis for the complaints filed by the Online Hate Prevention Institute last month.

Facebook disagreed.  The pictures remain up.

The Australia-based Online Hate Prevention Institute was launched in January this year.  Its mission is to help prevent, or at least control, abusive social media behavior which constitute racism or other forms of hate speech.

Dr. Andre Oboler is the chief executive officer of OHPI.  Oboler has been involved in analyzing and monitoring online hate for five years.   In the time that he’s been monitoring Facebook, the response time has improved, but the results have not.

“OHPI submitted documented complaints following the Facebook complaint protocol, and, true to their word, we received a response within 48 hours,” Oboler told The Jewish Press.  “It’s quite amazing; the Facebook reviewers took down the images, reviewed them, and put them back up with a ‘no action’ decision within 48 hours.”

Oboler waited until the Facebook reviews were completed before posting OHPI’s findings.  The methodical process and the constructive suggestions OHPI made could be held up as models of what to do when confronted with hate speech on social media, except that at this point the diligence does not appear to have paid off.

The suggestions included:

1. Remove the offensive images

2. Close the offensive pages that are posting them

3. Permanently close the accounts of the users abusing Facebook to spread such hate

4. Review which staff assessed these examples and audit their decision making

5. Take active measures to improve staff training to avoid similar poor decisions in the future

6. To institute an appeal process as part of the online reporting system

7. To institute systematic random checks of rejected complaints

At this point, Oboler is hopeful that if sufficient attention is generated, Facebook will feel compelled to re-examine their procedures.  What he would like is for there to be a “systematic change to prevent online-generated harm in the future.”

One way to generate that attention, Oboler suggested, is for Facebook users who think the images described above are offensive to go to the Facebook OPHI site and “Like” it.  Another is to sign the OPHI petition urging Facebook to stop allowing hate speech on its site.

OHPI is also critical of the way in which Facebook has chosen to respond to complaints about offensive Facebook Pages.  Its standard response to pages that are entirely devoted to offensive material is to insert the bracketed phrase: [Controversial Humor] before the rest of the page title.  That phrase acts kind of like the warning label posted on cigarette packages.  The page remains vile, just as the cigarettes remain carcinogenic, but by slapping on the Controversial Humor disclaimer, it appears Facebook is seeking immunity from liability.  Or at least from responsibility.

OPHI discovered this Facebook method when it was engaged in an effort to eradicate hate-filled Facebook Pages dedicated to brutalizing Aborigines.  Remember – OPHI is based in Australia.  After engaging in some promising responses to OPHI’s complaints, Facebook ultimately responded that “While we do not remove this type of content from the site entirely unless it violates our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, out of respect for local laws, we have restricted access to this content in Australia via Facebook.”

But that just doesn’t make any sense, according to Oboler.  As he pointed out, “Facebook’s ‘Statement of Rights and Responsibilities’ says at 3.7 ‘You will not post content that: is hate speech’. We find it very hard to understand how Facebook can look at this material and decide it is not hate speech. Ultimately, this is where Facebook is going wrong.”

Is there anything Facebook has determined to be sufficiently offensive that it will be removed? Yes, but not much.

Oboler explained that thus far the only hate speech kind of content that has been permanently removed by Facebook is when it is directed against an individual, rather than at an entire race or religion.  In other words, the same problem that hate speech codes on campuses have encountered, plagues complainants hoping for a non-offensive inline community.  Unless the nastiness is directed at a specific person, the default Facebook position is to not remove it.

But really, is it possible for anyone to consider the words accompanying the Anne Frank picture anything but impermissible hate speech?  Facebook apparently does and will continue to do so unless enough people tell them they are wrong.

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/charge-facebook-pages-spew-blood-libels-attack-jews-and-aborigines-mock-anne-frank/2012/09/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: