Monday, March 16, 2009

Free Speech, Hate Speech, and Government Speech

Several years ago I visited the DHS Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, AL, where police, EM personnel, and firemen train for first response and security issues. There is a class section on improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and booby traps, where they give you the cook's tour of how simple it is to rig them up and what are the latest gizmos for detecting them.

There are two training rooms: one is a room that is mocked up to be a terrorist cell headquarters, and is filled with booby traps that you have to try and find without setting off the explosives (a light goes off to indicate that you will not be a recurring guest star on NCIS). This wasn't what interested me the most, however. Two of the walls were decorated with flags and graffiti of different domestic terrorist groups, including the Aryan Nation, Christian Identity movement, and ...

The Nation of Islam.

Problem is: for all that you may not like the Louis Farrakhan (I wasn't so hot on Elijah Mohammed, either), and despite fairly constant surveillance from the FBI, there has never been a credible report of terrorism or planned violence about the Nation of Islam. One of the individuals undergoing the training with me happens to be one of the foremost national authorities on Black Power movements, and he politely pointed this out to the people in charge of the display.

He agreed that whoever painted the wall may legitimately not have known that the Nation of Islam was not a terrorist group, but he asked that--now that he had clarified the truth, with references--that the reference be removed. Otherwise, he explained, law enforcement officials coming through the training will leave with the erroneous perception that the government considers NOI to be a terrorist group, and may act accordingly.

The folks running the Center declined to change the display. Their bosses, even when provided with an official statement from the FBI that it does not consider NOI to be a domestic terrorist group, declined to change the display. The last time I was there (two years later) the display had not been changed. The only explanation we ever received: "It's a radical Muslim group. With them there is always the potential for terrorism."

Is this hate speech?

Factors suggesting that it might be include broad-stroke negative stereotyping that tends to place members of the organization at risk, with such stereotyping consciously taking place after factual evidence to the contrary has been provided.

Factors suggesting that this isn't hate speech: it stems from a government organization. And since the government--either through legislation or the judiciary decides what is and what is not hate speech, by definition nothing that the government ever says could be considered such. And--even if it was--you'd have to get the government to waive sovereign immunity to pursue it.

So we get to one of the reasons that I don't like the doctrine of hate speech: it places the government in the business of deciding which forms of political or intellectual expression will be sanctioned, and which will be prosecuted, with one of the by-products being that only the government is immune to these strictures.

It's not that I do not accept the doctrine that says there are limitations to free speech: I certainly recognize the concept of fighting words, and threats, and slander/libel, and even (in specific, limited situations) violations of operational security.

You can voluntarily sign away some or all of your free speech rights. You do so upon entering the military or taking certain jobs, both civilian and government related. In some situations you sign away your immunity from prior restraint about certain materials in order to get access to them.

But being accused of hate speech is worse, in many ways, than being accused of sexual harassment or even sexual assault, because being offended has now moved completely into the ears of the person who hears the speech.

Intent doesn't matter. Factual accuracy sometimes does not matter. All that matters is that your victim feels disempowered.

Another anecdote: in teaching DSU's introductory course (University Seminar) we often cover the Earth on topics like academic integrity, freedom of speech, and other issues. About ten years ago I suggested a scenario to my class in which I--as a history professor--was teaching a course on Germany in World War Two, in which I had assigned readings from the virulently anti-semitic Mein Kampf. One of my students informed me that I could not do that, because Mein Kampf was by definition hate speech, and I had no right to impose it on my students, regardless of my contention that it was necessary to read the material in order to understand Germany's descent into totalitarian rule and genocide.

She explained to me that the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights actually protected her freedom from offensive speech, a more important right than my right to say whatever I wanted. She suggested with great confidence that if I attempted to assign such obnoxious material she could take me to court, where a judge would rule not only that she did not have to read such trash, but that I would never be allowed to inflict it on anyone else again in the future.

The source of this interpretation: a professor in another department who had conducted a two-day seminar on combating hate speech.

The problem with a society based on the concept of free speech is that people often say things intended to be hurtful, they often say things that are factually inaccurate, and they sometimes use speech as a tool or weapon to intimidate other people.

But where do you draw the line?

