[Marxism] France's conflation of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism

Paul Flewers trusscott.foundation at blueyonder.co.uk
Mon Dec 9 14:31:58 MST 2019

These are some of my thoughts on this that I posted elsewhere.

Paul F

Have the initiators and supporters of this proposal thought it all through? France has quite strong laws against ‘hate speech’: the Wikipedia page starts: ‘Those laws protect individuals and groups from being defamed or insulted because they belong or do not belong, in fact or in fancy, to an ethnicity, a nation, a race, a religion, a sex, a sexual orientation, or a gender identity or because they have a handicap. The laws forbid any communication which is intended to incite discrimination against, hatred of, or harm to, anyone because of his belonging or not belonging, in fact or in fancy, to an ethnicity, a nation, a race, a religion, a sex, a sexual orientation, or a gender identity, or because he or she has a handicap.’

If, as this latest ruling states, anti-Zionism is considered as synonymous with anti-Semitism, then criticising a political philosophy — Zionism — and the actions of a nation-state — Israel — is liable to be considered in law an act of racial hatred towards the nationality or ethnic group associated with that philosophy and nation-state — that is, Jews. Therefore those making statements, issuing publications or organising activities that present a criticism of Zionism or of actions of the state of Israel are by so doing liable to be considered as contravening the ‘hate speech’ laws, and, if found guilty, they will be punished according to those laws. This sets up a significant precedent, by which political philosophies and public institutions are directly equated with a nationality or ethnicity, and are thereby protected by legislation that protects people on the grounds of nationality or ethnicity.

If anti-Zionism is legally synonymous with anti-Semitism — that is, a political viewpoint is legally synonymous with a form of racial hatred — then criticism of Zionism and of actions of the state of Israel is in the eyes of the law ipso facto motivated by racial hatred of people associated with that philosophy and nation-state. Racial hatred on the part of the critic is thus assumed: the burden of guilt now falls upon the critic, who has to show that his criticisms of a particular political philosophy and actions of a nation-state are not motivated by racial hatred of the people associated with that philosophy and nation-state, rather than an accuser of the critic having to prove that the critic is thus motivated. This also sets up a significant precedent.

Other things follow. Either this legislation means that criticism of Zionism and the state of Israel is to be treated in law in a different manner than any criticism of any other political philosophy and nation-state, or, if one is to avoid the unique treatment of Zionism and the state of Israel, the principle must be extended to cover all nationalist philosophies and nation-states. Either way, another significant precedent will have been set.

However, if the second proposal is implemented and the precedent set by this new law is extended to all nationalist philosophies and nation-states, then politics becomes essentially impossible: anyone can assert that criticism of this or that nationalist agenda or policy of a nation-state is motivated by racial hatred and have the force of the law brought down upon the critic. (I can’t help thinking that some people have already been thinking along these lines: Modi’s supporters here are busy implementing this second proposal, condemning Corbyn as ‘anti-Indian’ because of Labour’s opposition to the Indian government’s nationalist policies in Kashmir; others will no doubt follow…) The only political philosophies that will be allowed to be criticised without the speaker or writer being likely to be up before the beak on racial ‘hate speech’ charges are ones that are not associated with any particular nationality or ethnicity.

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