Posted tagged ‘Censorship’

Germany: Full Censorship Now Official

October 21, 2017

Germany: Full Censorship Now Official, Gatestone InstituteJudith Bergman, October 21, 2017

Germany has made no secret of its desire to see its new law copied by the rest of the EU.

When employees of social media companies are appointed as the state’s private thought police and given the power to shape the form of current political and cultural discourse by deciding who shall be allowed to speak and what to say, and who shall be shut down, free speech becomes nothing more than a fairy tale. Or is that perhaps the point?

Perhaps fighting “Islamophobia” is now a higher priority than fighting terrorism?

A new German law introducing state censorship on social media platforms came into effect on October 1, 2017. The new law requires social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, to censor their users on behalf of the German state. Social media companies are obliged to delete or block any online “criminal offenses” such as libel, slander, defamation or incitement, within 24 hours of receipt of a user complaint — regardless of whether or the content is accurate or not. Social media companies receive seven days for more complicated cases. If they fail to do so, the German government can fine them up to 50 million euros for failing to comply with the law.

This state censorship makes free speech subject to the arbitrary decisions of corporate entities that are likely to censor more than absolutely necessary, rather than risk a crushing fine. When employees of social media companies are appointed as the state’s private thought police and given the power to shape the form of current political and cultural discourse by deciding who shall be allowed to speak and what to say, and who shall be shut down, free speech becomes nothing more than a fairy tale. Or is that perhaps the point?

Meanwhile, the district court in Munich recently sentenced a German journalist, Michael Stürzenberger, to six months in jail for posting on his Facebook page a historical photo of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, shaking the hand of a senior Nazi official in Berlin in 1941. The prosecution accused Stürzenberger of “inciting hatred towards Islam” and “denigrating Islam” by publishing the photograph. The court found Stürzenberger guilty of “disseminating the propaganda of anti-constitutional organizations”. While the mutual admiration that once existed between al-Husseini and German Nazis is an undisputed historical fact, now evidently history is being rewritten by German courts. Stürzenberger has appealed the verdict.

A German court recently sentenced journalist Michael Stürzenberger (pictured) to six months in jail for posting on his Facebook page a historical photo of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, shaking the hand of a Nazi official in Berlin, in 1941. The prosecution accused Stürzenberger of “inciting hatred towards Islam” and “denigrating Islam” by publishing the photograph. (Image Source: PI News video screenshot)

Germany has made no secret of its desire to see its new law copied by the rest of the EU, which already has a similar code of conduct for social media giants. The EU Justice Commissioner, Vera Jourova, recently said she might be willing to legislate in the future if the voluntary code of conduct does not produce the desired results. She said, however, that the voluntary code was working “relatively” well, with Facebook removing 66.5% of the material they had been notified was “hateful” between December and May this year. Twitter removed 37.4%, and YouTube took action on 66% of the notifications from users.

While purportedly concerned about online “hate speech,” one EU organization, the EU Parliament, had no qualms about letting its premises be used to host a convicted Arab terrorist, Leila Khaled, from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) at a conference about “The Role of Women in the Palestinian Popular Struggle” in September. (The EU, the US, Canada, and Australia, have all designated the PFLP a terrorist organization). The conference was organized by, among others, the Spanish delegation of Izquierda Unida (United Left) as part of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left bloc in the European Parliament.

In the UK, Prime Minister Theresa May also said that she will tell internet firms to tackle extremist content:

“Industry needs to go further and faster in automating the detection and removal of terrorist content online… ultimately it is not just the terrorists themselves who we need to defeat. It is the extremist ideologies that fuel them. It is the ideologies that preach hatred, sow division and undermine our common humanity. We must be far more robust in identifying these ideologies and defeating them — across all parts of our societies.”

Prime Minister May keeps insisting that “these ideologies” are spread “across all parts of our societies” when in reality, virtually all terrorism is Islamic. Meanwhile, her own Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, has refused to ban the political wing of Hezbollah. Hezbollah’s hate speech, apparently, is perfectly acceptable to the British authorities. So is that of South African Muslim cleric and hate preacher Ebrahim Bham, who was once an interpreter to the Taliban’s head legal advisor. He was allowed to enter the UK to speak in the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, a government building, at the “Palestine Expo” a large Jew-hate event in London in July. Bham is known for quoting Nazi Propaganda Minister Goebbels and saying that all Jews and Christians are “agents of Satan“. Meanwhile, a scholar such as Robert Spencer is banned from entering the UK, supposedly on the grounds that what he reports — accurately — is “Islamophobic”.

The British Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) also recently stated that online “hate crimes” will be prosecuted “with the same robust and proactive approach used with offline offending”. The decision to treat online offenses in the same way as offline offenses is expected to increase hate crime prosecutions, already at the highest recorded level ever. Prosecutors completed 15,442 hate crime cases in 2015-16.

