Same Old, Same Old?

by Rabbi Philip Lefkowitz

And today in 2013, we are in December of this year, 100 years since the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank and the Internal Revenue Service and the ADL, America’s debt has gone from $2 billion to more than $16 trillion. Now they set these institutions up to work in unity: the Federal Reserve the IRS and the ADL. One was to create debt, the other was to enforce a tax policy to take from the American citizens enough to pay that debt, and the watchdog of the whole thing was to see who would recognize who did this and that’s when the ADL raised the cry of anti-Semitism, and now America is seeing herself in ruin because of it... Special interests along with Zionist AIPAC are robbing America of the principle of democracy and representative government. You need a man like Senator Hagel as U.S. Secretary of Defense, because a man with a mind like that will keep you out of fighting someone else’s wars. You need a man in government that has another opinion that is not controlled, and if the Senate does not confirm him as Defense Secretary because of his opinion on Israel, that only proves that the Senate and the US Congress is controlled by the Israel lobby, and it also sentences America to war with Iran for the State of Israel.
-- Rev. Louis Farrakhan at his recent Annual Savior’s Day event in Chicago attended by more than 8,000 individuals.

The recent Oscar awards celebration saw Seth McFarlan doing a standup comedy routine with Ted the bear, a puppet, star of his own two successful movies. Ted turned to Seth, his straight-man, and asked him if he was Jewish. Seth replied that he is Catholic. Ted’s response, “I’m Jewish.” Playing off the well-known truth, a fact we Jews are generally proud of, that the American movie industry is, in the main, the product of Jewish entrepreneurs, Ted indicated that if you’re not Jewish, you haven’t got a chance in Hollywood.

This evoked an immediate response from the ADL decrying his routine. It implied that the Jews, as an identifiable group, are not only very cliquish but are unwilling to give non-Jews an equal chance in the movies, something we know is far from the truth. It was the movie industry that opened the way for many minorities to get their chance to “make it” in show business. It was the “Hollywood crowd” that enjoyed the special scrutiny of Senator McCarthy, seeking to uncover those on the left of politics – at the time, as well associated with the support for the rights of all individuals.

The criminal code of Canada states in Section 319 “penalties from a fine to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years for anyone who incites hatred against any identifiable group.

More than 20 years ago, I was a guest on the Oprah Winfrey show as part of a discussion regarding the refusal of Kansas City to allow the neo-Nazis free time on public broadcasting. To avoid giving them the time, the City Council voted to curtail public broadcasting. Of course, the neo-Nazis were highly offended that their rights to freedom of speech had been taken away from them by Kansas City. Advocating that we in the United States adopt law similar to section 319 of the criminal code of Canada, which, as it clearly states, prescribes legal prosecution for those who incite hatred against an identifiable group, I became a target for verbal abuse by the Nazis onstage and those in the audience. Fortunately, I did not suffer the physical abuse showered upon Geraldo Rivera who but a few weeks prior to Oprah’s show, had gotten into a brawl with them on his own TV show and was gifted with a broken nose. It was an experience I shall never forget. At the time this law had recently been enacted by the Canadian Parliament. It was subsequently tested in the courts of Canada and prevailed.

And while I, as an American, am extremely proud of the fact that we in the United States are strong proponents of the right of each citizen to freedom of speech, as are our neighbors to the north, I think it is time for us to look to Canada for some sage advice on the subject.

Racists, bigots of all kinds hide behind the right of freedom of speech to spew forth their diatribes of hate. And while the response to their heinous verbiage has traditionally been “everyone knows they are crazy,” I fear we may not rely on this assessment any longer.

One need but check out the Internet to confirm my fears. There is a massive amount of horrific hate material being propagated on a daily basis on the Internet. The Internet has given everyone an equal bully pulpit. Prior to the rise of the Internet as the medium of choice for information by the vast majority of Americans, the bigots and the haters were resigned to publishing their own material. It generally stood separate and distinct from the mainline media and means of communication and was more easily pointed out for what it was. It was crudely done, its range of influence was quite limited.

Today the anti-Semite, the racist, the hater, shares the same “international bully-pulpit” enjoyed by the legitimate exponent of ideas. Our government has already acknowledged the fact that the Internet is a key element in the recruitment of young folks for various terrorist organizations. The now more sophisticated bigot can draw people to his sick beliefs by presenting well-developed websites citing all kinds of beguiling “facts.”

Developing laws to limit the attacks on identifiable groups in the United States would go a long way in seeing to it that much of this filth, now presented in a sophisticated manner on the Internet, can be reined in. Our society, as Canada, must begin to take steps to limit the ability of the haters of this world to spew forth their bile of bigotry without any legal repercussions whatsoever. We, as Canada has shown, can protect our coveted and cherished right to free speech, while, at the same time, limiting those who abuse this very right for the singular intent of generating hatred toward, or in some instances violence against other human beings.