It's Only Words

Should anti-Semitic comments be illegal?

Comments (87)

(87) Richard Aigen, August 9, 2018 4:23 PM

You've got to be kidding.

I just happened to come across this old video by Rabbi Salomon. I'm shocked by the blatant contradiction and hypocrisy by the learned Rabbi. As a mature, dedicated Jew I too feel much sensitivity to any form of anti-Semitism. Our wonderful first amendment, sacred to Rabbi on the one hand, does not permit (except with tiny exceptions) an ability to decide that speech with which you strongly disagree becomes unprotected speech. And, on the Rabbi's other hand, is then subject to getting the perpetrator tossed behind bars. You can't have it both ways!! That's why I think Rabbi must be just kidding. What if was deemed unlawful to actually be critical of anti_semitic or any other prejudicial language? Check your history. It used to be in some places. Look what happened!

(86) SusanE, May 4, 2015 3:37 PM

First define American Hatred.

The KKK is allowed to exist and there are lots of upstanding businessmen supporting it. - Racistists hate anyone who is not white like them. - Anti Semitism is everywhere also. People decide who they want to like and why, and disike entire groups. Americans were taught to hate the Indian Nations we killed. We were taught to hate the South and they were taught to hate the North. In 1940's to hate the Germans, and the Europeans and Russians. Americans hated the Japanese. Then the Koreans. Then we hated the Vietmanese, and Gulf War people and Arabs and Hussein and all terrorists. Where does Americas ongoing hate of most of the world end? It doesn't. Limiting speech will do nothing.

(85) jean spencer, March 26, 2011 7:40 PM

Words carry ideas; ideas lead to action

Has our system made comedians, sportscasters, right wing commentators or Mel Gibson accountable for anti-Semitic remarks or use of the N word? If the media makes a fuss it is accused of being controlled by Jews. If the NAACP objects it is accused of being too sensitive to racist leanings. When and how will be learn to give up the hate and acknowledge the common humanity and its present day challenges?

(84) Shmuel, March 20, 2011 3:30 PM



(83) Don, March 20, 2011 3:04 AM

Free speech..

Free speech shouldn't be a under question under no sircumstances. Free democratic society can't exist without it. Sadly in this case it showed a hidden reality. Just like Italians say: In vino veritas. italian society has never distanced itselve from their fashist past. Their PM berlusconi even won the ellections after stating that italian concentration camps were "wacation resorts" and people there were "on wacation". Well my granfather said he didn't particularly like the food there (when actually thrown at them). Just imagin german prime misister say something like that. I personally like to know what people think. And in cases of clear threats to my body I usually report those threats. Speech is just one of our freedoms. And as with every right there comes obligations and limitations. But at the end of the day everyone should take care of their own presentation to the world. That person may have made great designs or huge advancement in design etc. But will go into history as an eccentric idiot. As for antisemitism. I call it Jew hatred. I have tried to make rational debate with some of those haters. With very little succes. Then I started to report direct threats. And now I just don't care any more. If someone doesn't like me that's their right. And as long as they don't step on my toes I'll accept it with no problem. If someone doesn't like me for my ancestors then sorry; I have nothing more to tell them.

(82) Ilbert Phillips, March 17, 2011 6:12 AM

It is not possible to define hate speech

Europe has hate speech laws, and individuals are being prosecuted because they point out that the Koran encourges discrimination against non-Jews and supports Jihad, the killing of non-Jews. It is not possible to avoid abuse of such legislation or to draft a law that passes the First Amendement smell test. It sounds good, but is is not. It is too dangerous and will be used against Jews.

(81) Steve Skeete, March 16, 2011 5:49 PM

Hurtful words vs. freedom of speech

I must respectfully disagree with Rabbi Salomon. Free speech is something I have always supported and will always support. By free speech I mean the right to speak one's mind as long as one does not intend, promote, instigate or actually cause harm to another. I am against hate speech legislation, because I have observed how this trend shifts from speech to thought with devastating consequences for people's right to free expression. Example, in some places today certain parts of the Jewish Bible when read publicly are regarded as hateful. A Christian pastor in Australia was actually charged with a "hate-crime" for reading that "one should not lie with a man as one does with a woman" and using this as a basis for saying homosexuality is wrong. Tell me Rabbi, what is hateful about that reading or the interpretation? Should someone have to face prison for that? Once we allow the law to limit what we can say (or read publicly)in one area where will it end?. So yesterday it was the "N" word, today it is the "J" word, tomorrow the "H" word, and on and on. We are encouraging individuals and groups to see themselves as helpless victims, when what we are really doing is allowing the tyranny of some over others. My greatest fear is that once we succeed in stifling opinion and speech (and we are heading there), we end up producing intimidated, cowed and bullied societies. Like Hitler's was? I am not denying that some words hurt, and I am most certainly not supporting persons like Galliano. I am saying, that the hurt words cause, is part of the price we must accept in order to live in a truly free society.

(80) Darrell, March 14, 2011 1:41 AM

Charged and punished as law permits

Keeping it simple! free speach yes hate speach no! Some may think of this as an oxymoron but it is possible.

(79) , March 13, 2011 3:54 PM

I agree fully. We can't yell fire when there isn't one. We are higher than the animals because of the speech ability Hashem has given us. We must use this gift wisely and properly.

(78) Tzippi, March 13, 2011 6:00 AM

Hitler knew the power of words and used it too.

I agree with you Rabbi Salomon. Hitler, may his name be erased, understood the power of words, that if you say something loud enough and often enough, people start to believe it, and words like that, that direct people towards hateful thoughts and hateful deeds should, I think, be banned. Yes there should be freedom to express yourself, but not when it hinders the rights of others to live in peace, when it is used to truly harm other people. Freedom is not true freedom if it is just a license to do whatever you want, "True freedom is where an individual's thoughts and actions are in alignment with that which is true, correct, and of honor - no matter the personal price." Bryant H. McGill

(77) Zev, March 12, 2011 10:44 PM

Disagree, don't arrest me!

True, words matter and they can do a lot of damage and yes France is not America. However, I believe it's problematic to arrest someone for their speech (unless they are actively trying to bring down the government and the government is one that is just). For example, we do not ban statements praising the Confederacy and more Americans lost their lives in the Civil war than in any other! Arresting someone for speaking or expressing a viewpoint - even an ugly one - sets a bad precedent and it becomes tricky as to where to draw the line.