Jews in Britain, who have experienced a dramatic increase in anti-Semitism over the past three years, are frequently on the receiving end of hate crimes. Nevertheless, their cases constitute less than a fraction of the statistics. In 2016/17, the CPS prosecuted 14,480 hate crimes. According to the Campaign Against Antisemitism:

“we have yet to see a single year in which more than a couple of dozen anti-Semitic hate crimes were prosecuted. So far in 2017, we are aware of… 21 prosecutions, in 2016 there were 20, and in 2015 there were just 12. So serious are the failures by the CPS to take action that we have had to privately prosecute alleged anti-Semites ourselves and challenge the CPS through judicial review, the first of which we won in March. Last year only 1.9% of hate crime against Jews was prosecuted, signaling to police forces that their effort in investigating hate crimes against Jews might be wasted, and sending the strong message to anti-Semites that they need not fear the law… Each year since 2014 has been a record-breaking year for anti-Semitic crime: between 2014 and 2016, anti-Semitic crime surged by 45%”.

Almost one in three British Jews have apparently considered leaving Britain due to anti-Semitism in the past two years.

British authorities seem far more concerned with “Islamophobia” than with the increase in hate crimes against Jews. In fact, the police has teamed up with Transport for London authorities to encourage people to report hate crimes during “National Hate Crime Awareness Week”, which runs from October 14-21. Transport for London and the Metropolitan Police will hold more than 200 community events to “reassure communities that London’s public transport system is safe for everyone”. The events are specifically targeted at Muslims; officers have visited the East London Mosque to encourage reporting hate crimes.

Last year, London mayor Sadiq Khan’s Office for Policing and Crime (Mopac) announced it was spending £1,730,726 of taxpayer money policing speech online after applying for a grant from the Home Office. Meanwhile, Khan said that he does not have the funds to monitor the 200 jihadists estimated to be in London, out of the 400 jihadists who have so far returned to the capital from Syria and Iraq. (He also implicitly admitted that he does not know the whereabouts of the jihadists who have returned). When asked by the journalist Piers Morgan why the mayor could not have them monitored, Khan answered:

“Because the Met Police budget, roughly speaking, 15 percent, 20 percent is funded by me, the mayor. The rest comes from central government. If the Met Police is being shrunk and reduced, they’ve got to prioritize and use their resources in a sensible, savvy way.”

When Morgan asked what could possibly be a bigger priority than, “people coming back from a Syrian battlefield with intent to harm British citizens”, Khan did not answer. Perhaps because it is hard to admit in public that fighting “Islamophobia” is now a higher priority than fighting terrorism?

Judith Bergman is a columnist, lawyer and political analyst.

John Kelly blocking Breitbart, Daily Caller articles from reaching Donald Trump: Report

September 2, 2017

John Kelly blocking Breitbart, Daily Caller articles from reaching Donald Trump: Report, Washington Times

(On and on it goes; where (and if) it stops nobody knows. — DM)


In this July 31, 2017 photo, President Donald Trump talks with new White House Chief of Staff John Kelly after he was privately sworn in during a ceremony in the Oval Office with President Donald Trump in Washington.

Mr. Kelly formally laid out the new review process in a pair of memos issued last month, Politico reported, “designed to ensure that the president won’t see any external policy documents, internal policy memos, agency reports and even news articles that haven’t been vetted.”

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President Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, has curtailed the flow of conservative-media reports reaching his boss amid a bid to block his access to unvetted articles, according to The New York Times.

Hardly one month into his tenure as Mr. Trump’s latest chief of staff, Mr. Kelly has made a noticeable impact on the president by reducing the number of right-wing news articles making their way to the oval office, The Times reportedFriday.

Mr. Trump does not have a web browser on his phone, and does not use a laptop, so he was dependent on aides like Stephen K. Bannon, his former chief strategist, to hand-deliver printouts of articles from conservative media outlets,” the Times reported.

“Now Mr. Kelly has thinned out his package of printouts so much that Mr. Trump plaintively asked a friend recently where The Daily Caller and Breitbart were,” conservative websites typically supportive of the administration and its policies, the report said.

Mr. Trump’s chief of staff hasn’t entirely curbed conservative news from reaching the president, however. “Mr. Kelly cannot stop Mr. Trump from binge-watching Fox News, which aides describe as the president’s primary source of information gathering,” according to The Times.

The president appeared to respond to The Times report Friday, tweeting: “General John Kelly is doing a great job as Chief of Staff.”

“I could not be happier or more impressed — and this administration continues to get things done at a record clip. Many big decisions to be made over the coming days and weeks. AMERICA FIRST!” the president tweeted.

Mr. Trump is routinely given packages of a printed-out articles, the White House acknowledged last month, but multiple reports have called into question the quality of the content the commander in chief regularly peruses. Mr. Bannon admitted in May that an uncorroborated article smearing the deputy chief of staff at the time was shared throughout the West Wing, and Axios indicated last week that Mr. Kelly was working to prevent the flow of articles from the likes of Infowars, the far-right website managed by noted conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

Mr. Kelly formally laid out the new review process in a pair of memos issued last month, Politico reported, “designed to ensure that the president won’t see any external policy documents, internal policy memos, agency reports and even news articles that haven’t been vetted.”

The Freedom, Center Beats the Southern Poverty Law Center

June 30, 2017

The Freedom, Center Beats the Southern Poverty Law Center, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, June 30, 2017

The Freedom Center has fought hard for academic freedom. It believes that the marketplace of ideas should stay open. It is convinced that the internet must also remain free of left-wing censorship.

