French scholar prosecuted for “incitement to racial hatred” for noting the culturally inherited anti-Semitism of French Muslims

I don’t write much about “hate speech” laws in other countries, although many have them (even in Europe), for I simply don’t know much about their history, or how they’re enforced. But, as in the U.S., I don’t think that they’re justified in any democracy, for democracy depends vitally in freedom of speech.  We know that it’s vile to kill cartoonists who offend people, but in France and Germany, it’s okay to prosecute people for verbal or written “offense”.

And in France right now, according to the Gatestone Institute and to the Israeli paper Haaretz, a respected French scholar of anti-Semitism is being prosecuted by the state for claiming that Arabs culturally promulgate anti-Semitism to their families. Well, that may be true for many French Arabs, but you can’t say it, for that constitutes “incitement to racial hatred”: a crime. (Yes, dismiss the news based on the sources, if you wish, but you can find the same reports elsewhere.)

The data: George Bensoussan, a French cultural historian specializing in anti-Semitism, Zionism, and related issues, is going on trial for the following statement made on a “France Culture” radio debate. Gatestone reports:

“An Algerian sociologist, Smaïn Laacher, with great courage, just said in a documentary aired on Channel 3: It is a shame to deny this taboo, namely that in the Arab families in France, and everyone knows it but nobody wants to say it, anti-Semitism is sucked with mother’s milk.”

The documentary that Bensoussan was referring to was called “Teachers in the Lost Territories of the Republic,” and was aired in October 2015, on Channel 3. In this documentary, Laacher, who is a French professor of Algerian origin, said:

“Antisemitism is already awash in the domestic space… It… rolls almost naturally off the tongue, awash in the language… It is an insult. When parents shout at their children, when they want to reprimand them, they call them Jews. Yes. All Arab families know this. It is monumental hypocrisy not to see that this anti-Semitism begins as a domestic one.”

Because of Bensoussan’s statement in bold, several French anti-racist orgniazations, including the the Collectif Contre l’Islamophobie en France, SOS RacismeMouvement Contre le Racisme et Pour l’amitié Entre les Peuples, and even the Jewish LICRA (Ligue Internationale Contre le Racisme et l’Antisémitisme), which had an honorable history opposing anti-Semitism, joined in a complaint against Bensoussan.

But why was what he said so offensive, while what Laacher said was not? Gatestone reports:

No complaint was filed against Laacher. But as soon as Bensoussan, in the heat of a radio debate, referred to Arab anti-Semitism as “sucked in with mother’s milk”, CCIF, followed by all anti-racist associations, brought Bensoussan to supposed justice. Their accusation was simple: “mother’s milk” is not a metaphor for cultural anti-Semitism transmitted through education, but a genetic and “essentialist” accusation. It means: “all Arabs are anti-Semitic” — in other words, Bensoussan is a racist.

Well, to my understanding what’s “imbibed with mother’s milk” means something culturally inherited. (I once heard someone describe the late biologist and activist Richard Levins as having “gotten his Marxism with his mother’s milk.”) Perhaps that’s not what the phrase means in France, but I doubt it. Nourishment from the mother is a cultural benefit—food—and has nothing to do with the transfer of DNA, even though nursing is certainly a product of kin selection and other useful chemicals come with the milk.

Remember, too, that this isn’t the first time France has prosecuted “hate speech”:

With the leading Islamist CCIF stalking “Islamophobia”, intellectual intimidation is the rule. Complaints are filed against everyone not saying that Muslims are the main victim of racism in France.

In December 2016, Pascal Bruckner, a writer and philosopher, was also brought to court for saying in 2015, on Arte TV, “We need to make the record of collaborators of Charlie Hebdo’s murderers”. He named people in France who had instilled a climate of hatred against Charlie: the entertainer Guy Bedos, the rap singer Nekfeu, anti-racist organizations like The Indivisibles, or the journalist Rokhaya Diallo and the supremacist movement for “people of color” known as Les Indigènes de la République (“The Indigenous of the Republic”).

It was not the first time that Islamists filed complaints against people they dislike. Charlie Hebdo was twice brought to court by Islamist organizations. Twice, the accusations of Charlie’s Islamist accusers were dismissed.

But with the Bensoussan trial, we are entering in a new era. The most venerable, the most authentic anti-racist organizations — some of them are older than a century — are, shamefully, lining up with Islamist organizations.

