Pro-Muslim Posters Show "Heckler's Veto" Isn't Needed

It turns out you can fight offensive speech without using vandalism or government regulations


Oh, hey! It's that famous solution to bad speech: more speech. Via the Huffington Post:

Two religious groups have produced pro-Muslim advertising campaigns to be unveiled in New York City's subway system. The ads are meant as a response to the controversial anti-Jihad posters recently introduced to the subway.

The New York Times reports the two groups, the Rabbis for Human Rights North America and the Sojourners led by Christian author Jim Wallis, and the MTA have confirmed the new ads will hang in close proximity to the American Freedom Defense Initiative's posters, which have been widely condemned as Islamophobic.

That's certainly a much more useful way of responding to the poster than churlishly vandalizing one with spray paint. And it certainly sends a better message about our commitment to free speech than incentivizing violent responses in order to block people saying things some (or many! Or all!) may find offensive.

Here's the ad from the rabbis:

Why aren't we exporting more hugs to the Middle East?

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  1. So, if somebody busts out a can of spray paint on these posters, there coming down, right?


    1. These posters are making me angry!

    2. I’ll bust out a can of spray paint on your grammar.

  2. “Oh, hey! It’s that famous solution to bad speech: more speech.”

    I can see how some people might want to try that strategy, but is it legal?

  3. You know who else will hang in close proximity to American Islamophobic posters…

    1. Ambassador Stevens’ corpse?

      1. So what Mike M. said.


  4. The solution to bad speech is correct speech, which is why these posters won’t be coming down. See the difference?

    1. But the content-neutral [snerk] precedent is that a poster that gets spray-painted gets yanked. The 1A leaves no room [giggle] for government sorting out bad speech from correct speech.

  5. That’s actually a pretty good poster. The Leviticus quote is especially fitting.

    Next, someone else will paste a few posters that say “Islam is a faith of love, and if you don’t believe it, we’ll cut your fucking head off with a blunt knife, on camera.”

    1. My first, atheistic reaction is to say, oh, look! clever rabbis quoting gawd’s word from leviticus to support some opinion or other in their ad. By the way, the full quote is Do not try to get even. Do not hold anything against one of your people. Instead, love your neighbor as you love yourself. I am the Lord. (The “your people” part should give you a hint about the Lord’s insidious real intent.)

      how about

      If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. – Leviticus 20:13.

      Yeah, yeah. In the choice between love and hate, choose love. Religious nut jobs.

      1. I don’t know why anyone would put much into what the genocidal maniac Old Testament God said anyway. Though I suppose he did have his moments.

        1. I think more people should be turned into pillars of salt for looking at immoral cities.

  6. In 2004, after an increase of violence in the insurgency in Southern Thailand, the Thai government asked its citizens to write notes expressing their wishes for peace and their solidarity with their Muslim fellow citizens in the south. They then folded these notes into origami paper cranes and air-dropped them all over villages and schools in the south.

      1. Wishing for “peace and solidarity” only works if the other side also desires peace and solidarity. Otherwise you’re pretty much fucked. At least that’s the lesson I draw from this anecdote.

        1. That’s the lesson I draw from most of recorded history.

          It only takes one side to start a war, after all.

          1. And when it’s only one side that is willing to prosecute said war, that side always wins.

            1. Lesson 1:

              Smite first, smite often.

      2. So what you’re saying is that the origami gave them 8 years of peace?

      3. I once read a quote that was in reference to gun control, but it seems to work well here:

        “It is useless for the sheep to pass resolutions in favor of vegetarianism when the wolf remains of a different opinion.”

    1. They should have written the wishes for peace and solidarity on bomblets. Just to be dicks.

      1. Actually they sometimes leave notes mocking the paper cranes on the bodies they behead. I would post a link, but it’s all in Thai.

        1. That’s actually kind of metal. But also proves my original point.

            1. What happens when one chooses Islamic love, I guess.

        2. All the paper cranes I made last night have a sad now. That shit ain’t right.

      2. I’ve seen mortar crews draw smiley faces on outgoing rounds. That always amused me.

    2. Re: Heroic Mulatto,

      Thai government asked its citizens to write notes expressing their wishes for peace and their solidarity with their Muslim fellow citizens in the south.

      Pussies. The punishment for violent insurgency used to be placing the captured malcontents over a bunch of freshly-cut bamboo shoots – which grows something like an inch and a half an hour.

  7. God, I wish Christopher Hitchens was still alive to get drunk, angry and verbose about this.

  8. “Love your neighbor as yourself”

    But what if you hate yourself? Doesn’t that mean you should hate your neighbor too?

