“…If we buy into this line of reasoning, the First Amendment of the Constitution not only allows but encourages hatred and violence. It may soon become a punishable offense to be a racist, bigot, homophobe, misogynist, and xenophobe. As distasteful as these people and their ideas may be, the Bill of Rights protects them, provided they do not engage in violence against other people…”
Political Blogging as Hate Crime
Wednesday November 15th 2006
As posted at Another Day in the Empire
If Rev. Ted Pike is correct, this blog may soon be illegal.
“For the past eight years, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith has tried unsuccessfully to pass its Orwellian federal ‘anti-hate’ bill. It has failed largely for one reason: Republican control of Congress,” writes Pike. “Repeatedly, Republican opponents of their hate bill, such as Rep. Roy Blunt and Sen. Bill Frist have been able, with Republican congressional backing, to block passage,” but now, with Democrats in control of Congress, “such freedom-saving clout no longer exists. ADL’s federal thought crimes bill, ‘The Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act,’ will be reintroduced soon after January 1. Since no Democrat in Congress has ever voted against the hate bill, it will pass.”
According to Rabbi David Saperstein of the Interfaith Alliance Foundation, Americans “cannot stand idly by while our brothers and sisters, parents and children, live in fear that racism, bigotry, homophobia, misogyny, and xenophobia continue to go unchecked. We cannot stand idly by while hate crimes destroy the sense of community that we and so many others have worked so hard to build.”
According to Saperstein, hate crimes are not restricted to violence. Hate crimes “are more than murders, beatings, and assaults. Hate crimes are nothing less than attacks on those values that are the pillars of our republic and the guarantors of our freedom. They are a betrayal of the promise of America. They erode our national well being. Those who commit these crimes do so fully intending to tear at the too-often frayed threads of diversity that bind us together and make us strong. They seek to divide and conquer. They seek to tear us apart from within, pitting American against American, fomenting violence and civil discord.”
If we buy into this line of reasoning, the First Amendment of the Constitution not only allows but encourages hatred and violence. It may soon become a punishable offense to be a racist, bigot, homophobe, misogynist, and xenophobe. As distasteful as these people and their ideas may be, the Bill of Rights protects them, provided they do not engage in violence against other people.
Simply criticizing Israel is now considered anti-Semitic. According to the ADL, the scholarly article criticizing AIPAC, authored by John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen M. Walt of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, is “a classical conspiratorial anti-Semitic analysis invoking the canards of Jewish power and Jewish control” and “anti-Israel forces will be citing this study for a long time to come.”
“It is evident that the fundamental purpose of the scurrilous onslaught on Mearsheimer and Walt is to prevent honest debate,” writes Stephen Sniegoski. “As Michael Scheuer, former chief of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit who gained the public’s attention in 2004 with his condemnation of the Bush war policy in his anonymously authored Imperial Hubris, writes at Antiwar.com: ‘Such a response deep-sixes any chance for a substantive debate on the issue at hand, and submerges it in a blizzard of hate speech directed at the authors from prominent Israel-Firsters, those paragons of virtue who are the chief proponents of First-Amendment-destroying laws against hate speech.’”
The lesson provided by the partisans of Israel is that anyone, no matter how scholarly or influential, who aspires to criticize the activities of the Israel lobby will be smeared and perhaps destroyed. That would be powerfully intimidating for anyone, and it would be the kiss of death careerwise for those who did not hold the prestige, credentials, and tenure of a Mearsheimer or a Walt…. One can understand why the partisans of Israel try to suppress criticism using the most outrageous lies — the role of lobbyists is to support the interests of their client by whatever methods they can get away with. It is less easy to understand why the American people, especially “respectable” educated Americans, allow such an inversion of truth to successfully silence discussion. It is especially ironic in light of the fact that respectable Americans forever preach about the value of freedom of expression and profess to be bringing its blessings to the unenlightened in the rest of the world.
In fact, such “inversion of truth” is now commonly employed to “silence discussion,” and if the ADL has its way this silence will be legally enforced.
“If we think that to criticize Israeli violence, or to call for economic pressure to be put on the Israeli state to change its policies, is to be ‘effectively anti-semitic’, we will fail to voice our opposition for fear of being named as part of an anti-semitic enterprise,” explains Judith Butler. “What is needed is a public space in which such issues might be thoughtfully debated, and to prevent that space being defined by certain kinds of exclusion and censorship. If one can’t voice an objection to violence done by Israel without attracting a charge of anti-semitism, then that charge works to circumscribe the publicly acceptable domain of speech, and to immunize Israeli violence against criticism.”
“English-Turkish cyber-hate expert Prof. Yaman Akdeniz, speaking at a B’nai B’rith conference on how to end dissent on the net, rejoices that David Irving is behind bars,” writes Pike, never mind that, when it comes to so-called Holocaust deniers, Irving is fairly wishy-washy. “[Akdeniz] said ‘continental European countries such as Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Hungary, Austria and Belgium have strong anti-hate laws, which have resulted in the imprisonment of hate-mongers. In Holland, 657 websites were removed. And in Germany, more than 700 hate websites were shut down.’”
Similar behavior was prevented in America, where the Constitution and the Bill of Rights once held sway. However, now that the ADL-friendly Democrats are ruling the roost, we may see America go the way of Europe, eradicating web sites and blogs that not only criticize Israel but also homosexuality and other subjects that often elicit contentious debate.