In the U.S., the accusation of “hate speech” is used to intimidate people, but nobody can be prosecuted for it. Only hate crimes can be prosecuted: as add-ons to criminal acts, and I object to those, too.  Of course it’s free speech to accuse people of “hate speech”, and you have every right to say that; but, as I always note, if you’re going to level such accusations, the onus is on you to define exactly what “hate speech” constitutes, and to stipulate who has the right to decide what constitutes “hate speech” and what constitutes merely strong criticism.

Nobody can make that distinction, because for me criticism of religions, including Islam, is valid speech, but to many Muslims it’s not only hate speech, but an offense punishable by death.  When that kind of speech, including Bensoussan’s statement about the cultural inheritance of anti-Semitism, suddenly becomes a prosecutable offense, then the chilling effect is more than doubled. Who wants to spend money, time and energy defending themselves in court?

The recourse to what Bensoussan said is to use the press, not the courts. And if you’re going to maintain that no French Arabs teach their children hatred of Jews, well, you’re going to have a tough case to make.


  1. Historian
    Posted February 4, 2017 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    My surmise (correct me if I am wrong) is that the criminalization of hate speech in Europe is in reaction to the rise of fascism on the continent in the 1930s. Fascists took power in Germany and Italy and had a lot of support in Britain and France. Countries that ban hate speech have made the calculation that the abridging of free speech is worth the price of reducing the chances that the masses will be infected by dangerous ideas. Of course, these countries face the problem of defining exactly what constitutes hate speech and who makes this determination. In the United States, without hate speech bans, the result was Trump. Maintaining the rights enunciated in the first amendment along with a stable and free society is a delicate task. So far, the United States has been able to do this (if you don’t count the Civil War), but there is no guarantee that this will always be the case.

    • Posted February 4, 2017 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      So you’re saying that if we had bans on hate speech, Trump wouldn’t have been elected? I don’t think so! What “hate speech,” exactly, do you think Trump and his acolytes promulgated that should have been banned?

      • Historian
        Posted February 4, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        Trump’s continued harping on Islamic terrorism undoubtedly convinced many people that many if not most Muslims were sympathetic to terrorists. By strong implication, if not directly, he condemned the entire religion. Also, recall that Trump won the election by winning three states (Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania) by a combined total of only 70,000 votes. There are a myriad of factors that played a role in Trump’s victory, but whipping up Islamophobia was certainly one of them.

        I refer you to this VOX article, which documents the rampant Islamophobia held by Trump supporters.

        I am not calling for hate speech laws in the United States and did not do so in my comment. What I am saying is that there is a cost to maintaining unfettered free speech and sometimes that cost is considerable.

        • Cindy
          Posted February 4, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

          Yeah after the Orlando shooting Trump did something truly hateful…

          I saw the video of him, in front of a large ‘Nazi Republican crowd’ vowing to protect gay people from Islamic terrorism. The crowd cheered.

          Then I saw a tweet by Hillary Clinton, in which she went to great pains to assure us that Islam has *nothing* to do with terrorism. Nothing! (those sweet sweet bribes from Saudi Arabia)

          I am a dyed in the wool lefty, and yeah, I *do* have a problem with those who would pretend that Islam has NOTHING to do with terrorism.

          • Steffen Silvis
            Posted February 5, 2017 at 8:47 am | Permalink

            Cindy, we’re in the same leaking boat. I’ve lost count of how often I (a queer Trotskyite) has been “defriended” on Facebook for stating this very thing. Regardless of my life spent working for women’s rights, for LGBTQ rights, and working against racism, I am an “Islamophobe” and, therefore, beyond the pale. It would be more frightening if I didn’t find it so grimly comical.

            Good luck to you.

        • Joe
          Posted February 4, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

          Not to pile-on but I gotta say, your example doesn’t live up to your initial

          As you said, Trump dealt with innuendo and some winking – I really doubt any of that “radical Islamic terrorism” stuff would fall into legal hate speech.

          • Somite
            Posted February 4, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

            Are we forgetting the “hispanic are rapists” comment early in the campaign?

            • Cindy
              Posted February 4, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

              I looked into that because the entire thing was just too bad to be true.

              He was talking about illegal immigrants – and yes, there are rape gangs that operate with impunity at border crossings. Basically, any woman who plans to sneak across the border is *guaranteed* to be raped.

