Arab-European League to be prosecuted for anti-semitic cartoon.
September 8, 2009 1:50 PM   Subscribe

The Arab-European League, an organization dedicated to "Rights of the Arab and Moslem communities in Europe and the Arab causes in general," has been charged with breaking a Netherlands law against "inciting hatred".

The same prosecutor decided not to put Dutch MP Geert Wilders on trial for his film Fitna (though an appellate court has recently ordered the charges re-instated).

Meanwhile, AEL was threatened with prosecution for publishing a cartoon showing (apparently, I haven't found the image) two men standing over a small pile of bones, one saying "I don't think they're Jews," to which the other replies "We have to get to six million somehow." At first, the cartoon came down; but when the charges against Wilders were dropped, AEL reposted it in protest. The AEL now faces a fine of 4,700 euros ($6,700) and even prison time.
posted by R_Nebblesworth (58 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
(from the BBC article)

"Freedom of expression is only a pretext to make life bitter for Muslims"

It seems to me that we have a fundamental problem here.
posted by alexwoods at 1:56 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


I love you all.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:57 PM on September 8, 2009


Wow, it's like some kind of being-a-hateful-idiot competition.
posted by Artw at 2:12 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


It sometimes strikes me that in Europe, where the mark of WWII is so much more raw than in the USA, this issue must look quite different. To me, this cartoon, while disgusting, offensive and intellectually ridiculous, is obviously free speech that should be protected as a human right. But perhaps it seems different where the memory of Nazi rhetoric is written directly onto the land and people.

I think the best way to protect my right to argue freely against shit like that cartoon is to protect the AEL's right to publish the cartoon.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 2:13 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is the cartoon also supposed to be implying that Jewish skeletons look different? As some kind of coded reference to Nazi propaganda about Jewish physical characteristics?
posted by Salvor Hardin at 2:18 PM on September 8, 2009


Jesus! It's like watching a bunch of 4 yearold some with signs that read "I'll kill you all you assholes" and others with signs reading "Get the Fuck out of my Kountry y'all" and some still others shouting "hey you can't say fuck!"
posted by nola at 2:28 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


The comic.
posted by Benjy at 2:28 PM on September 8, 2009


The AEL founder Dyab Abou Jahjah featured in the New Humanist a while back.
posted by Abiezer at 2:56 PM on September 8, 2009


I'd say the prosecution seems perfectly appropriate given how Europeans are kinda sensitive about Holocaust denial.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:57 PM on September 8, 2009


Double standards break down the rule of law.
posted by ruelle at 3:06 PM on September 8, 2009 [6 favorites]


It sometimes strikes me that in Europe, where the mark of WWII is so much more raw than in the USA, this issue must look quite different. To me, this cartoon, while disgusting, offensive and intellectually ridiculous, is obviously free speech that should be protected as a human right.

Most countries don't have the same standards for freedom of speech that the U.S. does. Here, as long as it's not Child Porn, a threat on the president's life, libel or standard (against a specific person) or "yelling fire in a crowed theater" it's protected. In a lot of European countries, that's not the case.

There isn't really any holocaust joke or antisemitic comment you could make that would get you into any legal trouble here.
posted by delmoi at 3:13 PM on September 8, 2009


I think you guys are reading way way too much into this, these countries usually have very specific laws against Holocaust denial. It's simply not a double standard when you feel guilty about your ancestors helping murder millions of people. Europe's worst anti-Arab politicians have generally already faced charges for Holocaust denial too.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:19 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Before rushing to judgement, I think this bears emphasis:
A spokesperson for the AEL said the cartoon was not meant to incite hatred and did not reflect its actual views about the holocaust. Their goal, apparently, was to highlight the prosecutor's double-standard, and the 'incomprehensible' decision to threaten prosecution against AEL while dropping charges against Wilders. Neither of the cartoons, he said, should lead to prosecution.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:03 PM on September 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


Maybe they should fine them six million euros, just to make a point.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:10 PM on September 8, 2009


not to get all thread-moddy, but the double standard at issue is the decision to not prosecute Wilders for his film Fitna; while prosecuting AEL for their anti-semitic cartoon. Also I believe the law at issue prohibits inciting hatred, it isn't specifically directed at Holocaust denial though.
posted by R_Nebblesworth at 4:15 PM on September 8, 2009


Several of those Danish cartoons (most specifically the one that portrayed Mohammed with a fuse coming out of his turban) were very racist, and under this law should have been prosecuted.