(76) L.S., March 11, 2011 10:14 PM


Well, Galliano is out about being a homosexual male! This is ironic, because Hitler, whom he claims to admire, HATED the gay people and in fact, 2 million homosexuals were killed in the concentration camps. Galliano is not only a bigot, but a misinformed idiot as well. I am all for free speech and against censorship, however, there must be limits on things. To those defending him (really? on a Jewish site? I don't get it...) consider this: the fact that he was yelling in these peoples' faces and following them around is a form of harassment, which is illegal even here in the United States and (I hope) most other places as well. So even on the basis of harassment alone, he deserves to stand trial. Furthermore, by standing trial, it will be a message to other idiot bigots to think before opening their fat mouths.

(75) Anonymous, March 11, 2011 3:41 PM

Freedoms, rights and their necessary limits

Much has been written here extolling the virtues of uninhibited speech rights. But I would argue that the comments in favor of unlimited freedom of hate speech approach the issue with a bumper sticker "I'm for free speech" mentality rather than a mature evaluation of that issue in the context of the rights of the listeners' pursuit of happiness. Not only speakers, but their audiences, too, have freedoms. These freedoms, oppressive speech on the one hand and the right not to be oppressed, on the other, have to be balanced; the extent to which one is unlimited is the same extent to which the other is diminished. Smith's right to build an enormous addition on his own property has to be balanced--limited--by consideration of his neighbors' right to enjoy life on their own yards. That's how a cohesive society manages, with give-and-take and values codified in regulations that curtail rights when they begin to impinge on the rights of others. We do not simply legislate our values in absolute, unlimited fashion. "Free speech!" doesn't work, and if you don't believe me then try threatening the President's life, or scream out "fire" in a crowded theater. The land of the free and home of the brave has jails for people who exceed the limits of free speech. France is sophisticated enough to have learned from its history that society is ultimately degraded and dreadfully harmed by hate speech. Although an unlimited free speech bumper sticker advocate would fanatically oppose the reality that Galliano's expressions have demonstratably precipitated mass persecution, the facts of the matter are otherwise. There is and has always been a causal relationship between anti-Semitic speech and anti-Semitic persecution. This subject, like so many in democracy, requires a mature and sophisticated evaluation of the impact and justice of its rules. Sometimes, the simplest sound bite impressed on youngsters in first grade social studies is not the most practical bit of wisdom.

(74) B3N, March 11, 2011 2:00 PM


As Voltaire said I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it. yes anti-semetic speech is wrong but if you make that illegal, you open pandora's box and basically there will be no free speech, eventually

(73) J.D., March 11, 2011 12:01 AM

Words can hurt but they're still not actions

Maybe it's because I'm a product of the American way of life, but I think criminal punishment for speech of any kind is out of line, unless the words directly incite actions that harm others. Galliano surely embarrassed himself and 'outed' himself as an Anti-Semite, which has resulted in some significant (and deserved) negative consequences for him already. I strongly feel that speech only should be countered with more speech - debate and education, not with jail time.

(72) Michael, March 10, 2011 7:13 PM

we are not France, nor Canada

I find Mr. Galiano a despicable human being. Perhaps the way he attacked the elderly couple could result in charges here in America. But as much as I despise Galiano and his remarks, if he were a citizen in the US I would defend his first amendment rights. I would not feel comfortable living in Canada, were according to Margaret, they have a "a lawful and respectful society" and do not allow "hate speech". I do not want my government deciding what is hate speech and what is not. Bad things happen when that happens. Galiano's words should be the story, not his prosecution. His words should be dragged out from under his slimy rock and exposed to the light of day. But if the news media censors his words because of the fear of prosecution for repeating a "hate crime" then all we will know is perhaps he is being persecuted by Jews! If I were in that bar with Galiano I would have exercised my free speech rights and given him hell!

(71) Anonymous, March 10, 2011 6:09 PM

Free Speech

While I respect and support your opinions on free speech, I believe your position is misguided. As a Jew and as a citizen of the U.S.A., I fully support the First Amendment. I am willing to put up with others saying what they want so that I have the VERY SAME right. In a free democracy we can not be subjective in legislating what people can say. (True, it is against the law to scream 'fire' in a theater or other public place when no danger exists becasuse doing so might endanger lives.) Rabbi, France and Germany are not the U.S.A.!!!!!!!!!!! It would be a sad day in our country if we legislated what people are free to say, or not say. I, for one, would not want to live in such a country. Asher Pavel

(70) Marjorie, March 10, 2011 5:32 PM

I agree.

With his words, Mr. Galiano joins the ranks of those who cannot hide what they are inside. What's more, since man tends to live out what he says, Mr. Galiano's words make him a threat, an instigator, and a fomenter of others who share his mindset. Moses' words to the TransJordan tribes, "Be sure your sins will find you out.", had to do with their covenant to help their brethren conquer the rest of Canaan. Their actions would prove whether their word was their bond. The Bible says our words are recorded and that we will be called to account for every word, even idle ones! That being the case, we need to consider, what is this accounting? 1.) Our words reveal our character, our inner man, and our thoughts (mindset). They, along with our actions, determine what others think about us. To quote Solomon, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." 2.) Our words are considered evidence in a court of law. Legally, your words can be used to condemn you in matters of premeditation, and threats. They are also considered binding. 3.) Our recorded words (written, electronically, etc.) become a repository of who and what we represent. Thus posterity will view us according to what we've said and done. (Note that it is possible for our actions to prove or to refute [belie] our words.) 4.) While we yet live, we have the opportunity to repent. True repentance, as portrayed in the 51st Psalm, where David confessed, (acknowledged his sin,) sought forgiveness, a clean heart, and the renewal of a right spirit, brings a new beginning, a fresh start. (See Job 33:27-30.) Therein lies mankind's only hope! 5.) When life ceases, so does the opportunity for repentance. Ultimately, the time will come for us to stand before The Almighty and give account. When the books are opened, we will face our words again - every one of them! But then it'll be without recourse, excuse, or opportunity to repent them.