The first freedom is the right to dissent. The SPLC’s mission is the suppression of dissent. It deliberately jumbles together totalitarian and open organizations, racists and conservatives, Nazis and anti-Islamists as a smear campaign to delegitimize everyone it disagrees with. And that’s everyone to the right.

This time the Freedom Center beat the Southern Poverty Law Center. But the battle goes on.

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The left has a problem. 

Americans are doing all the wrong things. They’re voting for Republicans, reading conservative sites and donating to conservative organizations. Something needs to be done about it. Something is being done.

Post a conservative story on Facebook or search for it on Google and out pops Snopes, a partisan site, to warn you of wrongthinking. And, until recently, when you searched for a conservative organization on Guidestar, out popped the Southern Poverty Law Center to accuse you and it of being deplorable bigots.

The Southern Poverty Law Center and Snopes are left-wing partisan groups with no qualifications to do anything except hate conservatives. The SPLC’s list of hate groups includes numerous individuals, including me, also listed until recently as a hate group was a sign outside a Pennsylvania bar.

Morris Dees, a mail order guru and cut rate lawyer for a KKK thug, built the Southern Poverty Law Center into one of the greatest mail order scams on earth. Harper’s Magazine dubbed the SPLC a “fraud” that casually throws around the “hate group” label, “shuts down debate” and “stifles free speech”.

The FBI dumped SPLC’s scam artists, but Guidestar decided to help the left-wing group stifle speech.

Guidestar’s mission is providing information about non-profits. Instead its boss, leftist activist Jacob Harold, pursued a partisan agenda. 46 organizations were accused on Guidestar’s listings of being hate groups. According to Harold, the SPLC “has the most comprehensive information on hate groups”.

There’s no question that the SPLC’s listings are comprehensive. They included, at one point, Ben Carson, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz’s father, a Republican nominee for Governor of Colorado, a former Republican member of the House from Colorado, a Republican member of the House from Iowa and the African-American former Secretary of State of Ohio. Current SPLC targets include the President of the United States and nearly every member of his cabinet. The SPLC’s definition of extremist is Republican.

The David Horowitz Freedom Center was among the conservative groups targeted by the SPLC/Guidestar collaboration. Having lost the White House and its access to the IRS, the left was looking for a new way to attack the finances of conservative organizations. Jacob Harold first dragged Guidestar into partisan waters with an election post that praised the Clinton Foundation and disparaged Trump.

Now he was looking to go after conservatives. But the Freedom Center didn’t let him get away with it.

The Freedom Center’s legal team warned Guidestar that it would be held accountable for these slanders. Other conservative groups joined the outcry. And before too long, Guidestar backed down.

The Guidestar attack was the latest manifestation of the left poisoning the open informational spaces of the internet with partisan agendas. Harold, a “social change strategist” was a veteran of left-wing organizing. He had participated in at least one anti-Trump rally. Even afterward, Harold had insisted in an editorial that Guidestar’s mission would still include attacks on “hate groups”.

“Hateful words can cultivate a climate of hostility. That hostility can yield tragic consequences: The FBI documents thousands of hate crimes each year, with most directed against vulnerable people in marginalized communities,” Harold wrote.

There is zero evidence linking the conservative groups smeared by Harold and his SPLC allies to violence. The same cannot be said for the SPLC which has been linked to violence against its political targets.

Floyd Lee Corkins’ shooting spree at the Family Research Council began with the SPLC. Corkins confessed to the FBI that he had used the SPLC website to research targets. James Hodgkinson, who opened fire at a Republican charity baseball practice, was a fan of the SPLC. The Middlebury College assault which injured a female professor was driven by the SPLC’s wrongful listing of Charles Murray.

While the SPLC claims to fight bigots, it defended a Hamas supporter who had called for the mass murder of Jews in its attack on David Horowitz, while calling Horowitz “the Godfather of the anti-Muslim movement in America,” which actual hate groups continue to use against him.

If Guidestar wants to list hate groups that harm vulnerable people, it can start with the SPLC. Unless Howard thinks that defending Hamas calls for the murder of Jews is acceptable behavior.

And then there’s one of the SPLC’s “Active Hate Groups”: Bosch Fawstin.

Bosch is only one man. But the SPLC decided to list him as a hate group. It added him to the list after the first ISIS terrorist attack in America. Their target was the Draw Mohammed contest. Had the attack succeeded, Bosch would have been killed. But instead of adding Islamic terrorists to its list, the SPLC’s Heidi Beirich announced that it was adding him instead because it had figured out a location for him.

Tragic consequences indeed.

The Freedom Center’s victory is important. The left had overreached this time. Pressure from a range of conservative activists forced a temporary retreat. But Harold has made it clear that he will try again.

Newly emboldened conservative activists are turning the tide against the left. They are refusing to accept being harassed, abused, threatened, assaulted, marginalized and silenced as business as usual.

Conservatives rallied, stood up and fought back. The targets included the Family Research Council, which had come under fire because of the SPLC hate map, and AFDI, which was targeted in the ISIS attack. Among other groups listed by Guidestar/SPLC was Tea Party Nation and the Center for Security Policy.