On the other hand, pointing out that there is a tendency to try to claim the Holocaust as exclusively Jewish, when many other groups, including Roma and homosexuals, were its victims as well, is a different thing entirely.

Islamophobia is the new antisemitism, and we see the same groups that used to use Jews as their scapegoat now using Islam. This prosecution is one more example.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 4:37 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


oh please, get a life y'all.....
posted by Substrata at 4:37 PM on September 8, 2009


I don't know that it makes sense to call something the new antisemitism while the old antisemitism is still around.
posted by tinatiga at 5:02 PM on September 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Abdoulmouthalib is a great name.
posted by minimii at 5:37 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


On the other hand, pointing out that there is a tendency to try to claim the Holocaust as exclusively Jewish, when many other groups, including Roma and homosexuals, were its victims as well, is a different thing entirely.

That's not what this cartoon is claiming. The cartoon is claiming that six million is a purposely exaggerated figure for Jewish deaths in the Holocaust, when in fact it's a very well-sourced figure. There were millions of non-Jewish victims, too. But disputing the number of Jewish dead specifically is a very common tactic of Holocaust deniers, whose primary motivation is their anti-Semitism.
posted by palliser at 5:38 PM on September 8, 2009


A spokesperson for the AEL said the cartoon was not meant to incite hatred and did not reflect its actual views about the holocaust.

Why pull in another minority group that has faced so much persecution and hatred in Europe (this being the Arab-European League, after all) and had nothing to do with the things the AEL was angry about: the Dutch cartoons and Wilders's film? To make a joke of the suffering and death of millions of people, just to make the point that your offensive speech is no more offensive than others', is horribly callous.

It doesn't ring true to me that this was some kind of random target, a performance of hatred for its own sake. Nothing else would do to make this point, huh? Just had to jokily deny the Holocaust, and throw in the implication that Jews are devious?

If a comparable Jewish organization had run such a deeply offensive cartoon about Arabs in order to "make a point," I wouldn't believe or care that they weren't "really" anti-Arab.
posted by palliser at 5:57 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm not really seeing the "jokey" side to this, palliser. I think AEL's point - however misguided - is that the application of this hate speech law is decidedly uneven. And it seems they're right.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:02 PM on September 8, 2009


(Their method of proving their point being the misguided part, that is; not the point that the application of the law is uneven.)
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:06 PM on September 8, 2009


Hey, come on. Even bad jokes are still just jokes.
posted by Allan Gordon at 6:17 PM on September 8, 2009


Fitna was a criticism of Islam and the way it's practiced... and not a terribly inflammatory one. (See, for instance, Religulous.) Still, I can see how a person of faith could take offense, and if they wanted a nice "back atcha!" to highlight the hypocrisy of Christian culture, sponsoring a film festival that showed "Dogma" and "Jesus Camp" back to back would be appropriate.

Post a cartoon that accuses the Jews of faking the Holocaust, and people are going to question the sincerity of your motives.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:25 PM on September 8, 2009 [7 favorites]


The cartoon's claiming more than that. The two men, who are presumably Jewish, are conspiring to inflate the numbers of dead Jews; "to get to the six million somehow." So it's not a mere claim that fewer than six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis: it asserts the existence of a Jewish conspiracy to deceive people. I think it's clearly hate speech, although it's fairly mild as such things go.

That being said, I don't think that this sort of low-level hate speech ought to be censored.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:31 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, and add "Life of Brian" to the Film Fest bill, too...
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:31 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm not really seeing the "jokey" side to this, palliser.

