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(UK) Free speech should always be defended, even for anti-Semites

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posted on Dec, 21 2016 @ 10:22 AM
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The thread title is the title of an article I read yesterday by Jacob Furedi, a writer for Spiked Online. Spiked is a British magazine primarily aimed at academia. Prior to discussing Furedi's views I will provide some background to which his article relates.

Quite recently in the UK, a man has been sentenced to two years in prison for 5 anti-Semite blog posts. He does have a previous criminal history. According to Wikipedia:



Joshua Mark John Bonehill-Paine (born 7 December 1992, also known as Joshua Bonehill) is an English far-right nationalist from Yeovil, Somerset. Styling himself as a "nationalist, fascist, theorist and supporter of white rights", he ran a blog called The Daily Bale ("Britons Against Left-wing Extremism") which published several racist and anti-immigration hoaxes, as well as false accusations against his opponents. Bonehill-Paine has described himself as being "a proud anti-Semite".

Bonehill-Paine's online activity has led to criminal charges being brought against him for harassment, antisemitic commentary and hoaxing, including a 2013 online hoax that led to the owners of a Leicester pub receiving death threats, and other false accusations which were punished with a suspended prison sentence. Bonehill-Paine was described as an "internet troll" by the prosecutor at a 2014 court hearing. He was arrested in June 2015 for inciting racial hatred against Jews, for which he was found guilty in December, receiving a jail sentence of three years and four months


Also from Wikipedia relating to his recent conviction:



In October 2014, Bonehill-Paine was investigated by police over antisemitic comments about Labour MP Luciana Berger published on his website, after a member of National Action Garron Helm was jailed for sending antisemitic messages to her.

On 15 February 2015, it was reported that Bonehill-Paine had been arrested on suspicion of having sent antisemitic tweets to Berger. On 14 June 2016, he was charged with the racially or religiously aggravated harassment of Luciana Berger between October 2014 and February 2015. At a hearing at the Old Bailey on 19 July 2016, with Bonehill-Paine participating via a video link, he was sent for trial.

Bonehill-Paine's trial began on 5 December 2016. The court was told that Bonehill-Paine had posted five "hateful and insulting" articles about the woman he blamed for the jailing of a far-right extremist he regarded as a comrade. His defence counsel said Bonehill-Paine would not be giving evidence at the trial, but asserted that the defendant in posting his "pathetic, puerile rubbish" was, however, living in a country "where everyone is entitled to a voice".

On 7 December 2016, Bonehill-Paine was convicted of racially-aggravated harassment. The next day, he was imprisoned for two years. This new custodial term is to be added to the existing sentence Bonehill-Paine is serving. A criminal behaviour order was imposed to restrict his internet use after his eventual release including the barring of any attempt to contact Berger and other listed individuals, and the police were authorised to monitor his online activities for five years.




I think that most decent folk would agree when I say Bonehill-Paine is a truly repugnant individual but the question is should he have received a custodial sentence for something he wrote?. Furedi emphatically believes he should not. A few snippets from his article:


But Bonehill-Paine was not on trial for his previous actions. Although the sentencing judge listed his past misdemeanours, the defendant was only on trial for those five blog posts. In his remarks, the judge concluded that Bonehill-Paine’s posts ‘showed, beyond any doubt, the depth of [his] hatred of Jewish people, including Ms Berger’. But is being a repulsive bigot sufficient reason to be sent to jail? Is writing five, albeit downright horrendous, blog posts enough to warrant a jail sentence? Absolutely not.

No matter how deplorable or degenerate his intentions, punishing Bonehill-Paine for his opinions is a direct affront to a tolerant and free society. The prosecutor, Philip Stott, maintained that ‘we have a right to freedom of expression’, but meekly added that ‘it is not, however, an absolute right’. Freedom of expression should be ‘limited to protect the rights of others, including the right not to be harassed with racial abuse’, he said.

Stott is wrong. Free speech is absolute – it crumbles when you qualify it. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t sympathise with Berger.



The judge condemned Bonehill-Paine in order to discourage other anti-Semitic fascists from airing their views. But allowing vicious bigots like him to air their views, and challenging them in public, is a far better way to fight anti-Semitism. In fact, censorship only gives people like Bonehill-Paine notoriety. Following his conviction, Bonehill-Paine stated: ‘I am really pleased… with the media that [it] will bring.’ And every time someone like him is put in jail, another narcissistic web provocateur is inspired to pick up where they left off.

