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.

UPDATE

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.


67 thoughts on “The Limits of Free Speech

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  • lwtc247

    We can hardly let people believe that if they can hang on to land for long enough their descendants get to keep it.

    Errrrmm… that's exactly what your 'green line' solution does.

    LOL. Crikey amk!

    Yet again nonsence pours out because it has the precondition of the Israyhelli right to exist. (a.k.a. right to thieve and murder and get away it.)

  • amk

    I propose a cut-off point of the establishment of international law. Everything before is allowed to stand, everything after is reversed. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

  • MJ

    Dear Mr Murray

    I am a newcomer to your site. I found it because rense.com linked to your

    recent colourfully titled piece on Gordon Brown (though they applied

    asterisks where you did not).

    I am delighted to find a former member of the British Establishment who holds

    the views that you do and also that you clearly take an active interest in the comments left by your readers.

    If you feel so inclined, I would be grateful if you might consider giving

    your opinion on an issue regarding Israel that troubles me often: why is it that the European nations' response to Israeli atrocities is so feeble and

    half-hearted when, if it were a Muslim country doing the same thing, they would be down on it like a ton of bricks? Is it because, as respected Israeli historian and military adviser Martin van Creveld has revealed, a sizeable proportion of Israel's nuclear weapons is trained on Europe? Is it because so much of the Western financial system and media is controlled by Zionists? Is it because the Mossad has penetrated the higher echelons of the European political Establishment?

    I'd really appreciate your opinion on this matter.

  • ML

    Israel is right in this case, I don't think the Germans shelled concentration camps

    Israel slams Vatican official for Gaza 'concentration camp' jibe
    http://www.africasia.com/services/news/newsitem.p

    Israel on Wednesday slammed a senior Vatican official for comparing the Gaza Strip to a "concentration camp," saying the comments were "based on Hamas propaganda."Cardinal Renato Martino, the Vatican's justice and peace minister, was quoted by the online Italian daily Il Sussidiario as saying the conditions in Gaza "increasingly resemble a big concentration camp."

  • Craig

    MJ

    I think, since the dawn of civilisation, concentrations of capital, whether industrial or financial, have had a powerful controlling effect on societies and governments.

    Add to that a powerful dose of holocaust guilt, which is a good thing in securing revulsion aginst genocide, but a bad thing if it leads to Israel being forgiven any atrocity.

    Then added to that is the mystical support for a Jewish Palestine by Christian extremists drawing on the "Judeo-Christian tradition". The Biblical demonisation of the "Philistines" (Palestinians) is a factor in this. If God told David etc to kill them, it must be OK.

    I hope that's helpful.

  • John

    >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.

    Thoroughly agree, except for the last bit. Religious hokum? Where's the fear of "God" in Israel? Cold-blooded murder, theft of land – all seems reminiscent of the behaviour of those that don't believe in anything.

    Here's a Jew who says just that – that the Jews in Israel are atheists, that Israel should not exist, that the Jews lived in peace amongst the Arabs until the Zionists came along. As a result of his outspokenness, Israeli "Jews" (atheists pretending to be religious) attack him:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oeB3QhX2RI&NR=1

    His site is here:
    http://www.nkusa.org/

    He's a rabbi, and against all that is going on in Israel.

    He writes: "Mere words are insufficient to express the pain that all mankind feels at the plight of the Gaza and Palestinian people.

    "For over one hundred years, they have been subject to a carefully conceived plan, to drive them from their homes and their land.

    "Throughout their history, the Zionists have resorted to intimidation, war, ethnic cleansing and state?"sponsored terrorism to achieve their goals.

    "This is, has been and continues to be, the criminal agenda of the Zionist movement. But among this movement's greatest crimes, is that it has claimed to carry out these nefarious actions in the name of holiness, in the name of the Almighty, in the name of Judaism and the Jewish people !!

    "This is a wicked and monstrous lie !!

    "It is a desecration of our religion !!

    "Judaism forbids and rejects Zionism and the existence of the State of 'Israel'…

    "We must tell the world that self rule, sovereignty and ALL the rights of the Palestinian people, must be restored throughout historic Palestine! This is a requirement of Jewish ethics and values! Jewish justice demands the return of the Palestinian refugees to their homes, towns, villages and cities throughout Palestine!…"

  • John

    >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.

    I've mentioned Zionism, wonder now if I'll have my posts deleted.

    It's very strange how words that harm no one engender more rage in people than cold-blooded murder.

    I would have just deleted Michael's comments that were unacceptable – if, indeed, they were – and left it at that. Isn't there enough "retribution" going on in the world right now?

  • researcher

    Obviously (self-)censorship limits discussing our financial overlords. But why do they promote a suicidal Israeli policy ? Are they stupid or does the conspiracy aim further still ?

  • amk

    "Cold-blooded murder, theft of land – all seems reminiscent of the behaviour of those that don't believe in anything."