Wait, really? The cartoon definitely has a joke -- the skeleton isn't Jewish, but "we have to get to six million somehow," meaning they'll pretend it's Jewish. No one thinks this literal scenario happens; it's representing in a ludicrous way something Holocaust deniers actually say happens: Jews distort the historical record in order to inflate the numbers of Jewish dead.

Anyway, I agree with you that it was their method of making the point that was the problem -- so much of a problem for me, in fact, that it makes no difference whether they really believe this shit or not. It's just so grotesquely callous to drag the Holocaust and the nastiest of antisemitic tropes into a dispute that was wholly unconnected to either. A relevant choice of target would be, as Slap*Happy suggests, Christianity or modern Europe. This target was chosen for some reason other than relevance to the underlying dispute.
posted by palliser at 7:28 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


That was criminally offensive? Weak sauce. It was too lame to truly offend.

Clearly, they need to arrest Mel Brooks. Really.

Can't the Netherlands think of more creative, productive ways of being racist to the people who do their sh*t jobs for them?!
posted by markkraft at 9:00 PM on September 8, 2009


I have to say, responding to a film critical of their culture with a pointless and dishonest attack on the Jews is about the worst non-violent response they could have put together. Way to prove the point of your detractors, guys.

Any organization dedicated to the advancement of Arab and Muslim rights should, as a general rule, not publically deny the holocaust. No matter how they feel about it, it is obviously going to detract from their cause immensely and make everyone hate them (to say nothing of it being illegal in a lot of Europe.) The fact that the organization doesn't seem to have figured out this incredibly obvious principle suggests to me that this is probably a small, rather extremist organization that is probably not liked or supported by a majority of the community it claims to serve. But I could be wrong about that.
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:36 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Speaking as a Muslim, the AEL seems to be run by dolts who think that controversy equals progressive politics. Actual promotion of any kind of Islamic agenda seems to be about number 17 on their list. Arabs and Muslims in Europe need a voice, but these people are not serving them well at all.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:44 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Arabs and Muslims in Europe need a voice, but these people are not serving them well at all.

There already is one; there need to be more.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:49 PM on September 8, 2009


Responding to palliser and Mitrovarr:

While I personally believe that the Danish and Holocaust cartoons are funny, and a cartoon is a cartoon and ought not to find its way into any criminal code, let me take a stab at explaining why the AEL and I think posting that cartoon is a fitting response:

You're saying that the posting the Holocaust cartoon is so distasteful and so out of line, because Holocaust denial is so contemptible. That is precisely the point!

The reaction in Europe to the Muhammad cartoons that many found totally distasteful, sacreligous, racist, anti-semitic, disrespectful, criminal, etc. was that "They are cartoons for fuck's sake! The Mozzies going crazy about them just proves the Mozzies are crazy. They don't even understand what Freedom of Speech. They are just cartoons! Why can't people poke fun at sacred cows, even if they're not our own!?"

Well, that is what the AEL is trying to do ... the Holocaust is Europe's sacred cow ... to show the likes of palliser and Mitrovarr what it's like to have the shoe on the other foot. The reason it has to be related to Holocaust denial is that a) that'll fall afoul of the anti-freedom of speech laws that protect against Holocaust denial and show the double standard in the law; and b) it is contentious enough to get a lot of attention (just as Jyllands-Posten's cartoons did).

To say that Arabs or Muslims should somehow be squeamish about talking about the Holocaust or Holocaust denial because of the problems between Palestine and Israel that started in 1948 is the same old canard (the Holocaust is only a part of the Western 20th Century cannon and innumerable movies, not the rest of the world's): the Arab/Muslim world has no and feels no responsibility for the Holocaust; no Arab's or Muslim's grandparents were potential voters of the Third Reich or collaborators in the Vichy Regime ... and nor have Arab or Muslim academics been the ones to deny the numbers of Jews, gays, Romany, Communists killed in the Holocaust. (An exception to the latter is the conference Ahmadinejad held, but that was again in response to the Danish cartoons).