It's a really tough call, sometimes, as evidenced by the lively brouhaha over at Down With Absolutes regarding whether or not liz allen is an anti-Semite. Let's check in on what happens when folks get really passionate and start to lose it:

liz allen: And the Palestinans with no army, navy or air force, no weapons of mass destruction, no nukes, should just sit by and be slaughertered without fighting back? Is that your position? Do you think if f16’s were flying over your heads droppins phospherous bombs, killing your women and children, you wouldnt do whatever you could to defend yourself. Think Warsaw ghetto, think about how they tried to smuggle anything and everything they could to fight the nazis…its human nature and self preservation.

a. price: Liz dont you fucking DARE compare the Israelis to Nazis. THAT CROSSES THE LINE. Hamas STRAPS BOMBS TO THEIR CHILDREN! where is your outrage there? the Palestinian leadership intentionally keeps their people in poverty and jobless so they can BLAME THE JEWS. you are the WORST kind of anti semite. you think you are being rational and fair but you HAVE NO IDEA what the situation is like. you are the type of person who would have let the holocaust occur and you should really search your soul because of that last comment.... liz? anything? why dont you go tell your jewish friends you consider israelis to be like the nazis who killed their grandparents. you small minded bigot

liz allen: a,price…..WTF: can you read! I was stating a fact…that the Nazis were exterminating Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto and they did everything to protect themselves…wouldnt you in the same situation? Get over yourself zealot. Try reading something from the other perspective….there is no one truth, there are multiple truths….it depends on where you live and how you are being treated. I made no such comparison that jews were like Nazis…see how you go off…on your little tangents. You cant even see there is a self preservation issue here and all people have the right to defend themselves. You small minded fool…I have never and will never deny a horrific holocaust occured…you have never read or heard me say anything to the contrary… I believe a holocaust occured in the US, it was by europeans who slaughtered native americans…almost all of them..

hube: As for revisionist history and Liz Allen: "I believe a holocaust occured in the US, it was by europeans who slaughtered native americans…almost all of them.." No, Liz. The Europeans did NOT “slaughter” almost “all of the” Native Americans. The credit for that goes to disease which, except for a few horrific instances, was unknowingly unleashed upon the American Natives. Anywhere from 80-95% of the indigenous peoples died as a result of germs. Not warfare with the white man.

Now, let's parse this a bit: Did liz actually declare that the Israelis were like the Nazis, or did she make a legitimate historical comparison?

What standard should we use? a. price's outrage and sense of offense?

Then what do you do about this:

A prestigious London university will host an event this week that compares the plight of Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto.

The Student Union at Goldsmiths, University of London, is hosting an event entitled "From the Warsaw Ghetto to the Gaza Ghetto" on November 12 [2008].

The event is being organized by the Palestine Twinning Campaign, a student union group who won a vote to twin Goldsmiths with Al-Quds University in Jerusalem. In a tense debate in the union last February, the group won a motion to twin the two universities and push Goldsmiths to offer scholarships to two Al-Quds students.

Speaking at the event is Suzanne Weiss, a Holocaust survivor and member of the Toronto-based group "Not in our Name: Jews against Zionism" that encourages boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

Weiss claims that Israel "uses many of the methods of Nazism to oppress the Palestinians, including confining them in walled ghettos," and that the Jewish people are threatened by the Jewish state.

"We are told," she has written, "that because Hitler killed the Jews, the Zionist state is needed today, supposedly to protect the Jewish people. But there is no Nazi threat against the Jews in Israel. Rather, the Jewish people are threatened by the aggressive policies of their own government."

So is liz crossing the line here, or is she merely advocating for an unpopular political viewpoint--which, instead of hate speech, is considered protected political speech under the First Amendment?

And what about the supposed American holocaust? First, two cautions: Hube never accuses liz of hate speech here, and I personally (and professionally) agree about 75% with his interpretation more than hers.

However, even here liz is presenting a legitimate academic interpretation of historical data: For example, see Daniel Stannard's American Holocaust: Columbus and the Conquest of the New World or Ward Churchill's A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas, 1492 to the Present. You may not agree with these viewpoints, but unless you are willing to take on major academic presses as purveyors of hate speech, they have to be countered, not silenced.