Bonehill-Paine has little in common with Raif Badawi, the Saudi dissident blogger who was arrested in 2012, imprisoned, and later sentenced to 1,000 lashes. While Badawi bravely dared to question the authoritarian regime in which he lived, Bonehill-Paine expressed anti-Semitic bigotry. But both were convicted for expressing unpopular views, and the fate of both men should send a shiver down the spine of all those who believe in free speech. Some may argue that Bonehill-Paine’s conviction signalled a victory against bigotry. In truth, it was a victory for censorship.


I was quite interested to read one of the comments from a Jewish reader.


In addition to all the principles stated by others above, there is a practical reason in favour of absolutely free speech. If somebody hates me, and especially if that somebody calls for violence against me, I want to know about it. Prohibiting the hate speech will only create an illusion of safety that may prove deadly.

I want antisemites to speak freely so that I know whether they are mainstream or marginal. If marginal, I can afford to ignore them. If they ever become mainstream I am in danger and should act accordingly. Prohibiting their hate speech will deprive me of the necessary information.


As a homosexual male I have been confronted with bigotry, prejudice and hate in the past. I most certainly agree with this Jewish gentleman. Censoring hateful speech drives it underground to fester and grow unchallenged. It also deprives us of seeing, knowing and the opportunity to challenge and dent hateful ideology.

Wikipedia

We must defend free speech, even for anti-Semites




posted on Dec, 21 2016 @ 10:25 AM
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Unless you are actively calling for the public to attack or murder or actively inciting hatred towards a group, speech whether written or verbal should indeed be free. If its a call to arms, a demand for extermination etc shut 'em down

Either way there's going to be a lot more of this shortly with the new Snoopers Bill



posted on Dec, 21 2016 @ 10:28 AM
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"To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticise." - Unknown.

And here we have it.

The death of free speech in the U.K.

God aren't we all glad that Thatcher 2.0 is in charge.
We really dodged a bullet.


It starts with anti-Semitism of course, because why not.

Who knows where it will lead.



posted on Dec, 21 2016 @ 10:29 AM
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a reply to: Morrad

No, absolutely not. Jail? No.

He should not be allowed on the soil of this country, but he should absolutely not go to jail. I do not want to pay for that disgusting bastards lunch.



posted on Dec, 21 2016 @ 10:59 AM
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a reply to: TrueBrit

You being a Brit I would have thought that sending him to Australia may have actually been a law on the books .



posted on Dec, 21 2016 @ 11:05 AM
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originally posted by: TrueBrit
a reply to: Morrad

No, absolutely not. Jail? No.

He should not be allowed on the soil of this country, but he should absolutely not go to jail. I do not want to pay for that disgusting bastards lunch.


I have not read his blog posts, have you? If they simply pose the pathetic far right rubbish that so many post then I agree, he is nothing but scum. If he in any way pushes for or fantasises around the death or injury of someone based on their race/faith/gender/gender preference and specifically names the individual he wishes death or injury against, then no, I think a custodial sentence falls under current laws - and if anyone in America wishes to think they are somehow superior in their constitution, you may find such threats would bring similar action over there if they were taken to court.



posted on Dec, 21 2016 @ 11:07 AM
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a reply to: the2ofusr1

Hell no, I would not want him infesting some other place either. I say drop him and all the other fascists into a part of the ocean populated by a great deal of sharks. Its not execution if they COULD swim to a barren island and starve to death. Its just not very nice is all.



posted on Dec, 21 2016 @ 11:11 AM
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The mans an idiot.

He got what he deserved.

edit on 21/12/16 by neformore because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 21 2016 @ 11:34 AM
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a reply to: TrueBrit

Canada where I live we see people hating the French ,the English,the Indians,the Catholics,the Gays ,and even cats .People seem to half heartily threaten other people and places on a daily basis . There is not one single law that says you must love your neighbor . Nore is there a law that says you have to like them . Now I am of the opinion that love without works is dead but I would also extend that to hate . Sometimes I think that a dislike towards a subject can be misconstrued as hate . I have always dislike Hillary Clinton but have never once hated her ...just saying .



posted on Dec, 21 2016 @ 11:35 AM
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originally posted by: PhyllidaDavenport
Unless you are actively calling for the public to attack or murder or actively inciting hatred towards a group, speech whether written or verbal should indeed be free. If its a call to arms, a demand for extermination etc shut 'em down

Either way there's going to be a lot more of this shortly with the new Snoopers Bill


