Voice of the Jewish News: Beware the dark side of free speech
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Voice of the Jewish News: Beware the dark side of free speech

In this week's editorial, we reflect on the role of the media in promoting Hamas terror, and the boundaries of free speech

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh

As a newspaper, our starting point – indeed our end point – is freedom of speech. Freedom to think and say things with that others may disagree is the rock on which we are built.

The same could be said of society. People hold a range of views, none more so than on Israel and the Middle East.

It is vital that they can say them, whether in Speaker’s Corner, in a newspaper, or online. Just as people can speak out for Israel, so must they be able to speak out against it.

Yet, as the column by the Israeli embassy’s Yiftah Curiel (read here) of this week’s issue shows, there is a dark side to free speech, a malevolence against which we must guard.

His piece exposes connections between Hamas, a group committed to killing Jews, and two UK-based sites, to which it routinely links. It details ties between editors and activities in Gaza which glorify terror.

It asks whether a terror group should be allowed to depict its worldview in such a wanton way, through an easily-accessed window. Just as we are free to say and think as we want, we recognise that words and ideas can be dangerous.

In the past year, dozens have died in Israel, killed by those inspired by hatred spread and disseminated online.

If freedom of speech is the rock on which we are built, the ground supporting that rock is security. And only in a secure world could someone say: “I may not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

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