[An aside: Churchill's academic career has literally been destroyed for unpopular comments about the victims in the World Trade Center attacks on September 11:

In January 2005, Churchill's work attracted publicity, with the widespread circulation of a 2001 essay, On the Justice of Roosting Chickens. In the essay, he claimed that the September 11, 2001 attacks were provoked by U.S. policy, and referred to some people working in the World Trade Center as "technocrats" and "little Eichmanns". In March 2005 the University of Colorado began investigating allegations that Churchill had engaged in research misconduct; it reported in June 2006 that he had done so. Churchill was fired on July 24, 2007, leading to a claim from some scholars that he was fired over the ideas he expressed. Churchill filed a lawsuit against the University of Colorado for unlawful termination of employment, and in March 2009, a Denver court began hearing the case.

Was Churchill engaging in hate speech or unpopular protected speech, which turned out to be not so protected after all?]

The purpose of this exercise is not to defend liz allen. She can do that herself, and--besides--I also find a lot of her rhetoric over the top, inaccurate, sometimes downright looney in its continual drift into weird conspiracies, and--yes--offensive. Have some of liz's statements about Jews controlling the banking world been so far out there as to be potentially considered anti-Semitic rather than inaccurate, idiotic, or conspiracy-theory-driven? Good question, but a lot more ambiguous than most of liz's critics would like to admit.

On the other hand, the specific intent of labeling liz an anti-semite or a bigot is, it seems, language intended to intimidate her into not speaking, or at the very least into self-censorship.

Apparently my opinion is at variance with most folks in the Delaware blogosphere [including folks like Hube, Pandora, and Liberalgeek, whose positions I respect even when I don't agree with them, and other people whose opinions I value about as much as a bucket of warm spit]. Near as I can tell, only that intellectual anarchist Mike Matthews sees it my way:

The implications of hate speech and "outing" people as bigots, racists, or anti-semites are far worse than the implications of dealing with them and discrediting their arguments.

As for the policy of anybody's blog: do whatever you want--the blog is your property. You don't want liz to be able to comment, ban her. Wouldn't be the first time in the Delaware blogosphere.

But spare us all the moral high ground argument.

Most of us here (myself included) have thrown out more than a few intemperate and offensive quips that we'd probably--on reflection--like to be able to cancel with a do-over.

Pots. Kettles, Rocks, Glass houses. That sort of thing.


pandora said...

Steve, Here is a comment I wrote earlier today in response to Brian.

Brian, if it were only the Bill Maher comment it wouldn’t be a big deal, but it wasn’t only one comment. It was quite a few comments, and each time these comments were made they were called out for what they were and how they hurt people.

And, make no mistake, people were hurt.

That said, blogging is not the best place for nuance - note: there was nothing nuanced about Liz’s comments - and while I feel it is better to give people the benefit of the doubt, how many Jewish comments does it take before people start questioning where you’re coming from? Especially when they keep springing forth on threads that have nothing to do with Jews, Palestinians or Israel.

If one person was always referencing blacks or gays the same way would the blogging community ignore the comments?

In the blogosphere we live and die by our words - sometimes fairly, sometimes not - and had this been one of my comments being called into question my first course of action would be to apologize and try to clear up my statement. I would definitely not keep telling people to “google Jewish bankers.” WTF?

Those are my thoughts, for what they're worth.

Steve Newton said...

I have absolutely no problem with individuals questioning where liz is coming from. I have done so myself, and called many of her positions either looney or offensive in this post.

But I would notice that (a) you weren't the person who called her out, and that (b) if you had been the charge would have had considerably more credibility than it did from other sources who have pretty freely expressed their own looney and offensive positions throughout the past several years.

I also have this inherent problem with a group of semi-anonymous bloggers taking it upon themselves (or himself) to declare somebody who is not a public figure--by name--a racist or an anti-Semite in the name of preventing "hate speech."

I think the dangers of suffering liz's often-looney statements are far less significant than the vigiliante attitude which appears meant to intimidate people rather than to engage them.

Sorry: I respect your opinion and I see your point.

But I don't agree.

Hube said...

