Twitter Caves To Demand Of French Jewish Students To Reveal Identifies Of Posters

150px-Twitter_2012_logoIn a disappointing concession by Twitter, the company has  agreed to hand over the details of people who post racist and anti-Semitic abuse anonymously on its site.  We previously discussed the effort of Jewish students to strip anonymity from posters and punish people for using language that they consider anti-Semitic.  It is in my view another major attack on free speech — part of a worldwide reduction of free speech rights.

In October 2012, Jewish student bodies asked Twitter to remove a number of messages which appeared under the hashtag #unbonjuif (#agoodjew) and posters who wrote such things as “#agoodjew is a dead Jew.” France has sweeping hate crime laws that criminalize such speech. It is a fundamental difference in the understanding of free speech. Civil libertarians believe that people have the right to express thoughts, even reprehensible and racist thoughts. It was particularly disappointing to see students (historically advocates for civil liberties) leading this fight for censorship.

The Union of Jewish Students of France (UEJF) and three other similar groups took Twitter to court to demand the names. They accused Twitter of being a platform for anti-Semitism simply by allowing people to speak freely. It is part of a move globally to restrict the world’s greatest forum for free speech. Governments are obviously fearful of the power of the public in being able to speak freely, particularly repressive governments like China and Iran. Yet, citizens are also attacking free speech to require such sites to conform to their sensibilities and demands. I agree with these students that this is viral and disgraceful speech. However, they are leading a fight that will ultimately limit all speech and kill the single greatest vehicle of free thought ever devised by humanity. It is a Pyrrhic victory to be sure.

Source: Daily Mail

54 thoughts on “Twitter Caves To Demand Of French Jewish Students To Reveal Identifies Of Posters

  1. “I have yet to hear any black person actually voice a complaint about Paule Deens behavior towards them or towards someone that they know. Hence no actual racism.”

    Once again, whether the target of racism complains is irrelevant to the measure of racism. Is the institution of slavery less evil if the slave never complains? Of course not. Is a racist remark ok if the target of the racism does not challenge the remark. I think not.

    There are many reasons why the target of racism might choose not to challenge the racism at a particular time or place. They might fear retaliation in the form or being fired from a job. They might fear other forms of institutional retaliation. They might believe challenging racism would provoke further verbal attacks. They might believe challenging racism would escalate verbal attacks to physical attack. They might conclude that the person making the racist remark was so inconsequential that it was not worth their time or effort to challenge that particular remark at that time.

    I am sure the reader can image many other reasons why the target of racism might choose to challenge racism at a different time in a different place. And if the target of racism chooses to never challenge that particular event, that still does not change or lessen the racist characteristic of the event.

    ” since no one has come forward to say that they or a known friend were the victims of such behavior than we must assume that those making the accusation are clearly stating that the alleged victims are to inept and childlike”

    Why do we have to assume that? If one were to make an assumption, why shouldn’t we assume that the target of racism is powerful and, likely to prevail in their battle against prejudice? The fact that targets of racism have withstood slavery, Jim Crow, lynching, attempts to drive them from their homes and may other forms of abuse would suggest that they are adaptable and powerful. There is a saying that ‘if it don’t kill you, it makes you stronger’. Considering what some minorities have been through, they must be very strong indeed.

    I have already stated that we should challenge racism because of our own self interest. Racism reflects limited, stereotypical thinking. Racism is dangerous and objectionable for many reasons. When we choose to challenge racism and racists, we don’t have to make any assumptions regarding the target of racism .

    “Describing a person as a nigger if that person is actually, as Chris Rock so well describes them, a nigger is not racism.”

    Some people who defend the use of the word seem to be claiming that it is ok to use the word if the referent actually matches the definition. This approach leaves out the fact that the meaning of the work is fundamentally pejorative. The meaning of the word includes more that just a specific characteristic such as ‘dark skinned person’. The meaning also includes offense, disrespect, an insult. It is that aspect of intended insult that is part of the meaning of the work that suggest that use of the word is likely racist. Nevertheless, I do not believe that a single word or a single action determines racism. Racism can be inferred from a pattern of speech or behavior over time.

    “She kissed the man for gods sake. Any person who thinks that her remarks reflects racism is several cards short of a full deck, and any person who thinks that normal person could think that is, themselves, a few cards short of a full deck.”

