I am generally not in favor of censorship, as one of the ideals on which our country was founded was “free speech.” With that being said, I am very troubled by an opinion in yesterday’s Newsday arguing that “Europe’s pols should put WWII to rest” in which the author suggested Germany reprinting Mein Kampf. As we learned from Chief Justice Holmes’ ruling in Schenck vs. the United States, one cannot yell “FIRE” in a crowded theater when there is no fire, for that creates an unnecessary panic. I would argue that speech that is given for the sole purpose of “inciting” should be banned as well.
The example that comes to mind is the incitement spoken after two Guyanan immigrant children were unintentionally struck by a car in the motorcade for Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson and one of them (Gavin Cato) died from the wounds. Afterwards, Rev. Al Sharpton said “It’s an accident to allow an apartheid ambulance service in the middle of Crown Heights.” At Cato’s funeral a banner was hung reading “Hitler did not do the job”. This led to the death of 29 year old Austrailian Jew Yankel Rosenblum and 3 days of rioting in which Jewish shops were looted ala Kristallnacht. If Rev. Sharpton, a leading figure in the African American community, had not spoken, I doubt the rioting would have occurred.
While one can find Mein Kampf quotations all over the Internet, I feel that reprinting the publication would take its access to a whole new level. I don’t want the commoners in Germany reading it because I’m afraid its inciteful speech will lead to more violence against Jews. What scholarly good comes out of reprinting a book where the author says “The personification of the devil as the symbol of all evil assumes the living shape of the Jew.”
I hope that Germany will keep Mein Kampf censored, in opposition to Bershidsky’s claim that Hitler died 70 years ago and that it’s time that we end tabaoos. If we do that, we incite more hatred and anti-Semitism.