    No, it's reminiscent of the Book of Joshua. Read it some time.

  • amk

    Also, Moses:

    Deuteronomy 7:1-2
    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=%20De

    1 When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations?"the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you- 2 and when the LORD your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy.

  • amk

    "why is it that the European nations' response to Israeli atrocities is so feeble and

    half-hearted when, if it were a Muslim country doing the same thing, they would be down on it like a ton of bricks?"

    Butting in:

    Israelis are Westerners like us and Muslim nations aren't, so ingroup bias is in effect.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ingroup_bias

    Arms exporters must like conflict. BAe System's influence over Nulab, especially Straw, is infamous and discussed by Craig.

    Finally, I must wonder whether European nations are intimidated by the USA, and are reluctant to stray too far from its line. Perhaps Craig could comment?

    This article surveys views on the origins of European policy on Palestine/Israel, especially Hamas:
    http://tonykaron.com/2007/07/06/mark-perry-why-eu

  • Chuck Unsworth

    Interesting extremes. But I fully support your position, Craig. Your blog, your rules, your decisions too – full stop. To those who complain I say: Get your own blog and publish whatever the hell you like.

  • MJ

    "Israelis are Westerners like us and Muslim nations aren't, so ingroup bias is in effect"

    Yes, the great majority of Israelis are indeed Westerners. This is why the term "anti-semitic" is so misleading when what is meant is anti-Jewish. Most jews are not semites, Arabs are. Real anti-semitism is so prevalent in the West that it passes without comment.

    Nevertheless, in recent times the West has come to the support of Muslims when it has suited. Bosnia and Kuwait for instance.

  • writerman

    I'm troubled by the concept of 'race' which I always feel has been forever tainted by association with the Nazis and their ridiculous and dangerous pervertions and vulgarisations. I can, if forced to, sort of accept these broad catagories like African, Asien, European ect. but I'm not really sure what they mean or how much value they have.

    But when one starts to use 'race' in the way it was used back in the 19th and 20th centuries, then I want nothing to do with it. Not all that long ago one actually talked about something that was described as the 'British race' and the 'German race' and we all know where that gibberish got us. The next step was the 'Jewish race' which is even more problematic and absurd.

    Basically I think most of this talk about 'race' is nonsense, dangerous nonsense, catagories dreamt up by Westerners to justify the ideology of colonialism and military conquest of 'inferior races' who were unlucky enough to have something we wanted and lived in the wrong place at the wrong time.

  • MJ

    Writerman, I agree with every word you say. In the case of Israel however the issue of 'race' has to be addressed because it is a central plank of Israel's claims of legitimacy for its occupation of Palestine. They claim to be the historical descendants of the biblical jews, therefore it is their right to occupy Palestine and call themselves semites.

    This is utter nonsense. Only a very small proportion of modern Jewry has any historical connection to Palestine whatsoever. I believe it important that we disentangle, isolate and discard this emotive, racial claptrap from the equation so we may see the reality of what's happening more clearly.

  • C. Wernerhoff

    '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.'

    This is a form of censorship because you're clearly deleting the comments only because they don't reflect your own views.

    Since you're not responsible for the things people say in the Comments section, it's hard to see what your actual agenda is here. Do you think people would be stupid enough to think that you actually wrote these comments or something.

    Anyway, what we need these days is REAL freedom of speech not PHONEY freedom, in which someone reserves the right to delete comments because they simply don't agree with them.

  • C. Wernerhoff

    '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.'

    This statement seems to me to have been intended quite literally. It is therefore a false analogy. There is no 'howling mob' outside a Jew's house. If you believe that there is, can you please give the name and address of the Jew you believe is the intended victim?

  • C. Wernerhoff

    A third point: Craig wrote: 'I should make it plain that I am in profound disagreement with those commenters who conflate Israel with Jews in general.'

    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? I think a perfectly legitimate case could be made for the argument that what the Jews have done by creating Israel is merely one manifestation of the Jewish-supremacist will to power.

  • C. Wernerhoff

    '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.'

    This statement seems to me to have been intended quite literally. It is therefore a false analogy. There is no 'howling mob' outside a Jew's house. If you believe that there is, can you please give the name and address of the Jew you believe is the intended victim?

  • John

    When it comes to the Jews, you can't win. I called one Jew a "Great Jew" for speaking out against Israel's atrocities and my post was deleted. I was clearly being "anti-Semitic". This was on a site by a guy who writes about British foreign policy.

    Craig Murray, however, did let me give the link to that Jewish guy's site, and the post is above.

    The rabbi's site is here:
    http://www.nkusa.org/

    As you can see, he's against all that is going on in Israel. As a result, he is attacked by other Jews, but he argues back vociferously, as you can see here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oeB3QhX2RI&NR=1

    It's great watching him! Hence, why I called him a "Great Jew", just as you would call someone a "Great Christian" if they were Christian.

