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What the Islamists Get Right

It’s time to admit that banning Mein Kampf while allowing anti-Islam cartoons is a double-standard

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(Petr David Josek/Reuters/Corbis)

When a Western politician defends the freedom to mock religion—an increasingly rare species, particularly since the recent anti-Islam YouTube video—the offended Islamist can be relied upon to wring his hands (it’s never hers) and intone that there is a pernicious, perhaps Islamophobic, double standard at work. “If anyone doubts the Holocaust happened, they are imprisoned,” Mahmoud Ghozlan, a spokesman for Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, complained after the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo published cartoons of Muhammad in September. There are different legal standards for offending the Muslim prophet, he said, and for questioning the historical truth of the Holocaust. “It is not fair or logical.”

After the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published its now-notorious cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in 2005, the Iranian government responded with a Holocaust cartoon contest and an “International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust,” featuring a multiethnic assortment of lunatics and racists who denied that Nazi Germany pursued a policy of genocide against European Jews. A spokesman for the Iranian regime laid out the logic behind the contest: “They allow the Prophet to be insulted. But when we talk about the Holocaust, they consider it so holy that they punish people for questioning it.”

There are clear differences between denying a historical event like the Holocaust and mocking religious prophets, but the Islamists who see a free-speech double standard in Europe are correct. In Germany and Russia, for example, the printing and selling of Mein Kampf is banned (though Germany has recently considered publishing a version of the book annotated by historians). Holocaust deniers can be prosecuted in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Romanian, Poland, and Luxembourg. Other European states don’t explicitly outlaw denial but often prosecute offenders on other statutes, like inciting racial hatred. In all these countries, though, the mocking of religious belief—be it Islam or Christianity—is protected speech. And perhaps more important, these laws, while well-intentioned, have had little effect on the distribution or consumption of offensive material. By forbidding it, these governments may actually be creating interest where there was previously none.

Despite a lack of evidence that such laws are effective, some feel that given the horrors of recent European history, restricting offensive speech is justified and necessary. Speaking alongside novelist Salman Rushdie in 2010, Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel defended the principles of free speech against those who demanded religious exemptions, with one significant exception: “Holocaust denial today—what it does to the children of survivors—I believe [it] should be illegal.” It wasn’t a very convincing case, and Rushdie quickly expressed his disagreement. But Wiesel’s case isn’t an uncommon one. The Jewish Board of Deputies in Great Britain strongly condemned British Home Secretary Michael Howard in 1996 for not supporting denial legislation, which the board claimed left Britain “isolated” in Europe.

It’s an uncomfortable sentence to write: The Islamists are right about this—with one crucial caveat. Radical Muslims want equality of legal sanction in exactly the wrong direction.

***

Iran’s Holocaust-denial conference and the press it generated underscore the danger inherent in criminalizing pernicious ideas, a temptation to which many European governments have eagerly submitted. For one, jailing pseudo-historians for arguing against historical fact creates martyrs: Why do we know the names of David Irving, Robert Faurisson, Bishop Richard Williamson, and Ernst Zundel and not those who have denied the Cambodian genocide, or those who claim that the Srebrenica massacre was fabricated or that the 9/11 attacks were an Israeli-sponsored “inside job”? (Such anti-Israel conspiracy theories are not illegal in Europe, despite being marinated in anti-Semitic paranoia about omnipotent Jewish power.) It’s partially because we know victims of the Holocaust and their relatives—those Wiesel understandably wants to protect from psychological injury. And it’s because of those postwar Germans who said nie wieder, insisting that their country grapple with its past by requiring the study of the Holocaust in school curricula.

But we also know their names because Irving, Faurisson, and Zundel have been hauled before courts in France, Germany, and Austria to face criminal charges. Earlier this year, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad garlanded Faurisson with an award for his “courage, strength, and force” against the Jewish enemy. This is the result of failing to trust regular people to adjudicate historical truth; Europe has inadvertently elevated liars.

Legal restrictions have never been effective at preventing the spread of Holocaust denial, but technology has now enabled the almost unrestricted flow of information and makes no exceptions for quality or truth. Those who believe in the efficacy of Holocaust-denial laws, or Germany’s anachronistic ban on the sale of Mein Kampf, must also contend with the free flow of bad ideas on the Internet, where a copy of Hitler’s soporific prison manifesto can be obtained in multiple languages at no cost. If one wants to find discursive, footnoted, and thoroughly phony “investigations” into the missing gas chambers at Auschwitz, they are always only a few clicks away, despite the German government’s frequent requests to have such material pulled from Google’s search results. Of course, in Germany one can also easily find material from fringe academics defending the records of Joseph Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Milosevic, and Kim il Sung, though such material can be legally distributed in most bookstores.

