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Two found guilty of anti-Jewish chanting

Friday 06 February 2009

A Utrecht magistrate has given one man a €400 fine and another 30 hours community service and a three week suspended jail term for shouting anti-Jewish slogans during a demonstration against Israel's attacks on Gaza.

The two were found guilty of shouting 'Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas' during a demonstration by around 100 people in the centre of Utrecht last month.

In his statement the judge said he wanted to send out a signal that this sort of behaviour would not be tolerated, news agency ANP reported him as saying.

'You can shout many things at a demonstration but this is so upsetting and offensive that it is a criminal act,' he was reported as saying.

© DutchNews.nl

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Readers' comments (5)

I'm thinking these guys deserve jail time. There's a fine line between free speech and inciting hatred and spitting on the memory of millions of people. I think they should as well be made to take a tour of the major concentration camps and see for themselves the horrors that went on. Such Hatred should not only not be tolerated in the Netherlands but should be enough to seriously consider deportation should they be immigrants.

By brock davis | February 6, 2009 8:52 PM

"Among people who have learned something from the 18th century (say, Voltaire) it is a truism, hardly deserving discussion, that the defense of the right of free expression is not restricted to ideas one approves of, and that it is precisely in the case of ideas found most offensive that these rights must be most vigorously defended. Advocacy of the right to express ideas that are generally approved is, quite obviously, a matter of no significance. All of this is well-understood in the United States, which is why" if anyone in the U.S. were to shout retrograde, racist statements on the street they would be "sharply criticized and condemned, but without any attack on their civil rights."

In the Netherlands, "where a civil libertarian tradition is evidently not well-established... matters are apparently quite different."

From: Noam Chomsky, "Some Elementary Comments on The Rights of Freedom of Expression" (1980) with minor updates to reflect this current shameful event.

By Matt Fitt | February 7, 2009 3:09 AM

All these idiots get is just a slap on the hand, and the justice department has the gull to charge mr. Wilders With hate? Mr. Wilders has never called for death to the Muslims or any type of hate! Mr. Wilders has been a very strong advocate for the Jewish people when nobody else would stand up for the rights of Israel and the Jewish people. How can the justice department unfairly attack Mr. Wilders like this?

By sandra | February 7, 2009 5:37 AM

Although I am strongly opposed to Israeli policies and violence against the Palistinians, and I can understand protests against that, I think any reference to what happened to the Jewish people during WWII is tasteless and beside the point. Jewish people in general cannot be held responsible for what contemporary Israeli leaders do. However, maybe those leaders should try to remember a little more what the reason was for the founding of Israel after WWII. And they should also remember that their actions are responsible for the demonstrations against Jewish people all over the world.

By Keith Beker | February 7, 2009 9:20 AM

If you don't believe in freedom of speech for views that you despise, then you don't believe in freedom of speech.

I believe that all people should have the right of freedom and expression whatever their views; that the importance of defending these rights is all the greater when the person expresses views that are abhorrent to virtually everyone (as in this case); and that this becomes particularly important when the person in question is subjected to criminal punishment by the state.

The nature of a person's views is, plainly, completely irrelevant to the issue of his right to express them, a truism among civil libertarians that those of a Stalinist-fascist persuasion find quite shocking.

It seems to me something of a scandal that it is even necessary to debate these issues two centuries after Voltaire defended the right of free expression for views he detested. It is a poor service to the memory of the victims of the holocaust to adopt a central doctrine of their murderers.

By Matt Fitt | February 8, 2009 10:56 PM

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