The SPLC list is heavily biased, tainted and flawed. It is not based on any meaningful research. And yet it continues to be widely used. Meanwhile the SPLC’s Heidi Beirich is campaigning to further censor internet search results. The message is that the left’s agenda of embedding its worldview into the informational spaces of the internet will be the major battle of the next five years.

And the Freedom Center is eager to fight that battle.

The Freedom Center has fought hard for academic freedom. It believes that the marketplace of ideas should stay open. It is convinced that the internet must also remain free of left-wing censorship.

The first freedom is the right to dissent. The SPLC’s mission is the suppression of dissent. It deliberately jumbles together totalitarian and open organizations, racists and conservatives, Nazis and anti-Islamists as a smear campaign to delegitimize everyone it disagrees with. And that’s everyone to the right.

Guidestar can’t be a trustworthy information source and participate in a partisan campaign; particularly an unprincipled extremist campaign such as the SPLC is conducting. Like Google and Facebook, it must choose. And the Freedom Center will remain vigilant in this fight for freedom.

This time the Freedom Center beat the Southern Poverty Law Center. But the battle goes on.

A Palestinian State or an Islamist Tyranny?

April 26, 2017

 A Palestinian State or an Islamist Tyranny? Gatestone InstituteGiulio Meotti, April 26, 2017

Abbad Yahiya’s novel takes aim at Palestinian taboos such as fanaticism, Islamic extremism and homosexuality. The novel’s publisher has been arrested and a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Yahiya.

The head of the Union of Palestinian Writers, Murad Sudani, attacked the writer and called for an exemplary punishment. Ghassan Khader, a Facebook user, wrote on his page that Yahiya “should be killed”.

We could go on with this list of Palestinian intellectuals who paid a high price for daring to speak the truth to Mahmoud Abbas and his corrupt circle on many issues: coexistence with the Jews, secularism, sexual freedom, freedom of conscience, human rights, or telling the truth about the Holocaust.

A Palestinian state created with the current Palestinian Authority would destroy freedom of conscience for journalists and writers; exile Christians and homosexuals; torture Arab inmates; impose sharia as the only law, and put people to death for “atheism” and “apostasy” (read, conversion to Christianity).

From the United Nations to the European Union and the mainstream press, it seems that the Jews living in Judea and Samaria are the obstacle for the Middle East coexistence. But have these well-known “observers” really observed what is going on in the areas self-governed by the Palestinian Authority, and that two-thirds of the world’s nations want to turn into another Arab-Islamic state?

Recently, one of the brightest Palestinian novelists, Abbad Yahiya, saw his fourth book, Crime in Ramallah, seized by the Palestinian police in the West Bank. The order came from Palestinian Attorney General Ahmed Barak, who ruled that the book “threatens morality“. The novel’s publisher was arrested and a warrant was issued for Yahiya’s arrest.

When Palestinian novelist Abbad Yahiya recently published his fourth book, Crime in Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority police seized all copies the book, claiming it “threatens morality”. The novel’s publisher was arrested and a warrant was issued for Yahiya’s arrest. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

His novel revolves around the murder of a Palestinian girl in Ramallah, and follows the lives of three other boys, from a homosexual to a drinker of alcohol. The novel takes aim at Palestinian taboos such as fanaticism, Islamic extremism and homosexuality. The young gay protagonist of the novel ends up moving to France.

“I do not know what to do”, said Yahiya, who fled to Qatar. “If I return, I will be arrested”.

The head of the Union of Palestinian Writers, Murad Sudani, attacked Yahiya and called for an exemplary punishment as happened with Boris Pasternak and other Soviet novelists. According to Sudani, Yahiya’s novel “violates national and religious values”. He went on to say that “my freedom as a writer ends when the freedom of the country begins”. So Palestinian writers should behave like the Soviet “engineers of souls”, then at the service of Communism, now of Islamic extremism and the Palestinian war against Israel.

Yahiya was also threatened on social media. Ghassan Khader, a Facebook user, wrote on his page that Yahiya “should be killed“. Yahiya should apparently meet the same fate of the Algerian writer Tahar Djaout, murdered by Islamists in 1994. Yahiya’s publisher, Fuad Akleek, was arrested in a library “in a very humiliating way”. The Palestinian police are reported to have entered five hundred libraries and bookshops of the West Bank to seize all the copies of the novel.

Yahiya’s fate is reminiscent of many others under the Palestinian Authority:

  • Waleed al Husseini is a Palestinian blogger who has spent ten months in a Palestinian prison for the same “crime” as the one for which the Charlie Hebdo magazine’s journalists were murdered: “Blasphemy”. Like the gay man in Yahiya’s novel, Waleed now lives in France, protected and blessed by Europe’s freedom.
  • Haidar Ghanem, the Palestinian human rights activist, was less lucky. He was shot to death by Islamic extremists.
  • Mohammed Dajani, the Palestinian professor who took his students on a field trip to Auschwitz, had to resign to save his own life after months-long campaign of death threats, campus riots and intimidation. He broke the Palestinian taboo of Holocaust denial. “I put my job on the line to expose the double-talk we live”, Dajani told Haaretz. “We say we are for democracy and we practice autocracy, we say we are for freedom of speech and academic freedom, yet we deny people to practice it”.
  • Many Palestinian Christian activists have also been found dead.