Arabs and Muslims have an objection to the 'divine', 'Jewish', 'Biblical', Old Testament claim to the Holy Land advanced by Zionists, whose movement began a good 60 years before the advent of the Holocaust, and what has ensued thereafter. Whose the fundie now!?

On the one hand, the Muslims are religious nuts because they can't tolerate cartoons poking fun at their Prophet. But on the other hand, those who hold that they have a Prophetic, Biblical claim to a barren land next to a Dead Sea (many of whom call themselves secular Israelis), who continue to kill with impunity the people and children of that land, but obsess instead about those they lost in a war that ended 74 years ago, are to be cossetted and treated specially because of this episode called the Holocaust, which will land you in jail if you joke about. Well, what about the much longer episodes of Colonisation or Imperialism?

Europe today has many more Muslims than Jews. If the Christians of Europe are going to be protective of and sensitive to one minority whom they treated badly (where are the laws protective of the Roma that also suffered hideously in the Holocaust?), should they not also be so of their more populous and discriminated against newer minorities? If the answer to the latter question is no, then the protection of that former minority's sensitivities is no longer excusable especially given that the former minority has assimilated and is today indistinguishable from the majority, and is discriminatory toward the newer more vulnerable minorities.
posted by Azaadistani at 2:06 AM on September 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


What do cartoons from a completely different country have to do with Dutch hate speech laws?

Personally, I think this film-vs.-cartoon controversy is a perfect illustration of why hate speech laws are a fundamentally bad idea-- who decides what is "offensive" enough to prosecute? It becomes a subjective standard where everyone gets offended and nobody gets what they want, which is the sense that the state respects their interests. In my view, that's a cultural standard, not a legal one.

And to Azaadistani-- clearly you didn't read the article and don't know what you're talking about. In a way, you've exactly proven my point-- the ignorant, like you, will manipulate the hate speech laws to protect their personal "sacred cows" whilst shitting all over those of the group they dislike the most-- in your case the Jews (note for the the future: the Jews of Europe are not Israeli). The end result will be more anger and more "hate speech."

That's no way to set up a legal standard.
posted by miss tea at 3:43 AM on September 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


In related news: Yesterday Helsinki district court ordered a 330 euro fine for city councilman Jussi Halla-aho for 'disturbing religious peace' in a blog post, written last year as an explicit challenge to the state prosecutor, stating that "the prophet Muhammad was a pedophile, Islam is a religion that sanctifies pedophilia; that is, a pedophile religion. Pedophilia is the will of Allah."

More here, here and (including a full translation of the blog post in question) here.
posted by Anything at 4:05 AM on September 9, 2009


miss tea: clearly you did not read the first paragraph of what I wrote, and don't know what you're talking about, so I'll repeat it:

While I personally believe that the Danish and Holocaust cartoons are funny, and a cartoon is a cartoon and ought not to find its way into any criminal (I'm adding: or civil code), let me take a stab at explaining why the AEL and I think posting that cartoon is a fitting response
posted by Azaadistani at 4:13 AM on September 9, 2009


Further commentary from miss tea:

You wrote: (note for the the future: the Jews of Europe are not Israeli).

Sure. Theodore Hertzl, the founder of Zionism, was born in Bethlehem, you'll next argue. Or that Israel was populated by only sephardic Jews and not an ashkenazi walks in Tel Aviv. I think we all know what happened to most European Jews. Many of those who survived went to Israel, particularly when the great, progressive, emancipated New World would not accept them.

And I am ignorant?
posted by Azaadistani at 4:20 AM on September 9, 2009


And finally, miss ignorant-tea:

You asked, What do cartoons from a completely different country have to do with Dutch hate speech laws?

Perhaps you've never heard of it, but there is a legal entity called the Council of Europe, of which all members, including The Netherlands and Denmark, are parties to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). In fact, there is a court in Strasbourg called the European Court of Human Rights that hears challenges often brought by individuals where human rights under the Convention are violated, including those of speech and the right to be free from discrimination. In Europe, unlike in whatever cesspool you're located, laws limiting speech, laws against discrimination and laws protecting only certain minorities and not others, that are different in varying countries that are party to the ECHR does matter, and is most relevant.
posted by Azaadistani at 4:44 AM on September 9, 2009


Azaadistani "... to the Muhammad cartoons that many found totally distasteful, sacreligous, racist, anti-semitic, disrespectful, criminal, etc."

