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

    Cool Story Bro. Anti-Semite?

    Semites are Arabs too.

    Anti-Jewish is the correct term.

  2. [Cold War Rhetoric tactics and Real Politik; Contemporary Interpolations]:
    “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.”

    “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…

  3. By Lesley Docksey
    Global Research, March 22, 2013
    Url of this article:

    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):

  4. Are we being multi-lingual in here? K.

    Pour les français

    Vous trouverez toujours un autre pied à tirer

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

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

    Unsere Dorftrottel fehlt. Der Kampf ist verloren.

    Nicht ganz.

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