The Snoopers Charter has just been blocked by the EU as unlawful / unjust. The UK Gov are taking it to the court of appeal. That's why i voted Brexit ...... so that the UK make and abide by their own laws and not some dumbasses in Brussels. Perhaps i should change my mind on this one (not)




posted on Dec, 21 2016 @ 11:42 AM
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a reply to: corblimeyguvnor

I read that it hasn't been blocked and that as a result of Brexit they will probably disregard the EU decision in any case. The Guardian quotes that the EU stated "Only targeted interception of traffic and location data in order to combat serious crime – including terrorism – is justified" according to a long-awaited decision by the European court of justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg. So it seems despite the EU ruling, it will go ahead in one form or another in the meantime awaiting Appeal, but it Brexit happens prior to the Appeal it will be instigated as intended once the EU has now power over the UK.

Let's face it, if they want it...they'll get it....just up the fear factor a bit more




posted on Dec, 21 2016 @ 12:12 PM
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a reply to: corblimeyguvnor

Wasn't the Investigatory Powers Bill quietly passed into law a few weeks ago? I remember it received a big thumbs up in the House of Lords although it was amended to stop MPs from being snooped on.


edit on 21-12-2016 by Morrad because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 21 2016 @ 12:16 PM
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a reply to: Morrad
Whatever "rights" are applicable to anti-semite speech must, by the same logic, be applicable to anti-Muslim speech.
How much freedom does that get nowadays?



posted on Dec, 21 2016 @ 12:58 PM
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No speech should be illegal, and the Brits are foolish for engaging in it. The author is exactly right: the only way to combat hate speech is more speech. Criminalizing speech sends it under ground where it festers away from the eyes of critics and those who could combat it with reason.



posted on Dec, 21 2016 @ 01:14 PM
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a reply to: TrueBrit




Hell no, I would not want him infesting some other place either. I say drop him and all the other fascists into a part of the ocean populated by a great deal of sharks. Its not execution if they COULD swim to a barren island and starve to death. Its just not very nice is all.


You know...sometimes you express thoughts not unlike of those you condemn.

I wonder if you're aware of that.
edit on 21-12-2016 by MarioOnTheFly because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 21 2016 @ 01:20 PM
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Noam Chomsky said it best: "If you don't believe in free speech for views you do not like, you do not believe in free speech."

Chomsky knows all about it. He had written an essay which was included in a book written by a holocaust denier, but Chomsky defended him, and the French intelligentsia attempted to discredit his work in what is now known as the Faurisson affair. It's a simple dictum that one might bear in mind when he finds himself censored because someone else doesn't like what he's saying. The jailing of people for what they have said and thought is a property of the most totalitarian regimes, from the Nazis to the Stalinists, from the Inquisition to the Ba'athists. Without this fundamental right, all rights cease.



posted on Dec, 21 2016 @ 02:15 PM
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originally posted by: the2ofusr1
Canada where I live we see people hating the French ,the English,the Indians,the Catholics,the Gays ,and even cats .People seem to half heartily threaten other people and places on a daily basis . There is not one single law that says you must love your neighbor . Nore is there a law that says you have to like them . Now I am of the opinion that love without works is dead but I would also extend that to hate . Sometimes I think that a dislike towards a subject can be misconstrued as hate . I have always dislike Hillary Clinton but have never once hated her ...just saying .



I agree with you..... HATE is a strong and often misused word.

However regardless there isnt the ability to control another persons mind

and thoughts, so you cant stop them hating..... they can hate in silence,but

they are still hating.......OR maybe using a softer word simply disliking


As the said in the OP the subject would rather know who hated them.


I never forgot what I was taught as a child Sticks and stones wont hurt

my bones, and names will never harm me.


It stood me in good stead and pointed out any enemies I may have had.


*Sticks and stones* for those who may not know is an English children's rhyme,

it persuades the child victim of name calling, to ignore the taunt, to refrain

from physical retaliation and to remain calm.


en.wikipedia.org...
edit on 21-12-2016 by eletheia because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 21 2016 @ 02:33 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

You make a valid point.



posted on Dec, 21 2016 @ 03:14 PM
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Inciting racial hatred is a crime in the UK, people seem to disagree with that until a radical Islamic hate-preacher gets sentenced.



posted on Dec, 21 2016 @ 04:00 PM
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a reply to: corblimeyguvnor

I stand corrected. I just read this on the BBC news website. I voted for David Davies, who brought the case to the EU supreme court, in the general election. I was really disappointed when he distanced himself from it following his appointment to May's government.



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