Media Bias Gone Mad

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15 Responses

  1. Bob Miller says:

    Gone from Besser to worse?

  2. SM says:

    The UK already has crimes of ‘aggravated’ violence – the aggravation being the presence of a racial motive. And, having experienced the new regime, I only partially agree with you.

    It is certainly true that the police are a little too trigger happy when using the new offences. I think that is because they feel defensive, but a lot of what is charged as ‘racially aggravated’ is actually simple insult aimed at the easiest target. So people are abused as black or Jewish or Muslim because that is what they obviously are.

    However, some crimes are committed with a victim selected specifically because of what they are and they cannot change. Leaving aside that particular debate about homosexuality (and homelessness for that matter), it is surely right that pre-selection of a victim on such a basis merits greater punishment. That is not because the actual criminal at is worse, but because the thought behind the act (an element in all sophisticated criminal justice systems) is worse.

    In the UK the guidance to Judges is to almost double the sentence. If it helps to make society more civilised I am all for it. Problems with homosexuality should be debated – violence against homosexuals (or Jew, or blacks or Muslims) should be prevented. If it is ocassioned by the simple fact of orientation/religion/colour then the act AND the hate should be punished.

    Good and thoughtful article – thank you.

  3. Tal Benschar says:

    It is indecent for the government to declare that a murder or mugging or rape is somehow more terrible when the murderer or mugger or rapist is motivated by bigotry against certain favored groups.

    This is not an accurate portrayal of what these laws do. They enhance punishment for crimes (generally violent crimes) based on certain motivations — picking the victim based on race, religion, gender, etc.

    The victim need not be a member of a “favored group.” The Supreme Court case which upheld hate crimes laws in fact dealt with a case where a group of African-Americans assaulted someone who was white. So one can have bigoted motivations regardless of whether one is in the minority group or not.

    In theory, there is no reason why, for example, a group of homosexuals could not be prosecuted for a hate crime against a heterosexual.

    The real issue, of course, is why is it worse to assault or kill someone because of their race (or sexual orientation, or religion) than to do so, for example, because you are in a personal dispute with the person (such as intrafamily fights) or for monetary gain (i.e. a mugger or robber). The Supreme Court’s answer is that the former is more destructive to social peace and cohesion than the latter. That observation is probably true — a racially motivated beating creates much more social tension than a liquor store robbery gone bad. Whether that justification is moral can be debated.

  4. HILLEL says:

    “Hate Crimes” legislation is an integral part of a carefully-planned strategy by radical homosexual advocacy groups to legitimize homosexuality in society, while simultaneously criminalizing those who oppose legitimiztion.

    The Jewish Week, Mr. Besser, the ADL, and other secular-liberal Jewish groups are among the leaders in the pro-homosexual movement.

  5. SM says:

    Hillel: I am always dubious about conspiracy theories – not least because those who espouse them always seem to end up looking at us…

    But even if these groups have such power in the US (and can carry Black groups and others with them) that simply isn’t so in the UK, where the same legislation was enacted a couple of years ago.

    You sound very angry – but quite apart from anger not being terribly productive it really seems to be aimed in the wrong direction in this instance. There is a move to prevent dislike being expressed by violence – as Tal B says. Not such a problem really.

  6. Charles B. Hall, PhD says:

    Here is the test of the New York Hate Crimes Act:

    http://criminaljustice.state.ny.us/legalservices/ch107_hate_crimes_2000.html

    Note the signatures at the bottom: Sheldon Silver, Speaker of the Assembly, is an Orthodox Jew.

    Hours after the act took effect, a synagogue that is about six blocks from where I live was vandalized. The two perpetrators were convicted and their sentences were lengthened as a result of the act — and of their stupidity in not attacking the building one day before.

    Here is the text of the proposed federal law as passed by the House:

    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c110:4:./temp/~c110HkMbCW::

    The bill is clearly limited to violent felonies, so the arguments that it might apply to pastors who don’t engage violent actions doesn’t hold water. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the only Orthodox Jew in the US Congress, has been a sponsor of the proposed federal law, which has been approved by both houses of Congress in the past only to be stopped by the Republican leadership. It is supported by a huge array of law enforcement and civil rights organizations. It criminalizes no belief. I provides additional legal tools to prosecute people who do things like the firebomb synagogues. I can’t see why any reasonable person could oppose this.

  7. Ori Pomerantz says:

    May I suggest a thought experiment?

    Last Friday Imam Alek said in his sermon that Jews are sinners because we reject the prophet (Muhammed). He cited a number of Kuranic verses that put Jews in a bad light, and that say that Allah detests sinners. Being sophisticated, Imam Alek did not call for anybody to kill Jews (and he has a recording of his sermon to prove it). Shabbat morning, Maj Nun, one of his followers, murdered a Jewish girl on her way to the synagogue.

    Maj Nun is obviously a murderer. In most states in the US, he’d get life in prison. Where I live (Texas), said life will probably end in by lethal injection. We already have laws to punish murderes, regardless of hate crime legistlation.

    What about Imam Alek? He did not incite to violence. He merely stated the beliefs of his religion, and read from his holy book. Should he be punished? What if Imam Alek said that homosexuals are sinners, and then Maj Nun murdered a homosexual?

  8. SM says:

    Ori: no he shouldn;t be prosecuted for incitement to murder, because he didn’t do it. Murder is a crime involving the desire to do at least really serious harm. Reading out edited extracts from the Koran doesn’t begin to demonstrate such a desire.

    Whether the Imam should be prosecuted for any public order offence or incitement to racial hatred depends on whether he has broken any law against those things.