If the goal of free-speech restrictions is to prevent the rise of right-wing extremism, such legal measures have been largely unsuccessful. In Austria, for instance, where David Irving was imprisoned for Holocaust denial, the populist Freedom Party—whose current leader recently posted a photo of a hook-nosed Jew wearing Star of David cufflinks on his Facebook page—has been hugely successful, with recent opinion polls showing their support at 21 percent. Compare that to the United States, where toxic polemics claiming to have uncovered a “Holohoax” are protected by the First Amendment, fascism is almost nonexistent as a political force, and levels of anti-Semitism are significantly lower than in European countries that criminalize Holocaust denial.

So, if Holocaust-denial laws are ineffectual, if they make martyrs of cranks, should they exist, as Elie Wiesel suggests, to protect the sensitivities of those offended by anti-Semitic pseudo-history? This is a mirror image of the argument made by pundits, politicians, and religious leaders following the clumsy anti-Islam YouTube video released last month. And it’s an argument that those who care about liberal values should resist.

***

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beniyyar says:

This is the sort of specious, disgusting, and trivial comparison that has made Tablet magazine the useless and worthless publication it is.

Dovidmelech says:

You would have a parallel if someone had exterminated one third the muslim population within living memory, and others were threatening to finish the job. Think of Jews as an endangered species like the bald eagle or the snail darter. We are entitled to extra protection.

Marcus says:

I wouldn’t go that far, but the arguments as laid out is weak. One could argue that Europe needs these laws because of their history of silence and their role in the crime of religious genocide. America has engaged in genocidal activities (1800’s and the Native American populations), but the attitudes towards the Native American population has disappeared with the close of the 19th century.

cglatt says:

So, by your standards since the law allows parents to spank their kids, must it also allow them to beat them senseless?

There are plenty of laws that prohibit only extreme versions of otherwise accepted, or at least tolerated, behavior. For the record, I don’t think Holocaust denial should be illegal either, but to compare satires on Islam with serious anti-semitism is specious.

    vildechaye says:

    I would put it the other way around. For the record, I think comparing satires on Islam with serious anti-semitism is specious, but holocaust denial, like any other form of written anti-semitism that isn’t incitement should be criminalized. Also, for the record, the author did not equate or compare holocaust denial or antisemitism with mocking Islam; rather, he quite correctly points out that the “hurt feelings” argument is a weak one and one that is common to both positions. Sure, holocaust survivors and their children may justifiably claim greater offence, for all the reasons others above argue, but is that something to base criminals laws upon. Come on.

    I do take issue with the author on Germans and Austrian anti-holocaust denial laws. Given their history, it’s safe to assume they know something we don’t and believe those very particular laws to be necessary, and I don’t think it’s wise to advise them on this matter. That this anomaly causes friction with extremists in the Muslim world is unfortunate, but in this case, these governments clearly believe that their countries’ internal, historical narrative is their top priority.

ajweberman says:

what makes this guy a righteous gentile? What did he ever do for the Jews? Holocaust deniers don’t really believe in what they say, it is merely a form of crypto-Nazism. The man who invented Holocaust denial, Francis Parker Yockey, was a Nazi spy. Get it. Holocaust deniers are Nazis and look what happened when the nazis were allowed to be a legitimate political party in Germany and spread their lies? At least 6 millions Jews dead along with 10 of millions of Russians and others. Nazism is not a legitimate political ideology, it is a criminal conspiracy to mass murder Jewish men woman and children. They know the Holocaust happened and they want to deny it so they can have another Holocaust and deny that too. Another reason is that the Nazis know that most people were shocked by the death camps and turned off to Nazism as most people are not baby killers so it was in the Nazis political favor to deny death camps existed. Islam claims to be a religion and it is a God given right to criticize religions – how do you think the Protestant reformation started.