              The reason that many legal Hispanic immigrants *supported*, yes, *supported* Trump is because they don’t want the murderers and the rapists coming into the USA and causing trouble for them.

              • Somite
                Posted February 4, 2017 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

                Come on. He was clearly inciting hate against a group of people to gain support.

              • Cindy
                Posted February 4, 2017 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

                That’s your interpretation. It’s a legitimate concern:

                Women and girl migrants, especially those without legal status traveling in remote areas or on trains, are at heightened risk of sexual violence at the hands of criminal gangs, people traffickers, other migrants or corrupt officials,” the 2010 Amnesty International report stated. “…Many criminal gangs appear to use sexual violence as part of the “price” demanded of migrants. According to some experts, the prevalence of rape is such that people smugglers may require women to have a contraceptive injection prior to the journey as a precaution…”


                In fact, I have been reading about the problem for *years* on the pro-choice feminist blogs that I used to post regularly on. I guess those feminist blogs are also guilty of ‘inciting racism against Hispanics’.

              • Somite
                Posted February 4, 2017 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

                Except this is what Trump said:

                “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”


                Like is common with Trump voters you are rationalizing post-hoc.

        • FiveGreenLeafs
          Posted February 4, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

          “Also, recall that Trump won the election by winning three states (Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania)”

          Correctly if I am wrong, but if I am not misinformed, Wisconsin has 10 electoral votes, Michigan 16, and Pennsylvania 20, which is in total 46 electoral votes.

          Do you win the election to become the president of the United States with a total of 46 votes?

          I am intentionally sarcastic here, because Trump won, because he won in total 30 states and over 300 electoral votes including Wis, Pa and Mich.

          You could as easily (and rightfully) claim, that Hillary lost, by losing Florida, Iowa and Ohio.

          And … ‘there are a myriad of factors that played a role in Hillary’s loss, but repeated lying was certainly one of them…’

          This is (to my mind) a futile exercise.

          Furthermore, according to opinion polls performed regarding Trumps temporary ban, 50-60% of US voters seems to support that ban, and only 30 to 40% oppose it, i.e. an absolute majority of the USA voters, and, a larger percentage than Trump won in the election.

          • Historian
            Posted February 4, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

            The point is that these three states were supposedly part of Clinton’s “blue wall.” If things had been a little bit different, she could have won them and the election. Trump’s demagoguery helped him win these states by close margins.

            • Cindy
              Posted February 4, 2017 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

              That’s the Rust Belt. Those people voted for Obama. They voted for Trump this time because the DNC took their votes for granted. Because concern about the economy, especially if you are a working class white male, makes you a ‘racist’ and a ‘sexist’ and thus your concerns can be dismissed. These same people were tarred as sexists and racists if they supported Bernie.

        • Posted February 4, 2017 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

          Trump’s continued harping on Islamic terrorism undoubtedly convinced many people that many if not most Muslims were sympathetic to terrorists.

          Many Muslims **do** hold extreme views and show sympathy for terrorism.

          If what you’re saying is that Trump won the election because he was near the truth on Islam, whereas Clinton was in deep denial, then maybe the problem was with Clinton’s attitude to Islam?

          • Posted February 5, 2017 at 11:05 am | Permalink

            Not in the United Kingdom anyway. I grew up in a majority Muslim area and not once did I hear hate speech or sympathy with terrorists. In fact – the only person I know who went to Syria, mind you not to commit terrorist attacks but supposedly to help the war torn there was a convert, he also had severe OCD.

            He went to the religion and seriously misintepreted it – the fault is largely the person not the religion.

            I think people confuse the contents in the literature with the beliefs self identified Muslims hold and act by. I have not seen sufficient evidence to show that a Muslim will behave worse to his (proxy) counterfactual.

          • Posted February 5, 2017 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

            + 1

      • zoolady
        Posted February 4, 2017 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

        Well, his allegations about Hispanics coming here to ”rape and rob” are pretty hateful. As a Southern Californian, I know that some crimes ARE committed by illegals (they’re hard to track) but the orange oligarch’s blanket statement is ”hate speech” to me.

        Now–do I think it should be illegal? Nope. What I do think is that is should be preceded by “IN MY OPINION.”

        These are not words which ever pass his lips.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted February 4, 2017 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      I just don’t believe that part about – Without hate speech laws or bans, the result is Trump. You are implying that if we disallowed his followers or him from making some of the extreme statements that they make, he would not get elected. That just sounds like another excuse for why we got this guy. Instead we failed to use the free speech we have to make a better case that the one he was selling.

