Posted by: Holocaust Denial Is Hate | July 20, 2009

Hello, Internet!

This site is in honor of my Advocacy project and devoted to removing hateful content on the internet, specifically anti-Semitic Holocaust denial on the social networking site Facebook.

You are welcome to use and reference the site.  If you do so, please tell me about it!  Feedback, comments and support are welcome.

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Responses

  1. While your intentions seem noble, curtailing of free speech is a dangerous road to travel on. One of the lessons of the Holocaust is that there should be a free exchange of ideas. We all condemn the Nazi burning of books which arguably set the stage for the murder and burning of humans. If offensive speech is not worth protecting, then what speech is?

    • I appreciate your comment, although I disagree with some of your assertions.

      – Free speech may not be the issue in this particular case, especially considering speech is being turned into action. The Simon Wiesenthal Center recently released a report documenting how this is happening on the internet. Their News Release can be viewed here: http://www.wiesenthal.com/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=lsKWLbPJLnF&b=4441467&ct=6994349

      – Facebook is a site for social networking, and has made a commitment in its terms of service to keep its users safe. It is a private site that has the right to limit what users say and share. Young people, who make up a large part of the Facebook community, are especially vulnerable to anti-Semitism as identified in the ADL survey. Holocaust denial content and anti-Semitic content on Facebook may give them a false education.

      – There are limits on free speech in America that protect us. In Schenck v. the United States (1919) Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. ruled that “The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic” (http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=249&invol=47). My point is just that not all limits on free speech are necessarily bad, especially when “clear and present danger” (from the same decision) exists.

      – I’m not sure I agree that one of the lessons learned is that there should be a free exchange of ideas. To me one of the lessons learned from the Holocaust is that individuals have a social responsibility to standing up when they see injustice happen, especially to minority populations.

      – Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, is now considered the start to the Nazi Holocaust. The event was more than just the burning of Jewish books, but was actually a pogram, a riotous attack on Jews that resulted in the death of 91 people and the destruction of synagogues, Jewish businesses, homes and communities (http://www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/focus/kristallnacht/). Burning books is not the same as burning people, and ridding Facebook of hate speech is not necessarily the same thing as curtailing free speech.


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