(69) Mati, March 10, 2011 12:23 PM

I feel both ways

If words must be punished, then the xtians had every right to censor or burn Talmud (or shall we say they have every right to stop when Talmud censored portions are quoted by a Jew against the xtian), which I am against. On the other hand, if words must be "set free" then we must also stand for hate speech, which I am against also. The ONLY consclusion is a case by case scenario and not looking at extreme points like many want to do. Thus I am with the taking of this man to court and tried. After all, this is a case scenario taking on a specific case.

(68) elsa, March 10, 2011 9:29 AM

I agree with you

G. is a public figure, and especially in Europe the "Rich and Famous" seem to feel they can get away with all sorts of things ordinary people feel they should not do or say. There is a lot of latent anti Semitism which could result in further outbreaks of violence just because of the scandal.

(67) Jennifer, March 9, 2011 11:40 PM

Price of freedom

I'm 100% with Alan Dershowitz on this one. Who decides what is hateful? If we outlaw antisemitic remarks, then we'll just be accused of "taking over the world" through suppression of media and free speech. In most (perhaps all?) Muslim countries, freedom of speech does not exist. We cannot sink to that level. Better to expose the hatred for what it is rather than try to cover it up through censorship.

(66) Hy Cohen, March 9, 2011 11:34 PM

I agree, we see bad things happen in the USA because we are to free with our speech! Limits should be established to punish those who take advantage and slur against others be they Afro, Oriental, Jewish, etc! I will never forget what happened in Skkie, Il....Sad, this guy will be tried by his peers, and he might get off free! France has a history of anti-semitism!

(65) margaret in winnipeg, March 9, 2011 8:22 PM

Freedom vs assault

It is my understanding of the freedom of speech laws in the US that the "freedom" ends if you direct your hatefull comments at an individual and make them feel threatened and degraded. This most certainly happened in France where Mr .Galliano assaulted verbally an elderly Jewish couple by praising Hitler's actions in fron of them. The proponents of "freedom of speech" should know that it is good to quantify the "freedom " to prevent abuse. In Canada we have a lawful and respectful society, with democratic values,AND, as in France , we do not allow "hate speech". Individuals were foud guilty in court for spreading hatered against others in the press and during public appearances. Mr .Galliano thinks he is above the law, maybe. What a sad man.

(64) Shirley, March 9, 2011 5:59 PM

I agree wholeheartedly with the video.

John Galiano should be tried and convicted and punished for his anti-semitic outbursts, his verbage, his injurious acts, his condoning of Hitler and admiration of the despot's heinous genocidal acts toward Jews and humanity, he should be incarcerated with murderers, rapists, et al. for a prolonged period of time. Perhaps only after a very prolonged length of time in prison will be then realize the errors of his ways, so to speak. Perhaps this may serve as a deterrant for other ignorant mindless mental mutants who hold similar views, espousing admiration for Hitler and hatred toward the Jews. Never ever again - do you hear our voices? NEVER AGAIN!

(63) arch heller, March 9, 2011 5:23 PM


Allow it all to be said!!!!! Who is to say what is not right is the question. Does speech impact and affect people? Yes. If you don't want your loved ones to hear it then take them and leave or what is better, explain to them the why what they are hearing should be disregarded and if necessary countermanded. Life is a continual education. Play a roll in helping people understand what they may not or inspire them with a better idea. If you know what is said is wrong and can't frame an argument against it then it is time for you to take time to learn and teach your loved ones by going to someone who can. The proactive approach is not to suppress but to inform and learn.

(62) Sallie Boyles, March 9, 2011 3:46 PM

Protecting Free Speech

Freedom of speech is the foundation of a free society. Otherwise, who makes the rules and why? "Hate speech" has become a popular term. Would it be hateful to designate known terrorist groups as "Islamic" terrorists? Would it be hateful to refer to people who have broken laws to live in the US as "illegal aliens"? I pray that We the People of the United States defend free speech at any cost because this freedom is priceless.

(61) André, March 9, 2011 3:37 PM

What Galliano said wasn't a comment, he insulted an old couple who couldn' t defend themselves. he was agressive and to be drunk doesn' t allowes him to do so. It is not a freedom expressions .... I' m jew and french, we had to live Paris and France in 1942... I think that what Dior house did was great, and French government has many reasons to consider that this situation it is not a free expression... or shall we wait for another kristalnaght de do something? sorry about my english; frech and spanish are my mother languages. I live in Argentina.

(60) Anonymous, March 9, 2011 3:20 PM

i agree. people should be held accountable for hate speech

people should be held accountable for hate speech

(59) Bill Graffam, March 9, 2011 2:44 PM

Respectfully disagree

Our country went to war to free Europe. It is beyond my understanding how you can endorse the prosecution of this man. Hateful as he is, his right to free opinion is inalienable. Heis a bad joke gone public, but people of that ilk don't need prosecution, they need only exposure. Public opinion will take care of their punishment. This little Galliano will have his professional feathers plucked by the entire fashion world. His fru fru litle frocks will no longer grace the red carpets of the entertainment world. The only recognition he'll get is from other anti-semites. No law or court action can impose a punishment more positive than he has arranged for himself. The crowning touch...he is to go into rehab. the haven of all who wish not to be called into account for their actions. People like him have made rehab into a bad joke. Even as the man disgusts me, the law goes furthe in that it frightens me as well. It's a very slippery slope and may actually emulate the kind of laws that made ha shoah possible. Will you carry this subject further and answer the concerns of those of another opinion? Shalom, Bill Graffam

(58) David, March 9, 2011 1:01 PM

Freedom of expression reflects a value common to all democracies, but its practical implementation varies from place to place. Personally, having grown-up with first amendment freedoms, I tend to support complete freedom of speech subject only to restrictions preventing immediate danger to life and property. All ideas – good, bad, beneficial, and repugnant can be debated and judged on their merits. France, with its own history, sees fit to make additional restrictions. The problem with restricting expression is that today we may restrict speech that offends me, but tomorrow, my own speech may be restricted by a society that finds my ideas offensive. Stymying debate does not kill ideas, it merely drives them underground to fester and spread, to erupt with violence at unforeseen times and places. Exposing ideas to the light of day allows them to flourish or atrophy as they are argued and tested.

