French Jewish Students Demand Millions In Damages Against Twitter Over Anti-Semitic Tweets

150px-Twitter_2012_logoWe have been following (here and here and here and here and here) the worsening situation in England concerning free speech. As noted in a recent column, free speech appears to be dying in the West with the increasing criminalization of speech under discrimination, hate, and blasphemy laws. Now, a French Jewish student group is adding its name to the movement to curtail free speech rights. The Union of Jewish Students (UEJF) is demanding 38.5 million euros after Twitter has declined to turn over the identity of people responsible for comments deemed anti-Semitic by the group. The students appear to have no concept or at least concern for the loss of anonymity in free speech. Like others, they are focused only on their insular grievance with no appreciation for the harm caused by such court orders.

Jonathan Hayoun, president of the UEJF, expressed no concern of his role in the attack on free speech and simply accused Twitter of “playing the indifference card in not respecting the [earlier] decision of January 24.” The company was given two weeks to turn over the identities of the writers. What Hayoun considers “indifference” is a company trying to protect the free speech values that are at the heart of the Internet. It is Hayoun and his colleagues — and the French court — that are indifferent to the loss of free speech protection. None of us, including Twitter, has any sympathy for anti-Semites. However, it is free speech and not these writers that is at risk in this latest effort.

Hayoun appears completely uneducated, or at least unaware, as to the harm caused by such actions for free speech. He insisted that “[i]n protecting the anonymity of the author of these tweets it is making itself an accomplice and offering a highway for racists and anti-Semites.” That is absurd, of course. Twitter like other sites is a highway for public comment and free speech. With valuable speech comes a lot of low-grade speech. That is the cost of free speech. However, once you go down the slippery slope of speech regulation and punishment, that highway will become nothing more than an assembly line for approved and sanctioned thoughts.

Twitter says it will appeal and I wish them the very best in doing so. As for these students, I will only note that history is filled with students, including French students, fighting for liberty. They would not be among them.

Source: AFP

44 thoughts on “French Jewish Students Demand Millions In Damages Against Twitter Over Anti-Semitic Tweets

  1. Jonathan,
    Don’t a lot of European countries have actual laws on the books criminalizing speech about WWII and the concentration camps?

  2. @Karen

    Myself being from Germany, last I heard here we have laws that prevent you from denying the Holocaust and displaying the image of the swastika, owning “Mein Kampf” and using the greeting “Heil Hitler”.

    There’s still a lot of disgust among Germans that we ever let it happen and so any remote chance of something so awful happening again is supposedly stamped out by stopping people from saying or owning these things.

    Personally I don’t fully know where I stand. I think its ridiculous to deny what happened and think we Germans know full well what happened, many within our lifetime. Clearly most dread the thought of anything happening like this again so the bans seem superfluous to me. Anyone who hints at making a joke in such poor taste is called out immediately. Not by the law, but via people enacted social norms and telling a person how absolutely inappropriate that behavior is. Granted taking away the laws would give the Neo-Nazi groups more disgusting imagery to shove down peoples throats as there is annual demonstration by neo nazis in Dresden in response to its heavy bombing, but would I rather them have that right if it meant not doing so would mean others lost their free speech? Yes.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/demonstrators-in-dresden-block-neo-nazi-march-with-human-chain-a-883326.html

  3. A quick perusal of the features this morning . . .

    Can’t Jew bash on Twitter . . .
    Can’t say “Bingo!” or “REDRUM” . . .
    Can’t go into any library, anywhere . . .

    It’s tough to be a word, thought or civil right today.

    Offensive? Yeah, that’s offensive alright. But if you’re going to start restricting speech, I suggest a ban on vowels. Anything worth doing is worth overdoing, isn’t it?

