In common law systems such as Canada, there is something called an absolute liability offense. This refers to a crime that all one has to do to commit the offense is to do the act. This means that it does not matter what the circumstances are or what was going through the person’s head, if it can be proven that they did the act, they are guilty.
Whether one knows whether their words are offensive or not, or lacks an intention to be hurtful, they still have a duty to refrain from saying these comments or otherwise will be guilty of the offense. It is incumbent on the individual to think before they act and ensure they comply with the standards set out for them.
The principle behind absolute liability also applies to discriminatory and offensive comments. This is not a question of free speech or sending perpetrators to jail, but shaming and condemning those individuals for their offensive actions.
In reality, many people say bigoted offense terms such as fag, nigger or kike without truly meaning it. They admit to saying an offensive word, but they argue – “no i’m not homophobic, no I do not actually discriminate against black people etc”.
Similarly, there are many things that are offensive that people do not know about. For example, think of how often people say the phrase “I got Jewed or Gyped out of money. These are offensive remarks and should not be tolerated.
Due to the historic and heinous nature of anti-Semitism, there are many things which one may not fully understand or know about which may be considered an anti-Semitic statement. These refer to things such as depicting Jews playing with blood, looking like rats, controlling the media, business or politics etc. Ignorance is not an excuse. It is incumbent on the individual to understand the sensitivities and not breach them.
People who say the word kike, niger or faggot do not necessarily view themselves as being anti-Semitic, racist or homophobic. However, it is not up to the individual who makes those statements to make the decision, but up to the people who are targeted and offended by those statements.
Thomas Friedman, as a Jew knows about what is considered offensive and inappropriate. He knows that making conspiratorial statements about Jews running government’s is anti-Semitic. However this knowledge has not stopped him from making these kinds of statements. In December 2011, Friedman was heavily criticized for making statements about Israel controlling US politics. This was then followed by his statements from this week decreeing that the only motive’s United States Senator’s have in regards to their Iran policy is Jewish votes and money.
I do not care if Thomas Friedman likes other Jews or not on a personal level. I do not care if he would or would not hire Jews, or allow them to join his country club. All I care about is that Thomas Friedman is making statements offensive to Jews without regard or care. To habitually make anti-Semitic statements is enough for me to call someone anti-Semitic and Friedman has earned this title. I hope dearly that Mr. Friedman will reconsider his statements and apologize for his actions.