(57) Frank Adam, March 9, 2011 12:07 PM

Liberty has always been conditional

The US D of I, Constitution and Bill of Rights were the first practical consolidation of the Enlightenment's ideas about modern government: democracy and separation of powers inclusive no religious tests for office. The first serious spin off was the French Revolution's "Declaration of the Rights of Man." As French was the international language of the time, that was the standard call to Liberty in Europe and her empires till the emergence of the US in and since 1945. Article IV " Political liberty consists in the power of doing whatever does does not injure another. The exercise of the natural rights of every man has no other limits than those which are necessary to secure to every other man the free exercise of the same rights; and these limits are determinable only by the law." (Tom Paine's translation). Here are two grounds to charge somebody for anti-semitic misbehaviour. First is equality - would anybody put up with public insults about Irish, Poles or black people? So why Jews? Secondly it is within precedent to legally regulate public speech and behaviour "likely to cause a breach of the peace" at least since the English 14th century Justices of the Peace Act which would have crossed the pond in pre-Revolutionary times and like all English Law is assumed and presumed on by Blackstone's Commentary on the Laws of England which was brand new in mid 1700's and part of every Founding Father's legal education being "Law 101" till recently. Also within the JP Act is a clause against "besting" - the sort of competitive public exchange of words to incite/ wind up another party regardless of the reasons. R.Saloman's references to World War II and the political vandalism of the Nazis are evidence to substantiate the above legal precedents in the Galliano case and others. As ever test a public policy or expense with "Can we afford NOT to?" If Hitler etc had been prosecuted for bad mouthing Jews and blacks, would the Third Reich have happened as it did?

(56) Phaiga Miriam Gentilcore, March 9, 2011 10:38 AM

Bravo Rabbi Salomon. Hateful speech is a crime, just as j-walking or illegal parking. We can't just walk wherever we want whenever we want, and we can't park where we want whenever we want, and, so too, we can't say whatever we want whenever we want. I think no. 10 needs to look up his definition of fascism and get off the bleeding-heart liberal fence.

(55) Mike, March 9, 2011 8:01 AM

Don't agree with criminal trial, but boycott of his work is better idea.

When a certain actor who I really liked watching came out with many anti-Semitic comments, I decided to boycott ALL of his works even movies I watched before. I think for awhile most of America followed my idea as well. I do think he has had a little sense knocked into him, but don;t think he learned all he needed to learn. Legislating beliefs does not work. I don't want some of the people I lived around in my youth to be able to tell me how to believe.

(54) konrad, March 9, 2011 6:39 AM

Just to make something clear, even though my last comment has not been published.....the hatred for the Jews started long before hitler. The Jews have been persecuted by the roman catholic church, in europe. It was the church that instilled hatred for the Jews as They had crucified Christ. And till this day many sermons still point fingers at the Jews. But this happened many years ago not a mere 60 years ago. I am in no way trying to justify hitler's actions, but just making a point clear. Throughout the years many people have been ill treated by powerful leaders. As I have said before, I am in favour of the Jews. but let us call a spade a spade. In war whoever you consider the enemy, you suppress in any way you can. For hitler the Jews and other people also were the enemy. The Jews suppress the Palestinians today, many people are against that. I understand that all people are good and bad.....and there is no clear line anywhere. Remember the video of some Israeli soldiers beating up a Palestinian? I think history should teach should open our eyes so we can see what is happening today. People like Galliano are not the source of evil.....but it is easier to hit back at Galliano than the higher authorities. God chose the Jews as his people and thaught them to stand up against their enemies, so the chosen people would suvive. I use my brain and do not fall for any fanaticism....many wars and injustice were the offspring of religious fanatics. The last thing I want to say is this: You could kill one person, for that person and his/her family, you might have destroyed the entire human race. Let us not just be a statistic, let us be humans with a value.

(53) sara.elisa, March 9, 2011 5:18 AM

agree with chavi

this comment is a good analysis of the human being in general and the french one in particular , meaning that people are always and always trying to hide their real face and this is what all french governments did since at least the end of world war two : first you must hide your real thoughts and secondly business is business and dior cannot afford to lose clients (and part of them are probably jewish)

(52) Annie, March 9, 2011 2:17 AM

Through the application of its law a society speaks out...

What Mr Galliano allowed himself to say in a trendy local bar is absolutely despicable and should be prosecuted as french law prohibits the expression of hate and racism. Contrary to what may be said or written, French society is not , by and large , anti-semitic! And compare to what is going on in UK, France isn't doing that bad.... This is a country with the biggest muslim community in Europe, Islam became the second religion in France and the jewish Diaspora is the biggest in Europe...this is bound to create difficulties. Sadly. Mr Galliano's ranting is unacceptable and has been condemned widely in every venue. The government is right to announce he is not above the law, to confirm that hateful discourse is a crime and can't be tolerated.

(51) Jean Charles Spund, March 9, 2011 1:35 AM

Antisemitic remarks don't bother me

I wonder if you will post my comment if it doesn't fit with your views ? My opinion is what you would call not correct politically. Being a jew I should be offended by antisemitic hateful remarks, yet I do not care. John Galiano has the right to say anything he wants and I resent your attitude rabbi. Sending someone to jail for his speech is pure fascism, no more no less.

(50) Rhonnie Goldfader, March 9, 2011 12:19 AM

Words DO Matter!

I totally agree with Rabbi Solomon. Words change peoples lives everyday. Look at all the laws of Loshon Hora (gossip, evil speech). I have seen first hand how people can say things about others and ones attitude is changed 100% based on someone's gossip about them. Whether it is true or not, words stick in the hearts and minds of others and opinions and judgements are formed whether realistic or not. If gossip is deadly, anti-semetic remarks are loshon hora in the worst form! There should be an accountablitly for such hate.

(49) Carol Goldenstein, March 8, 2011 11:10 PM

Do words matter?

Of course anti-Semitic words matter....they are hateful and hurtful. So what are we going to do.....take all the Jew-haters to court and put them on trial? That will only give them a forum to spew more of the same venomous hatred and stir up more Jew-hatred. Entire countries and religions hate the Jewish people already. The Muslims have done a good job in demonizing Israel and the Jewish people. Israel's PR should have been more assertive and pro-active and countered every lie immediately....but then of course, the media would either ignore or twist the truth to suit their leftist ideology.