I concur, Steve, with pandora here. Nevetheless, despite my personal opinion of Liz Allen, you should know that my opinion about the concept of "hate speech" is pretty much in line w/yours. IOW, I detest the very concept. Even if I do believe Liz to be an anti-Semite, I would never want to see her prosecuted for her statements, anymore than I'd want to see anyone else prosecuted for mere SPEECH. (And that means, obviously, speech that complies with the Chaplinsky standard, especially the "relaxed" interpretation that has been used more often in the last couple decades). Not only that, but you may have noticed that in my comments at DWA, I state that I have refrained from referring to Liz as an anti-Semite since, despite what I may believe about her, I #1) understand what you said right here regarding the stigma, and #2) despite her inconsistencies with terminology, I actually did tend to give her the benefit of the doubt with her (supposed) distinctions between Judaism and Zionism. I only outright referred to her as such after she called me "racist" for defending Israel.

Which brings me to separate point: Liz herself is VERY quick with the stigma-inducing epithets herself, Steve. Keep that in mind. This is primarily why I wrote what I did at DWA when I said "she deserved what she got." I wouldn't write the post donviti did, and to be sure, there's certainly an irony in me sticking up for the blog that has on more than one occasion dedicated a post to me and my supposed "racism," usually for a post of mine which is very much like this one of yours, Steve.

BTW, my figures about disease, Europeans and the American Natives comes primarily from UD's Suzanne Austin-Alchon's work on the subject. ('Tho, if I recall, she has since split from her husband so I think she dropped one of those names from the hyphen.) Do you know her, Steve? (I took a grad class w/her in the late 90s and I admit I had a hard time concentrating -- she's (or she was, it's been a decade ... and no offense meant) quite attractive for her age. (I also met her as an undergrad as she began the Latin American Studies minor -- I was one of the first to declare such a minor if memory serves.)

And I'm curious -- you don't think Churchill shouldn't have been fired for academic fraud?

Steve Newton said...

As I say to Pandora: I respect your views but I disagree. I am under no illusions about liz and her views--however: if I don't defend freedom of speech for the despicable, then I have no have no real position.

Oh: I don't really give a shit what liz calls me, and two years ago when I took on single-payer healthcare she called me every name in the book.

As for Ward Churchill, here's the problem: nobody started digging around on Ward until after he had said something unpopular, and then what they found was something which (in its very near equivalent) has been slipped under the rug or forgiven for folks like Stephen Ambrose or Doris Kearns Godwin.

I have met Ward Churchill, and while I disagree with him on almost every particular, I believe he has a strong case that he is being targeted by an intellectual pogrom.

Hube said...

Steve: Well, perhaps I wasn't entirely clear. I am not in ANY way trying to stop Liz's freedom of speech. But that does not -- and should not -- preclude others from voicing what they think of her. Wouldn't you agree? As I wrote, I thought I was pretty damn fair to her in my various tit-for-tats w/her.

As for Churchill, you have a point. I'm sure you're more in the know on this matter than I am, so I'll trust your insight on it.

Mike W. said...

"Steve: Well, perhaps I wasn't entirely clear. I am not in ANY way trying to stop Liz's freedom of speech. But that does not -- and should not -- preclude others from voicing what they think of her"

Agreed, I see nothing wrong with calling someone a bigot within the context of the discussion. (not referring to Liz here, just saying that generally)

Anonymous said...

I am going to speak for myself rather than allow any of you (whom I never met) to analyze me or my beliefs. First I am the daughter of a native american, and have heard and studied the issue of "who slaughtered/murdered my ancestors at length. Its called Genocide! Guns along with germ warfare,and other horrors defeated them. Genocide for which this country has never apologized.

But to the issue of Liz is antisemite. This is absolutely false on its face, character assassination at best.

I have written on blogs about the issue of zionism and occupation etc for a long time. I believe historical facts back up those positions.

Why am I so "on" this topic. Because it is an issue that I care deeply about. I liken what has happened to the Palestinans as to what happened to native americans, and in some respects the blacks in the south.

I have always tried to be careful not to use the word Jews, or Jewish (because so many Jewish folk dont agree with zionism or the Israelie apartheid policies. I place the blame on what has happened in Palestine where it belongs on the philosophy of zionism. Yes I did make a statement about Bernacke is an orthodox jew..that is simply a fact. Why does it matter, because the issue is "who is running this government" is the bigger issue. A question by the way many are asking.

There happen to be volumes written on AIPAC and how they work for or against candidates. Jimmy Carter has written extensively on that in his books,and John Kennedy spoke about it. So have Pat Buchanon on the right and many others. Of course anyone who speaks that truth do so at their own political peril.
If you review history, from Jefferson to the present, we have been warned again and again about the bankers and the military industrial complex a detriment to our democracy.