The main outrage was due to the muslim prohibition on depictions of Muhammad. The other adjectives you list were merely a sideline.

Arguing that a ludicrous religious prohibition is comparable to holocaust denial is beyond contempt. There's no double standard being applied here, it's two different standards being applied to two different situations.
posted by fatfrank at 5:00 AM on September 9, 2009


Azaadistani: "On the one hand, the Muslims are religious nuts because they can't tolerate cartoons poking fun at their Prophet. But on the other hand…the Holocaust, which will land you in jail if you joke about."

This strikes me as basically appropriate. Poking fun at somebody's religion, while perhaps offensive, is in no way even close to being equivalent to Holocaust denial, which is, to many Europeans anyway, the continuation and direct legacy of a dangerous ideology which led to the deaths of millions of people in recent memory.

The equivalence that the AEL is trying to make here—that making fun of Islam is somehow like denying the Holocaust—is strained to the point of ridiculousness. It doesn't prove a "double standard" because the content is not the same and will probably not viewed as remotely similar by the majority of Europeans. In fact, just trying to equate the two things is likely to backfire very badly. As a PR move it strikes me as a very stupid thing to do.

The question you ask about the treatment of the Roma versus the Jews is an interesting one, though. There's probably a whole thread's worth of discussion to be had there, although I think in very broad terms it boils down to a class issue. The Roma are still not exactly well-regarded in many places, and I suspect that plays a great part. It's probably a discussion for another day, though.
posted by Kadin2048 at 5:03 AM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


fatfrank: you are mistaken. The outrage was not regarding the depiction but what was depicted. Remember the hullaballoo about how people were told that Muhammad had been depicted as a pig, and all sorts of other things? It was not merely the depiction. Had he been portrayed in a positive light, no one in the Muslim world, except the most orthodox would have minded, because to begin with, the prohibition on depiction is not absolute and depends on your sectarian belief.

Secondly, a cartoon that pokes fun at two people trying to muster a number of Jews killed, and implicitly referring to the Holocaust, while tasteless and offensive, does not qualify as Holocaust denial. To think so, is ludicrous and beyond contempt.

Even the experts think so: http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/firstamendment/2009/09/blame-the-muslims-no-wait-its-the-jews-actually-maybe-the-problems-with-the-prosecutor-.html
posted by Azaadistani at 5:11 AM on September 9, 2009


Oh no! Did I hurt your poor feelings? I guess that warrants your response.

Well, you missed my point, but I suppose that was to be expected. You clearly have a whole passel full of axes to grind, so I will let you get on with that, as you're utterly uninterested in hearing anyone else's point of view.
posted by miss tea at 5:32 AM on September 9, 2009


On the one hand, the Muslims are religious nuts because they can't tolerate cartoons poking fun at their Prophet. But on the other hand, those who hold that they have a Prophetic, Biblical claim to a barren land next to a Dead Sea (many of whom call themselves secular Israelis), who continue to kill with impunity the people and children of that land, but obsess instead about those they lost in a war that ended 74 years ago, are to be cossetted and treated specially because of this episode called the Holocaust, which will land you in jail if you joke about.

No, you're a nut because you equate zionism with Judaism and Jewish ethnicity. You can't fight ignorance and intolerance with ignorance and intolerance, it just doesn't work out.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:45 AM on September 9, 2009


Azaadistani

No, they were condemed for being blasphemous. See here for the OIC statement.

"Even the experts think so:" Oh come on, appealling to authority already? The link you cite is a comment piece from someone who specialse in first amendmant law. WTF has that got to with a legal case in Europe?
posted by fatfrank at 5:53 AM on September 9, 2009


I think it's pretty safe to say that plenty of Muslims were offended by having Mohammed associated with terrorism, blasphemy aside.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:50 AM on September 9, 2009


Azaadistani "Secondly, a cartoon that pokes fun at two people trying to muster a number of Jews killed, and implicitly referring to the Holocaust, while tasteless and offensive, does not qualify as Holocaust denial."