(48) Anonymous, March 8, 2011 10:57 PM

The words we speak are powerful and either bless or curse the recipients. Racist remarks about any race (including anti semitic) and/or nationality are wrong as all races have good and evil individuals.

(47) Rachel, March 8, 2011 9:00 PM

Thank you, anonymous (2)

My thoughts exactly -- Jews were required to wear a yellow star, gays a pink triangle. As a German later said, "When they came for the communists, the trade unionists, the Jews I did nothing for I was not a communist, etc. Then at last they came for me, and there was no one else left to do anything....." I think the appropriate punishment was already meted out by M. Galliano's employer. While in the U.S. you can't be tried criminally for hate speech, private employers certainly have the right not to keep employees whose behavior reflects badly on the company. Good for Dior!

(46) Sivana Sharon, March 8, 2011 8:46 PM

I agree completely. Words have power, and they can be used for good or evil. France is doing the right thing by having Galliano stand trial for the heinous words that spewed from his drunken mouth.

(45) bernie zemsky, March 8, 2011 7:58 PM

Let him suffer with his career down the tubes

Let him wake up every morning, look in the mirror and realize that he is the architect for the destruction of his career. Let him watch the world go by and realize that it is he and not the Jews who is responsible. Let him cut fabric in the garment center.

(44) shannon, March 8, 2011 7:53 PM

I agree!

i completely agree with you in all respects, rabbi salomon, i will only comment to your remark that listeners will have an opportunity to express opinions in disagreement of your thoughts, in the comment section provided. i am not sure that this is the case and that those screening comments are upholding such a level of "freedom of speech". i am very supportve of israel, however i referred to others' concerns once in a comment and it gave me the impression that is one-sided in diiscussion, which is its full perogative but does not therefore embody the level of free speech to which you refer and of which you invite.

(43) Adam, March 8, 2011 7:37 PM

Free speech must come first

In the US, this past week, the Supreme Court ruled that even the despicable behavior of the Westboro Baptist Church picketing soldiers' funerals with signs condemning America and saying "thank G-d for dead soldiers" is protected speech. The cost of free speech is, yes, some bozo will spout hateful speech. But the proper response to hateful speech isn't to throw a gag on the speaker- chances are that all you accomplish by this is to validate him or her. No, the response to hateful speech is more speech. Natalie Portman's response was bang on- she expressed her pride in being Jewish. That's the proper response to a moron like Galiano, not a jail sentence.

(42) Lloyd A. Oestreicher, March 8, 2011 6:48 PM

Hate language

All hate language should be illegal.

(41) Yitzhak, March 8, 2011 6:47 PM

Things are not always as simple as they seem.

I too was outraged by what this man had said. Clearly such speech is reprehensible and cannot be condoned!!. However, I decided to do a bit of investigation. It turns out that, not only is Galliano of Jewish descent, according to the London Daily Mail, "the designer loved to emphasize his Jewish ancestry". According to a friend, when sober, Galliano spoke authoritatively about the Holocaust, and particularly about the fact that thousands who worked in the fashion business in Paris were murdered by the Nazis. This friend feels that the outbursts were to shock people, not personal statements on Galliano's part ( I for one don't know if this makes any difference. However, it does sound like the rantings of an extremely troubled individual who needs help at least as much as he needs to be incarcerated. We MUST thoroughly reject and decry the statements that he made. However, I'm not sure that a punitive response is either a) called for or b) in the best interests of justice.

(40) Paul, March 8, 2011 6:42 PM

Important point Rabbi Salomon

Important point Rabbi Salomon, I agree with you. Also I think that the recent uproar about Sarah Palin and that "Violent threats have consequences" is something that should be the beginning of a change in what people may say or write.

(39) Jack Israel, March 8, 2011 6:28 PM

Right on! Speech does matter.

Words can be praisewothy or out-of-bounds. Either the written or the spoken. God created the world by virtue of his "Let their be --- as He set out to separate darkness from light, the oceans from dry land, etc.

(38) Helenmyr, March 8, 2011 6:23 PM


Racist speech, whether against Jews, Christians, Muslims, Blacks, Spiders from Mars....WHOEVER, happens to be against the law in France. It goes beyond free speech, and perpetrators of racist remarks are hauled up before the court. If you want to spout hatred and racism in the privacy of your home with like-minded friends, that's one thing, but in public it is forbidden. Accept the law or keep away.

(37) jean charles, March 8, 2011 5:44 PM

impossible trial

I am a french jew, Galiano's antisemitism doesn't bother me. I just don't care. What bothers me is the antisemitism contained in the muslim religion. For example, one hadith says: "If you lift a stone in the desert and a jew is hidden underneath, kill him !" I could go on and on reading hateful anti jewish remarks of the quran. That is the core of the problem in my humble opinion. Hitler's Mein kampf still exists but hitler was defeated. The quran cannot be modified because the muslims believe that it was sent directly from allah, so they are not allowed to suppress even a comma from their holy book. Thus islamic anti judaism will exist FOREVER ! How can we make peace, a true peace with a huge part of humanity that believes that we are not better than dogs or monkeys and will gladly slit our throats if they are given the chance to do it ?!

(36) Matt Schwartz, March 8, 2011 5:37 PM

I could not disagree more

Free Speech -- even anti-Semitic speech -- is vital for the protection of the rights of all Americans -- especially Jews. Once we allow speech to be regulated on the basis of content, we become endangered. Ask yourselves this most important question: "Who will be in charge of deciding which content should be proscribed and punished?" Content would be subject to popular trends and demagoguery. As a tiny minority, we Jews would run the risk that a majority with whom we disagree will control the content of speech in this country, and then we would lose our rights to oppose them. The Constitution and its amendments are designed to prevent such "Mobocracy" as no group (however large) would be able to squelch the free speech rights of another group (however small). Anti-Semitism can catch on like wild fire -- even here. And if a majority of anti-Semites takes control of speech content in this country, we would be finished. This is why the First Amendment is precious for Jews, even when it allows speech that is hateful and disgusting. The best response to destructive speech is not to seek to eliminate it-- that would be biting our noses to spite our faces. No, the best response to destructive speech is to drown it out with more reasoned speech. Although this approach requires more effort and vigilance, it is the only approach that protects us in the long run.

