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Hate Speech is not Free Speech

All pro-Palestine and/or Hamas demonstrations are illegal and criminal. The recent (Feb 21, 2024) beaming of a genocidal message onto London’s landmark Big Ben as well as the violent disruption of a scheduled talk on February 26 by an Israeli think tank leader and international law expert at the University of California Berkeley are just a few examples of this illegal behavior.

But before anyone cries “free speech!” and “First Amendment” rights, there is a big difference between free speech and the incitement to commit violence.

Signs that read “Jihad now!”, “From the river to the sea Palestine will be free”, “Death to Israel”, as well as persuasive speakers from podiums condoning hate and supporting the violent and barbaric tactics of Hamas and other Iran-backed terrorist groups, fit the legal definition of ‘incitement to violence’ under United States Government law and the British Human Rights Act.

This tremendous increase in global organized anti-Semitism has been the result of long-term, well-funded pro-Palestinian messaging and incitement against Jews and Israel, focused mainly at the university level. In the news media, there are daily reports of growing number of violent and murderous offenses against Jews and pro-Israel supporters.  It has been documented that anti-Israel leaders and organizers, many of Muslim and Palestinian origin, benefit from organizations with questionable deep-pocket funding and objectives (for example: Students for Justice in Palestine).

Yet, the London Police, regarding the recent Big Ben incident, commented on social media that “While there are scenarios where chanting or using these words could be unlawful depending on the specific location or context, its use in a wider public protest setting, such as last night, is not a criminal offense.”

As has been shown by the embarrassing performance of three top university presidents in front of a recent US Congressional hearing, “context” is not an excuse for anti-Semitism or cries for genocide.

Many participants in pro-Hamas demonstrations are uninformed, indoctrinated, easily led, and blindly accept the horrendous and unfounded claims against Israel. They repeat whatever hateful chants the speaker shouts out, without understanding its ramifications. As a college instructor for over 19 years, and a business manager for more than that, my personal goal for my students and employees was always to teach them how to think, not what to think.

Demonstrations for a cause (for example: free the hostages, democratic new elections for Palestine Authority and Gaza, stop the oppression of Iranian women/LGBTQ+ members, etc.), which do not incite and promote violence, or influence some fringe people to become violent, are perfectly legal and are a vital part of any democratic society.

The youth in the late 1960s and early 1970s, loudly and forcibly demonstrated for civil rights, anti-war, and to free Soviet Jews. They did not demonstrate in support of killing/raping/beheading of anybody. And, when asked, they could articulate and factually support their points of view.

There is a stark comparison between the March for Israel (Nov 14, 2023, Washington, DC) and other pro-Israel events. They are filled with positive messages, as opposed to all the pro-Palestinian demonstrations that are filled with anger, hatred, and incitement to violence. Let alone the constant disruption of the daily lives of ordinary people and emergency responders.

These intellectually vacant, along with those Muslims who support anti-Semitic hatred, are obviously not espousing or supporting democratic values. The first amendment of the US Constitution gives “the right of the people peaceably to assemble.” Free speech is a fundamental tenet of all democracies, for example, the United Kingdom, and Israel. Contrast the aims of these vapid one-issue inciters (anti-Israel/Jew) versus the historic behavior of other groups searching and marching for freedom and equality.

Such open hatred towards another group, tacit support for barbaric, inhumane behavior of a totalitarian entity (Hamas), with its complete disregard for human life, is illegal, shocking, and must be countered by strict law enforcement.

Therefore, to stem the world-wide, virulent spread of anti-Semitism, law enforcement must be emboldened to arrest these Pro-Hamas speakers, leaders, and rioters, notwithstanding context. People chanting “from the river to the sea” and other such genocidal words of hate, must be arrested and criminally charged with incitement to violence. Later on, for those looking for a job, a simple employer background check will reveal an arrest record and force them to explain their illegal and hateful behavior to their prospective employers.

Further, the decades-long funding of Universities to undermine liberal educational values and replace congenial dialogue with hateful rhetoric by Qatar and Iran is now paying off.  This explains the surprising well organized and funded tremendous global increase in violent anti-Semitism. It must be stopped, and re-education based on facts and history must begin.

If these countermeasures are not swiftly instituted, the warmongering, totalitarian-supporting rabble wins. And then Hamas, along with other Iranian proxies, will soon be at the front door of the rest of the world. Otherwise, hate speech will become free speech.

About the Author
David is a former NYC advertising agency, corporate-side marketing executive, and consultant. Prior to his career in advertising David spent 5 years in the financial arena. David holds a BS and MBA (both in Marketing & Finance) from New York University. He has been an officer/board member/speaker of industry, educational, and community organizations, as well as several new business startups. David is a US Patent Holder and published author (Hey Israel – You’re Perfect. Now Change (free) and How to Run the Business of YOU). See his website for more information and other writings. David is a retired instructor from Rutgers University School of Communication & Information. He lives in Ashkelon, Israel with his wife and is an active volunteer with the Ashkelon Search and Rescue.
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