Fred Campbell says:

Moynihan is right. The best defense against evil (of any form) is the blinding light of free discourse.
History deniers fail when their ideas are openly displayed, and then rebutted by facts. The alternative is to endow the deniers with “hero status” for saying the forbidden.
As a Christian, I am personally offended by those who slander my beliefs, but realize that the greater good is achieved by the tempering of my convictions by the criticisms of skeptics.
Truth will always prevail when despots are prevented from “protecting us” from noxious ideas.

    andrewsu says:

    Since Holocaust denial is not illegal in America why is this even an issue for you? Prophet Mohammad denial is illegal is 6 dozen countries? The question is why is their a demand for one to change but not the other?

There is a HUGE difference between fomenting hatred for a minority based on an immutable quality like race or ethnicity (as being Jewish was defined by the Nazis and by contemporary anti-Semites) versus criticizing religious beliefs and ideologies that aren’t immutable (and aren’t essential to the faith).

This is especially rich since Muslim and Arab countries frequently publish horrifically anti-Semitic cartoons and made-for-tv movies like the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” yet make it illegal to convert to another faith from Islam. Their respect for religion only extends to Islam.

    The actual difference is even huger: Holocaust Denial effectively endorses genocide. It eliminates the united testimony of Jews around the world as being always and consistently false and sinister in intent, demonizing and further victimizing the entire Jewish people just as did the Nazis, along with eliminating all other confirmatory testimony from non-Jews on the grounds that they have been “bought” by the Jews or deceived by them. Thus genocide against the Jews as an entire people again becomes thinkable and justifiable.

    Criticism of Islam as a religion is not in the same category at all. The real equivalent to criticism of Islam would be criticism of Judaism, and as we all know, that is perfectly legal in all Western countries. So therefore should be criticism of Islam. It gets no special exemption.

I don’t care what they say or do in “Europe”. In the good ol US of A, It’s quite legal to deny the holocaust or by a copy of MienKampf. It is legal to mock anything here. ANYTHING! You and I may not always like it, but it’s our right. RIGHT, not privlege. You want to go ahead and abrogate the 1st Amendment, what other rights/freedoms are you willing to sacrifice! You want to live in a European socialist nanny state, MOVE!

joetarzan says:

I agree with the article. Like it or not as the history of WWII fades from people’s memories and it recedes into history, Holocaust denial will not be associated with the European need for denazification as it once was. Except to Jews it will be one voice in a great cacophony of voices.
There is a difference between the need to protect feelings and protect lives. As much as i despise Holocaust denial I also realize that it is a cheap ticket for academics, politicians and punks of every stripe to get attention for themselves. We will always be fighting it and simple laws on the books are never effective without political will. Seeing how Islamists make inroads means in the end we can never have faith in government anyway.
What is important to be mentioned though is that one instance is the denial of a crime committed and the other is free speech. You can make rape jokes but you can not publicly deny that a victim of rape was raped. I can not say that a rape victim is a liar and that we need to continually investigate the victim and exonerate the rapist even in a place where freedom of speech exists. You are not allowed freedom of lies.
You can though mock religion and it is done all the time. Talk of partitioning Jerusalem and that Israel is not the eternal home of the Jews is blasphemy and not against a prophet because the Creator who awarded it to the Jews. In that sense there is no difference between an Islamicists right to mock Judaism or Christianity or Buddhism or for other religions to mock what they call a prophet.
What I am saying is that Holocaust denial is denial of a point of fact and is materially different than religious mockery. In the long run I don’t believe government can control anti-semitism in and of itself and all laws can be turned against the victim. Better to not rely on them.
Let the Islamists know they engage in blasphemy all the time (Is blowing up statues of Buddha not blasphemy to Buddhists?) and that they have not been called to account or had their freedom of speech curtailed. Let them shut up about partitioning Jerusalem and that Israel does not belong to the Jews and I will take their “feelings” more seriously. I doubt I’ll have to.

