Hating Palestinians is just fine

I recently argued the case for free speech for even Holocaust deniers and the hypocrisy of Zionist groups that only care about supposed anti-Semitism and not racism in general.

Now Michael Brull, blogger for Independent Australian Jewish Voices, has continued the argument:

Australia’s Zionist lobbies recently scored what they consider a triumph. Frederick Toben of the Adelaide Institute was sentenced to three months in jail for contempt after ignoring a court order forbidding him from publishing Holocaust denial writings on the internet. The charges against him were initiated in 1996 by the former president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Jeremy Jones. The protracted legal hearings have not yet come to a close: this week, Toben was granted leave to appeal his sentence at a hearing in August.

I did not consider Toben’s sentence a triumph. I don’t think people should be imprisoned for writing offensive or racist things. Even bigots deserve freedom of opinion. As John Stuart Mill reminds us, we too can be wrong. We think that racism and so on are morally outrageous, empirically nonsensical and so on. Indeed, we hold that all rational people know this. However, it is precisely when people have tried to prevent the propagation of “immoral” doctrines that we have committed the most shameful abuses. Mill writes that we “can hardly be too often reminded, that there was once a man named Socrates”, who of course was executed for spreading his immoral doctrines.

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