Home
In this issue
December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 6, 2009 / 12 Shevat 5769

Be like Mike: Defend free expression

By Diana West


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | This week's column is an open letter to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.


Dear Mayor Bloomberg,


Last week, in the presence of Dutch dignitaries visiting New York City to mark the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's remarkable first voyage on behalf of the Dutch East India Co. to "Nieu Amsterdam" (New York), you spoke of the need to safeguard freedom of expression. "Of course, I do not appreciate everything I hear," you said, according to a translated report from the Amsterdam newspaper De Telegraaf. "But when you start restricting that, you step on a slippery slope. Before you know it, you can no longer say what you want."


Congratulations, Mr. Mayor. With those words, you have became the first and only public official in the United States to express support, at least in principal, for Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV). Wilders, at the unexpected order of a Dutch appeals court, now faces criminal prosecution for exercising his freedom of expression about Islam. As the headline over your remarks in Amsterdam's De Telegraaf puts it, "Bloomberg helps Rutte and Wilders" — Rutte being Mark Rutte, a second Dutch parliamentarian (and, in fact, Wilders opponent) who has come out against Wilders' prosecution.


This is either big stuff, Mr. Mayor, or I am grasping at straws. Maybe both. The fact is, an unnaturally incurious and stony international silence has met the outrageous Dutch decision to bring a duly-elected leader before a tribunal of judges for what he has said, written and expressed about Islam — for committing, according to postmodern parlance, "hate speech."


Such a term is postmodern, but the crime it describes is premodern, a violation, in non-Western eyes, of the medieval Islamic prohibition against any and all criticism of Islam. Thus, this trial of the 21st century will turn on the will of an advanced, secular Western state to force one of its citizens to accept a fossilized, sectarian, non-Western taboo. That this citizen is Holland's leading proponent of advanced, secular and Western liberties, starting with freedom of speech, adds a circular irony to the state's shameful action. And no one, save a handful of mainly anti-jihad writers, seems to care.


That is, not only public officials but also media are ignoring this story about the erosion of freedom of speech in the West. And that goes for America's talk radio and cable kings, some of whom are headquartered in New York City. From Rush Limbaugh to Sean Hannity to Mark Levin: Even as these men, among other broadcasters, alternately bristle and rail at the likelihood that they themselves may be targeted by First Amendment-flouting "hate-speech" controls in our brave, new Obama world, they fail not only to uphold Wilders' right to free speech, they fail to notice the threat to it.


All of which is why your statement, Mr. Mayor, in front of your Dutch visitors about the slippery slope of speech restrictions — "Before you know it, you can no longer say what you want" — sounded like a declaration of independence from the Sharia-serving speech codes that the West increasingly adopts to regulate expression and debate.


And that includes New York. As you may know, over at the United Nations in December, the United States (and the Netherlands, for that matter) voted against a resolution introduced on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to promote a Sharia-serving speech code. Then again, you may not know.


There were no news stories in the local press — Times, Post or Daily News. Is this more evidence of the pattern of Western silence on Sharia-serving speech codes generally? Hard to say.


Anyway, the resolution, which prohibits the "defamation" of religion, passed 86 to 53 with 42 abstentions. A dangerous gag on speech even in ecumenical theory, the resolution mentions only Islam, and the "defamation" it describes includes any linkage between Islam and terrorism.


It was left to the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations to point out that the resolution objects to efforts "pursued by extremist organizations and groups aimed ... at incitement to religious hatred," but omits any mention, for example, of what he called "the toxic religious incitement and indoctrination of Palestinian children, and the brutal persecution of Christians in Gaza," adding: "Where is the rejection of the Hamas Covenant which states: `No war takes place anywhere in the world without the Jews behind the scenes having a hand in it. ... Whenever they fan the flames of war, Allah will extinguish them.'"


Such rejection is nowhere. It is not "defamation of religion" the U.N. resolution prohibits, it is defamation — read: criticism — of Islam. As such, the resolution is an instrument of Sharia. But hardly anyone takes note.


Certainly, the General Assembly of the United Nations doesn't represent New York City. Still, I would like to draw your attention to a recent incident that took place last month as you dined inside the Marriott Marquis hotel on Broadway, a guest at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee dinner.


You may know from a brief New York Post account that 10 "pro-Gaza" demonstrators were arrested for chaining themselves to the hotel. What you probably don't know is that a New York Post photographer was prevented from taking pictures of the demonstration by "pro-Gaza" protestors. Mr. Mayor, you should watch the video (by the blogger VigilantSquirrelBrigade) of the photographer being harassed and, at one point, bashed over the head with placards by the demonstrators. (To find the video, Google: "Pro Gaza Rally Assaults Photographer.") Worse, you should watch the photographer's treatment at the hands of apathetic, unresponsive New York City police who ignored his plight. In failing to act, in looking the other way (literally), the NYPD not only ceded control of Broadway to the mob, it also failed, miserably, to protect freedom of speech in New York.


A small thing? Clearly, this is a blip next to the Dutch case against Wilders' freedom of speech, or the U.N. vote against freedom of speech. But it is highly significant nonetheless, and something you, as mayor, should know about so you can ensure freedom is better protected on your streets. A little intimidation here, a little restriction there, and there's your slippery slope. All of which is to say, Mr. Mayor, it's one thing to declare that the slippery slope exists; it's another to figure out what to do when we are already on one.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


BUY DIANA'S LATEST BOOK ...
at a discount. (Sales help fund JWR.) by clicking HERE.

JWR contributor is a columnist for The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.


Archives


Up


© 2008, Diana West