We could go on with this list of Palestinian intellectuals who paid a high price for daring to speak the truth to Abbas and his corrupt circle on many issues: coexistence with the Jews, secularism, sexual freedom, freedom of conscience, human rights, or telling the truth about the Holocaust.

Famous Israeli writers such as David Grossman, Amos Oz and Abraham Yehoshua, the “peaceniks” most pampered by the Western newspapers, should, instead of blaming their own country, ask themselves what Abbad Yahiya’s case means for the Arab-Israeli conflict, and if they should denounce the Palestinian Authority for what it is doing to him.

What happened to Yahiya’s novel contains the real reason for the failed negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. Negotiations did not founder over few houses in Judea and Samaria. The failure is the result of the abyss between an open society, Israel, and a closed regime, the Palestinian entity; between a democracy based on Western liberal principles and a gangster autocracy based on an Islamic dictatorship determined to destroy the Jewish state.

And that abyss is just four kilometers wide, the distance between the Palestinian town of Tulkarem and the Israeli city of Netanya.

A Palestinian State created with the current Palestinian Authority would ethnically cleanse Jews, as Jordan did when it attacked and seized Jerusalem in 1948.

It would be led by Holocaust-enablers such as Hamas, or by a Holocaust-denier such as Mahmoud Abbas. It would destroy freedom of conscience for journalists and writers; exile Christians and homosexuals (hundreds of Palestinian gays now live beyond Israel’s security fence); torture Arab inmates; continue to accept funding from Iran and Sunni Islamic extremists in the name of “the caliphate or death”; impose sharia (Islamic law) as the only law; put people to death for “atheism” and “apostasy” (read, conversion to Christianity). It would most likely oblige women to wear burqas and hijabs as in Saudi Arabia; commemorate terrorists and baby-killers who butchered 1,500 Israeli civilians during the Second Intifada; abolish democratic elections; fill libraries with anti-Semitic and anti-Western books; ban alcohol in public, and ask plainclothes officers to stop young couples to show marriage licenses, as in Iran.

How would you describe that state, if not as a carbon copy of a Nazi government? And what is the only country that would allow the creation of such a state on its own shoulders? The world’s only Jewish State? Of course.

Europe: Making Itself into the New Afghanistan?

April 21, 2017

Europe: Making Itself into the New Afghanistan? Gatestone Institute, Giulio Meotti, April 21, 2017

“Those (migrants) who come to seek freedom in France must participate in freedom. Migrants did not come to seek asylum in Saudi Arabia, but in Germany. Why? For security, freedom and prosperity. So they must not come to create a new Afghanistan,” said Algerian writer Kamel Daoud. Right. But it is the European mainstream that is letting them turn our cultural landscape into another Afghanistan.

The West used to be proud of being the land of the free. European museums, instead, are rapidly submitting to Islamic correctness. The exhibition “Passion for Freedom” at the Mall Gallery in London censored the light box tableaux of a family of toy animals living in an enchanted valley.

“The Louvre will be dedicating a new section to the artistic heritage of Eastern Christians”, then President Nicholas Sarkozy announced in 2010. But the project was scrapped by the museum’s new management, with the approval of President Hollande’s culture ministry. So today, the Louvre has a section dedicated to Islamic art, but nothing on Eastern Christianity.

Maastricht, in the Netherlands, is the picturesque city that gave its name to the famous treaty signed in 1992 by the twelve nations of the European Community at the time, and which paved the way for the foundation of today’s European Union and the single currency, the euro.

Maastricht, however, is also the home of “Tefaf”, the most important art and antiques fair in the world. The art work “Persepolis” by the Italian artist Luca Pignatelli was already scheduled when the commission ordered it removed. The work, built in 2016, combined a Persian Islamic rug and a female head. “We are all humbled and speechless”, Pignatelli declared, pointing out that his work had initially aroused the enthusiasm of the commission. The fair’s explanation was that Pignatelli’s work was “provocative“.

The officials of fair presumably did not want to offend Islam and possible Muslim buyers with Pignatelli’s combination of the mat (used by Muslims for prayer) with the woman’s face. “We are shocked, this is the first time this has happened and I think it is legitimate to talk about it”, Pignatelli said. “If in Rome it can happen that you decide to veil art works to avoid offending foreign visitors, well, I do not agree”. The reference is at the Italian government decision to veil the antique Roman statues to avoid offending Iran’s visiting President Hassan Rouhani.

If Europe wants a future, it should be less ideological about Maastricht’s treaty and more against Maastricht’s capitulation to fear. The brave Algerian writer Kamel Daoud said:

“Those (migrants) who come to seek freedom in France must participate in freedom. Migrants did not come to seek asylum in Saudi Arabia, but in Germany. Why? For security, freedom and prosperity. So they must not come to create a new Afghanistan”.

Right. But it is the European mainstream that is letting them turn our cultural landscape into another Afghanistan. The Taliban have killed artists and destroyed art works. The West used to be proud of being the land of the free.

