In a recent post I commended the press across Europe for not bowing to censorship when they published the caricatures of Muhammad. I still applaud this decision. Not because I’m going after Muslims – I have some good Muslim friends, but because in a free democracy there are very few things as precious as free speech. Even if you disagree with what people say, you must allow them to say it.
But this post is about the flipside. It is about how the media and the public look the other way when it comes anti-semitism. Holocaust denial is currently a crime in Austria, France, Germany, Israel, Belgium, Poland, Lithuania and Switzerland. To deny the Holocaust will land you in jail. Honest to God. A few years ago France wanted to ban Yahoo because people were trading Nazi memorabilia on their servers. Now if you allow people the freedom to publish caricatures of Mohammed then how can you deny other people the freedom to do the Nazi salute. Believe me when I say that I find these people deplorable, but that doesn’t change the fact that you cannot censor them.
My opinion is that Europe still feels so guilty about what happened 60 ago years that they are prepared to forsake their principles for this one issue. To my mind this is very wrong and sets a very dangerous precedent.