    This reply ignores the implications and meaning, both in the modern context and in terms of the history of World War II, of Holocaust Denial. The present consequences of Holocaust Denial are obvious: one only needs to look at the Holocaust-Denying neo-Nazi and Islamist statements about Jews as an entire people, and the desireability to annihilate them, to see this. Ahmadinejab’s frequent rants, on behalf of the entire Iranian government and its intentions, are sufficient evidence just by themselves. This is not ancient history. It happened in this generation, and still poses a real threat to world peace.

      joetarzan says:

      Your reply ignores my point that government is ultimately not reliable. Iranian Jews are helpless to influence the Iranian government and that can happen elsewhere. The important part of the equation is force of will to destroy Holocaust Deniers and Jew haters. Laws on the books go only so far and any physical violence is outlawed anyway.
      Secondly, false moral equivalency does far more harm anyway. We are constantly assaulted by Zionism = Nazism, Jews are doing to Palis what was done to them, etc. etc. Saying the Holocaust happened but either the Jews deserved it or act no better themselves is the Jew-haters fall back position. You won’t be able to outlaw Holocaust non-denial.
      What is better? Confronting Islamicists about blasphemy and why they are exempt from any other religion’s definition of such but not in reverse or ultimately trusting government.
      I am advocating offense not defense.

        Natalie Schultz says:

        Blasphemy is not illegal! Only in “Muslim” countries! People bash the Roman Catholic Church all the time – from the Left (mostly), and from the Right as well! In fact, no one does it more than “Catholics” themselves!

        No one is defending what the Islamacists are doing! They are DEAD WRONG!

    Natalie Schultz says:

    Your rape victim denial example is a good corellary, but regarding American law, under the First Amendment, it is NOT illegal to to deny that a rape victim was raped. Not that it is often done, but if someone was to do so, it would be 100% LEGAL. In fact, although this is totally different, the courts have upheld that it is your First Amendment RIGHT to LIE about yourself and claim that you have won awards for serving in the military. Not for nothing, but lying about that SHOULD be illegal, since under contract law it would be (I could fire someone for lying about their past work experience).

    In fact, now that I think about it, it is a GOOD THING one can question a “rape victim.” Just look at the Duke Lacrosse case – she totally lied about being raped and destroyed all those guys’ lives in the process.
    The concept of the current state of Israel as being the Israel of the Bible is an OPINION with which half of the world’s population does not agree – Catholics and Orthodox Christians believe The Church IS “Israel” (it is no longer a “place” but is believing in Jesus Christ as Savior), Atheists don’t believe it, Wiccans, Buddists, Hindus etc. So, talk of partitioning Israel is not “blasphemy,” especially when the Israelis victimize the Palestinians and then the Muslims take revenge by attacking Christian Arabs in return.
    Moynihan is 100% correct in this article.
    The only speech worth defending is that which offends me, because if I don’t then no one will defend me when I speak my mind. In the end we’ll ALL end up persecuted for “thought crimes” otherwise. All words are just opinions – sticks and stones, you know?!
    I may be a vegetarian, but I’ll defend to the death your RIGHT to eat pork!

Jacob Arnon says:

“There are clear differences between denying a historical
event like the Holocaust and mocking religious prophets, but the Islamists who
see a free-speech double standard in Europe are correct.”

No they are not correct.

Fist because, as you noted an historical event is different
from a mythical (religious) one.

There are no laws in Europe forbidding the mocking of Moses
or Jesus.

Second. The Islamists have published tens of thousands of anti-Jewish
works in their own countries in Arabic long before the anti Muhammad cartoon’s
appeared. Hence it is a dubious proposition that Ahmadinejad, whose government
slaughtered hundreds of Jews in Buenos Aires a dozen years ago, was reacting to
these cartoons.

Thirdly, has anyone asked them selves why the Muslims chose
to react to attacks on religion by European Christians by attacking Jews who
had nothing to do with it

Fourthly, why didn’t the author come up with an example closer
to home: why not claims that mocking the
prophet is the same as mocking Blacks under slavery, or even denying that
slavery ever existed? Would the author
comfortable with such publications?

Would he allow them on the grounds of free speech?

This gets me to the fifth point, the Europeans outlawed Holocaust
denial and antisemitic screeds because that was the place were the Holocaust took place and where antisemitism has never gone away: hatred of Jews is still a
reality in most European countries and takes different forms from denying the
Holocaust to excusing Muslim hatred of Jews to anti-Israel activism.

Michael Moynihan is an American who doesn’t seem to know
European history very well (the intimate history of attitudes by masses of people
towards Jews, Gypsies, etc. )

Having said the above, I must say that I am for free speech,
but free speech laws have to be honest and take into account historical realities.

Like all social phenomena free speech concepts are
politically motivated and we need to take this into account.

Ahmadinejad, or other Muslim fundamentalists have no business telling Europeans how they
should treat the Holocaust and has no right to complain about attacks on his
religions so long as he attacks the religion of other people.