    • FiveGreenLeafs
      Posted February 4, 2017 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      I think you are wrong, and your argument is way way to simplified in relation to the historic reality.

      First off, in the years after WWII, the dangers for West European societies did not come from (surviving) right wing groups, but primarily from left wing groups.

      Second, quite to the contrary, free speech, humanism and the ideas of enlightenment was seen as a bulwark against the red menace, and crucial to the defense against it.

      The change in policies has come gradually after the fall of the wall, and rather with the rise of postmodern ideologies, mainly from within the left.

      This has, I believe nothing to do the rise of the totalitarian ideologies in the 1930, and, don’t forget there were two of them, Nazism and Communism.

      These new laws are of course sold using the (the ever present) nazi and fascist card, but, it is important to separate the marketing from the real underlying reasons here.

    • florianzapf
      Posted February 4, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      The criminalization of hate speech isn’t a reaction to fascism. The Nazis had their own hate speech law, the Heimtueckegesetz from 1934 (Treachery act), which criminalized all remarks “causing damage to the welfare of the Third Reich”. Similar laws have been around in Europe long before fascism.

      • Historian
        Posted February 4, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        I am also responding to FiveGreenLeafs.

        When I wrote the original comment regarding the rise of hate speech, I indicated that I was surmising, i.e., wasn’t sure if it was a reaction to fascism. I have now done a little research and found this paragraph from a group called the Legal Project in an article entitled “European Hate Speech Laws”:

        “Since the end of World War II, many European countries have witnessed a proliferation of hate speech legislation designed to curb incitement to racial and religious hatred. Though originally intended to guard against the kind of xenophobic and anti-Semitic propaganda that gave rise to the Holocaust, today, national hate speech laws have increasingly been invoked to criminalize speech that is merely deemed insulting to one’s race, ethnicity, religion, or nationality. Under the guise of tolerance and co-existence, Islamists have often manipulated such laws in a bid to monopolize debate and define what is beyond the pale of permissible public discussion.”

        The purpose of the Legal Project is this: “The Middle East Forum has established the Legal Project to protect researchers and analysts who work on the topics of terrorism, terrorist funding, and radical Islam from lawsuits designed to silence their exercise of free speech.”

        So, if this article is accurate then I was correct in guessing that these laws originated as a reaction to fascism. Unfortunately, they have apparently morphed beyond their original intent.

        • FiveGreenLeafs
          Posted February 4, 2017 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

          So… you found an article on the internet…

          Much of this are aspects that most pupils in Europe (I believe) study (at least superficial) during secondary education.

          I think it is wise to be very vigilant here, and I would advise you to mull over your own statement, “So, if this article is accurate…”

          And especially, the loose temporal writing… “Since the end of World War II…”

          Furthermore, the laws differ quite dramatically in different European countries (as far as I know), not to note, that half of the current European countries where part of Eastern Europe and the Warsawa Pact until the 1990s.

          It is also well worth to remember that there exists two distinct judicial systems within Europe, the common law and civil law system.

          • Historian
            Posted February 4, 2017 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

            Yes, I provided an internet article from what appears to be reputable source. And you have provided nothing except your undocumented opinion.

            • FiveGreenLeafs
              Posted February 4, 2017 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

              What I am trying to convey, is that it is (to my mind) much more complicated than your argument takes hight for.

              Second, that it varies significantly from country to country in Europe.

              Thirdly, that the form of the laws have changed over time. Sometimes it is completely different laws.

              Fourthly, that the application of these laws has changed significantly over time.

              Fifthly, that definitions of words have changed over time.

              What this means, is that these type of laws are applied differently today, and for different reasons, from how they were used in for example the 1940s.

              To both generalize over time, and over many diverse countries like you did in your original comment, is simply neither correct nor responsible.

              To briefly try to illustrate this.

              If I remember correctly, Sweden promulgated it’s first “Hate Speech Law” in 1948, after mainly international pressure, for example from the American Jewish Committee in New York, in regard to Einar Åberg, who published and distributed antisemitic materials internationally. The law came to be called Lex Åberg.

              Over the next decades, it was used sparingly, and very few instances were ever prosecuted. In for example 1978, a individual hoisted swastika flags at a public School in Gothenborg, and the chief prosecutor choose not to prosecute.