    And that is really the debate. To what extent are we prepared to limit freedom of speech to protect the vulnerable? Most countries agree that some limitation is required. Most also agree that it should be the minimum limitation compatible with protection ov the vulnerable – hence no law implicating a provocative sermon in someone else’s decision to kill.

  9. Bob Miller says:

    Tough, fair enforcement of the laws now on the books is all that’s needed here.

  10. Ori Pomerantz says:

    I agree with Bob Miller. The problem is that “let’s enforce existing laws” doesn’t give politicians headlines. Politicians are in the getting elected business.

    BTW, I also agree with SM that Imam Alek should not be persecuted. If you make “saying something that could cause somebody to commit a crime” a crime, no speech is safe.

  11. HILLEL says:

    Dear SM:

    I appreciate your reluctance to accept “conspiracy theories,” but this conspiracy is real.

    The homosexual advocay groups exist, and they are well funded. They are very single-minded in their determination to make their perversion an accepted–and even preferred–lifestyle.

    They have succeeded in forcing the public schools to preach the value of “diversity,” and they have forced Government agencies and large corporations to establish “diversity day” seminars to force acceptance of “alternative lifestyles.”

    The threat is real, and it is spreading all over the world through international groups, such as “EuroPride” and “Worldpride.” In fact, Jerusalem went through a very difficult few weeks when the religious community there protested vehemently the plan by local and international homosexual groups to desecrate the Holy City with a 10-day “Worldpride” extravaganza.

    The fact that you are not aware of these events and that you do not understand the underlying strategy does not justify your attitide, which may be summarized as “What, me worry?”

  12. Dovid Eliezrie says:

    I encountered first hand the ADL thought police a few years ago. When Dr. Laura was in the midst of her frum period she questioned Homosexual behavior based on her understanding of Halacha. The ADL sent her letter condemning her, and distributed it through its regional offices. Upon her request I challenged them, threatening to the take the ADL to Din Torah. Asking I them it they would now attack a Rav making statements in the name of Halacha in a Shul. They where quite astonished with my approach. And suddenly the top staff started contacting me, and they cooled their campaign against her. The point is that there is no question that they will use this in the upcoming culture wars. Its time for the Orthodox advocacy groups such as Aguda and the OU to step up the plate and aggressively campaign against this.

  13. SM says:

    Hillel,

    I am aware of it. For years homosexuals have been unjustly persecuted. It is one thing to disaprove of behaviour and quite another to criminalise and discriminate on the basis of that behaviour.

    As a test I offer this: all charities should refuse to take money from homosexuals and those not shomer shabbat. If you aren’t prepared to front up your feelings in that way, then you shouldn’t be publicly campaigning against either homosexuality or shabbat breaking either. And if you campaign against the one, you should campaign against both – otherwise you are allowing you prejudices to decide what is and isn’t ok, as opposed to letting the Torah decide.

    Now homosexuals are aggressively campaigning to have their choices regarded as equivalent to heterosexual choices. In some ways – rampant promiscuity, casual relationships without commitment, walking away every time the going gets tough – homosexual and heterosexual relationships ARE equivalent. And, equally, some homosexual relationships are committed and faithful.

    The pendulum swings around before it reaches equilibrium. At present it is in favour of ‘in your face’ homosexuality – as a direct reaction to those years of persecution. Those who were not against the persecution and discrimination are hardly in a position to condemn the reaction.

    In due course the pendulum will swing back and sexuality will become, once again, a private issue. At that stage I, personally, will not be second guessing what two men do in the privacy of their own home. I don’t speculate in that way about my friends, my relatives or my Rabbi either – and nor should anyone else.

    So, I suggest that the courteous, humane and decent reaction to all this is ‘who cares?’. That way it isn’t an issue and those who are homosexual in orientation can get with living their lives in as mitzvah observant a way as possible – just like you and me. I won’t set their (speculative) sex life off against my ocassional lapses and they won’t do the same for me. Sounds like a good deal.

  14. HILLEL says:

    MY DEAR S.M.:

    You are certainly a good debater, and you may even win, on points.

    Unfortunately, G-D is not on your side. The Torah states quite clearly that homosexuality is an abomination. So we cannot be so tolerant as we might like to be. We are not the owners of this world, and we don’t make the rules. Sodom was destroyed, because it officially tolerated homosexuality.

    As for your point about hypocricy, “Hypocrisy is the compliment that vice pays to virtue.”–We may not always be perfectly consistent to our ideals, but that doesn’t mean that we should abandom them.

  15. Sammy Finkelman says:

    Hillel – you are arguing too strenuously and now saying something that isn’t so. Sodom was not destroyed because it officially tolerated homosexuality. In fact,m our Rabbis said, no place had ever done that
    (not that nor officially tolerated cannabalism either and one other thing)

    It was not even destroyed because it unofficvially tolerated homosexuality. Thatisa non-Jewish interpretation. It was destroyed because it did everything against the stranger – it had bad laws and strictly adhered to them.

    It is true that homosexuality carries the death penalty, but so do many other sexual offenses and we don’t have courts now that can or should enforce them. There is one meaning that we should derive from the death openalty. It is imposisble toepent and impossible to remedy . the Torah prohibits this ONE TIME, not more than 10 times or 50 times. It is one time that creates the inclination. It is the Bar Mitzvah who must know this and it is the Bar Mitzvah boy whom this injunction is aimed at. It is aimed at people who never did this, even once. If they do, they create permanent changes in their brain. I do not believe this is or can be inherited. As for hate crimes, you could add many other categories too – anything where someone was targeted because of some fact about them but was not otherwise known to the attacker. These seem to be more laws aimed at specific motives, and that’s not really right. What about differences in political opinion? Type of work? Where someone lives? The kind of clothing someone wears?

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