    1. Then you hate-masturbate your neighbor while you both cry in the shower.

      Don’t you people know anything about ethics? Geez?

      1. What you and your neighbors do for fun on a Saturday night should stay between you and your neighbors.

        Although I am morbidly curious, is hate-masturbateing your neighbor like a really angry and violent dutch rudder?

        1. No, it’s exactly what you do while crying in the shower, only you extend the courtesy to your neighbor.

          Seriously, did you people not go to Sunday school?

      2. Warty is a great ethics teacher I see.

    2. Re: Loki,

      But what if you hate yourself? Doesn’t that mean you should hate your neighbor too?

      If you hate yourself, then your love for yourself is zero. The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.

      So you would at most be totally indifferent towards your neighbors. Which pretty much explains everybody in my apartment complex.

      1. What if you’re J.R. Ewing, and you love to hate yourself?

      2. well, in that case……

  9. What is the cross section between Rabbis for Human Rights North America and Neturei Karta? It seems like they are not very popular in Israel. Cursory cross reference in Google turns up this:


    Just over a week ago, a group of radical right-wing settlers from Shilo orchestrated a protest outside of the family home of Rabbi Arik Ascherman, General Secretary of RHR. They held signs that read:

    “Ascherman is a clown;” “Ascherman=Goldstone;” “Ascherman=Neturei Karta;” “Ascherman, leave the country. We don’t need pests like you.”

    I predict this will only lead to more spray paint given the subtext of the ‘peaceful’ message.

    1. Members of Neturei Karta, a radical, fringe sect of Jews met with Ahmadinejad in New York to express their common hatred for Jews and their desire to see the “peaceful dismantling of the [Zionist] state”.

      Ahmadinejad concluded the meeting with the hope that he will be successful, while the Neturei Karta members wished Ahmadinejad much success.

      Heh. You know, I had a strange feeling when I saw that group name, too. Not that it couldn’t be legit, but, hey, there’s a reason why the self-loathing Jew is a stereotype.

      1. I don’t know, just the phrasing “Jews met… to express their common hatred for Jews” seems like propaganda wording. I mean really? If they’d said “common hatred for Israel” it would make some sense, but people who (presumably) self-identify as Jews that hate Jews? It’s possible, but sounds fishy. It’s the exact wording I’d expect from a group that sympathizes with totalitarian Middle Eastern governments like Iran’s.

        1. After reading that again, I realize it’s a Jewish society using that wording (oops). It still seems like propaganda to me. Like they’re saying “these people aren’t real Jews/they’re traitors” for disliking Israel.

    2. That link is to a donation site for Rabbis for Human Rights North America.

      Neturei Karta wiki entry states:

      Neturei Karta (Jewish Babylonian Aramaic: ????? ???? n???ri qar??, literally “Guardians of the City”) is a Jewish group formally created in Jerusalem, British Mandate of Palestine, in 1938, splitting off from Agudas Yisrael. Neturei Karta opposes Zionism and calls for a peaceful dismantling of the State of Israel, in the belief that Jews are forbidden to have their own state until the coming of the Messiah.[1][2] They live as a part of larger Chareidi communities around the globe.

      Not really that contraversal in itself, but ADL tracts them as a hate group. Makes me think they may not be all that bad, but the appeasement on display in that video where they meet with dinnerjacket is puke worthy.

      1. Yeah, there are Jewish groups that want the nation of Israel to disband, for both secular (“PEACE!”) and religious (“The time for Israel has not come, this is not the TRUE Israel.) reasons. I’d hardly call those “hate groups” though. The whole designation of “hate group”, while not pure bullshit, is MOSTLY bullshit, being highly subjective and thus easily abusable.

  10. Sorry, but I chose hate many years ago. And you know what? It’s working out pretty well for me.

    1. All that hate…it’s gonna burn you up…

      1. You have the spirit to fight back but the good sense to control it. Your eyes are full of hate, Forty-One. That’s good. Hate keeps a man alive. It gives him strength.

      2. It keeps me warm.

  11. “Oh, hey! It’s that famous solution to bad speech: more speech.”

    Weird. The T.V. tells me that the solution has always been to burn effigies and embassies.

  12. It’s a nice thought, but posters ain’t gonna do it.

  13. George R.R. Martin:

    Free speech is one of the cornerstones of our democracy, yet somehow it is always under attack. The world is full of people who think they know better, and want to tell you what you should read, what you should write, what you should see. Christian fundamentalists, Muslim extremists, the right, the left? everybody seems to have a book or two they want banned, an idea or two they don’t want expressed. Well, I say it’s spinach, and I say the hell with them.

  14. “In the choice between love and hate”

    Again with the false dichotomy!

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