European museums, instead, are rapidly submitting to Islamic correctness. The exhibition “Passion for Freedom,” at the Mall Gallery in London, censored the light box tableaux of a family of toy animals living in an enchanted valley. Entitled, “ISIS Threaten Sylvania“, it was eliminated after the British police referred to its “inflammatory” content. Previously, the Tate Gallery in London banned a work by John Latham that displayed a Koran embedded in glass.

The brave work of the artist Mimsy, “ISIS Threaten Sylvania”, which satirized the brutality of ISIS, was removed from London’s Mall Galleries after the British police defined it “inflammatory.” (Image source: Mimsy)

Another British artist, Grayson Perry, admitted that he censored himself out of fear that he might end up like Theo van Gogh, the Dutch filmmaker slain by an extremist Muslim, Mohammed Bouyeri, for having made a film about women under Islam. “I have censored myself,” Perry said. “The reason I have not gone all out in attacking Islamism in my art is because I have real fear that someone will slit my throat”.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London first showed, then withdrew, a portrait of the Prophet of Islam, a work of devotional art image of Muhammad. The photographer Syra Miah, a British native whose family came from Bangladesh, saw her work withdrawn from an Art Gallery in Birmingham after protests by a group of Muslims. The photo portrayed a half-naked woman, mentally ill, who lives under a bus stop in Bangladesh.

The Museum of Cultures of the World in Gothenburg, Sweden, opened with an exhibition entitled “AIDS in the Era of Globalization”. In it, the artist Louzla Darabi exhibited a work, “Scène d’amour”, that depicts a woman having sex with a man whose face cannot be seen. A verse from the Koran is written on it in Arabic. Less than three weeks after the inauguration of the exhibition, the museum removed the painting. The Hergé Museum in Louvain, Belgium, was planning an exhibition to pay tribute to Charlie Hebdo‘s cartoonists; that event, too, was cancelled.

French President François Hollande eliminated a section of the Louvre Museum dedicated to the Eastern Christians, who in the last two years have been decimated by the Islamic State. “The Louvre will be dedicating a new section to the artistic heritage of Eastern Christians”, then President Nicholas Sarkozy announced in 2010. But the project was scrapped by the museum’s new management, with the approval of Hollande’s culture ministry.

Marie-Hélène Rutschowscaya — former head of the Louvre’s Coptic section and one of the world’s leading scholars on Eastern Christianity — denounced the move. “The dramatic events we are currently seeing in the Middle East and Eastern Europe should instead spur us to do more to promote lasting cultural ties,” Rutschowscaya wrote in her letter to Hollande. So today, the Louvre has a section dedicated to Islamic art, but nothing on Eastern Christianity.

Perhaps the Iranian ayatollahs were right in asking the Capitoline Museums in Rome to veil the nude statues during President Rouhani’s visit. Perhaps the Islamic fundamentalists are wrong, the West is not as free as it claims. Perhaps we should apologize to the Taliban for criticizing their destruction of the great Buddhas of Afghanistan. According to the West’s new cultural sanctimony, today these statues might be considered “blasphemous” too.

Why Does the West Keep Colluding with Terrorists?

April 9, 2017

Why Does the West Keep Colluding with Terrorists? Gatestone InstituteDouglas Murray, April 9, 2017

What, after all, is the acceptable discourse — or “narrative” — on which we can agree to speak about the attacks in Stockholm, Berlin, Nice and elsewhere? Can the discussion be allowed to include the Islamic portion? Can anyone be allowed to say that the attackers act in the name of Islam, or must we continue to present all jihadist terrorists as people suffering from any affliction apart from that one?

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Like other criticisms of Hirsi Ali, the effort was to portray her as the problem itself rather than as the response to a problem.

That this type of campaign can succeed — that speakers can be stopped from speaking in Western democracies because of the implicit or explicit threat of violence — is a problem our societies need to face.

There is a whole pile of reasons why Islamists want to stop her explanations from being aired. But why — when the attacks keep on happening — do our own societies collude with such sinister people to keep ourselves the dark?

Only a fortnight after a vehicular terrorist attack in Westminster, London, another similar attack took place in Stockholm, Sweden. On one of the city’s main shopping streets, a vehicle was once again used as a battering-ram against the bodies of members of the public. As in Nice, France. As in Berlin. As so many times in Israel.

Amid this regular news there is an air of defeatism — a terrible lack of policy and lack of solutions. How can governments stop people driving trucks into pedestrians? Is it something we must simply get used to, as France’s former Prime Minister Manuel Valls and London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan have both suggested? Must we come to recognise acts of terror as something like the weather? Or is there anything we can do to limit, if not stop, them? If so, where would we start? One place would be to have a frank public discussion about these matters. Yet, even that is easier said than done.