  4. So someone says 1+1=3 and a bunch of morons decide to agree with it.
    They belong to the “were the morons” party.

    There are a lot of people in that party. It’s a big tent party. I have actually been under that big top on occasion for various idiocys in my life.
    (I think we all have)

    Thank goodness there is so much goodness outside that tent.
    Knowledge of science and sirens of truth can and does invite people outside into the shiny forward of civilization.

  5. raff,

    I would have suggested that too, but nobody would stand for that kind of overbearing crap. People have limits. :mrgreen:

  6. Twitter. I am a Nazi. Divulge the names and addesses of the students so that if I get in power in France due to my Vichy heritage and ambitiion, I will know which doors to knock on with my Storm Troopers in tow. Turn about is fair play en France.

  7. Excerpt from the AFP article:

    Questioned by AFP, Twitter said it was in discussions with the Jewish student group but that “unfortunately they are more interested in these grand gestures than in finding an adequate international procedure to obtain the requested information.”

    “We will appeal tomorrow (Thursday)” to the French court, Twitter said in reference to the January 24 decision.

    It added that the French court had only notified it of the earlier ruling “a few days ago.”

    On Sunday French President Hollande called for the names of the authors of the anti-Semitic tweets to be released, in line with the court’s decision.

    The union had been pressing Twitter to exercise tighter control of what appeared on its Internet site following a deluge of anti-Semitic messages posted under the hashtag #unbonjuif (#agoodjew).

    Twitter later removed some of the offending tweets.

    Last October, Twitter suspended the account of a neo-Nazi group in Germany following a request from the government in Berlin.

    That was the first time that the US firm had applied a policy known as “country-withheld content”, which allows it to block an account at the request of state authorities.

    http://www.france24.com/en/20130321-french-jewish-students-take-legal-action-against-twitter

    *****

    I find it interesting that the French president has gotten himself involved in this case.

  8. “The Union of Jewish Students (UEJF) is demanding 38.5 million euros after Twitter has declined to turn over the identity of people responsible for comments deemed anti-Semitic by the group. The students appear to have no concept or at least concern for the loss of anonymity in free speech.”

    Why would anyone ever believe this was about “anti-semitism”? Suing twitter proves that it was always about the money. If it were really about offensive language and posts, the UEJF would be filing criminal complaints for the law to investigate, not going to civil court first.

    Blaming twitter for the actions of its users is as stupid as blaming a phone company for obscene phone calls. And just like a phone company, twitter is not obliged to turn over the names of people without a court order, and would turn over the names to a legal authority, not a bunch of self-appointed “morality police”.

    Cases like this are why people are getting sick and tired of hearing about Israel and jews. One does not have to be “anti-semitic” to be tired of knee jerk overreactions, how accusations of “anti-semitism” are hurled at anything and anyone critical of Israel (e.g. mentioning the use of white phosphorus on Gaza). Specious and overreaching cases like this make it harder for genuine complaints about anti-semitism to be listened to.

  9. There are many limitations put on free speech, and in the US, for example, that has always been true. Turley knows better, but he couldn’t resist pretending to be a lawyer concerned with “liberty,” when, in fact, he is just a leftist hack–concerned only with promoting his leftist agenda, which, of course, by its very nature involves his hatred for Jews and Christians.

  10. Ralph :
    “Turley knows better, but he couldn’t resist pretending to be a lawyer concerned with “liberty,” when, in fact, he is just a leftist hack–concerned only with promoting his leftist agenda, which, of course, by its very nature involves his hatred for Jews and Christians.”
    ********

    I was hoping for an example of low grade speech and like a Pavlovian dog you show up right on cue. Way to hit your marks.

  11. Ralph:

    in case you didnt know, the Prof is a practicing Catholic [I am pretty sure about that]. Even a liberal Catholic [and I dont know if he is] is pretty conservative. So I think you are out of line to say that, there is a huge difference between wanting a secular government and hating Jews and Christians.

    The words facile and logic come to mind concerning your post. I leave it to you to use them in a sentence.