(35) Chana, March 8, 2011 5:18 PM

Accountability applies to speech and action

A person should be required to be considerate in speech and action. Making remarks that spread hatred of any group exceeds the bounds of free speech. Think what you want but think before you speak.

(34) Davida, March 8, 2011 4:56 PM

You have my total agreement. There must be accountability for our words.

Accountability for what we say may add a layer of soul searching before we speak.

(33) Anonymous, March 8, 2011 4:52 PM

Hebrew Is The Only Language In The World That Word = Thing

I heard this in a lecture by Rabbi Dr. Akiva Tatz, it refers to the fact that HaShem created the world by 10 utterences

(32) konrad, March 8, 2011 4:40 PM

john galliano

John Galliano repeated the same words I said to a person of Jewish ancestry after I was deeply hurt by that person. In times of rage we can offend the people we stand for throughout our lives. I always respected and admired the Jewish people, and still do.....but when I was hurt I sought a way to hurt back. The french government is doing nothing but using Galliano as a prove something, that he knows is lacking in his country.....THE RESPECT FOR JEWS.....Jews are still not respected, in France and other European countries. What the Nazis did is being repeated all over the world, maybe in different ways but the fact remains that there are Jews and others out there who are being abused. One last thing I would like to say is this......if your right to choose who to eat with is taken away from you...because of racism.....than you are not a free man. I think I have a right to exercise that right, so call me a racist........ So let us not fall in the trap of propaganda and using people as scapegoats.....the French government has to benefit from this......the Jews in France or anywhere else will still be the same. Protect the people God chose and do not be misled by shows as this.

(31) Anonymous, March 8, 2011 4:39 PM

The infamous 'slippery slope'

As I watched the video I was reminded of the President's investigation into radical Islam in America. Many Muslim leaders are saying that they are being singled out (hate crimes). If we had the type of laws that would protect us from the evils of this world (impossible) then what type of world would we really have? Would we want it? Our protection would also mean the protection for all manner of what we consider to be moral evils in our society. We could not say anything about it since it might constitute a hate crime. Since many of the standards in this secular society are completely against our way of life then I wonder if being Orthodox could be illegal. Imagine a crazy party that is so far right coming into power in the US and anyone who begins to speak against it is tried for a hate crime because speaking against the party is really speaking against the people or the Constitution. Crazy? How about speaking against the Constitution? Even though I am aware of the rhetorical nature of the above I am also aware of some of the comments herein. Note the comment made against the French and how anti-Semitic the French are. Now, I can imagine that being made a hate crime. Somehow I rather know who my enemies are then have them hide behind the laws in dark corners. I will never know them if the laws are there. Now I know them and I can do something about them. As for society that tolerates such hate it needs to know that those are the reflections of themselves and until such a time that it has a way of cleansing itself of such filth it will never be anything but inhumane.

(30) Ariel Peeri, March 8, 2011 4:29 PM

Words may hurt but they're allowed

Americans have freedom and liberty because of the First Amendment. And although I understand the recent ruling of the supreme court in case of funeral protests, I disagree, personally and emotionally with the ruling. Same imply to the case in France. I may feel disturbed hearing and reading these words, but free speech rules. That is an important part of our freedom rights, which has been denied by many dictatorships throughout recent history including Germany. Both my parents are holocaust survivors. They taught me to look forward and not delve on suffering of the past. Because, they said, using the past, will stop you from looking the other way. Forward.

(29) Shelly Gottlieb, March 8, 2011 4:08 PM

Hate-speech should be potected

In each of the communities in which we lived in the US, I have fought actively against hate, especially against antisemitism. I speak form the trenches. Once there is a stoppage of speech, there is no end to what speech can be stopped. Soon, there would not be any free speech. There were people who tried to prevent me from speaking out against hate and ignorance; they attempted to prevent me from writing and publishing letters to the editors and op ed pieces. In part,because of fear of the gentile, some influential people in the Mobile, AL, Jewish community stopped my writing my column for the weekly insert of the local newspapers. Most, not all. of my columns dealt with issues affecting Jewish life in the US, Israel and around the world. All, were very pro Jewish and very pro-Israel. In my opinion fear of the unknown or manufactured ghost coupled to a ghetto mentality is far more dangerous than speech, even favorable speech - they destroy not just individuals but entire societies. By their actions, they destroyed plans that my wife and I had for a post-retirement life. I live by the concept that words have meaning and actions have consequences and words can lead to actions. People must beheld accountable for their words and deeds. Deeds can be more easily dealt with than words.

(28) Elana, March 8, 2011 4:07 PM

Can we say what we want?

I don't think we can say what we want without facing the consequences...try and say "i've got a bomb" at the airport and see what happens. Free speech to a certain point. See what happened recently when Bloomberg made just a joke about the Irish. He had to apologize.

(27) Theodore, March 8, 2011 4:06 PM

Jews and others....

I was born in former Czechoslovakia - now CZECH and SLOVAK republics. In my former homeland there's not to many Jews - Prague has probably largest population of few thousands. Rest during WWII end up in concentration camps or run anywhere just to save own life. But in CZECH republic is hundreds of thousands of so call ROMA people otherwise called Gipsies by majority of CZECH population. There is such a hate for these folks right now it's unreal. And during Nazi era these people were exterminated in large numbers too like us Jews. Written hate speeches on Internet, discrimination, sometimes even actions similar to pogroms are daily rituals and Czech republic is so call democracy. Flame of hate can easily jump from one ethnic group to another. Today Roma people tomorrow Jews? Did the world learned anything? Sometimes I wonder. Shalom.

(26) David, March 8, 2011 4:03 PM

No, No, No!!!

Rabbi, you are far off base, and what you say is terrible. Right now, the Netherlands is prosecuting Geert Wilders for saying things that happened to offend Muslims-- never mind that the things were true; a group of people hijacked the hate laws, decided to use them as a club against their political enemies, and goodbye freedom. As to your notion that European history somehow justifies this foolishness, allow me to point out that Hitler secured his power by outlawing and punishing people whose words he didn't like; remember how that worked out? Rabbi Salomon, you may feel satisfaction when you see that clown Galliano sent to jail for his words about Jews-- but maybe someone will go through your videos, decide that your notions are somehow offensive to some particular group of people, and then prosecute you for them on your next visit to the continent. Personally, I will not exchange my freedom for the temporary pleasure of seeing some idiot who insulted me get punished for his babble.