    How many times over the decades have we heard the claim that African Americans are like family members. The implication seems to be that if African Americans are like family members then we (the southerner) could not be racist. The fact is that the ‘family relations’ are frequently hierarchical and limiting to the African American. The ‘family relation’ frequently presumes the role of African American is subservient, dependent or child like and not that of a fully capable, independent, equal adult.

    Decades ago it was common for some to observe ‘in the south they don’t care how close you get as long as you don’t try to act equal’. In the old south it was not uncommon to have very close physical interactions. It was perfectly fine for minorities to prepare the meals or suckle the babies. Just don’t try to sit down at the dinner table. An African American might have full access to the home and knowledge of all manner of personal, intimate activities, but trying to vote could lead to a beating.

    I personally do not believe that a kiss or other close physical contact can tell us anything regarding racist belief or activity. Once again, we can infer racism from a pattern of actions or statements. However, one act or one word can only tell us something when placed in the context of other words and actions.

    Whether I am dealing with a full deck is irrelevant. I am not the issue. The issue is the issue. The issue we have been discussing is Deen and facts that might suggest if she is racist or if she has changed her opinions over the years. There is nothing about me that can possible change anything about Deen or the evidence we have about her.

    • “. Is the institution of slavery less evil if the slave never complains?” Non sequiture
      “Of course not. Is a racist remark ok if the target of the racism does not challenge the remark. I think not. ” True but not relevant. I did not state that that to be a racist that everyone has to complain, or even that most people have to complain. What I said was that if NO ONE against whom the racism was committed complains, than there is no evidence of racism. Is this really such a difficult concept for you to understand?

      “… alleged victims are to inept and childlike”

      Why do we have to assume that? ”

      Again because NO ONE complained. ZERO, NADA. The only evidence, such as it is, is the interpretation of racists who are working under the assumption that they can see racism, whereas ALL these poor benighted victims are just constitutionally unable to see or react to racism, or are to afraid, or whatever other rationalism suits her accuser.

      ” Considering what some minorities have been through, they must be very strong indeed. ” Yes, but not strong enough to do anything about this alleged racism. Are you even aware that you have managed to present an almost classi example of doublethink. You have these “very strong” people who are afraid to protest against racism. And people of at least moderate intelligence being unaware of being the targets of racism.

      I do not quibble with your statements that racism is something against which people should fight. The problem is that you have not shown any evidence of racism in the context of this discussion. ZERO NONE. Your statement that an action or remark is racist is not evidence. It is simply your opinion. You could have a million people of the same opinion and it would not matter. What you need is an actual victim to say that he was the target of racism. And the nigger who shot me, or the nigger who held a gun to the head of Ms. Deen do not qualify because you see — As Chris Rock would say, they are actually niggers. It is descriptive. A criminal or otherwise bad black person. Usually not all that smart. Go see his You tube riff.

      I love your paragraph on family members. There is no evidence of actual racism, no one has complained of actual racism or of having been the recipient of racist remarks or actions, but we know what those ignorant bigoted white southerners are like. They are all really racists. And the kind and good way that she treated this black man is evidence of racism.

      As near as I can tell, all white southerners are racist by definition of being white southerners. Nope no stereotyping there.

      ” Once again, we can infer racism from a pattern of actions or statements. ”
      I suppose you can. Where exactly is that pattern, other than in your own prejudicial mind? You have yet to present one instance, let alone a pattern.

      There is nothing about me that can possible change anything about Deen or the evidence we have about her.

      So far, the only evidence you have about her is her very positive and healthy relationship with a black man. And her remark about not being visible against a black background is about as offensive as the comment that white men can’t jump. News flash. White men can’t jump. That is probably the primary reason for the three point line is basketball🙂

  2. “NO ONE against whom the racism was committed complains, than there is no evidence of racism. Is this really such a difficult concept for you to understand?”

    I don’t think that I could agree that evidence of racism can come only from the targets of racism in the form of complaints. It seems to me that there are many possible sources of evidence of racism. We might look at the effects of the action. We might use other facts in addition to the acts in question to infer the intention of the actor. We might check the definition of the words used and other facts regarding the actor to infer racism. We might consider the opinions regarding the incident of those knowledgeable about racism including but not limited to philosophers, law enforcement, community leaders or victims of racism. We might interview the target of racism in private to obtain a candid response. We might collect data and check for statistical patterns that demonstrate racist action or effect.

