Muslim antisemitism stirs up free speech debate

The debate over permitting antisemitic speech goes back a long way, with a general conclusion that it is best permitted.  But  Muslim speech against Israel has been so hateful that it undermines that conclusion.  There are many calls for it to be banned

Antisemitism runs deep among the Left, however, so there is little doubt that Muslim hate speech will eventually be excused on free speech grounds

A move to overhaul the law criminalising hate speech in New South Wales following clashes across Sydney amid community tensions over the Israel-Hamas war has sparked debate over the limits of freedom of speech.

The NSW premier, Chris Minns, this week ordered a review of the 2018 law that made it a crime to threaten or incite violence based on race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, because to date crimes under the laws had never been successfully prosecuted.

Minns said he did not believe the racial vilification portion of the legislation went far enough despite already being “strict”.

“You can protest, but you can’t take it so far that you’re advocating for violence or hatred on city streets,” he told ABC radio on Tuesday morning. He said there was “no point” having the laws if they were not used.

“With a state as big as ours, there are going to be ratbags and bad-faith actors and if they go too far they need to be charged,” he said.

Religious organisations, including those representing Jewish communities, have complained that the laws are useless in policing hate speech and called for an overhaul. Faith NSW’s chief executive, Murray Norman, said the government needed to lower the bar for conviction.

“There is freedom of speech in NSW and we need to protect that but we also need to make sure that people aren’t inciting others to hatred and violence,” he said. “The bar [is] set too high.”


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