The Geert Wilders Travesty

 

So, it’s finally started. The trial in which Dutch MP Geert Wilders stands accused of, well, criticising Islam.   Of course, it’s being worded differently. Wilders is charged with ‘inciting hatred and discrimination toward Islam.’  If he’s found ‘guilty’, he could very well end up in prison.

Meanwhile, those extremist Muslims who constantly express hatred of all things non Islamic are at liberty to preach hatred and the Joys Of Jihad across Europe, including in the Netherlands where Wilders is now fighting to remain a free man.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: all religions are ideologies. They are thus open to critique and yes, condemnation. As long as those who wish to follow said religions are not prohibited from doing so, nor attacked for doing so, there is nothing wrong with openly criticising any faith.

Here are Wilders’ opening remarks:

 

” Mister Speaker, judges of the court, I would like to make use of my right to speak for a few minutes.

 Freedom is the most precious of all our attainments and the most vulnerable. People have devoted their lives to it and given their lives for it. Our freedom in this country is the outcome of centuries. It is the consequence of a history that knows no equal and has brought us to where we are now.

 

I believe with all my heart and soul that the freedom in the Netherlands is threatened. That what our heritage is, what generations could only dream about, that this freedom is no longer a given, no longer self-evident.

 

I devote my life to the defence of our freedom. I know what the risks are and I pay a price for it every day. I do not complain about it; it is my own decision. I see that as my duty and it is why I am standing here.

 

I know that the words I use are sometimes harsh, but they are never rash. It is not my intention to spare the ideology of conquest and destruction, but I am not any more out to offend people.

 

 I have nothing against Muslims. I have a problem with Islam and the Islamization of our country because Islam is at odds with freedom. Future generations will wonder to themselves how we in 2010, in this place, in this room, earned our most precious attainment.

 

Whether there is freedom in this debate for both parties and thus also for the critics of Islam, or that only one side of the discussion may be heard in the Netherlands? Whether freedom of speech in the Netherlands applies to everyone or only to a few?

 

The answer to this is at once the answer to the question whether freedom still has a home in this country. Freedom was never the property of a small group, but was always the heritage of us all. We are all blessed by it.

 

Lady Justice wears a blindfold, but she has splendid hearing. I hope that she hears the following sentences, loud and clear: It is not only a right, but also the duty of free people to speak against every ideology that threatens freedom.

 

Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States was right: The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

 

I hope that the freedom of speech shall triumph in this trial.

 

In conclusion, Mister Speaker, judges of the court. This trial is obviously about the freedom of speech. But this trial is also about the process of establishing the truth. Are the statements that I have made and the comparisons that I have taken, as cited in the summons, true?

 

If something is true then can it still be punishable? This is why I urge you to not only submit to my request to hear witnesses and experts on the subject of freedom of speech. But I ask you explicitly to honour my request to hear witnesses and experts on the subject of Islam.

 

I refer not only to Mister Jansen and Mister Admiraal, but also to the witness/experts from Israel, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

 

Without these witnesses, I cannot defend myself properly and, in my opinion, this would not be an fair trial. “

Advertisements

A Message For ‘Reader X’ aka It’s My Blog And I’ll Ban Who I Want To!

.

 

Is freedom of speech absolute?


Here’s a candid answer: not for readers of my blog.


I make no apologies for this stance. Only one person has total free speech in this particular arena – and that’s me!

 

I’ve been pondering  ‘freedom of speech’ because I stand accused of ‘blocking opinions differing from your own’. My accuser? A regular poster on Jew With A View that I’ve now had to, reluctantly, bar from posting full stop.

 
Of course, most bloggers ban those who submit abusive or racist comments. 
 
 
It’s just common sense. But what about banning someone who is usually polite..?
  
 
Is it ‘wrong’?  Does it ‘prove’ that I ban dissent, especially when it comes to the topic of Israel…?   I can’t respond privately to this person, hence this post.
 
  
Truth is, I welcome dissenting opinions. Genuinely. Blogging would be mighty dull if everyone who posted here was just echoing my views!


Nor do I claim to be ‘right’ in all I say. Indeed, if I make factual errors, I hope someone will correct me and I am most grateful when they do! Hell, I’m appreciative when anyone takes the time to post a comment, and I hope regulars especially, know this


Let’s call the person I’ve banned Reader X. He knows who he is. He’s posted many long comments on this blog and that was fine, though I passionately disagree with him. But as he seems a reasonably decent soul, and as he’s taken the trouble to express his views, I’ve welcomed his thoughts.

 

But here’s the thing. Everyone has the right to their own opinions.  But nobody has the right to their own facts. That’s where a line exists, and it can’t be crossed if one still wants any form of rational discourse.


The discrepancy between these two was illustrated vividly back in 2007 when Oxford University decided to allow known Holocaust Denier David Irving, and his fellow weasel BNP head Nick Griffin, to speak at the Union debate.

 

The move was publicly condemned by Jewish and Muslim students alike, along with anti facism activists and numerous politicians – several of whom cancelled membership of the Oxford Union as a result.

 

But Oxford Union was unrepentant. These two racist twits had, it declared, the right to ‘freedom of speech’.

