Monday, November 26, 2007

Exercising my Free Speech

My free speech is accomplished through this blog among other ways. I haven't been blogging lately, but with free speech being muddled I figure its time for me to use mine.
Whats this all about?
"Holocaust deniers to speak at Oxford"

Irving and BNP people are (maybe) going to be speaking. Now I am for free speech, very much so, but that doesn't mean I am for giving wacky and damaging views a honoured place. Sometimes I wish people would take on the debate a bit and show how exactly the Holocaust deniers, the 9/11 wackos, and Rabin assassination wackos are lying, but a debate society is not the place for that.

Oxford University's students associated condemned the idea as well several Muslim students' organizations who object to Griffin's policies and the Jewish student body
I was thinking, wouldn't this be a wonderful issue for activists from both the Jewish and Islamic communities to work together on. I did a bit of searching, and this was the best I could find

Hopefully this won't be relevant because the event will be canceled but here it is
Join the protest against Griffin & Irving this Monday 26th November - Oxford Union is no place for fascism meet at 7pm, outside the Oxford Union, St. Michael Street, Oxford, OX1 3JB

Unite Against Fascism is a broad based national campaign aimed at stopping the BNP, which brings together Black, Jewish, Muslim communities and other faith representatives, Lesbian and Gay activists, trade unionists and MPs into an alliance with all those who are threatened by and oppose fascism.

I don't know how true they keep to that but it sounds cool. But if only we could get the right-wing elements of both communities working together.

While looking around I saw this good quote by Trevor Phillips, the head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission:
"People have died for freedom of speech, they didn't fight and die for it so it could be used as a silly parlour game. Nobody needs to invite these people to deny the holocaust. The issues are too serious. I would say to the Oxford Union -- think again. If this goes ahead I hope the Oxford students will turn their backs on this shabby exhibition."
Of course the article calls Irving, a self-taught historian. Shame on the BBC for that. So that led me to look up Deborah Lipstadt's take on this. It turns out she has a good blog.

Some other recommended recent posts from that blog
Rwanda: A new form of genocide denial
Egyptian cleric preaches antisemitism to children
Armenian University gives award to Ahmadinejad: A double standard???

and back on topic
Oxford Union: Muddled reasoning

Another thing I found while researching is that the pathetic BNP can't spell in the headlines of their press releases.


and while on the subject of free speech, yes it is related in more than one way
November 25 letters to the editor of jpost:

"Personal kosher playground

Sir, - Dr. Haim Katz misses the point entirely when he compares the ownership of Park Avenue apartments by wealthy Europeans to the feeding frenzy of Diaspora Orthodox Jews on the epicenter of Jerusalem ("Priced out of the market," Business & Finance, November 22).

In Jerusalem, virtually every major real estate development in the city's center is exclusively intended for absentee owners. There is no such parallel in New York. And, yes, there is a domino effect, whereby small shop-owners and providers of basic services are either priced out of the market or bereft of a livelihood, displaced by overpriced boutiques that peck at the eyes of a population surviving on overdrafts.

The malaise, however, goes far deeper. There is a phenomenon today whereby a certain segment of American Jewry looks at Jerusalem as its personal kosher playground. Here they can drop in when convenient; enjoy overpriced restaurants; make fancy kiddushes in their rarely-used million-dollar homes in order to show off their real estate swag; and then go home to Lawrence or Englewood without ever making any real investment in Israel, the kind of investment that involves genuine risk and commitment.

The children of such people come to Jerusalem for a year or two after high school. An entire industry of overpriced, underperforming "yeshivot" caters to their whims without imparting even minimal appreciation of Israel in terms of familiarity with the land, let alone recognition of the fact that their Israeli counterparts are in uniform defending their country, at times giving their lives for it. Instead, these unsupervised boys and girls often disport themselves with a sense of entitlement that is nothing short of galling.

The message this conveys to young Israelis goes far beyond "Abandon ye all hope of living in your own city." The message is that a galut Jew and his children can exercise an ownership attitude which requires no real commitment, and that easy money buys American 18- and 19-year-olds the right to flash their lavish allowances, behave inexcusably in the city's streets and cafes, and look at the soldiers who defend their "Disneyland" as if they were invisible.

The entire phenomenon of such tourism needs to be more closely examined. The so-called yeshivot should be scrutinized. Standards should be set for what they teach and what values they impart. And the nouveaux-riche parents should be taxed for their assets here to the extent that they feel the pain a bit, too.

And, yes, through proper legislation, they should know that these taxes are being used to build affordable housing for those to whom Jerusalem is not merely a place to visit - housing alongside theirs, not in remote peripheries. (I live in the US, but my son is a soldier in the IDF.)

JJ GROSS
Riverdale, New York


Thats all for now

1 comment:

Yehudi01 said...

Great blog, and terrific insight. I really enjoyed reading through your posts....hope you write more often now because I will look forward to your latest!