Thursday, August 30, 2007

HATE SPEECH ( Jeenah / Posner)

(Scroll down and read the last email first.)

Email from Na'eem Jeenah (director of The Freedom of Expression Institute):

Anthony Posner

Before you go off assuming you know what I am talking about and quoting me in all
manner of places - as is your rude habit, you should perhaps understand what I am

1. I can understand that sections of the Jewish community might be upset at Minister
Kasrils Nazi-Israel analogy.

2. I can understand that these sections of the Jewish community might feel their dignity
violated by such comments.

3. I similarly understood that certain sections of the Muslim community felt similarly
aggrieved by the Danish cartoons.

4. Neither the publication of the Danish cartoons nor the Kasrils' comments in South
Africa constitute hate speech - as defined by our consitution and as articulated in the
Govender judgement. Hate speech, according to Section 16(2)(c) of the Constitution is:
"advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that
constitutes incitement to cause harm." Neither the publication of the said cartoons nor the
Kasrils comments can be contrued to "constitute incitement to cause harm" in the South
African context.

5. I would oppose any attempt to prevent these articulations (the cartoons and the Kasrils
comments) in South Africa through court interdicts as a violation of Section 16. (I did
oppose this in the former case).

6. Finally, in case you still havent got it after our many comments on the SAJR issue, let
me make this point: YOU wrote an article in a newspaper, challenging Person X about
what he had said elsewhere and issued a challenge to said Mr X to respond to your
challenges in the pages of the same newspaper. The newspaper had agreed to give Mr X
the right of reply and to publish Mr X's responses. Mr X wrote a response, meeting your
challenge, but the newspaper then refused to publish. This is the nub of the issue. The
whole "hate speech" thing is a red herring that is just a fudging of a very simple violation
of free expression. Should we then assume, Mr Posner, than you are willing to give it, but
not so willing to take it?

I am not going to write to Mr Karthy Govender in any way to support of your opposition to
his ruling about the Kasrils-hate speech issue. I, and the FXI more generally, welcome
and agree with the ruling - just as I had disagreed with an earlier ruling of the SAHRC
where they ruled that the slogan "Kill the boer, kill the farmer" was hate speech. That too
wasn't hate speech.

Na'eem Jeenah

On 25 Apr 2007 at 12:22, ANTHONY POSNER wrote:

Dear Na'eem Jeenah,

I am pleased that you have concurred when stating that " similarly a
substantial section of the Muslim community felt that way about the
Danish cartoons." It seems that we have found some common ground.

With regard to your query about "the force of your argument", I should
draw your attention to my last email which quoted the relevant section
from your Mail and Guardian article. I clearly referred to that part
of your argument.

I am also suggesting that you now make a submission to Karthy
Govender, on behalf of The FXI, which states that a substantial part
of the Jewish community would feel violated by Ronnie Kasril's "Nazi /
Israeli" analogy.

Perhaps you can also remind Jane Duncan about my "double standards"
email? It might have slipped her mind. I know that she is extremely
busy running The FXI, but the issue that i have raised is relevant to
my recent correspondence with Karthy Govender.

kind regards,

Anthony Posner

On 25 Apr 2007, at 11:36 AM, na'eem jeenah wrote:

Anthony Posner

I do not have your email regarding what you call the FXI's "double
standards". But since you have taken that up with my executive
director, I will not respond to that.

I'm unsure whether I can agree that "most members of the Jewish
community" would feel their dignity violated by Minister Kasrils
comments, since I don't have any proper poll results available to
me. However, I have no doubt that a substantial section of the
Jewish community would feel that way. Similarly, a substantial
section of the Muslim community felt that way about the Danish

Having agreed with you on that issue, then, might I ask what exatcly
your point or your question is? What do you mean by "the force of
your argument"? Which part of my argument are you referring to? And
what is the relevance to the Kasrils issue?

Na'eem Jeenah

On 25 Apr 2007 at 10:51, ANTHONY POSNER wrote:

Dear Na'eem Jeenah,

Thank you for your quick response. I have, as I am sure you are
aware, also written to Jane Duncan about The FXI's "double
standards" so perhaps you might wish to address, on behalf of The
FXI, the issues that I have raised in that email.

I think that the relevant passage in your Mail and Guardian article
is: "An additional issue raised by the current furore is of the dominance of liberal
democratic notions of rights. Rights are only, according to such
notions, individual. There is no space to consider the violation of
the dignity of a community or the right, as a community, not to
have one´s religious or cultural symbols denigrated.."

Most members of the South African Jewish community feel that their
dignity is violated by Ronnie Kasril's use of the "Nazi / Israeli"
analogy so it is evident that the force of your argument could also
apply to the "Kasrils vs The SAJR" case.

I have copied Karthy Govender as the SAHRC is now considering some
of the points that I have raised.

kind regards

Date: 23 April 2007 10:37:37 AM

Dear Jane Duncan,

Last week I wrote to you about an item that appeared on the IT'S ALMOST SUPERNATURAL blog entitled "Kasrils misrepresents opponents.." Unfortunately, you did not even acknowledge my email.

Last year The FXI was extremely quick to admonish the South African Jewish Report (SAJR) when it refused to publish a letter from Ronnie Kasrils in which he compared the Israelis to Nazis.

As you are now aware, The Mail and Guardian did not recently publish a letter from the editor of the SAJR in response to the SAHRC"s "hate speech' report. However the editor of The Mail and Guardian has not been publicly criticized/ humiliated by The FXI.

Is The FXI infected by a serious case of double standards? (" a principle or rule applied firmly to one person or group and loosely or not at all to another" Chambers Dictionary)

Kind regards

Anthony Posner