Abstracts concepts like free speech always become
complicated when contaminated by politics and history and when they are applied to
real life situations. I wish Michael Moynihan would have taken such
complexities into account.

Jacob Arnon says:

“There are clear differences between denying a historical
event like the Holocaust and mocking religious prophets, but the Islamists who
see a free-speech double standard in Europe are correct.”

No they are not correct.

Fist because, as you noted an historical event is different
from a mythical (religious) one.

There are no laws in Europe forbidding the mocking of Moses
or Jesus.

Second. The Islamists have published tens of thousands of anti-Jewish
works in their own countries in Arabic long before the anti Muhammad cartoon’s
appeared. Hence it is a dubious proposition that Ahmadinejad, whose government
slaughtered hundreds of Jews in Buenos Aires a dozen years ago, was reacting to
these cartoons.

Thirdly, has anyone asked them selves why the Muslims chose
to react to attacks on religion by European Christians by attacking Jews who
had nothing to do with it

Fourthly, why didn’t the author come up with an example closer
to home: why not claims that mocking the
prophet is the same as mocking Blacks under slavery, or even denying that
slavery ever existed? Would the author
comfortable with such publications?

Would he allow them on the grounds of free speech?

This gets me to the fifth point, the Europeans outlawed Holocaust
denial and antisemitic screeds because that was the place were the Holocaust took place and where antisemitism has never gone away: hatred of Jews is still a
reality in most European countries and takes different forms from denying the
Holocaust to excusing Muslim hatred of Jews to anti-Israel activism.

Michael Moynihan is an American who doesn’t seem to know
European history very well (the intimate history of attitudes by masses of people
towards Jews, Gypsies, etc. )

Having said the above, I must say that I am for free speech,
but free speech laws have to be honest and take into account historical realities.

Like all social phenomena free speech concepts are
politically motivated and we need to take this into account.

Ahmadinejad, or other Muslim fundamentalists have no business telling Europeans how they
should treat the Holocaust and has no right to complain about attacks on his
religions so long as he attacks the religion of other people.

Abstracts concepts like free speech always become
complicated when contaminated by politics and history and when they are applied to
real life situations. I wish Michael Moynihan would have taken such
complexities into account.

    Natalie Schultz says:

    Free Speech is NOT an “abstract concept.” It is 100% clear-cut: ALL speech is 100% LEGAL, except that which deliberately leads to an immediately dangerous situation like deliberately yelling “Fire!” in a movie theater when there is none.
    And threatening to kill the President of the USA. That SHOULD be legal though (and yes, the Secret Service WILL pick you up and interrogate you, even if you write such things with sarcasm in obvious jest).

    And, while it may seem illogical and irrational, ALL thoughts are essentially opinions, even if science and math can back them up. So, a scientific proof means nothing to an Amish person, and they may deny what you claim all day long, and it is their RIGHT to do so.
    Why do Progressives, Socialists and Communists still exist if only Free-Market Economies can be MATHEMATICALLY PROVEN to be the most fair and equitable for those who participate in society? Because of the OPINIONS of people who rely on their own version of morals and ethics.

    While I can’t speak for Moynihan, I’d be willing to bet that yes, he would be totally in favor of of someone openly denying that slavery existed in America! Why the heck wouldn’t he? WORDS CANNOT PHYSICALLY HURT PEOPLE!
    BTW: That is NOT illegal now, anyhow!

    Moynihan seems to be a libertarian purist LEGALLY. That means that as far as the LAW goes, YOU CAN DO OR SAY WHATEVER YOU WANT, AS LONG AS IT DOES NOT PHYSICALLY HARM ANY OTHER PERSON OR ANOTHER’S PROPERTY.
    Moynihan’s PERSONAL OPINIONS are LIBERAL!
    A REAL Libertarian doesn’t give a flying poop what someone’s “opinions” are – they will defend their RIGHT to express them and argue against any laws to limit such freedoms, and any government penalties that force someone to support opinions with which they do not agree via taxation (public schools, healthcare etc).

    What about “emotional harm?” Simple! You do not like what you are hearing or reading? WALK AWAY! CHANGE THE CHANNEL! TURN THE DIAL! RETURN THE BOOK!
    Heck, I’ll defend you personally burning the book if YOU own it!
    I will NEVER DEFEND ANY GOVERNMENT BANNING A BOOK, though!