              Another example (and I take this from memory, so caveat emptor) is that the law that prohibited uniforms, originally from 1933, especially to counter Nazis to march in Sweden, in 1996, in an appeal court case, was found to be in violation with the Constitution of Sweden, especially the “Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression”, and a man who had been wearing a swastika around his arm, was acquitted.

              The “Hate Speech Law” was amended in 1988 and then again in 2002, and the number of prosecutions has increased dramatically. From 1975 to 1995, the number of convicted persons were on average around 1 person per year, and in in the 1995-2000, 60/year, and in 2015 alone, 7000 instances were reported to the police.

              Is that because the Swedish population has become dramatically more overt racists? I very much doubt that, but rather the laws has changed, and the purpose of the laws has changed, as well as their application.

              This is for Sweden, other countries will have their own unique (and different) story.

    • Posted February 4, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Permalink


    • somer
      Posted February 4, 2017 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      You are saying there would be no Trump with hate speech bans – I think banning large swathes of the media would produce more Trumps more often and corrupt democracy. You can’t wish attitudes of large swathes of the population away, although you might suppress them for a while if you are a dictator. You will get a backlash. You have to work to change attitudes and elements of the political system.

      • Cindy
        Posted February 5, 2017 at 12:16 am | Permalink

        Exactly. If we ban speech we don’t like, those ideas will only go underground. And the people with those ideas will feel victimized. This will only breed resentment and will have the opposite effect to what was intended.

        The goal should be to change hearts and minds. You will not be successful if you 1) ban speech 2) engage in SJW style shaming. Telling people that they are reprehensible shitlords for wrongthink will only strengthen their views, not weaken them. It is much better to have those views aired, where they can compete in the marketplace of ideas. Also , I think that ridicule is a good way to make certain views unpopular. Make it uncool to be a Nazi. Accusing everyone you don’t like of being a Nazi and sucker punching those people will only make victims of them.

        For the record, I suspect that the majority of society does consider it uncool to be a Nazi. It is only the regressive left that seems to think that the USA is now as racist as 1930s Germany. But as long as SJWs keep accusing just about everyone of being a Nazi then “Nazi” will become normalized and cease to be such a bad thing in many people’s minds

        • somer
          Posted February 6, 2017 at 10:05 pm | Permalink


    • somer
      Posted February 4, 2017 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      Fascism occurred for many reasons.

      I think hate speech laws could not get around the general historical nature of US electoral campaigning and would make a martyr of trump that alone would have got him elected.
      And you don’t mention a problem with women being called “pigs and dogs” in public by Trump and in private needing to have their “pussies grabbed” although criminalising (as opposed to socially frowning on) such speech would have only fuelled the misogynists.

      I don’t have a problem with some carefully framed legal banning of hate speech but always to allow socially constructive, historically or factually correct statements, or genuine research. I think in a place like Germany with a corporatist style of government and given its recent history strong laws of that nature were needed for a while though maybe not now. By and large Australia has good hate speech laws but in many other places hate speech laws have gone too far, and of course where theres a tradition of extremely robust no holds barred electoral campaigning theres always the problem of how such laws can be used – by extremist populists to silence people as well as by the left. There is a very large right wing religious contingent in the US who simply don’t want to hear certain things -but need to see the consequences of their attitudes. Outright banning is just likely to lead to defiance, upswell in Republican voting and legislative overturn.

    • Posted February 5, 2017 at 5:07 am | Permalink

      It seems the masses are infected with bad ideas: effectively blasphemy laws against criticism of Islam, the use the terms ‘Islamophobia’ and ‘racism’ to conflate criticism of Islam with hate for Muslims and actual racism; and of course the colkection of bad ideas that is Islam and other rligions. Unless one is a Muslim or apologist for Islam, in which case all those and the hate speech laws are just dandy.

  2. Cindy
    Posted February 4, 2017 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Facts are hate.

    Words are violence.

  3. Posted February 4, 2017 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    I’ve never heard the term ‘imbibed with mother’s milk’ used any in other way than as a metaphor.

    More and more PC culture appears to be a deliberately obtuse misreading of intent.

    It’s like a blackface parody of autism.

  4. Malgorzata
    Posted February 4, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink


  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 4, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Oh, I think there’s such a thing as “hate speech.” Shouted ethnic or racial epithets qualify (as does Donald Trump’s mockery of Serge Kovaleski’s disability).