The collapse of the banking system and the financial cretins (Keith Olberman's words), taking bailout money from our treasury and used for top management bonus is wrong. Discovering some 2.2 trillion ended up in Israel is another matter. While the collapse of our financial system at the hand of these un-regulated bankers is well known, as citizens don't we not have the right to ask "where our money went"?

Bernie Sanders asked the question of Bernacke who refused to say what they did with. The Federal Reserve is not responsible to the President, or the Congress/Senate?

I object to the blatant attack by a blog group...who obviously believe it "there duty to be the thought police", to put words in my mouth I never said, (a.price), and to ban me from blogging to defend myself, so they can have a free ride with their character assassinations, that is beyond the pale. Notice they say now that "its not about zionism". Zionism is the word I use most frequently, but that little truth gets in the way of the assassination attempts.

It is common knowledge that any constructive criticizm or criticizm of any kind against Israel and its policies is taboo.

I refuse to be bullied into that position. There are people who have no real knowledge on the topic, and those who wait to pounce (a.price) and some others, if you dare to make a comment. I have asked them to google zionism, and judaism. Obviously they dont wish to take the time because it doesnt interest them or wish to remain dumbed down.

Several of my friends read those blogs today and were mortified. They emailed or called and said, "these are some very vicious people, if I blog I will be called a rascist or an anti semite as well". Just ignore them, dont respond. Well, sorry thats not who I am.

Pacem in Terris has done several programs on this issue because there is a lot of ignorance from the Palestine side. Thats a good thing since the media certainly never presents an unbiased point of view. In fact, during the last invasion,all foreign media was banned from the battle zone, all we got on our teevee was the Israelie point of view.

I however having contacts in Israel (Jewish Voices for Peace), Peace Now, and Not in my name, Jewish groups working for a 2 state solution, and contacts at Press TV, was receiving hundreds of emails with video attached. I was so upset at what I saw my blood pressure went to 210 and I was hospitalized for 3 days.

It is an emotional issue, its an issue where both sides are not presented factually. Anyone who can pretend that the Israelie military in December didnt kill 1000 Palestinans to one Israelie simply doesnt have the facts. It was overkill, it destroyed all of Gaza. I am sorry but the in- humanity of it all, should bother anyone who sees one side has the 4th largest military in the world, and the other has homemade rockets and rocks!
It reminds me of the native americans called "savages" as they were savagely attacked and their land stolen from them.

I reject Pandora saying "people were hurt". Who exactly were hurt! Total nonsense.

I have read DL when they attacked viciously people who dont agree with them, but never did they 'headline' a blogger who disagreed with them, as they did me.

They didnt give me any benefit of the doubt...they just attacked! I was shocked when I saw it. Having been with my grandchildren all day and not going on the blogs and then to see that...who was really hurt here!

This was character assassination, this was an attempt to discredit me or shut me up, sorry but that is an ole zionist trick, which I wont fall for and neither will many others.

They didnt know that the comment "book of jewish fairy tales" was Bill Mahers comment, a jew by the way who is now an athiest.

Its truly disturbing. If they will do this to me, no one who disagrees with them is safe.

I am happy to answer any question as long as its posed as a question. Debate, discussion on this emotional topic is what is needed, not attack a person for their beliefs. They dont know what I have studied, what my sources are?

No matter what they say, they will not shut me up, or force me to change what I think,unless they can provide factual information in oppostion to my own.

Zionism is a philsophy, judaism is a faith. I believe a philosphy is open for criticzm. I do not attack my jewish grandsons for their Jewish beliefs. In fact they and my son in law have great conversations. But even they at 18 and 22 know the difference between zionsm and judaism. They support Israel and its right to be (as I do) but they like I support the Palestinans right to have a state of their own.

Its amazing that so many do not know that the Gazans actually were the refugees from cities in what is the State of Israel today, who were expelled and forced out of their homes. Some especially Christians believe that Israel has been there for thousands of years. Its not a fact. Judah and Sumaria were home to the Israelites, but there were 12 tribes there, what happened to the other 10? There were indigenous people and there were european jews who went to Israel after 1948.

