The Freedom of (Hate) Speech

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I saw a post on LinkedIn the other day that troubled me deeply. It was simply titled “The Zionist are cancer to humanity.”

It bothered me not so much because of the post itself — though that was bad enough — but more due to the reaction it elicited. (Forget the fact that it was totally ungrammatical.)

There was a back-and-forth between pro- and anti-Israeli positions, which I duly understand.

But those supporting the premise that Zionism is a cancer made comments that I found particularly gruesome and troubling, calling for the destruction of the State of Israel and the killing of Jews worldwide.

Not because they are not entitled to their opinions — even if they are considered by anyone’s civil-society standards as completely vile — but it was because of the countries that some of these opinions came from.

Countries where if you would dare make comments against government or authority, you could get whipped, jailed — or even killed.

We are very lucky that we live in a country where you can say and publish almost anything without censorship and in most cases not being taken to punishable task. (I wouldn’t yell fire in a crowded movie theater or say “I have a bomb” on an airplane.)

However, that does not mean you need to be unnecessarily repulsive when posting.

I, personally, try to understand all viewpoints. And, whether I agree with them or not, I respect the right of free speech.

But, hate speech is pointless.

And calling for destruction of a country — any country — or people because of their religion, personal beliefs, sexual orientation or race is totally disrespectful.

I respect the rights of both the Israelis and the Palestinians, and had hoped from a very young age that there would be a resolution — and still do.

But the absolutely disgusting comments I read that day make me wonder what could possibly precipitate such utter hate.

I understand the anger of people who have lost family members in conflict. I have cousins who were murdered by extremists in Israel — and not in war; I lost a great percentage of my family in the Holocaust.

But posting such loathsome commentary on any site — particularly on a site designed to build, not destroy connections, like LinkedIn — leaves me totally puzzled.

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