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Americans who support Hamas are hideous. I’m allowed to say that because I’m an American. For now, I cannot be arrested for voicing such an opinion. For now.
It greatly annoys me when kids take to the streets to chant about “Palestine” being free from the river to the sea. It annoys me further when I see videos of college “Free Palestine” groups doing intellectual gymnastics through fields of moral ambiguity as they try to justify the kidnapping, rape, and murder of scores of Israelis by Hamas terrorists. And for the record, I get equally annoyed when I hear warmongers talking about how we or Israel should just nuke Gaza and be done with it.
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But as annoyed as I may get, I would never try to stifle their speech through policy. I wouldn’t hire any of them for my company. I probably wouldn’t enjoy having a beer with them. I would love to debate them or engage in a counter protest at one of their events. But I would never try to prevent them from speaking anything lawfully whether I agreed with it or not.
The keyword there is “lawfully.” I am close to being a free speech absolutist, but I draw the line at speech that can cause real world harm. For example, a jaded ex-boyfriend can’t proclaim to a crowd or on social media the address of his ex-girlfriend, the times when she’s at home, the fact that she doesn’t own a firearm, and the location of her spare key in the fake rock to the right of her porch. That ex-boyfriend can’t claim “free speech” when she’s raped and murdered.
In regards to radical Islamic terrorism, I do not approve of rallying support for violence. There’s a very big difference between someone screaming “Free Palestine” and someone screaming “Let’s burn down this synagogue and murder Jews!” Again, free speech is limited only by the actual harm that it can cause, not the theoretical harm from “hate speech.”
In Brandenburg v. Ohio, the Supreme Court said speech loses First Amendment protection if it calls for and is likely to lead to “imminent lawless action.” That means saying “I hate Jews” is legal but saying “Let’s go beat up some Jews” is not.
Leftists who support Israel (yes, there are a few) would argue that the “hate speech” being used during pro-Hamas rallies or in meetings of pro-Hamas groups should be outlawed. Nikki Haley falls into this category by threatening to revoke funding from schools that allow it. According to Based Politics:
The Republican recently said, “We do need to make sure on these college campuses that we hold these universities accountable. They get the right to freedom of speech… but that doesn’t mean they get the right to freedom of hate.”
Actually, yes they do, Nikki. Hate speech, extreme speech, even most types of violent speech, are all protected by the First Amendment. But Haley sees these students’ speech as such a menace that she would revoke their constitutional rights.
Some will argue that these pro-Hamas idiots in America are “materially” aiding the terrorist group with their supportive words. This is ludicrous. Ron DeSantis is using this argument. According to Based Politics:
The governor recently forced Florida’s public universities to “deactivate” the student group Students for Justice in Palestine and said in a speech that the group’s claims “are part of what Hamas is doing” and that amounts to “material support to terrorism and that is not going to be tolerated in the state of Florida.”
DeSantis has provided no material evidence that this group has given “material support” —weapons, money, resources—to Hamas. He has just described their speech, and even if they are speaking in disgusting ways about faraway violence, that is still protected by the First Amendment. But DeSantis sees these students’ speech as such a menace that he is suppressing their constitutional rights.
This particular argument by DeSantis is the epitome of the proverbial “slippery slope.” If we claim that people are materially aiding Hamas by chanting their talking points and echoing their antisemitic sentiment, then we’ve fallen into the scariest trap. If we set the precedent that rallying for a “free Palestine” is materially aiding Hamas, then that precedent will be used against freedom-loving Americans in the near future.
It’s a false equivalent to compare Hamas and mass murderers in America, but don’t believe for a second that the left will be dissuaded from making the comparison. And if those who support “free Palestine” are considered to be aiding Hamas, then the left’s logic will dictate that those who support the 2nd Amendment are aiding mass murderers.
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There are dozens of examples of how stifling pro-Hamas speech could lead to stifling the lawful speech of Americans. The gun example is simply the most likely argument to fall down that slippery slope first.
I get truly furious when I see these idiotic, uninformed, indoctrinated Americans chanting “from the river to the sea.” I can’t watch the videos anymore because it makes me so upset, and I have a high tolerance for viewing idiotic or heinous videos. But calls to suppress their speech by GOP candidates and many conservatives are misplaced. The moment we start stifling others’ lawful speech is the moment the globalists will turn our own words against us.
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