    Try this:
    Person A: “Slavery never existed in America.”
    Person B: “Yes it did, and here is the proof.”

    What exactly would banning person A’s opinion do? I can tell you EXACTLY what it would do – it would create a QUESTION in people’s minds, and suddenly people would start to question if slavery really, TRULY did ever exist in America, and then person A would have a following of SKEPTICS trying to unearth all the hidden evidence that it never occured.

    Gee, I wonder why the Neo-Nazis do NOT QUESTION that slavery ever happened in America?
    Answer: Because they were NEVER PREVENTED FROM READING ABOUT IT FOR THEMSELES!

    Why do people believe in UFOs and AREA 51? Because the government says they don’t exist!

    I may be a vegetarian, but I’ll defend to the death your RIGHT to eat pork!

I’m afraid you’re opening a can of worms here. While I’m ambivalent about the various European attempts to limit free speech, it’s obvious — as some have said here already — that Holocaust denial is illegal in some countries for a historical reason: i.e. it’s a fact that Nazism was a murderous ideology that killed millions of people.
Now, one of the problems for Muslims who want to have similar protections for their religion is quite plainly that there are mainstream Muslim leaders who spew Nazi-like Jew-hatred — that’s one reason why the “Global Mufti” Yussuf Qaradawi has been banned from several European countries (and I think also the US): http://hurryupharry.org/2012/03/26/qaradawi-now-banned-from-france/

    ajweberman says:

    true. If the prohibition against Nazism is lifted the Nazis will he happier than shit which is what they are

    ajweberman says:

    true. If the prohibition against Nazism is lifted the Nazis will he happier than shit which is what they are

Beatrix17 says:

Years ago I was watching a documentary about a Nazi
march in a small Californian town. There were some people waiting
for them, but the camera stayed on one young black woman, probably
because she was pretty. While the woman was talking to the
cameraman, the Nazis came up behind her (she was between them and the
camera) and when she turned and saw them, she let out a yell from
surprise, then she burst out laughing because up close, the Nazis
were ridiculous.

The woman saw that was nothing to fear from this
little batch of unloved middle children, sporting poor haircuts and
ill fitting uniforms.

Making laws about Holocaust denial makes too much of
the denier. Letting him face ridicule puts the denial in proper
perspective.
Ridiculing and satirizing the (I understand) poorly
made movie about Mohammed would have been far more effective than
staging riots.

    Serpentlord says:

    The only reason the woman could do that is because the Nazi’s have been a laughing stock for several decades. Once you trade in Swastikas for something people won’t laugh at you for, like a cross, a flag, or star and crescent, your words carry power.

    Had that woman been at a rally like that a century ago when they were wearing hoods instead of armbands, she would’ve been lynched, and her death would go prosecuted. The deniers of truth are very talented at violence.

      Beatrix17 says:

      But it’s not several decades ago or a century ago, it’s modern day America.
      All our civility is meaningless if the majority of us haven’t learned to laugh at the Nazis and the KKK. People do learn. For instance, we no longer burn witches at the stake. Do we give up free speech because we might go back to that?

ajweberman says:

you can hypothesize all you want but if this ban is lifted the Nazi will be happier than Moynihan if he was Colin Moynihan

ajweberman says:

you can hypothesize all you want but if this ban is lifted the Nazi will be happier than Moynihan if he was Colin Moynihan

ajweberman says:

Do you know how happy the Nazis would be to spread their lies and incite others to assault maim kill Jews bomb their homes businesses. This article should never have appeared in a Jewish publication. Just shows that despite all the Nobel Prizes Jews are stupid however Israelis are not.

Kalonymus says:

With a bit of a stretch one could conclude from two of Moynihan’s recent articles that he supports easier access to Mein Kampf, and closer reading of it. He may be a righteous gentile but there are some things he doesn’t get.

I couldn’t agree more. Gay rights activists should also take note when it comes to Fred Phelps and “hate speech” against gay people. The Supreme Court was correct: the best antidote for offensive speech, or youtube videos, or racist garbage is counter-attack free speech and the disinfectant of openess and daylight. Don’t make martyrs out of Holocaust deniers, profane video-makers, and the Westbro Church.

    andrewsu says:

    But the US doesn’t have Holocaust denial laws. Who are we to tell Europe they can’t have them any more than we can tell Saudi Arabia they can’t have laws against insulting Islam?