(25) Fred E, March 8, 2011 3:58 PM

Ban anti-Jihad speech?

Law should be consistent, so if anti-Jewish hate speech is prohibited, so too the law should ban negative criticism of Islam, Christianity, and criticism of those who hate. Are supremacist Muslims right to silence statements on Islam they regard as offensive? Of course libel and slander should be banned, but if mere opinions are banned, we are not free.

(24) noah smith, March 8, 2011 3:49 PM

he'll get off

I agre whole heartedly however this being France he may very well get off and this trial could be turned into an anti semitic forum ala the u.n.

(23) Hedy Cohen, March 8, 2011 3:48 PM


IF JOHN GALLIANI thinks that hitler would have not killed him, he is greatly mistaken...homosexuals were not tolerated by the third ignorant he is...not to let his conscience be his insensitive for his fellow man...disgusting...

(22) Joseph A. Levy, March 8, 2011 3:31 PM

Should anti-Semitic comments be illegal?

Absolutely not. The last thing we want to do is create martyrs out of these anti-Semites. What they want, more than anything else, is attention. Making their disgusting comments criminal would be giving them the attention they crave. The same thing applies to when they want to hold "rallies." The best thing we could do is let them hold their "rallies" while simply ignoring them.

(21) chava, March 8, 2011 3:29 PM

I completely agree

Absolutely agree with Rabbi Solomon. Regardless of the outcome of the trial the point is made that these words are a crime. As Jews, it is our obligation to eliminate evil. Timely as we are coming up on Purim. In the U.S., we should be prosecuting the actor, Mel Gibson, may his name be erased.

(20) Abraham Tache, March 8, 2011 3:28 PM

I think that Galliano forgot that many of his customers are Jewish

I think that Galliano forgot that many of his customers at Dior are Jewish. Dior fired him for fear of a Jewish boycott. That is Capitalism at its best. Galliano should not go to jail for what he said but, instead, his work should be boycotted by Jews and non-Jews alike. Let him instead be thrown out of an industry that prides itself on openness and spend the rest of his life hating himself for what he could have been.

(19) velville in georgia, March 8, 2011 3:27 PM

Sticks and stones, eh? Not prison: a punch in the snoot?

It is funny (sad, pathetic) that poseurs who obviously have no regard for the right of free speech as we Americans have would deny that right to others. That said (and with an eye on the Westboro yahoos as well as the designer, Mr Tutu, Mr Carter, Mr Stone, and the rest, it is too bad that the return they get is an interview on MSNBC, ABC, and the View, and not tarred, feathered, and punched in the snoot. Why not a $4 fine for a public slap and a bit of tar? Forgive? Forget? Atonement? Not for these curs.

(18) Barrie Nathan, March 8, 2011 3:10 PM

Be very careful of martyrdom!

The man is disgusting. He was very drunk and (apparently) somewhat incoherent.. By charging him for his terrible outburst, the French government risk him being hailed by antisemitic people worldwide as some sort of hero. The man is clearly odious - so let him be clearly identified for what he is - a Nazi sympathiser..

(17) Anonymous, March 8, 2011 2:57 PM

Should it be legal to say that the French are anti-semit?

To Chavi for his comments concerning the French: You are not right. I live in France, in Paris, and the idea that you put forward that the French are anti-semit, is simply not true. There's anti-semitism in Europe, no doubt, like there are aparently strong feelings and prejudism against certain European nations and populations; but to use this situation to turn on the French, is just stupid. As far as know M. Galliano is not even French, is he? He was raised in England of Spanish and Gibraltarian descent I believe. So, are they all anti-semits as well? I believe it is wrong to hurt people, but to outlaw certain statements, ie anti-semii statements, is also wrong, it's a terribble limitation of our freedom of speech. Plus, what's next to be outlawed? Jokes about blonds? Any comments which may hurt someone? Well, then eventually noone will be able to say anything, because there will always be someone who is hurt or offended. If we want to live in free societies, then free speech, even when it hurt, shouldn't be criminalized. Anyone who wants to outlaw words should take a good look at themselves and think about if their words have never discriminated, hurt, or injured someone. I mean, should it then be legal to say that the French are by and large anti-semit? I know a lot of people who would be very hurt by this accusation.

(16) Doug, March 8, 2011 2:53 PM

Words can be injurious

I was on a German cruise ship in Eastern France when, the first morning, one of the eight Americans and a Holocost survivor, did not appear for breakfast. On a day when we had plans which included her for a tour, we went to her room to see if she was okay. SHE WAS NOT! The wake-up broadcast which began with "Achtung" had literally made her ill! Even simple Words CAN be injurious! She had difficulty sleeping the remainder of that week. Only our friendship got her through the "mistake" of booking the trip and subjecting herself to something that no one could have expected- a memory from her childhood that brought the Nazi oppression back into her life!

(15) Anonymous, March 8, 2011 2:45 PM

Bad behavior in the work place

I think that people who behave badly in the work place should be held accountable in the work place. If I spoke like that about any race or religion I would be fired no matter how talented I was. He should be fired. If not at least the Jewish consumers should be made aware of his comments world wide and be socially conscious enough to boycott until he is. The Dior feel the power of the consumer, then they will act appropriately if they have not already. As far as the law. The law is different for each country. I am blessed to be an American with all our faults it is still the best place to live.

