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New Zealand, Monday, August 16, 2004


Marc My Words: The Love Of Justice And Freedom

by Marc Alexander MP

THE love of justice and freedom elevates our humanity… hatred does not.

Much of my job in Parliament revolves around the passing of laws that curb extreme human nature. In the case of those who desecrated the Jewish gravestones in Wellington, their humanity is debateable.

These 'criminals' set about to vandalise 80 gravestones at Wellington's Makara Cemetery and then set fire to the chapel. As if to underscore their stupidity they left behind two swastikas -- symbols of supreme hatred and nationalism born of intellectual incest. The attack was not isolated but followed one on sixteen historic Jewish headstones at Central Wellington's Bolton Street Cemetery three weeks earlier.

It's clear that these attacks were designed to target and instil fear among the Jewish community. Why? Because, if there was any logic to it, it is undoubtedly a moronic response to the government's diplomatic sanctions imposed on Israel following the jailing of two alleged Israeli spies for passport fraud, as well as the blocking of a planned visit by the 'revisionist historian', David Irving. But let's look at these incidents … Were these two alleged agents working on behalf of the Israeli Government? Who knows? But what we do know is that our local Jewish community had nothing to do with them. To consider them responsible and therefore deserving of 'punishment' is utter madness.

It is no different from blaming French restaurants in Wellington for blowing up the Rainbow Warrior.

As regards so-called 'historian' David Irving, we have conveniently induced amnesia to our valued freedom of speech. It is all the more strange that our Prime Minister originally supported his right to enter New Zealand to express his views (23 July). Whatever our views on Irving's ideas, if we cherish our own freedom to speak, we must respect and deliver that freedom to others, no matter the content. For at least two reasons we need that freedom all the more when the message is repugnant. We should never give a cloak of credibility to Irving's words by committing a crime against his freedom of speech; and secondly, it is only by the full glare of public scrutiny that we can discern the nonsense of his views. But more than that, we mock our own freedom to speak if we impose a contrary restriction that protects only popular ideas.

The last thing we should welcome therefore, is the Government's decision to hold an inquiry into hate speech which may, in due course, result in legislation that asks judges and juries to discern the 'hate' content of our freedom of expression. I have no problem with the inquiry -- we should debate the issue -- but I am wary that some future parliamentary cabal will be able to control and curb our language and our ability to openly consider all ideas.

Back to the gravestone vandals -- whoever they are, one thing is clear, they spoke with their actions. They do not contribute to a civil society, they diminish it. They are desecrators of life and freedom and whose only claim to public attention is the violence they have done as a result of their cream-puff intelligence.

These vandals scurry under the cover of twilight like cockroaches to carry out their cowardly offences, never having the courage to stand up and declare their beliefs openly. And that is a great pity -- we would be well rid of them.



Dossier: attempts by New Zealand Jews to stop David Irving's 2004 visit
 FAQ: Answers to frequently asked questions about Mr Irving's visit
Steven Sedley writes a letter on Mr Irving and free speech | The name rings a bell
Jailed gang leaders defer to Israelis jailed by NZ, says paper. Mossad autopsy on bungled NZ operation: graves desecration was unplanned

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