There is a terrible symmetry to this past week in the West. The week began with the news that the Somali-born author and human-rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali had been forced to cancel a speaking tour in Australia. “Security concerns” were among the given reasons. A notable aspect of this issue, which has been made public, is that one of the venues at which Hirsi Ali was due to speak was contacted last month by something calling itself “‘The Council for the Prevention of Islamophobia Incorporated”. Nobody appears to know where this “incorporated” organisation comes from, but its purported founder — Syed Murtaza Hussain — claimed that the group would bring 5000 protestors to the hall at which Hirsi Ali was scheduled to talk. This threat is reminiscent of the occasion in 2009 when the British peer, Lord Ahmed, threatened to mobilise 10,000 British Muslims to protest at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster if the Dutch politician Geert Wilders were allowed to speak. On that occasion — as on this one — the event was cancelled. Promises to mobilise thousands of angry Muslims can have such an effect. But the long-term implications often get lost in the short-term outrage.

Other attacks on Hirsi Ali began, in fact, weeks before her now-cancelled tour had been due to start. On the web, for instance, a widely-watched video was disseminated showing a group of headscarf-covered Australian Muslim women. All were attacking Hirsi Ali and protesting her appearance in the country. Addressing her directly, they complained that, “Your narrative doesn’t support our struggles. It erases them.”

Like other criticisms of Hirsi Ali, the effort was to portray her as the problem itself rather than the response to a problem. Once again, mixing up (deliberately or otherwise) the arsonist and the firefighter, such groups present a homogenous, agreed-upon opinion — or “narrative” — as the only necessary answer to any problems that may or may not exist. Hirsi Ali, according to them, thinks the “wrong” things and says the wrong things. Therefore she must be stopped.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author and human-rights activist. (Image source: The Aspen Institute)

That this type of campaign can succeed — that speakers can be stopped from speaking in Western democracies because of the implicit or explicit threat of violence — is a problem our societies need to face. But in the meantime, we also have to face the reality that a shut-down of opinion has on our public policy as well as our public discourse.

What, after all, is the acceptable discourse — or “narrative” — on which we can agree to speak about the attacks in Stockholm, Berlin, Nice and elsewhere? Can the discussion be allowed to include the Islamic portion? Can anyone be allowed to say that the attackers act in the name of Islam, or must we continue to present all jihadist terrorists as people suffering from any affliction apart from that one?

In the middle of the week, at a memorial service in Westminster Abbey, the Very Reverend John Hall, Dean of Westminster, said that the UK was “bewildered” after the terrorist attacks of a fortnight earlier. He went on in his sermon to ask:

“What could possibly motivate a man to hire a car and take it from Birmingham to Brighton to London, and then drive it fast at people he had never met, couldn’t possibly know, against whom he had no personal grudge, no reason to hate them and then run at the gates of the Palace of Westminster to cause another death? It seems likely that we shall never know.”

If it is true that our societies are “bewildered”, as the Dean says, might it be because we have not heard a wide-enough range of possible explanations for such outrages — because we have deliberately cut ourselves off, by choice,- from the warnings of ex-Muslims such as Hirsi Ali? Amid the “narratives” that are acceptable and to be tolerated, perhaps we have failed to listen to the explanations that outline the sheer scale of the religious and societal problem now in front of us?

Of course, for many Muslims, such as those critics of Hirsi Ali in Australia, there is a clear reason why they want to stop her speaking. Were people to hear her, they would realise the vast enormity of the challenge ahead of us and the depth and breadth of its nature. Her audiences would discover the defensive play around the world in which many Muslim organisations are engaged — a campaign to limit speech precisely in order to protect their own interpretation of their religion and keep out any other.

It is, however, the dissenting, silenced voices such as Hirsi Ali’s that are precisely the voices the world needs to hear at present. How tragic that a week that began with a silencing, should end with yet another all-too-predictable terrorist attack — one which Sweden will do as much to fail at comprehending as Britain did two weeks before her.

Hearing from voices such as that of Hirsi Ali could lift the fog of our “bewilderment” and explain, for instance, what does motivate some people to drive a car or truck into crowds of people going about their lives. There is a whole pile of reasons why Islamists want to stop her explanations from being aired. But why — when the attacks keep on happening — do our own societies collude with such sinister people to keep ourselves in the dark?

Europe’s Out-of-Control Censorship

April 6, 2017

Europe’s Out-of-Control Censorship, Gatestone InstituteJudith Bergman, April 6, 2017

Who would have thought that more than a quarter of a century after the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989), Western Europe would be reinventing itself in the image of the Soviet Union?

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If Facebook insists on the rules of censorship, it should at the very least administer those rules in a fair way. Facebook, however, does not even pretend that it administers its censorship in any way that approximates fairness.

Posts critical of Chancellor Merkel’s migrant policies, for example, can be categorized as “Islamophobia”, and are often found to violate “Community Standards”, while incitement to actual violence and the murder of Jews and Israelis by Palestinian Arabs is generally considered as conforming to Facebook’s “Community Standards”.

Notwithstanding the lawsuits, Facebook’s bias is so strong that it recently restored Palestinian Arab terrorist group Fatah’s Facebook page, which incites hatred and violence against Jews — despite having shut it down only three days earlier. In 2016 alone, this page had a minimum of 130 posts glorifying terror and murder of Jews.

Germany has formally announced its draconian push towards censorship of social media. On March 14, Germany’s Justice Minister Heiko Maas announced the plan to formalize into law the “code of conduct”, which Germany pressed upon Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in late 2015, and which included a pledge to delete “hate speech” from their websites within 24 hours.

