American special envoy against anti-Semitism, Ira Forman, says Europe’s policy of arresting those who commit hate speech is bound to fail.
Europe will not stem the tide of anti-Semitism by prosecuting hate speechand should focus instead on getting society to speak out against it, a US envoy said Monday in Sweden, AFP reported.
“We understand that it’s often very difficult to prosecute hate speech,” the American special envoy against anti-Semitism Ira Forman told journalists in the southern city of Malmo.
“So it’s absolutely essential that political leaders but also society’s leaders – clergy, leaders of non-profits, business leaders, just community leaders in general – when they see anti-Semitism, as well as other forms of racism and discrimination, that they speak out,” he said.
Forman’s trip to Malmo was prompted by its high level of hate crimes against Jews, a problem the city’s former mayor Ilmar Reepalu blamed in 2010 on Jewish residents supporting Israel’s policies…
I completely agree. People will not change their thoughts just because they have become ‘illegal.’ By driving them out of the public it is even dangerous — one can no longer keep track of who is saying what.
Not only that but it may close down legitimate lines of inquiry due to the fear of being persecuted. It has elements of ‘witch hunting’ — who determines what speech is ‘hateful’?
I dislike Islamic extremists, but I would prefer to know who they are and what are they are saying than to have them closed down completely. It is foolish: short of full totalitarian methods, it is impossible to stop people from finding other sources of the same information.
At times, even telling the unvarnished truth can be categorized as ‘hate speech’.