What? Of course it does. Questioning the number of jews killed is the very definition of holocaust denial. Simply making stuff up doesn't really help your cause. What's your next rhetorical trick going to be, sticking your fingers in your ears, singing "la la la, I can't hear you?"
posted by fatfrank at 7:36 AM on September 9, 2009


Question the total number killed does not equal Holocaust denial. It's not smart politics, but it doesn't mean denial. It's more concerned with notions about how pro-Israeli sentiment for military actions in Palestine are justified because of the Holocaust. Again, not at all smart politics but it isn't a flat denial.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:44 AM on September 9, 2009


Question the total number killed does not equal Holocaust denial.

I am very sorry, but yes, it is. There is a very large body of "thought" surrounding Holocaust Denial - it's emphatically not "flat denial" that's the problem, and most denialists have moved away from this to fudging numbers, to make it seem as if the Jews were never all that numerous, or that they were an afterthought when the Nazis were persecuting Christian ethnicities (Poles, Ukranians, etc.)

It's anti-semites and racists driving the discussion rather than Nazi apologists - the goal is to marginalize non-white, non-Christian history in Europe. So, the Jews and Roma and gays who were slaughtered in their millions were only a few hundred thousand at best according to the Denialists, and Europe was better off without them, anyway, is the inevitable subtext.

You lie down in this dog bed, and you wake up some really nasty fleas... it's not just dumb politics, it's massively self-defeating politics.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:07 AM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


The term "Holocaust denial" seems to cause problems in some of these discussions—for people unfamiliar with that particular intellectual sewer, it might be better and more broadly termed "Antisemetic Nazi Apologia." That is at least how it always seemed to me. They've given up on flatly denying, as they used to, that the death camps were just completely invented, but instead minimize the number killed and the genocidal intent, or plant false doubt and create controversy where none otherwise need exist. (Some of their tactics strike me as not altogether different from crypto-religious Intelligent Design advocates in the United States.) I'd term a lot of their more subtle techniques variants of the "concern troll."

I am about as staunch a defender of the right to freedom of speech as anyone you're likely to find, but even I find the Europeans' situation unenviable on this issue. It's not as though the dangerousness of the ideology in question is purely theoretical; it actually killed, or at least contributed directly to the deaths of, millions of people. As much as it rankles my libertarian-leaning sensibilities, I'm not sure that it's totally wrong for them to just declare a few generations cooling-off period on the topic of the Holocaust, outside of legitimate historical scholarship. The continued existence and perniciousness of Nazism shows that it's not ready for "debate" just yet.

If that means there's a double standard that makes Jews a protected class in a way that other groups aren't, well, there are about six million reasons why.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:45 AM on September 9, 2009


In Europe, unlike in whatever cesspool you're located, laws limiting speech, laws against discrimination and laws protecting only certain minorities and not others, that are different in varying countries that are party to the ECHR does matter, and is most relevant.

Well, she's obviously not in Iran or Egypt where the Bahai are regularly persecuted by the state. Or in Bangladesh, where the Muslim Army slaughtered millions of Hindus. She's probably not in Afghanistan, where the Taliban forced Hindus to wear yellow badges to identify themselves in public, and identify their places of residence as Hindu homes.

I'm guessing she's not in Malaysia, where Muslims beheaded three Christian girls with a note, "Wanted: 100 more heads, teenaged or adult, male or female; blood shall be answered with blood, soul with soul, head with head". Or in Saudi Arabia, where the religious police prevented girls leaving a burning building because they weren't 'correctly attired', leading to the deaths of fourteen children.

Sorry, what was it you were saying about cesspools again?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:48 PM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Question the total number killed does not equal Holocaust denial. [...] It's more concerned with notions about how pro-Israeli sentiment for military actions in Palestine are justified because of the Holocaust.

