Free Speech for Me, But Not for Thee

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7 Responses

  1. Steve Brizel says:

    Kudos for standing up to the Post Zionist academics and their allies in the Israeli intellectual and cultural elites. Their views have segued from mere attacks on Israel’s policies in the territories to support for Arafat , the PA and their European apologists to minimization and almost denial of the Holocaust. Read Hazony’s book “The Jewish State” for a complete analyis of how the Post Zionists have caused grave damage to Israel’s image abroad and to the next generation of Israelis.

  2. Ori Pomerantz says:

    True and well said. May I add that I think the root of the problem is the modern belief that the state can and should fix everything, and therefore the immoral should be illegal?

    We need to popularize in western culture the concept of “Naval biRshut haTorah” – a villain who operates within the law.

  3. David Gerstman says:

    When did the IDF kill Mohammed Deif? I thought he was still in hiding or being protected.

  4. MS says:

    J. Rosenblum writes: “WHILE AS a Torah Jew I attempt to maintain a degree of restraint in my own speech, I do not want the secular Israeli state to attempt to impose a regime of restraint through the law. One of the baleful consequences of the over-involvement of the Supreme Court in setting national norms has been the conflation of what is right, proper or moral with what is legal. The two categories must remain distinct. There is no inconsistency between advocating particular modes of speech, and criticizing those who fail to meet those standards, on the one hand, and supporting a legal regime that places few, if any, restrictions on expressions of opinion.”

    As usual, I agree with his conclusions, but as with my kid’s math homework, it’s not the answer per-se that counts; rather, you have to “show your work.” So, while I agree with R. Rosenblum’s critique of the Israeli Supreme Court — yet again — I am still left wondering about his rationale: does he really care about free speech or does he not like the particular RESULT in the cases he discusses.

    I again propose the following thought experiment: if the Supreme Court were controlled not by (radical?) leftists, but by rightwing Charedi jurists instead, would R. Rosenblum condemn decisions that were anti-free speech but which might conform with his view of halacha? For example, imagine: (1) a law that forbade teaching the scientific theory of evolution in public schools; (2)someone published a book explaining how evolution and traditional Jewish thought are consistent; and (3) a Supreme Court order, based on the aforementioned hypothetical law, that the book cannot be used in public schools. In such a situation, what would R. Rosenblum say about the Supreme Court ruling? What would he say about a Supreme Court ruling upholding the decision to outlaw certain Disney animated films or certain types of music or philosophical publications? Perhaps I’m wrong, but if the Charedi Right controlled the Government and the Court — which admittedly is a far-fetched possibility — I don’t believe R. Rosenblum would be so quick to condemn the results based on “First Amendment”-type considerations.

  5. Nachum Lamm says:

    While I agree with the column (although MS took the words out of my mouth), if we’re going to talk about things winding up on anti-Semitic websites, it should be pointed out that R’ Hutner’s essay on Zionist history from the Jewish Observer (e.g., the Mufti only attacked Jews because of Zionism) is quite popular on the anti-Jewish internet as well.

  6. Lawrence M. Reisman says:

    You could have quoted Justice Holme’s dissenting opinion from Schwimmer v. US about protection for the thought we hate. All in all, I’m glad to live in the US, where speech is protected. I still remember when Groucho Marx (shtusav yagein aleinu) said on national TV that the best thing for the country would be Nixon’s assasination. When the justice department threatened to prosecute him, the entire media in the US rose to his defense.

  7. YM says:

    My gemora shiur is learning the ninth perek in Bava Kamma, where we are discussing the mechanism by which the beis din outside of Israel can deliver justice. My rebbe said that conflict and dispute, handled according to halacha with the goal of searching out truth, it the main reason why we are all here. Whether the conflict is with our spouses or is in the realm of public life and politics, pursuing our opinions in an effective and proper manner is essential to fulfilling our life purpose. This is apropos here and also in the post about the Presbytarian convention.

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