“This [draft law] sets out binding standards for the way operators of social networks deal with complaints and obliges them to delete criminal content,” Justice Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement announcing the planned legislation.

“Criminal” content? Statements that are deemed illegal under German law are now being conflated with statements that are merely deemed, subjectively and on the basis of entirely random complaints from social media users — who are free to abuse the code of conduct to their heart’s content — to be “hate speech”. “Hate speech” has included critiques of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s migration policies. To be in disagreement with the government’s policies is now potentially “criminal”. Social media companies, such as Facebook, are supposed to be the German government’s informers and enforcers — qualified by whom and in what way? — working at the speed of light to comply with the 24-hour rule. Rule of law, clearly, as in North Korea, Iran, Russia or any banana-republic, has no place in this system.

Maas is not pleased with the efforts of the social media companies. They do not, supposedly, delete enough reported content, nor do they delete it fast enough, according to a survey by the Justice Ministry’s youth protection agency. It found that YouTube was able to remove around 90% of “illegal” postings within a week, while Facebook deleted or blocked 39% of content and Twitter only 1%. The German minister, it seems, wants more efficiency.

“We need to increase the pressure on social networks… There is just as little room for criminal propaganda and slander [on social media] as on the streets,” said Maas. “For this we need legal regulations.” He has now presented these legal regulations in the form of a draft bill, which provides for complaints, reporting and fines.

There also appears to be no differentiation made between primary-source hate speech, as in many religious tenets, and secondary-source hate speech, reporting on the former.

According to the draft, social media platforms with more than two million users would be obliged to delete or block any criminal offenses, such as libel, slander, defamation or incitement, within 24 hours of receipt of a user complaint. The networks receive seven days for more complicated cases. Germany could fine a social media company up to 50 million euros for failing to comply with the law; it could fine a company’s chief representative in Germany up to 5 million euros.

It does not stop there. Germany does not want these measures to be limited to its own jurisdiction. It wants to share them with the rest of Europe: “In the end, we also need European solutions for European-wide companies,” said Maas. The European Union already has a similar code of conduct in place, so that should not be very hard to accomplish.

Facebook, for its part, has announced that by the end of 2017, the number of employees in complaints-management in Berlin will be increased to more than 700. A spokeswoman said that Facebook had clear rules against hate speech and works “hard” on removing “criminal content”.

If Facebook insists on operating under rules of censorship, it should at the very least aim to administer those rules in a fair manner. Facebook, however, does not even pretend that it administers its censorship in any way that approximates fairness. Instead, Facebook’s practice of its so-called “Community Standards” — the standards to which Facebook refers when deleting or allowing content on its platform in response to user complaints — shows evidence of entrenched bias. Posts critical of Merkel’s migrant policies, for example, can get categorized as “Islamophobia”, and are often found to violate “Community Standards”, while incitement to actual violence and the murder of Jews and Israelis by Palestinian Arabs is generally considered as conforming to Facebook’s “Community Standards”.

Facebook’s bias, in fact, became so pronounced that in October 2015, Shurat Hadin Israel Law Center filed an unprecedented lawsuit against Facebook on behalf of some 20,000 Israelis, to stop allowing Palestinian Arab terrorists to use the social network to incite violent attacks against Jews. The complaint sought an injunction against Facebook that required it to monitor incitement and to respond immediately to complaints about content that incites people to violence. Shurat Hadin wrote at the time:

“…Facebook is much more than a neutral internet platform or a mere ‘publisher’ of speech because its algorithms connect the terrorists to the inciters. Facebook actively assists the inciters to find people who are interested in acting on their hateful messages by offering friend, group and event suggestions … Additionally, Facebook often refuses to take down the inciting pages, claiming that they do not violate its ‘community standards’. Calling on people to commit crimes is not constitutionally protected speech and endangers the lives of Jews and Israelis”.

In 2016, Shurat Hadin filed a separate $1 billion lawsuit on behalf of five victims of Hamas terrorism and their families. They are seeking damages against Facebook under the U.S. Antiterrorism Act, for Facebook’s having provided material support and resources to Hamas in the form of Facebook services, which Hamas then used to carry out their terrorist activities. The US has officially designated Hamas a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” which means that it is a criminal offense to provide material support to such an organization.

Notwithstanding the lawsuits, Facebook’s bias is so strong that it recently restored Palestinian Arab terrorist group Fatah’s Facebook page, which incites hatred and violence against Jews — despite having shut it down only three days earlier. In 2016 alone, this page had a minimum of 130 posts glorifying terror and the murder of Jews.

It is only a small step from imposing censorship on social media companies to asking the same of email providers, or ordering postal authorities to screen letters, magazines and brochures in the event that citizens spread supposed “xenophobia” and “fake news”. There is ample precedent for such a course of action on the continent: During the Cold War, people living behind the Iron Curtain had their private letters opened by the communist authorities; those passages deemed to be out of line with the communist orthodoxy, were simply blacked out.

Who would have thought that more than a quarter of a century after the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989), Western Europe would be reinventing itself in the image of the Soviet Union?