Að hafa og leyfa skoðanir

Það hefur oft komið fram á þessu bloggi að ég er ekki hrifinn af því að setja tjáningarfrelsi margar skorður, eða að banna með öllu tilteknar skoðanir.  Þær skoðanir hafa ekki yfirgefið mig.

Það gladdi mig því þegar ég rakst á grein eftir Stephen Pollard, sem er ritsjóri Jewish Chronicle, sem styður skoðanfrelsi og rennir góðum rökum þar undir.

Eins og flestir gera sér líklega greinn fyrir er Pollard gyðingur, en þeir þekkja ofsóknir og hatursáróður líklega betur en flestir ef ekki allir aðrir hópar.

Í greininni segir Pollard m.a.:

Should you choose to believe what has been written about me on social media, you will think I am a paedophile who threatens to rape women who disagree with me. I suppose I should point out that these are lies.

Unfortunately for me, so too is the assertion that I control the media, which is also said about me. That’s not just Jews generally controlling the media – but me, personally.

According to some posts on Twitter and Facebook, I determine not only what other Jews write, taking orders from my Israeli masters – I also order around the many non-Jews in my (heavily moneyed) pocket.

So the accusations contained in a now infamous video by the former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke, titled “Jews admit organising white genocide”, are pretty standard fare to anyone who has ever seen what Jew hate looks like.

The video was posted on YouTube in 2015 but has only attracted attention this week when it was used as a stick by the Home Affairs Select Committee with which to beat Google, which owns YouTube.

Giving evidence to the committee on Tuesday, Peter Barron, Google’s vice-president for communications, said that the video was certainly antisemitic but that YouTube nonetheless had no intention of removing it.


It’s clear that the video is indeed antisemitic. In it, Mr Duke says: “The Zionists have already ethnically cleansed the Palestinians, why not do the same thing to Europeans and Americans as well? No group on earth fights harder for its interests than do the Jews. By dividing a society they can weaken it and control it.” So there’s no debate that this is Jew hate in all its traditional poison.

And I’m sure Ms Cooper is right when she says: “Most people would be appalled by that video and think it goes against all standards of public decency in this country.”

But the near universal assumption among politicians and policymakers that because the video promotes repellent views it should therefore be banned takes us into very dangerous territory. Had the video told viewers that their duty was to seek out Jews and attack them – as many posts on social media do – then clearly it should be banned. Incitement to violence is an obvious breach of any coherent set of standards.


In some countries, such as Germany and Austria, it is illegal to deny the Holocaust. Given their particular histories, one can understand why.

But understanding why a view might be banned is not the same as accepting it should be. Silencing the Holocaust-denier David Irving and his ilk through the law achieves nothing except a larger prison population. Silencing them through the destruction of their reputation and the exposure of their lies actually defeats them.

It was not Irving’s incarceration in an Austrian cell that destroyed his reputation. It was his lost libel action against the legitimate historian, Deborah Lipstadt.

Hér get ég tekið undir hvert einasta orð. Við eigum að berjast gegn og fordæma skoðanir sem okkur þykja miður geðslegar eða hreinlega rangar, en lausnin fellst ekki í því að banna þær. Með því, rétt eins og Pollard segir er farið inn á varasamar brautir.




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