    “working under the assumption that they can see racism, whereas ALL these poor benighted victims are just constitutionally unable to see or react to racism, or are to afraid, or whatever other rationalism suits her accuser. ”

    I think it is clear that sometimes we can identify racism. Do you really want to argue that only the target of racism can identify racism. It seems to me that if the act is racist or has racist overtones then most anyone with an open mind and knowledge of the situation can identify the racist act.

    I have not made any assumptions regarding the capability of the targets of racism. I did pose the question why one would assume qualities such as ‘inept’ rather than “powerful”.

    Once again, Opposition to racism does not require any assumption regarding the characteristics or capability of the target of racism. We oppose racism in part because it reflects limited, stereotypical thought, it poses a danger not just to its immediate targets but potentially to anyone, it sometimes leads to violence, and for other reasons as well.

    “Yes, but not strong enough to do anything about this alleged racism. Are you even aware that you have managed to present an almost classi example of doublethink.”

    I never claimed that the target of racism could do nothing about the racism. You are the one who keeps mentioning ‘inept’ or suggesting the target of racism can’t do anything about it. I pointed out there are many reasons why the target of racism might choose not to challenge the racism at that time in that place. None of those reasons imply that the target of racism is incapable of acting.

    I have been clear and consistent. It does not matter what the characteristics of the target of racism. We have a right and an obligation to oppose racism. Our own self interest requires that we oppose racism.

    ” you have not shown any evidence of racism in the context of this discussion.”

    You are entitled to you opinion.

    But I do believe that making a joke about someone’s skin color qualifies as racist. Making the joke before a national audience demonstrates a failure understand the implications of the words and the act. Deen does not get it.

    In a different thread on this blog specifically related to Deen I did point out that Deen expressed approval for a restaurant with wait staff that seemed to recall the antebellum south. Deen’s description of that restaurant and her consideration of a similar theme for a wedding seemed, to me, to express approval for the kind of hierarchical relations typical of the antebellum south. Deen seems to like the idea of plantation life and being served by slaves. I think that qualifies as racist.

    All one can ever do is present evidence for evaluation by others. Some get it. Some not so much.

    “As near as I can tell, all white southerners are racist by definition of being white southerners.”

    I did not say that. You said that.

    Half my family are southerners. Some are in fact racist. Some marched during the darkest days of the civil rights movement. Southerners, like most any group, have great diversity as well as similarities.

    I am necessarily responsible for my own statements. I have no obligation to be responsible for remarks you make about me.

    “News flash. White men can’t jump.”

    The remark speaks for itself.

    • “… We might consider the opinions regarding the incident of those knowledgeable about racism including but not limited to philosophers, law enforcement, community leaders or victims of racism. …”

      We might ask the invisible flying sphagetti monster. You might do a lot of those things. You did none of them, and you produced no evidene.

      “I think it is clear that sometimes we can identify racism. ” 1. What you think does not matter. I am sure that if you go outside, that it is clear to you that the sun goes around the earth. The actual physical world does not care what you thin. and 2. no racism has been identified. You have spent probably well over a thousand words simply trying to justify your position, as thought if you througn enough words out, perhaps they will transmorgify into actual evidence. Maybe in a courtroom they might.

      ” It seems to me that if the act is racist or has racist overtones then most anyone with an open mind and knowledge of the situation can identify the racist act. ” A classic example of what I believe is called beggin the question. Perhaps not. Perhaps the great spirit who moves in all things has annointed you as the grand arbiter of what is and what is not racism. Sorry, but I did not get tha memo🙂

      “, Opposition to racism does not require any assumption regarding the characteristics or capability of the target of racism. ”

      Of course not. Say, that a black mans 1/2 brother who is white, comes up to him and says “yo nigga — wassup??” And this poor benighted black man does not recognize that his 1/2 brother is racist because he is — what?? Clearly he is going to need you to explain to him, because of his simple minded ignorant state that his 1/2 brother is a racist and just did a racist thing. His 1/2 brother is racist because enlightened white you has decreed it.

      “You are the one who keeps mentioning ‘inept’ or suggesting the target of racism can’t do anything about it. ” No I did not. Your words imply that the “victims” either do not recognize racism or can not do anything about it. I am stating that, at least as far as this discussion is concerned, that it has not occured. The only way that it can have occured, as you claim, and not been acted upon, is that all the victims of it were either stupid or powerless. Or do you have a third alternative?