    But that was being "anti-Semitic" even though Jews themselves call other Jews they admire and respect, "Great Jews", as you can see here in the headline of a New York Times article:

    "A GREAT JEW, SAYS DR. WISE.; 'One of the Most Eloquent and Learned of Rabbis'"
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=94

    This is really getting absurd. Soon, if you even mention the word "Jew" you'll be accused of "anti-Semitism", which is a nonsense term as Jews are merely a religious group.

    Treating people like this is only going to turn more and more people against Jews.

    Christians are the ones I least criticise simply because when you do criticise them they don't start treating you like a child rapist who needs locking up, nor do they make all sorts of baseless accusations against you as was made about me on that guy's site.

    The Muslim Council of Britain doesn't help its cause either when it calls for British comedians to be locked up for seven years for telling jokes about Muslims, as they did with one stand-up comic.

    Christians keep a low profile – and I'm just talking about ordinary Christians here, not politicised ones – so I have very little to say about them (even Alexie Sayle, who is condemning what is happening in Gaza, called the Jews in Israel "his people" and said he wanted to be proud of them).

    After the way I was treated on that other site, though, if I hear the word "Jew" just once more, I'll SCREAM!

    As least Mr Murray seems to be exercising a little more intelligence and restraint when it comes to moderating posts about Jay, ee, double-you, ess.

  • andrewR

    Murray

    To deny Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state is antisemitic, see EUMC Definition of antisemitism

    How many dead Israelis are you prepared to see to impose 'one state'? Becasue that is the only way it will happen.

    Antisemite.

  • andrewR

    MJ: "Is it because so much of the Western financial system and media is controlled by Zionists? Is it because the Mossad has penetrated the higher echelons of the European political Establishment?"

    You are antisemitic scum. This is straight from The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

  • dave

    I don't think you should be deleting any comments that aren't spam. Of course, it's your blog and you can do what you want, but the inconsistency is that one minute you say you're all for free speech and then you're deleting it!

    Just because they're crackpot opinions (e.g. talking of Protocols of Zion as if it wasn't a hoax) or offensive (indeed, your posts are considered offensive by many) or bubbling with seething hate, doesn't mean they should be censored.

    If you're going to stand up for free speech, then please don't be hypocritical!

  • robf

    Ok, just a small comment. I don't think Israel doesn't have the right to exist. I don't even think that's the question here. They have as much right to exist as any other country. However, what I do not agree with is the notion that Palestine does not have a right to exist [unmolested]. It isn't at all related to the Jewish, some arabs of israel are anti-palestine as well (a good israeli friend of mine, now at university in germany, has always disdained palestine, his disapproval stems from the states idealism, not that of any religion. Note that he is arab.)

    My problem is that Israel has performed land grabs from the Palestinians since the formation of the country. They're bullies with bigger guns. I don't think however that Hamas itself would not do the same were roles reversed. But I'd never place this blame on the people of Palestine, nor the people of Israel, but rather the political bodies in power.

    Everyone always seems to confuse the religion vs. political body of middle eastern countries. Israel, while lacking a lot in terms of religious freedoms for some, does protect some arab interests which is atypical of that which people apply to their idea of what Israel is. Temple Mount, one of the holiest sites to both the Jewish and Arab cultures, is controlled by the Muslims. This control is supported by Israeli government, which strictly enforces visitation to the sites by non-arab visitors.

    Were this a completely a situation revolving around religion, I don't believe that the government would enforce such religiously biased rules for the opposing arabs in a jewish state. What this is in truth, is an imperialistic government that wants control.

    Israel recently banned Arab parties from the parliamentary elections. Was this because they're Muslim? Not at all. Is it because they're Arab? Sort of, they likely feel that arabs will lean towards support of Palestine in this conflict due to the common ground [religion in this case] of Palestine to Arab party members. This is likely the ONLY reason Israel has done this. Had it been a religious ordeal, again it would have been done long ago. They're trying to save face while continually embarrassing themselves by their actions. Its a real clusterfu**…

  • Hillel

    Too bad you are a racist Anti-Semite who cannot spell the word "should". Yes, there is an "o" before the "u". Your argument is even worse than your spelling.

  • Hein

    I agree with "The Israeli attack on Gaza is unconscionable" There is no way any reasonable person could justify these – on any grounds whatsoever. I have been sickened by what I have read and seen about the brutality, the rhetoric and justifications for the attack.

    I am almost encouraged by the widespread outcries and condemnations. I dont think people have gone far enough in expressing dis-agreement and taken enough sensible action to show where they really stand on these matters.

    To jump from oposing the current actions of the State of Isreal to asking for it not to exist is NOT a leap I can take and I cannot see how any other reasonable person can.

    The actions of the US government in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places are very similar. I have not heard a single person calling for the destruction of the US as a political entity.

    I understand full well that the Isreali governments uses argumenst such as mine in their defense in their propagannda wars, but that in itself does not make the argument invalid.

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