Charges are being discussed against Juergen Gansel, a deputy in the Saxony state legislature for the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany. Gansel made racist remarks regarding the election of Obama and the American Jewish Committee’s Berlin Chapter wants action. The move, however, would add a violation of free speech to Gansel’s breach of decency.
Europe has seen very serious attacks on free speech in recent years. The best way for the American Jewish Committee to defend our values is to uphold free speech. There is no question that Gansel is a vile individual with hateful thoughts. He described Obama’s election as a “declaration of war” on non-white America in a statement from his office entitled “Africa conquers the White House.” Gansel warned that America’s “white identity” was at stake: “A non-white America is a declaration of war on all people who believe an organically grown social order based on language and culture, history and heritage to be the essence of humanity . . . . Barack Obama hides this declaration of war behind his pushy sunshine smile.” He further described the victory as the result of “the American alliance of Jews and Negroes.”
Germany has long restricted free speech, particularly with regard to references to the Holocaust and the use of the swastika.
Free societies must make a choice of whether they will tolerate racist speech or continue along the road of censorship and regulation of speech. When Mayor Ray Nagin warned that New Orleans might lose its black identity and promised to keep it a “chocolate city,” he was criticized but no one thought of formal charges. The same response came after the Rev. Jesse Jackson called New York “Hymie Town.” We denounce such people as idiots and move on. In my view, regardless of how obnoxious Gansel’s remarks are, they should be protected speech.
For the full story, click here.