Sunday, April 06, 2008

Be Careful What You Wish For

The furor about the Dutch film ‘Fitna” by Geert Wilders seems to have been short lived and, more importantly, non-violent. The lack of sensitivity which provokes anger and the right to exercise free speech and expression of thought are issues that have always been with us. Censorship of information is an ongoing battle in most societies because people differ on the kind of material, and the degree to which that material, is objectionable. One comment that was made in the press about this film concerned me, however, and it was that the UN should pass a resolution that stipulates no prophet or religion can be insulted, like the anti-Semitic law. I have to disagree. In the first place the intention of the anti-Semitic law was to protect the sensitivities of the Jewish people only and not all Semites which would include Arabs. But more importantly, this so called anti-Semitic law has been used to silence criticism and even discussions about Israel because anti-Semitic was immediately and tightly equated with anti-Israeli. The average American cannot easily publish or publicly call into question anything that might be interpreted as derogatory towards Israel. Most US Congressmen and media sources are intimidated into silence by this equation. This is not only a dangerous violation of one’s right to free speech it also keeps the Arab/Israeli conflict shrouded in secrecy and inaccuracies. One should use great caution when it comes to censorship laws because they can be stretched to stifle healthy dialogue and censor facts.

ASH

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ash I agree. Two recent aricles I recommend to you which may be on line. One is an article in the New Yorker about a Palestinian American obtaining tenure at Columbia and an article in this month"s Atlantic Monthly which i know is on line regarding the future existence of Israel. Things will change

Sunday, April 13, 2008  
Blogger joladies said...

Dear Anonymous,
Thank you for suggesting the two aritcles. I was able to find the synopsis of the article about Nadia Abu El-Haj in The New Yorker and her difficulty in getting tenure at Columbia. Also, the long article 'Unforgiven' in the Atlantic Monthly about Israel's ability to survive was soul searching. Yes, I'm sure that things will change, but the horrible losses many endure until it does are heart breaking.
ASH

Monday, April 14, 2008  

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