  12. Ralph:

    I’m just curious as to why you find this site attractive enough to contribute to when you object so greatly to its publisher.

  13. As noted in a recent column, free speech appears to be dying in the West with the increasing criminalization of speech under discrimination, hate, and blasphemy laws. Now, a French Jewish student group is adding its name to the movement to curtail free speech rights. The Union of Jewish Students (UEJF) is demanding 38.5 million euros after Twitter has declined to turn over the identity of people responsible for comments deemed anti-Semitic by the group. The students appear to have no concept or at least concern for the loss of anonymity in free speech.
    ———————————————————————
    Is it time to burn books? As long as nobody is being threatened people can say whatever they want.

  14. Now tell us how the Prof is a Nazi because everyone on the left is a Nazi, Ralphie.

    Or a “stunoid”.

    Oh, and be sure to change your posting name to give the appearance of false consensus while you’re at it.

    Does Stormfront know their village idiot is missing?

  15. Ralph,
    are you kidding me? leftist’s hate jews and Christians and therefore Prof. Turley, who you label as a leftist, hates jews and Christians??? Yikes. Get some help.

  16. Darren Smith 1, March 22, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    Unsere Dorftrottel fehlt. Der Kampf ist verloren.
    _____________________________________

    Nicht ganz.

  17. hey Mespo: Please respect Pavlov’s dog. Actually I dont know what a Pavlovian dog is but it seems that it might have something to do with these Twits who twitter. On the other hand: ich mochter ein double zimmer for ein nacht. That is all I wanted and all I twitted and now I have to answer some questionaire from the French Gestapo.

  18. If Twits do the verb thing “Tweet” then how does one ascertain if they are dumb schmucks, dumb Twits, or simply twisted? If I was Twitter I would be bitter.

  19. Matt:

    Ich möchter ein double zimmer für ein nacht.

    It means I would like a double-room for a night, referring to a hotel room

  20. I think Bodis got it right except I am not sure about the “mochte” word.
    It is kind of like the difference between a total twit and a mere tweeter and we now that in France there is certainty that never the Twain shall meet. France is merely a place for the Innocents to travel when abroad. And dont look for a broad in France who tweets. If ya know what I mean. They can twitter about but when it comes to tweeting you are liable to get sued. Especially if you live in Vichy. Y’all remember the Vichy French dont ya? It was those guys who siddled up with the Nazis to run France after the Frog army fell apart and the Brits were off the beaches at Dunkirk. These French students ought to go after the offspring (or is it “sprung”) of Marshal Petain. We wont have a Poodle in the dogpac if we suspect that they are French.

  21. Hey BarkinDog you know I am part French Poodle. And quit calling French people Frogs. It is bad enough that you eat French Fries with ketchup instead of mayonaise.

  22. BarkinDog in a prior life twice removed from this incarnation as a dog was a clerk at some town called Nuremburg after WWII where there was a trial for war crimes. The request for a double room for one night came from German High Command in 1940 directed to Marshal Petain to see if he would collaborate. His response in French was “une buerre sil vous plait.” or some such frog talk. At Nuremburg the DeGaulle frogs were in on the trial from the Allied side and so the whole collaboration thing and role of the frogs in the Holocaust was swept under the Zimmer so to speak. These present day French students ought to do some research and see if Petain has any great grand kids tweeting on twitter in frogland. Maybe those French students need to bone up on the parameters of free speech or they will be spreching Deutsch again sometime.

  23. The point of the Ich mochte reference is to point out that all that is tweeted is not what it seems to say. Code words work miracles, even on Twitter for Tweetheads. The Vichy French were nazi pigs who fully participated in the French Holocaust and all that went down in the colonies. As Curley in the Three Stooges put it: Hotsie Totsie, I smell a Nazi.
    If you drive the Tweeting Twitters into writing in code then all will seem well when they just want to rent a room in Auschlitz for the night and the next thing you know there is a concentration camp there. And, maybe I have it all wrong. They could be called Twitting Tweeters.