 

Wrong.
 
  
What they had was  freedom of opinion. But that doesn’t mean any institution, let alone Oxford, should offer them a platform to spread their malice.
 

If Irving and Griffin wish to go around peddling their mad and subjective belief that six million Jews did not perish, that is their right to do so – within the confines of their homes and in hushed conversations with their fellow neo Nazis.

 

But once they start publicly twisting and misrepresenting objective facts in their bid to deny history, then no. A thousand times, no.  They don’t have any unconditional, inalienable ‘right’ to do that.  Nor did Oxford Union have any ‘duty’ to help them.

 

I have the right to declare a disbelief in gravity. Does Oxford Union have any obligation to provide a platform for me to unveil my copious notes and ideas in ‘support’ of this idea…?

 

No, of course not – and nor would  Oxford dream of doing so!  Yet when it suits, countless individuals and institutions play the ‘freedom of speech’ card in order to promote all manner of absurd, irrational and sometimes dangerous beliefs.


Which brings us to Reader X. He has repeatedly stated: ‘I insist that Hamas is not a terrorist organisation’.

 
Well, dear Reader X, you may continue to insist this, and deny reality, as much as you like. Go on – knock yourself out!
  
But not on my blog.
  
 
Any group which attacks and kills unarmed, innocent civilians, is a terrorist group. Yep – it’s as black and white as that. Thus when Hamas sent suicide bombers onto two Israeli buses, killing sixteen people, including a 3 year old child,  that was terrorism. End of.
 
I’m not remotely interested in Reader X’s apologetics for Hamas. Nor will I feel bad for denying his ‘right’ to publicly condone them. He can seek to justify and rationalise and apologise for Hamas terrorism all he likes.
  
But not on my blog.

 

Nor do I accept that Reader X has any ‘right’ to use my blog to condone bigotry.

Last week I posted a story about how a top Obama aide cheerfully shared a platform with a man who then claimed that Hurricane Katrina was G-d’s ‘punishment’ towards Gay people, and that Jews are seeking to ‘control the world’.

 

Most sane people recognise this bigotry towards Gays and Jews for what it is: appalling. Likewise, they understand that it is not OK for a top Obama aide to share a platform with and thus legitimise someone expressing such spite.

But what did Reader X think? ‘It’s good that Obama is prepared to talk to lots of people.’

Er, right…

 Again, if Reader X wants to support anti Gay and Anti Jewish bigotry, he’s free to do so.
  
 But not on my blog.

 

In particular, Reader X has condemned my apparent unwillingness to allow dissenting opinions on Israel. So let’s clarify.

 

If someone wants to criticise Israeli policies, they are free to do so. If someone wants to post condemnation of specific decisions made by Israel or particular Israeli politicians, they are free to do this too.  If their posts are based on facts and – this is key – an accurate understanding of the situation.

 

But when someone makes it clear that they don’t even know the term ‘palestinian’ always referred to Palestinian Jews, and when they then try and ‘prove’ their case by anecdotal evidence, and when all they do is regurgitate weary old Arab propaganda that has been disproven time and again – then no, I don’t have any obligation to publish this person’s misconceptions.

  
There are countless sites out there where Reader X can share his inaccurate ideas on Israel.
My blog is not one of them.

 

And finally, Reader X,  I reserve the right to reject your blatant hypocrisy. For example, you have often stated that you trust the UN. Thus if the UN condemns Israel for something, it is  ‘good enough‘ for you – note, I’m using your own words here.

Yet at the same time, you ignore that the UN also stated in a resolution that Hezbollah should have disarmed.   But you don’t care what the UN says about this. Indeed,  only recently you tried to submit a post claiming that Hezbollah has nothing to do with terrorism!

This is rank  hypocrisy. When the UN condemns Israel, it’s acceptable. But when the UN condemns Palestinian and Islamic terrorism, it gets ignored. Again Reader X, you’re free to practise this hypocrisy.
  
But not on my blog.


 

Finally, and most egregiously, Reader X, you showed how little value you attache to Jewish life, any Jewish life, by your response to the recent update on murdered and tortured French Jew Ilan Halimi.

Responding to this post, what did you say?  You spoke of Palestinians in prison in Israel – and did not say a single word about the way that this young French man was abducted, tortured, set alight and killed by French Muslims. Muslims who admitted to being obsessed with killing Jews and who actually phoned the victim’s parents and quoted to them from the Quran.

Now of course, you’re not obliged to respond to the Ilan Halimi post at all. But to submit a response to it  that totally ignores his death? That is in poor taste and again, just reveals your hypocrisy. You care so much for Palestinian Arabs – yet don’t give a damn when Jewish blood is spilled.

 
And so, Reader X, if you are indeed looking at this post: don’t tell me that you’re ‘objective‘ and ‘fair‘ when it comes to any topic connected to either Israel or anti Jewish sentiment. You’re not. At least have the integrity to acknowledge your own bias and blatant double standards.

 

And if at any time you decide to adopt a fairer approach, then you are most welcome to post here again.

But, until and unless that time arrives, you’ll have to take your right to condone terrorism and bigotry and exercise it on other blogs –  ’cause you ‘aint doing it on this one!