Serpentlord says:

Given the sheer amount of outright lies and hate speech with explicitly destructive motives from our own politicians, never mind our citizens. We’re hardly an example above Western Europe. Look at the hateful lies people like Ron and Rand Paul, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Todd Akin, and Glenn Beck have peddled.

Not to mention that there’s a huge difference between having an outright awful opinion on something and explicitly denying historical facts. For instance, I hated when Michele Bachmann said the minimum wage should be abolished, but she has a right to express that opinion just as much as I have a right to tear it down. But when Bachmann said vaccines are giving children autism, she’s actively attacked something that’s been scientifically and historically proven by flat out making shit up. Same thing with Gore Vidal and Michael Moore promoting Pearl Harbor and 9/11 conspiracies.

I’m fine with free speech no matter how nasty it is, I’m fine with freedom of inquiry as long as one uses actual science. If every racist asshole in the Mid-East wanted to conduct a critical study to find the full extent of the Holocaust’s damage, I’d be totally fine with it as long as they were conducting an actual study, and didn’t already have their conclusion written before they looked at the first six million corpse listings. Since Ahmadinejad, the Ayatollah, and their ilk are racist assholes:

1) They don’t care about the truth, or freedom of inquiry, or free speech in any way.
2) They only want to make shit up.
3) If they actually did conduct a scientific inquiry questioning the validity of proven historical facts, they’d throw out any part of the study they don’t like.
4) They want to use their lies to hurt, murder, and advance their own power and bigotry.

I’m totally in favor of legal punishment for people denying historical and scientific facts as long as said people also have the freedom to inquire those facts in a scientific way.

andrewsu says:

In 6 dozen Islamic countries insulting Islam is punishable by death while virulent anti-Jewish hate speech gets a free pass. Gays are executed. Those who leave Islam are executed. In a few European countries Holocaust denial is punished (and so are many other things such as saying blacks are disproportinately involved in crime, see Eric Zemmour) but not mocking the Prophet Mohammad (or Christ, Moses, Buddha, etc). Where is the double standard? It should be noted people have been prosecuted for anti-Muslim speech in Europe on many occasions. When have Muslims been punished for anti-Jewish speech in the Islamic world? If Muslims have such a temper tantrum about double standards why not fix their own? How about Iran host a “Bosnian ethnic cleaning denial conference” and “Marwa Al-Sherbini cartoon conference”. How about Iran host a conference questioning and mocking the claims of Muslim victimization? Isn’t it a double standard they mock the Holocaust but not dead Muslims? How about all bookstores that sell “Protocols of Zion” also carry “Protocols of a Crazy Arab Named Mohammad” everywhere in the world, including Iran and Saudi Arabia?
I don’t live in Europe and if they wish to have their laws that is their businesses, I’m not sure why anyone in Pakistan should be concerned. Some Pakistani official said that “If Holocaust denial is illegal than insulting Muslims needs to be to.” Ok, then since insulting Muslims is illegal in Pakistan make Holocaust denial equally punishable, and until then Muslims have no basis for gripes.

    Well said, Andrew. I would take minor issue, though, with your statement that virulent anti-Jewish hate speech gets a free pass. In fact, those very Arab governments who execute for “insulting” Islam openly encourage and promote anti-Jewish hate speech.

andrewsu says:

The real double standard is that the Islamic world encourages mocking and denying the Holocaust but try to do the same thing with any claim of Muslim victimization. Yeah, try that one in Iran! Iran did not expose the western double standard it exposed its own- where is the “slavery denial” or “colonialism denial ” or “Milosevic was right” conferences in Iran?

Mike, I haven’t read your article yet but there is certainly a difference in Germany between Mein Kampf and the Motoons. Don’t you think?

Nonsense. Six million people were murdered because of ideas in that patently false book of hatred. The only people murdered because of the cartoons are NOT the ones being satirized, but those who respect the freedom to point out the unfortunate TRUTHS of Islam.

Article is dead wrong in suggesting that David Irving was “hauled before the courts”. In fact it was exactly the other way around: David Irving hauled Deborah Lipstadt before the courts.

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What the Islamists Get Right

It’s time to admit that banning Mein Kampf while allowing anti-Islam cartoons is a double-standard

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