Bigotry Is Not Only Free But Costly

editor Saturday 6 May 2017 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share by email Printer friendly

By Melanie Phillips.. The antisemitism crisis rolls on. Ken Livingstone has doubled down on his remarks about Hitler and Zionism. Members of the National Union of Students have been outed for sending offensive tweets about Jews. Campus meetings regularly spout hideous lies and libels about Israel. Many of us are horrified that these things are being allowed to be said at all. They are racist, prejudiced, bigoted, offensive and hurtful. Views like these should be utterly beyond the pale. Really? At the same time, many of us are horrified at the way points of view are being shut down.

There have been violent protests against conservative speakers at several American universities. In London, there have been protests aimed at stopping this week’s planned talk by Israel’s UK Ambassador Mark Regev at SOAS.

Such attempted censorship is a hallmark of totalitarian regimes. In a liberal society, free speech is a sacred value. Universities in particular must encourage the unrestricted exchange of ideas. Dubious speech must be permitted and should be countered by other speech.

Really? Like the recent Israel-bashing conference at Cork university where speakers talked of Israelis creating “death zones” and treating the Palestinians like “untermenschen” — and where one audience member claimed Zionist parents deliberately starve their children of affection to make them callous enough to do what Israelis do to Palestinians? Read the full story.



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