Yes, Pandora its true, bloggers live and die by their words, and I think bloggers on your blog were nasty, mean, vindictive and acted like a "rovian hit man". I would expect more from so called liberals. My friends kept telling me "they are going to come after you....they will call you an antisemite". You are daring to speak out on an issue that is taboo! When I read Paul Findleys book, "They dare speak out", I knew it would happen sometime but thought it would come from the far right wing~ how wrong I was.

If they are waiting for me to apologize, they will wait till hell freezes over. I stand by my comments and have information collected over time to make those statements.

and Pandora dont like "go to Jewish bankers", try this one: go to: zionist bankers!

So if you are willing to have a discussion, so am I.

PS all people from that are are semite. So are they accusing me of being anti semite against arabs too?

Anonymous said...


There is such a thing as hate speech. Speech that dehumanizes a group of people as "evil" or stereotypes them negatively is hate speech.

The government should not only not ban it, it should supply equal access to the "public square" for it. The government should, in fact, protect it blindly as it should any other speech it protects.

However, private entities are not required to publish it and they should not publish it. People who write it and those who publish deliberately should be held up to the light of day for what they are. They don't deserve to be coddled. And people also have a right to workplaces free of hate speech and intimidation by bigots of all sorts.

A site called "Delaware Liberal" does not and should not be a platform for bigots to repetitively spew dehumanizing names and stereotypes. And people that do it should be called on it - learning "self censorship" when it comes to this kind of garbage is not a bad thing.

As far as your agreeing with Matthews' nonsense, it serves no purpose to be constantly "discrediting their arguments." unless you want to discuss with bigots why racism, anti-semitism, sexism, and homophobia, etc. are wrong over and over and over again. Those views are as discredited as the flat earth, and we should call them what they are and move on. Matthews has no moral compass when it comes to this stuff, otherwise, he wouldn't publish it on his blog. He didn't even cite Liz's most offensive Jewish stereotyping in his defense of her.

And, yes, the historical parallels between the Warsaw Ghetto and the creation of a Palestinian Ghetto by the Israeli government are absolutely legitimate. "a. price" apparently has little knowledge of the dangerous roles that heroic Jewish children played as part of the resistance against the Nazis, in particular, risking their lives daily by smuggling food and messages through tiny openings in the ghetto wall and dying from the machine guns of the Nazi guards.

Question for you, professor: If a student said to you that they would not read a particular book like Mein Kampf because it was too offensive, but they would be happy to find an alternate reading, would you let them without penalizing their grade?


Hube said...

Liz ('cuz that IS you in that 8:12 comment): If you're so gung ho with self-righteous anger about people calling you an anti-Semite, why are YOU so very quick to refer to others with [similar] epithets?

This is only part of the puzzle that causes many to question for very sanity.

Steve Newton said...

Question for you, professor: If a student said to you that they would not read a particular book like Mein Kampf because it was too offensive, but they would be happy to find an alternate reading, would you let them without penalizing their grade?

Caveat: I teach history courses; my answer might be different if I taught literature course.

The answer is: No. I make a professional judgment about the material necessary for a proper understanding of the content and the aspects of an historians' craft to be learned in my courses. Students are expected to meet specified objectives and demonstrate specific skills. One of the skills any historian needs to learn (pretty much like any medical examiner) is that history and historical sources are often pretty damn awful.

If a student objected to such a reading, we would discuss the reading, my reasons for assigning it, and the lessons to be learned from it. If the student remained resistant for personal reasons (say trauma associated with an anti-semitic attack) I would suggest counseling and offer to let the student drop the course without penalty.

But I would not change the course requirements, particularly as I would only assign Mein Kampf in a course on The Rise and Fall of Nazi Germany. Students are well-briefed in my classes while the add/drop period is still open about what to expect.

FYI (I don't think I will have time to post on it) a Professor from Central CT U has weighed in on that gun case you and I were discussing the other week.

I don't agree with everything he says (he distorts what the adjunct professor did, by failing to note that she spoke to her department head and dean before filing the report), but I thought you would find it interesting.,0,6473413.story

Anonymous said...

I am not a proponent of hate speech either. KKK, Nazi, White Supremacists spew race hatred daily.