  24. By Lesley Docksey
    Global Research, March 22, 2013
    Url of this article:
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-bbc-impartial-reporting-or-pro-israel-bias/5328095

    The British Broadcasting Corporation has often been accused of anti-Semitism,
    usually by representatives of the Israeli government, the Israeli Ambassador to
    the UK or the Chief Rabbi.

    Any passing mention of the plight of the Palestinians on the news used to result
    in either Ambassador Proser or Rabbi Jonathon Sachs elbowing their way into the
    Today programme studio the following morning to bleat about Israel’s actions
    being misrepresented. The current Ambassador and Chief Rabbi are not quite so
    vocal but just as sensitive. Palestinians do not have that ease of access.

    But is the BBC anti-Semitic as Israel claims or, as many others claim, does the
    BBC have a pro-Israel bias in its reporting?
    (read more):
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-bbc-impartial-reporting-or-pro-israel-bias/5328095

  25. [Cold War Rhetoric tactics and Real Politik; Contemporary Interpolations]:

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/preemptive-aggression-cold-war-politics-reinvented/31560
    “Preemptive Aggression”: Cold War Politics Reinvented

    “Preemptive aggression is official US policy. America’s duopoly power wages permanent wars. Israeli Lobby and Christian Right extremists support them. The fuse is lit for trouble.”

    [meanwhile]
    “People, nations, or editorial writers who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. US corruption is rife. Grand theft is official policy. So is stealing from the poor for the rich.

    Dissent is an endangered species. Whistleblowers and courageous journalists are targeted. So are nonviolent protesters and anyone challenging US hegemony.

    America is the land of the free only in political rhetoric and patriotic songs. Hard facts reveal a nation heading fast for full blown tyranny.”

    The article is oddly about the US and Russia’s transition (and translation).
    I’m sure the attitude changes if the directions are pointed at “others” but if the shoe fits… or if the glove fits…

  26. So now they don’t want anyone to talk?

    Cool Story Bro. Anti-Semite?

    Semites are Arabs too.

    Anti-Jewish is the correct term.

  27. On balance, the assault on free speech by lawsuit is also appearing globally from corporatists acting to preempt and intimidate critical perspectives against their advantaged money power. Assault by legal threat is a tactic that is more than abused…in real world practice, but legal reprimand or liability against such legalistic attacks by “lawyer enforcement agency” is not recognized as a legitimate concern by what is often a congress of lawyers so legislation is not likely to appear as remedy.

    Pre-emptive lawsuits are epidemic for a host of reasons, simply because they are easy to utilize as a reactionary weapon and are not typically questioned as to their authentic motivation or ethical intentionality. Transgressive damages to free speech, meanwhile, is actually favored by hard right wing reactionaries, so it plays directly into the hands of progressive tyranny.

    In that regard it is not surprising that perhaps a certain passive aggression has appeared that threatens free speech given all concerned;…but then so has government sponsored knee jerk “patriotism” stifle truthful exchanges under certain conditions and anti-war is now off target when addressing military “heroes” who may well be pathological killers in some cases. Unpopular thought?…well ask yourself why some Jewish individuals are reacting “institutionally” to strike back perhaps irrationally but perhaps quite rationally;…perhaps legitimately, or perhaps opportunistically at what they perceive as a threatening context or just another step in the big game of positioning for power?..

    In any case; to place things in perspective here is a institutional gripe from an Israeli perspective concerning French Jews: and keep in mind that France has the world’s third largest Jewish population (about 500,000).

    https://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/insideisrael/2012/August/French-Anti-Semitic-Attacks-Up-by-40-Percent-/

  28. better skin 1, April 9, 2013 at 10:46 am

    Hi, thanks for sharing
    ——————————–
    better skin,

    Do you want to be tossed off the pier? There are big logs at the bottom of the pier in case a big storm blows in.

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