      I did not say they did not act on it at “that time and place” I claim that they NEVER acted on it. Do you have evidence to the contrary? No you do not. All that you have said is conjecture and speculation based on nothing but your fantasies and state of mine. A fairly prejudiced one (towards white southerners) I might ad.

      “” you have not shown any evidence of racism in the context of this discussion.”

      You are entitled to you opinion. ”

      Point it out to me. Tell me the act that you consider racist. No strike that. Point out the alleged victim who claims to have been a victim of racism.

      “But I do believe that making a joke about someone’s skin color qualifies as racist. Making the joke before a national audience demonstrates a failure understand the implications of the words and the act. Deen does not get it. ”

      Well you are certainly entitled to hold dearly to your own prejudices and beliefs. But please do not pretend that they conform to how the world is, or that they in any sense are an accurate reflection of a persons state of mind.

      Fantasies are not reality. This may come as a surprise to you but a sizeable number of women fantasize about being raped. It is the 3rd most popular fantasy. That does NOT mean that they actually want to be raped, or are mentally ill or crave abuse.

      ““As near as I can tell, all white southerners are racist by definition of being white southerners.”

      I did not say that. You said that.”

      I could be wrong, but I am fairly certain that you made some coment about white southerners.
      ” The implication seems to be that if African Americans are like family members then we (the southerner) could not be racist. The fact is that the ‘family relations’ are frequently hierarchical and limiting to the African American. The ‘family relation’ frequently presumes the role of African American is subservient, dependent or child like and not that of a fully capable, independent, equal adult. ”

      You are welcom to spin it differently

      ““News flash. White men can’t jump.”

      The remark speaks for itself.”

      And what does it say? That I am racist agains blacks or whites.

      How about this: Blacks have more of a high blood pressure than whites. But in the interest of not being racist, lets just ignore that fact, and pretend that blacks and whites are genetically the same for purposes of disease. Would that make you feel better?

  3. “We might ask the invisible flying sphagetti monster. You might do a lot of those things. You did none of them, and you produced no evidene.”

    Your claim was that only a complaint from the target of racism could count as evidence of racism.

    I mentioned several ways that we can produce evidence of racism. Clearly there are many ways to produce evidence of racism including direct observation of racist action, words of the racist, statistical data demonstrating racist action, statistical data demonstrating racist effect.

    The claim that Deen is or was a racist does not depend on a complaint of racism by the target of the racist act – which is what you argued.

    In particular, in regard to Deen her words in the video of the NYT interview are evidence of racism. That evidence may not be conclusive that Deen is right now a racist. You may not agree. But that video is clearly evidence and a joke about skin color of an African American clearly has racist content.

    In particular her expression of appreciation for the antebellum style restaurant is evidence of racism. Again that may not be conclusive and you may disagree. But the documentation of that event which was widely publicized is clearly evidence. And admiration for a restaurant which recalls the antebellum south and the institution of slavery clearly has racist content.

    “2. no racism has been identified.”

    Deen’s racist joke regarding sking color of an African American.

    Deen’s admiration for a theme restaurant based on slavery and the antebellum south.

    Deen’s plan to use a similar theme of the antebellum south for a weeding.

    “” It seems to me that if the act is racist or has racist overtones then most anyone with an open mind and knowledge of the situation can identify the racist act. ” A classic example of what I believe is called beggin the question. ”

    Are you seriously going to argue that direct knowledge of the situation cannot be used to identify racism and develop evidence???

    ““You are the one who keeps mentioning ‘inept’ or suggesting the target of racism can’t do anything about it. ” No I did not. ”

    Let me remind you:

    ” white people here complaining how these poor black people have been put upon, stop assuming that these blacks are innept children

    those making the accusation are clearly stating that the alleged victims are to inept and childlike to realize their status as victim

    poor benighted victims are just constitutionally unable to see or react to racism,

    people who are afraid to protest against racism. And people of at least moderate intelligence being unaware of being the targets of racism.

    can have occured, as you claim, and not been acted upon, is that all the victims of it were either stupid or powerless.”

    There might be more examples but I got tired of looking.

    The general pattern seems to be if someone opposes racism and there is no complaint from the target racism, then you claim that the one who opposes racism is racist themselves and must also believe the target of racism, in some sense, lacks capability.

    As I have stated before, I do not believe that is a reasonable inference. Any reasonable person can see for themselves that one who opposes racism could, in principle, at the same time hold any possible belief regarding the target of racism. It is not possible to infer the belief regarding the target of racism from the fact of opposition to racism.

