Monday, January 30, 2023

Let That Be a Lesson For You, Part II

Way back in 2009, I wrote about a case in the Netherlands where an Arab NGO was prosecuted for hate speech after publishing an article insinuating the Holocaust was exaggerated. The thing was, the NGO did not actually think the Holocaust was exaggerated -- rather, it was trying to draw attention a claimed double-standard after Dutch authorities had dropped hate speech charges against right-wing Dutch filmmaker Geert Wilders for a film critics claimed insulted Muhammad. 

Drawing on entry #45 of advice for evil overlords ("I will make sure I have a clear understanding of who is responsible for what in my organization. For example, if my general screws up I will not draw my weapon, point it at him, say 'And here is the price for failure,' then suddenly turn and kill some random underling."), I observed that when a non-Jewish far-right extremist engages in hateful speech towards Muslims, the proper response -- even if one believes in tit-for-tat -- is not to turn and attack some random other minority group (here, Jews).

In the files of "all that's old is new again", a similar situation appears to be brewing in Sweden, where a Egyptian writer has postponed (but not cancelled) a planned "protest" of burning a Torah scroll in front of the Israeli embassy. Why is he burning a Torah scroll in front of the Israeli embassy? Because a far-right Danish journalist and politician (who is not Jewish) recently burned a Koran in front of the Turkish embassy. A hateful and despicable act, to be sure -- but why is the response to awful behavior by a right-wing, non-Jewish Dane to attack the Jewish community in front of the Israeli embassy? Burning a Christian Bible in front of the Danish embassy would not be justified, but at least it would have symmetry. But for some reason Jews are always the random bystander executed in situations like this.

I also want to emphasize that local Jewish community leaders credit the prevention of the Torah burning to Muslim leaders in Sweden speaking out against it. This "protester" is a hateful schmuck whose hate happens to illustrate a particular form of pathology I wanted to highlight. Fortunately, he's a hateful schmuck in the course of being repudiated, and that's a good thing.

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