Europe Won’t Solve Its Anti-Semitism Problem by Expanding Bans on “Hate Speech”

July 13 2022

Not having, or desiring, American-style guarantees of freedom of expression, European countries tend to have laws prohibiting what has come to be known as “hate speech.” Recently, some have advocated expanding these laws to include the most vicious forms of anti-Israel rhetoric. Ben Cohen argues against such an approach:

Meeting last week with a group of visiting American Jews, the head of the city government in Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, informed them that she had submitted an amendment to the European Union’s comprehensive strategy to combat anti-Semitism that would criminalize calls for Israel’s destruction. While the exact details of the proposal have not been explained, it’s reasonable to assume that a slogan like “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” which is precisely a call for Israel’s destruction, would theoretically fall foul of the law.

Not every aspect of this problem is so easily analyzed, however. . . . Those academics and pundits who demean Israel as an apartheid state, carefully [claiming] at the same time that they scorn anti-Semitism in all its forms, will not be silenced by such measures and will wear any bans or restrictions as a badge of pride.

Rather than seeking to criminalize anti-Zionism in toto, European governments would be better off carving out those aspects that can uncomplicatedly be dealt with by the law, such as preventing the public display of Hizballah or Hamas flags on the grounds that these incite violence and promote anti-Semitic organizations, and allow civil society to adjudicate the broader political debates.

Additionally, the cause of defending Israel would be severely compromised, perhaps fatally, by the shuttering of anti-Zionist associations’ . . . clamping down on the free speech of Israel’s adversaries sends the signal, however much we might wish otherwise, that the Jewish state’s allies have lost the argument.

Read more at JNS

More about: Anti-Zionism, Europe and Israel, Freedom of Speech, Spain


American Aid to Lebanon Is a Gift to Iran

For many years, Lebanon has been a de-facto satellite of Tehran, which exerts control via its local proxy militia, Hizballah. The problem with the U.S. policy toward the country, according to Tony Badran, is that it pretends this is not the case, and continues to support the government in Beirut as if it were a bulwark against, rather than a pawn of, the Islamic Republic:

So obsessed is the Biden administration with the dubious art of using taxpayer dollars to underwrite the Lebanese pseudo-state run by the terrorist group Hizballah that it has spent its two years in office coming up with legally questionable schemes to pay the salaries of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), setting new precedents in the abuse of U.S. foreign security-assistance programs. In January, the administration rolled out its program to provide direct salary payments, in cash, to both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

The scale of U.S. financing of Lebanon’s Hizballah-dominated military apparatus cannot be understated: around 100,000 Lebanese are now getting cash stipends courtesy of the American taxpayer to spend in Hizballah-land. . . . This is hardly an accident. For U.S. policymakers, synergy between the LAF/ISF and Hizballah is baked into their policy, which is predicated on fostering and building up a common anti-Israel posture that joins Lebanon’s so-called “state institutions” with the country’s dominant terror group.

The implicit meaning of the U.S. bureaucratic mantra that U.S. assistance aims to “undermine Hizballah’s narrative that its weapons are necessary to defend Lebanon” is precisely that the LAF/ISF and the Lebanese terror group are jointly competing to achieve the same goals—namely, defending Lebanon from Israel.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, U.S. Foreign policy