The Limits of Free Speech 67

In a world where individual freedoms are held light, this blog values freedom of speech higher than is currently fashionable. I do not believe that freedom should apply only to views I agree with.

The Israeli attack on Gaza is unconscionable. It is wildly disproportionate and plainly the attacks on schools yesterday were only the most blatant examples of Israel’s continual breaches of the laws of warfare – war crimes. But it is only an episode in the terrible ethnic cleansing and destruction of the Palestinian people by the Israelis who have stolen their land.

Let me say it loud and clear. I do not believe in Israel’s right to exist. It is a militarised, evil entity founded on a racist premise and a lot of religious hokum. It shuld be replaced by a single, secular state in which the Palestinians are free to live, and in which they receive either their stolen lands or genuine equivalent financial compensation, in either case plus damages.

I shall be attending Saturday’s demonstration from Hyde Park. I needed some new shoes anyway.

I have not deleted a single pro-Israeli comment from discussion on these pages, though I disagree profoundly with many. I have deleted three anti-Jewish comments. I should make it plain that I am in profound disagreement with those commenters who conflate Israel with Jews in general. We have had commenters excusing anti-Jewish comments on the grounds Jews are not a race, and positing claims of a world conspiracy of Jews and freemasons. I have only deleted three of these, because in general I believe the suppression of any opinion to be an evil which requires major justification. I find it hard to define the exact line which leads to deletion.

The great John Stuart Mill said it was legitimate to express the opinion that all corn merchants are thieves of the people’s bread; but it was not legitimate to shout the same thing to a howling mob at night carrying torches outside a corn merchant’s house. He was, as ever, right.

So almost any opinion can be expressed here. But I would be grateful if those people who have a serious grudge against Jews in general, would go and express their views on their own websites.


Michael has overstepped the mark by a posting about “Jews with their Satanic Smirks” (long overdue yellow card) and then introducing the Protocols of Zion (automatic red card offence). All of his 31 comments have therefore been deleted.

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67 thoughts on “The Limits of Free Speech

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  • Ajay Malhotra

    If Israel is an garrison state that has no right to exist then so is Pakistan that you guys helped create.

    Pakistan: 1947

    Israel: 1948

    Both: reason of religion.

    Yet you people continue to prop up that excuse of a nation that is the epicenter of terrorism.

  • Robert

    Isreal is just another tyranny state set up by the US/UK. Other states include Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, and Chile and both the US and UK are the business of keeping military strongmen in power.

    I also agree there is no such thing as a Jewish race. Never has, never will be. Although the jewish religion might be gone in the next century.

    With luck, all religion will have gone way of the dodo sooner rather than later. Religion is the REAL source of problems on this planet.

  • Jack Mazafi

    Freedom of speech is an unparalleled liberty and I'm glad to see you are all enjoying it. By the way, its practiced with vigor in Israel but is brutally suppressed in just about every Arab country.

  • John

    Zand Shlomo's book "When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?" states that most Jews's ancestors converted to Judaism and thus have no historical claim to the land. He says the most likely people to be the descendants of Abraham are the Palestinians who converted to Islam. His thesis is falsifiable using Mitochondrial DNA analysis.

    (More info here:… )

    I no longer believe the government of Israel wants peace. Actions matter, not words. Over the last 60 years they've accumulated more land. As long as they achieve their goals, there is no reason to believe they will change their ways. Until the US weakens (either internally or in its support of Israel), the Israeli government will be stronger than its opponents. When this changes, there will be a giant bloodbath.

    So we have a so-called democratic government founded on terrorism (read your history), filled with ex-Army & ex-Mossad people, selected by half the population, causing 60 years of suffering based on a lie… Why exactly does that regime have a right to exist?

    At this point there do not seem to be many solutions.

    a/ Killing off one of the 2 populations, would not work because both sides have relatives abroad, which would keep the feud going on.

    b/ Exile one of the 2 populations. Neither side wants that and will fight back.

    c/ Land for peace. Neither side trusts the other. If Israel gives the Palestians land, who's to say they won't want more? If the Palestinians give up their weapons, who's to say Israel won't renege?

    That leaves:

    1. replacing the Israeli government by a care-taker government which is not stuck in the old ways. Perhaps a UN administered zone.

    2. reducing Israel's independence from its neighbours (basically a ban on economic an military aid for Israel).

    3. increasing Israel's common interests with the countries around it, for instance using Bruce Bueno de Mesquita's solution of sharing tourist revenues between both sides. No tourists come when both sides are fighting.

    None of this can happen in consultation with the Israeli government, or without US help. And therein lies the crux: How can we disempower the Israel lobby, and disentangle the 60 million evangelicals in the US who support Israel because they want Armageddon.

  • Laura Knight

    Niels Peter Lemche's new book "The Old Testament Between Theology and History.

    * The concept of "Israel" appeared as the result of an ideological reorientation among the people who were deported from Palestine to Mesopotamia in connection with the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem and the destruction of the state of Judah.

    * Jewish monotheism came into being in the postexilic period, in competition with other contemporary religious currents that confronted Jewish Yahwism both in Palestine and in the exile. The "old" polytheistic religion did not disappear with the exile but continued to exist down into the postexilic period.

    * The historiography of the Old Testament is hardly to be dated to the seventh or sixth century BCE. It is most likely a product of the postexilic period.

  • Craig


    "But surely the idea that the Israeli question is bound up with the larger, Jewish question is a valid point of view, even if you don't agree with it?"

    No, it is not a valid point of view. It is simple racism. There is no "Jewish question" any more than there is a "German question" or a "French question".

    But AndrewR it is not anti-semitic to deny Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state – there are orthodox Jews who are against the Jewish state, for example. I am against a racialist criterion for any state. I do not care what draft paper has been prepared by a low level EU working group.

    There is, for example, no ethnic criterion for being British or American. Nor should there be for living in Israel/Palestine.

  • AliBaba

    Boycott israeli web 2.0 apps:












    Sorry young entrepreneurs but blame your government.

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