This doesn't make sense on its face. Why would the number of Jewish dead in the Holocaust be reduced by the uses to which the Holocaust has been put?

Really, this question is not up for grabs; it's a very well-established range of five-and-a-half to six million -- the lower end, if you only count deaths for which there is a specific record, and the upper end, if you use pre-war and post-war population data to make the estimates. These numbers are not disputable using legitimate historiographical means; they are, however, disputed -- by people whose interest is not an accurate investigation of history, but supporting their antisemitism.
posted by palliser at 2:04 PM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Azaadistani: Well, that is what the AEL is trying to do ... the Holocaust is Europe's sacred cow ... to show the likes of palliser and Mitrovarr what it's like to have the shoe on the other foot. The reason it has to be related to Holocaust denial is that a) that'll fall afoul of the anti-freedom of speech laws that protect against Holocaust denial and show the double standard in the law; and b) it is contentious enough to get a lot of attention (just as Jyllands-Posten's cartoons did).

Well, if they were doing that, it was an incredibly stupid decision. The problem is, the small subset of muslims that really are violent radicals practically deny the holocaust as a cultural pastime. This act is far less likely to be interpreted as 'oh, so that's how they feel, I understand now' and more likely to be interpreted as 'oh look, they're making pointless attacks on the Jews again. I guess the sun rose this morning, too.' It really is the one of the worst possible decisions they could have made. It plays into one of the cultural stereotypes that define the worst elements of their culture.

Oh, and the point of the term 'sacred cow' is to illustrate how stupid the regard is for a certain cultural convention or event. It really isn't appropriate with regard to the holocaust, which Europe must keep in mind for a damn good reason - so it doesn't ever happen again.
posted by Mitrovarr at 4:30 PM on September 9, 2009


Nothing new, really. Netherland are the most overtly opposed to Islam and Muslims in Europe
posted by skillipedia at 7:53 PM on September 9, 2009


I'm guessing she's not in Malaysia

This did not happen in Malaysia, but hey, same difference right? You know, one of those countries where all those people live where they all follow that one religion in that one way.
posted by BinGregory at 10:30 PM on September 9, 2009


One of the messages I hear in this cartoon as described (the link didn't work for me), is that modern anti-moslem sentiment carries a stink with a foul aroma not unlike that of antisemitism. A fair statement! But it was a very stupid thing to print, even if no anti-Jewish statement was intended.

I think they would have done better using a broader expanse of racist content. Perhaps a number of hate cartoons, derived from a variety of historical targets. Something anti-Catholic, from British past, something anti-African, from the States, etc. Include something anti-Moslem and anti-Jewish, perhaps at the top, a little larger. The large picture issue is racism, the grand scale is bigotry of all kinds.

That's a viable message, and worth repeating. Europe is so good about Nazi/anti-Jewish being a no-no, while not being as intolerant of racism/bigotry in general as they should.
posted by Goofyy at 12:30 AM on September 10, 2009


I think they would have done better using a broader expanse of racist content.

Really? Because I think the problem is that the idea is fundamentally stupid. It's as if someone protesting against violence went around punching people in the face. If you don't like racism then say so. As Mitrovarr said, the most common reaction won't be "Oh, I guess they're really upset about racism, let us examine our behavior". No: it's going to be is going to be "Moslems are being racist again, what a surprise."
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:14 AM on September 10, 2009


Sorry, what was it you were saying about cesspools again?

That the mind of someone who cherry-picks incidents of Man's inhumanity to Man to single out and condemn a religion as broad and varied as Islam is a pretty deep and stinky cesspool.
posted by Slap*Happy at 2:57 AM on September 10, 2009


Yes, the cartoon is clearly among the worst forms of holocaust denial, excepting those that continue by saying that exterminating the Jews would have been a good idea. No, Fitna is perfectly reasonable criticism of extremist religious practices, like female circumcision, that suffers merely from lack of neutrality via lack of breadth, i.e. not being a documentary. I'd certainly hope the courts would recognize this difference!
posted by jeffburdges at 10:22 AM on September 10, 2009


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