No religion should be immune to public criticism. Now that the Danish cartoon scandal has nearly blown over, the Dutch government is prosecuting the Arab European League for publishing a cartoon depicting Holocaust denial.
The cartoon shows two apparently Jewish men standing near a pile of skeletons with a sign that says “Auswitch,” presumably representing the largest Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz.
One pokes a bone with a stick and says “I don’t think they’re Jews” and the other answers, “We have to get to the six million somehow.”
Ronny Naftaniel of the Center for Documentation on Israel, which filed a complaint against the cartoon, said Jews had nothing to do with the Muhammad cartoons, so it didn’t make sense for the league to retaliate in this way.
“Imagine if Dutch Jews insulted Muslims every time they heard an anti-Semitic remark. What kind of perverse world would we be living in?” he said.
Judging from its website, the AEL does seem like an invidious organization, and yes, “hate speech” is a crime in the Netherlands (indeed, Holocaust denial is a crime in Canada), but the proper response to hate speech is not censorship, but anti-hate speech. My own view is that Holocaust denial should be protected free speech, and the way to deal with it, as Michael Shermer did in Why People Believe Weird Things, is to expose the lie and debunk it with the facts.
Here’s the cartoon at issue:
So far this cartoon hasn’t inspired the spate of riots and murders that followed publication of the anti-Islamic Danish cartoons.
Annoy.com has the complete set of the Danish cartoons, as well as five other controversial cartoons published by the Arab European League (right-hand column, scroll down).