Thursday, August 07, 2008
Cartoons posted by Richard Seymour
Not a free speech issue, apparently. In fact, as the main protagonists have made abundantly clear, free speech doesn't come into it. Let's just enumerate some recent examples in the French context.
1. 'Mr Rufin said the evidence showed that most people found guilty of anti-semitic acts in France shared common characteristics, such as a "lack of bearings, a rootlessness, a loss of identity, a sense of social frustration and failure, a disintegrated family".
'Pronounced anti-Zionism amounted to a form of anti-semitism and should be equally reprimanded, he said. "Anti-Zionism legitimises the Palestinian armed struggle even when it targets innocent civilians," he said. "Thus it could also legitimise violent acts committed in France. By the same token, accusations of racism, apartheid and nazism against Israel could by extension put France's own Jewish population in danger."'
2. 'Alain Menargues of Radio France Internationale (RFI) called Israel a "racist" state ... RFI said on Monday it had accepted his resignation.'
3. 'In June 2002, noted sociologist Edgar Morin, and co-authors Sami Nair and Daniel Sallenave, published an article in Le Monde questioning how Israeli Jews, descendants of the victims of ghettoization and persecution, could inflict so much suffering on the Palestinians. In March this year, the France-Israel Association and Lawyers Without Borders took the three authors and the editor of Le Monde to court charging them with "racial defamation and justifying terrorism."' [Note: Morin won the first case, lost on the appeal, and had to launch a further appeal to clear his name.]
4. '"Eyal Sivan's attitude is completely different: the Jews that he detests personify, in his eyes, not a recovered past but rather a revolting present. It deals with killing them, liquidating them, making them disappear to allow for the arrival, the event of the emancipation of all men."' [Sivan sued Finkielkraut for libel, and lost. The judge in the appeal said that Finkielkraut had in fact defamed Sivan, but it was racial defamation and Sivan had only only complained about defamation...]
5. 'Daniel Mermet, a producer of La-bas si je suis, a world current events programme on France Inter radio, was cleared on all counts in two lawsuits brought against him by Goldnagel's association, the International League against Racism and Antisemitism (Licra), and the Union of Jewish Students in France (UEJF). The first was an action for antisemitism concerning listeners' messages strongly critical of Israeli government policy. The court accepted Mermet's argument that the opinions expressed were "unrelated to any racial considerations". The second case was an action for incitement to racial hatred concerning programmes in 1998 that had, in fact, been directly responsible for securing the conviction of Hans Münch, a Nazi doctor at Auschwitz, who had previously been acquitted after the war.'
Just a few prominent examples from an hysterical campaign of intellectual intimidation specifically directed against critics of Israel in France. This is the context in which Charlie Hebdo, having courageously defied the global jihad by publishing the racist 'Danish Cartoons', wilts under accusations of 'antisemitism'.