(14) ruth housman, March 8, 2011 2:37 PM

the word, within, SWORD

Yes, words are powerful. I happen to believe that eloquence itself can save the world, because words are THAT powerful. What comes to mind are the words of a popular song: It's only words, and words are all I have, to take your heart away (The Rolling Stones) Words can ignite a terrible conflagration of hate. A charismatic leader who picks up words that are hateful, can spark people who are looking for someone to hate, because their lives are either desperate and they need a scapegoat, to make them feel better, or it's the ignorance of wrong and destructive thinking, something that comes in waves, and sweeps others with it. As fire itself can do this. From fire to ashes, as we know, having experienced this as a peoples, countless times. And as others know, in Darfur, in Tibet, in China still, and around the world. How easy it is to designate the "other" and then the sick camaraderie of hate. So yes, to your commentary. I see it. I feel it. The Big Question is always the ethical question, about banning free speech, because it is freedom of speech itself that prevents so many people in so many nations from fighting tyranny, as this is silenced. I think we need to think deeply about such issues. I do agree that there is so much that targets people, not just Jews, around the world, and leads to deep, schisms, and it is a culture of fear, that is led by these leaders, who spout pure venom. How DO WE combat this? Yes, something to think about. If LOVE IS the ANSWER, why do people resort to so much useless, terrible hate, that is utterly and totally self destructive? I think G_d provides these deep ethical conundrums, and I think the true drum, the true battle cry, is STOP. Hate is a corrosive force and words CAN SAVE THE WORLD.

(13) Steven H. Marks, March 8, 2011 2:32 PM

Yes, words do matter. However, to punish someone for the content of speech, no matter how despicable the speech, is not only wrong, but akin to fascism of thought. It is all well and good when we vicerally agree with the words sought to be punished. But that is a very dangerous thing, especially when the words to be banned may change. Civll laws, such as libel, defamation & slander is the proper forum to punish hateful speech, not penal laws. It is a very dangerous path to follow, punishing a person for the content of speech. It does not take a great leap of imagination to envision a society which punishes us, Jews, for practicing our faith. It has happened before & will happen again. Just as we Jews deserve all the protections of the Bill of Rights, which includes the Freedom of Speech, so too does the most disgusting despicable antisemite/bigot. We want the bigot to be exposed to the scrutiny of society. We want to know who & where he/she is. We don't want the bigot underground...festering like an infection. The marketplace of ideas will eventually eradicate such speech. To punish someone with jail time for speech will make a martyr of the bigot. The economic market place is a much better place to impose punishment. Boycotts of products & services will be one facet of the punishment. Basically, who died and left us as the judge, to determine which speech is hurtful/harmful/illegal.

(12) Tim, March 8, 2011 2:04 PM

Rabbi I understand your premise but I have to disagree with you about the trial. If we become the word police who is to say that our rights to express religion will not be infringed upon. Pandoras box will surely be opened with this case. I do wonder if your decision would be the same if he directed his hate towards Islam or any other group besides the Jewish people. We know words can bring life or death but should we go down a path that sensors speech as it will surely not stop the hate held in the hearts of evil men?

(11) Lisa, March 8, 2011 1:55 PM

He should be held accountable!!!

He designs clothes.....he should be as concerned as what comes out of his mouth as he is concerned about how he dresses others.

(10) ben frank, March 8, 2011 1:53 PM

Ian Kershaw recently gave a lecture at Hillsdale College entitled " The Rhetoric of evil ". This was a treatise on the Hitler years and the injury that language can inspire. No, the Civil War was not the same as the Holocaust. And yes, there are laws in Germany, as well, against any fascist rhetoric that may again sweep across Europe.

(9) judy, March 8, 2011 1:21 PM

speech laws don't reduce hate they just keeps it secret

Ii would rather people speak their hate so we are warned. making speech illegal doesn't change the hate, but if it's spoken, at least we know what we're dealing with before actual hostile behavior occurs.

(8) smb, March 8, 2011 7:30 AM

I think people need to be more considerate of others. People are too concerned about their wants and not about obligations. Yes we can say what want, but sometimes we shouldn't. We should think about whether or not it will hurt someone. On the bright side, Natali Portman got a boost in Jewish pride, may she keep that Jewish pride with her

(7) Cathryn, March 8, 2011 2:43 AM

Disagree, in a sense

I'm not saying that I don't think this man should go on trial for the comments he said if that is the law in France, but I think that if it applies to anti-semitic comments then it should apply to any racist comments.

(6) , March 7, 2011 10:22 PM

It is with words that Hitler (yimachshimom) began what will latter become WW2. It's with words that he ignited the flame of hatred and with word that he maintained that flame and caused so much destruction. Those who say hateful things about any race or nationality should be tried and harshly.

(5) James Kendall, March 7, 2011 10:04 PM

Counter comments are key

I have to disagree overall with the idea of sending a man to prison for the words he says, if those words do not directly cause harm. But the hatred in what he says isn't important, it's the reaction by the society that does matter. This man should feel the full brunt of the society.....a society that will say strongly, "you are wrong and we won't abide silently as you spout off your hatred". The sad part in this is, will the society speak out? Will good people stand by while evil people reign?

(4) Chavi, March 7, 2011 9:36 PM

Been there, done that. So what else is new?

I may be a cynic, but this is how I think it will play out: The media circus begins. Mr. G. will be put on trial before a jury of his PEERS. As we all know, the French are, by and large, very anti-semitic. That being so, the verdict that the jury will return will most likely be: NOT Guilty. Mr. G. goes free, the French government gets very positive media attention for being so proactive and taking a stand, and the rest of the world gets a warm, fuzzy feeling about how justice was served. Of course, nothing changes for the Jews. The hatred and anti-semitism will still be very actively there.

(3) yenta, March 7, 2011 4:17 PM

while throwing this man in prison may make us jews feel more secure, and feel like the anti semitism is being contained, we have to be realistic. not that i disagree. he should be tried and jailed, but the message for us is the same same timeless message: hashem put anti semitism in this world. it will always exist and the if we dont keep ourselves separate from them, they will separate us. we have to look back and see this never ending cycle. our goal shouldnt be to eradicate anti semitism but to serve hashem and let him take care of the world

(2) Anonymous, March 7, 2011 1:21 PM

The irony here is...

Mr. Galliano claimed that he loves Hitler (may his name be erased) and that (Jews) would be 'gassed', etc. Doesn't he realize that he, as a gay man, would have suffered a similar fate had he been among the Jews of '30's and '40's Europe?

(1) Steven of Beachwood, March 7, 2011 12:10 PM

I have to disagree strongly

Hate speech is one step away from hate killings... when you downgrade a human into something less it is very sinful.... Our supreme court miss the mark last week with that so call church...We can allow someone to yell fire in a movie house and we can not allow someone to call another human being a hateful word...


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