    Problem is, as Potter Stewart said about obscenity, we know it when we see it, but the devil is in the details of defining it. Since no one’s been able to do so satisfactorily — which is to say, since there’s no definition of “hate speech” that doesn’t sweep within its ambit otherwise protected speech — categories such as “hate speech” (and obscenity) are best left exempt from legal consequence.

    • Somite
      Posted February 4, 2017 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      But there’s some speech that can inarguably be called hateful. Can’t we ban the obvious hate speech while continue to improve the definition to avoid ambiguities?

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 4, 2017 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

        If you can propose a bright-line statutory definition that wouldn’t be so overbroad as to encompass protected speech, even we free-speech “absolutists” would be willing at least to consider it.

        But unless you have a truly bright line, such a statute would have a “chilling effect” on protected speech, since speakers aren’t going to risk civil liability (or, in the case of a criminal statute, imprisonment) by saying anything that might later be construed as actionable in a litigious society such as ours.

  6. Rasmo Carenna
    Posted February 4, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    This is ridiculous and infuriating.
    That should never be a crime even if untrue. The sad thing is I find the assertion about antisemitism from the mother’s milk, so to speak, very likely to be a fact (and not an alternative one).

    • Posted February 4, 2017 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      I think the fact (at least, cited as so) that “Arab” parents accuse bad children of being “Juifs” is fairly telling.

      One more example of free speech in a country where it is forbidden to deny the Armenian genocide or any aspect of the Shoah.

  7. Tom
    Posted February 4, 2017 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    I can only speak from the point of view of a Brit but when I see this sort of story I sigh “not again” and probably another vote gained for Marine le Pen.
    How can this organisation hope to gain public support by such a silly prosecution especially in a France already in the run up to what looks like being a bitterly divisive Presidential election?
    I do not know what the french is for the term “snowflakes” but it seems appropriate for the CCIF.

  8. Somite
    Posted February 4, 2017 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    If laws like these prevent hate media from taking a hold in the country then they are preferable to the current situation in the US.

    It is facile to say that the only way to fight hate speech is more free speech. In practice, what we get are people that are epistemically closed to reason. Half of the US population is just waiting for their crazy racist ideas to be validated by Fox News, Breitbart, or Alex Jones.

    There needs to be free speech but there also needs to be some standards and accountability.

    • Cindy
      Posted February 4, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      I’d like to see a citation that 50% of the US population – over 100 million – are all racists aka Nazis etc.

      Thanks in advance.

      • Somite
        Posted February 4, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

        I’m including “disinformed” along the hate because they are synergistic.

        • Cindy
          Posted February 4, 2017 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

          Oh, you mean the ‘low information voters’ for whom voting should be illegal?

          Perhaps only people with PhDs in Feminist Glaciology should be permitted to vote – they are a sense.

          • Somite
            Posted February 4, 2017 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

            I’d settle for informed voters.

            • Cindy
              Posted February 4, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

              I am not going to continue this conversation beyond this point (Da Roolz) but I will make one last point:

              You’d settle for informed voters.
              You’d settle for laws against ‘obvious hate speech’
              You’ve said that you’d settle for restrictions on free speech because speech that you don’t like could lead to election results that you don’t like

              I guess that I just want to ask…who decides? Who decides who is and is not an ‘informed voter’. I bet that the Feminist Glaciology author would probably not consider any WEIT readers to be properly ‘informed’,as it is, many here disagree with her.
              Who decides what is hate speech? Who decides which free speech constitutes hate speech? It’s all very nebulous and vague, and it’s far too easy to just dismiss the opinions of those you don’t like as ‘hate speech’ or ‘uninformed morons’

              I will say this though, those who think that they can ‘decide’ for the rest of us what speech should and should not be permitted, that those who believe that they can tell the rest of society *how* to think – those are the very people that I do *not* want making those decisions. The stench of authoritarianism is too strong, tyvm.

              • Somite
                Posted February 4, 2017 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

                You are engaging in a well-characterized fallacy. If you were right we couldn’t have courtrooms.


              • Posted February 5, 2017 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

                “…you’d settle for restrictions on free speech because speech that you don’t like could lead to election results that you don’t like.”

                Nice summary!

    • Joe
      Posted February 4, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      “Half of the US population is just waiting for their crazy racist ideas to be validated by Fox News, Breitbart, or Alex Jones.”