However, since I am a firm believer in free speech, I would defend their right to their free speech. We have the opportunity to confront their biased hatred with facts, and follow the Constitutional right to same.

The issue is zionism. No matter how much the zionist want to portray that word with the word anti semitism, it wont fly.

A. Price wants to pretend that their are NO Jews who despise zionism. In fact those Jewish women who took over the government bldgs in Ontario at the height of the last assault on Gaza were Jewish women in opposition to zionism. There were parades in the streets of NY carrying signs, "I am a Jew, I am not a zionist".

The problem has been for decades " don't dare speak against ANYTHING of horrific apartheid policy of Israel" without being called an anti semite.

There are as we speak a divestment movement around the world against Israel. Just as there was against apartheid south africa.

Its one thing to debate the issue, its another to use character assassination to make your point.

That is what DL has done. It is obvious they have never studied the topic, and let Dana "tell" them how zionism began. If they did their own research they would know that zionism began in the 1890's by a guy named Hertzl who was a Communist. It is a matter of history in the early 1900's, Jews in Europe were communist. If you google: zionism there is a Jewish man who died in the 50's who explains how zionism came about. Hertzl and his comrades hated Jews and wanted them to give up their faith and embrace zionism. Some did some did'nt.

The issue is zionism and its philosphy which Jews say, "stole our faith and replaced it with a philosophy". That is the topic. All peoples in the "holy land are semites". Arabs, Christians and Hebrews.

After Hitler's rise to power and particuarly after the extent of the Nazi genocide of Jews became known, the term anti semitism acquired perjorative connotations. This marked a full circle shift in usage from an era just decades earlier when "Jew" was used as a perjorative term. Yehuda Bauer wrote in 1994, "there are no anti semites in the world", nobody says, "I am an anti semite", you cannot say that after Hitler. "that word has gone out of fashion".

The concept on anti semitism has been criticized by those who argue it is "used to stifle debate and deflect attention from legitimate criticizm of Israel", and by associating anti zionism with anti-semitism, and is "intended" to taint ANYONE opposed to Israelie actions and practices.

In the religious context, the term anti semitic can refer to the relgions associated with speakers of these languages thus, Judaism, Christianity and Islam are described as "semitic religions".

Its too damn bad people who are intersted in the subject havent taken the time to study these very complex issues. Its too easy to throw out a loaded word like "anti semitic" at someone. My question is why DL found it their "duty" to USE me to broach the topic? It is not only mean spirited and vindictive, they have proven to those who do have some knowledge that their understanding is nill.

They should be ashamed of these attacks, permitting the 3 or 4 zionists posting hate speech against Palestinans, and not calling them for their own rascism.

Hube said...

They should be ashamed of these attacks, permitting the 3 or 4 zionists posting hate speech against Palestinans, and not calling them for their own rascism.

And there you have it, folks! Liz's cognitive dissonance in a nutshell.

downwithabsolutes said...


Just getting around to reading your post after a very busy past few days. In a few words, I'd like to thank you for more eloquently putting how I feel here. You have verbalized exactly how I feel re: those who feel applying labels to people is an acceptable form of debate.

Thanks again for this.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve,

Thanks for your answer. Although I disagree with your answer, in part because I think that there are multiple paths to knowledge, I understand your reasoning.

In regards to the gun-speech case, I was hoping there might be some actual witnesses to what was said that might come forward, but sadly, no. The author spins the same innuendo and hearsay as facts in making his case.

Not surpassing since he is a member of the National Association of Scholars, which, as you probably know, has some notoriety in Delaware for the noise it has made over student diversity programs at the University of Delaware.

Thanks for the reference, though.


Anonymous said...

More hootenanny from DownWithAbsolutes:

those who feel applying labels to people is an acceptable form of debate

So we should only have "acceptable" forms of debate with bigots who apply their vile labels to people?

As if racism, homophobia, sexism, anti-Semitism, etc. and the vile stereotypes and labels used by their practitioners and proponents are even legitimate topics for "acceptable" forms of debate.

But that is the opinion that you can expect from someone with a spinning moral compass.


Steve Newton said...

Thanks. To be honest I see liz as a conspiracy theorist who focuses on Israel and Zionism, and is incredibly clumsy with her words.

I realize that she has given as many lumps as she has taken in the DE blogosphere, but this is not generally a place where people come to play nice.