    “Your words imply that the “victims” either do not recognize racism or can not do anything about it.”

    My words were about why we should believe racism was present and why we should oppose racism.

    I don’t believe my words imply anything at all about the targets of racism. It seems clear to me that one may oppose racism and believe (1) the targets are powerful (2) helpless (3) anywhere in between. The claim that opposition to racism necessarily implies anything at all about the target of racism is therefore unreasonable.

    “The only way that it (presumably the ‘it’ is the occurrence of racism without a corresponding complaint – bfm) can have occured, as you claim, and not been acted upon, is that all the victims of it were either stupid or powerless. Or do you have a third alternative?”

    I have presented several reasons why a target or racism might choose not to complain at a particular time or place, or not at all.

    The target of racism may have chosen not to complain at that time in that place because they believed the racist would retaliate, they believed the situation might escalate to violence, they thought they might have a better opportunity for success at a different place or time, they wanted to consult with counsel, or because they wanted to file an official complaint.

    I am sure there are many, many more reasons why the target or racism might choose not to complain at a particular time or place.

    ” I claim that they NEVER acted on it. Do you have evidence to the contrary? No you do not. ”

    As I have repeatedly stated I think complaint from the target of racism is irrelevant to evaluation of the fact of racism or to the question of opposition to racism. It simply does not matter if they (the targets of racism) acted on it (that is complained) or not.

    “Tell me the act that you consider racist. No strike that. Point out the alleged victim who claims to have been a victim of racism. ”

    Again, the claim by the victim that racism occurred is irrelevant to the question of whether racism exists or the issue of opposition of racism.

    As I clearly stated I consider Deens joke regarding color to be racist, and I consider her approval of the antebellum style restaurant to indicate a racist view. The fact that she gave serious consideration to having a wedding in the antebellum style similar to the theme restaurant is further evidence of a racist view.

    “I could be wrong, but I am fairly certain that you made some comment about white southerners.”

    I made many comments about white southerners. And, lets be clear about, some white southerners are in fact racist. But I never stated or implied that all white southerners are racist which is what you claimed I said. On the contrary, if it needs to be said, I have met many white southerners who deeply oppose racism.

    ” The implication seems to be that if African Americans are like family members then we (the southerner) could not be racist. The fact is that the ‘family relations’ are frequently hierarchical and limiting to the African American. The ‘family relation’ frequently presumes the role of African American is subservient, dependent or child like and not that of a fully capable, independent, equal adult. ”

    I said that and by my personal observation that is true. But your claim was that I stated that ‘all white southerners are racist by definition’.

    Nothing I have said states or implies that all white southerners are racist.

    The fact that these so called ‘family relations’ frequently have racist dimensions does not imply that all southerners are racist which is what you claimed.

    The fact that these so called ‘family relations’ frequently have racist dimensions does not imply that all ‘family relations’ between white southerners and African Americas are based on racism.

    But the fact that ‘family relations’ frequently have racist dimensions clearly and reasonably suggest that when a white southerner claims ‘family relation’ as a defense to the accusation racism then we should examine the relation carefully. We should not assume the relation is positive or benign. There is the possibility that the words provide cover for a detrimental, racist relation.

    I think it is important to mention that ‘family relation’ can be a cover, a euphemism for ‘racist relation’ because many reading this may not remember all the times over the decades that white southerners have explained that ‘outsiders do not understand race relations in the south, because they are like family to us’ while at the same time crosses burned, demonstrators were beaten, school rooms and churches were blown up, or the supposed family member was mistreated, abused or otherwise humiliated… I could go on.

    “You are welcome to spin it differently”

    You either made your case or you did not. That is for the reader to decide.

    So far as I can tell most of you argument comes down to two main points:

    (1) Deen cannot be racist because the target of the supposedly racist action did not complain

    (2) if some one who is not the target of racism opposes racism, then they must be racist themselves because opposing racism when there is no complaint from the target of racism implies they believe the targets of racism are inept or child like or otherwise unaware.

    I argue that both of those points are unreasonable to believe and unsubstantiated by you. But the reader can make up their own mind.

    Again, I am not the issue. Deen’s racism is the issue. Even if you convince someone that I am wrong or racist that has nothing to do with the broader issues of racism or with the particular case of Deen and her racist acts.

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