      I did my part to campaign against Trump, but every time I see a statement like this I intrinsically understand why he won.

      • Somite
        Posted February 4, 2017 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        I have yet to come across a Trump voter who can rationally justify his vote and does not provide instead a logical fallacy or piece of disinformation.

        • Cindy
          Posted February 4, 2017 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

          Here is one for you:

          Asra Q. Nomani is a former Wall Street Journal reporter and a co-founder of the Muslim Reform Movement. She can be found on Twitter at @AsraNomani.

          She voted for Trump. I spoke with her on Twitter. Didn’t strike me as a racist/misogynist/Nazi type…

          • Somite
            Posted February 4, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

            Here is the lie and rationalization:

            “But I am a single mother who can’t afford health insurance under Obamacare. The president’s mortgage-loan modification program, “HOPE NOW,” didn’t help me. Tuesday, I drove into Virginia from my hometown of Morgantown, W.Va., where I see rural America and ordinary Americans, like me, still struggling to make ends meet, after eight years of the Obama administration.”

            Trump and the GOP will not do anything to improve these. In fact, they’ve already taken steps to make it worse. She was disinformed.

  9. Posted February 4, 2017 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    While it is not perfect, I think Canada’s hate speech laws are about as reasonable as you can get. Now, I’m no student of law, but to my understanding:

    -it’s only calls to genocide that are punishable under the Criminal Code of Canada, and these have to be explicit calls. Judges have repeated thrown rejected the idea that insulting or denigrating some group is equivalent to calls for violence (or genocide) against them.

    -the Human Rights Act also prevents discrimination based on things like race or religion. The courts have repeatedly established that this is not meant to apply to the opinions of private citizens writing online or speaking publicly, but only to ensure that someone can’t, say, deny serving someone in a restaurant because they don’t like their race, religion, etc.

    -each province and territory also has its own rules, and some are in conflict with the federal protections. For example, Saskatchewan had a notorious provision in the Human Rights Code that forbade any publication or display “that exposes or tends to expose to hatred, ridicules, belittles or otherwise affronts the dignity of any person or class of persons”. Thankfully, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the “ridicules, belittles or affronts to dignity” part. So saner heads have prevailed when matters have been pushed into the judicial system.

    The main danger here is that judicial interpretation could change. So far, Canadian judges have been right on (at least, as far as the examples I know), but that may not always be so.

  10. Posted February 4, 2017 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    George Bensoussan should not be going on trial for repeating the statement made previously by Smain Laacher about Muslims hatred of Jews.

    And, we well know that it’s not just Muslims who learn to hate Jews, “imbibed in mother’s milk”. Jews have been actively hated by Christians ever since the church blamed Christ’s death on them. (Why didn’t they blame God, who arranged it all?)Pogroms and murder of Jews has been part of the culture of Europeans, Americans, Middle Easterners and others for thousands of years. When we point at the Muslims, we should also be pointing at ourselves.

    We seem to go too far when trying to resolve social or cultural issues we find dangerous by
    making them criminal.

  11. Posted February 4, 2017 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    I find it interesting how a discussion of French ambiguity (not to say contradiction) about free speech has been turned into a discussion (one more…) about the 45th POTUS. I suppose Americans (of which I am one) are (rightfullY) obsessed by the subject.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 4, 2017 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      Two solid weeks right out of the box of chaos and folly will do that to a population.

  12. Posted February 4, 2017 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    It’s always been my understanding that “with mother’s milk” simply means that the learning of whatever trait is under discussion begins right away.

  13. Tom
    Posted February 5, 2017 at 2:59 am | Permalink

    Over reaction to petty issues such as this means the death of a democracy. In the past this has been the prerogative of theocracies and dictatorships. Has the real threat behind accusations of blasphemy, enemy of the state and thought crime been forgotten?

  14. Mike
    Posted February 5, 2017 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    After Political Correctness this is the logical progression. What’s next?

  15. Cindy
    Posted February 5, 2017 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Posted in wrong spot!

    FGL, your comments always make me think! The info on Sweden was truly illuminating!


    • FiveGreenLeafs
      Posted February 5, 2017 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      Found you 🙂

      Thank you. That must be one of the finest compliments one can get, I think… 😉

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] French scholar prosecuted for “incitement to racial hatred” for noting the culturally inherited … […]

%d bloggers like this: