Should Antisemites Be Censored for Hate Speech?

Rick Wiles (Vimeo/Right Wing Watch)

In case you haven't heard, TruNews, an evangelical, antisemitic, online news channel, has been permanently banned from YouTube for "hate speech." Is this something we should applaud, especially as Christian conservatives? Or this is something that should concern us, since the charge of "hate speech" has been frequently wielded against us, albeit without merit?

To be sure, TruNews has spread dangerous, antisemitic lies, including the claim that Jews will soon take over America and start slaughtering millions of Christians. To quote Rick Wiles, the founder of TruNews, directly, "The very people who crucified Christ are going to be our masters if we don't do something about it."

Yes, this is what an "evangelical Christian" newscaster is spewing from his newsroom day after day, using the internet to disseminate his misguided views.

This kind of unfounded, unhinged rhetoric could lead unstable people to commit violent acts against the Jewish community. The two synagogue shootings are stark reminders of this.

That's why I have personally confronted TruNews on a number of occasions, including articles (see here and here), videos (see here and here), books (see here and here) and privately. I have also invited Rick Wiles onto my radio show, offered to go on his show and challenged him to a public debate.

All my offers have been declined.

And so, rather than change their tune, the TruNews leaders have entrenched themselves even more deeply. In fact, after the vote-count fiasco in Iowa, TruNews claimed that "Israel" was behind the mess. I kid you not. TruNews even claimed that this was part of a ploy to get Pete Buttigieg elected, since "Israel" wanted a gay man in the White House.

It is for good reason that major Jewish news outlets reported on YouTube's banning of TruNews, including HaAretz, the Jerusalem Post, the Forward, the Times of Israel, the Algemeiner and more.

Others are now calling for TruNews to be banned from Facebook, where they still broadcast daily, as well as from Twitter. And that leads me back to my initial question: is the banning of antisemitic voices like TruNews good or bad?

On the one hand, as emphasized above, TruNews is spreading genuinely dangerous lies, lies that could lead to the shedding of innocent blood. Rick Wiles has even spoken about stockpiling weapons while warning of an impending, violent civil war. As he said last December, "The Democrats are forcing me to stockpile ammunition, food, water and medical supplies to defend my family, home and church." (This was in the context of an alleged "Jew coup" to take over Washington through the impeachment hearings.)

And since, for Wiles, it is always the evil Jews who are the ultimate culprits, it's easy to see what his irresponsible words could lead to.

On the other hand, TruNews is touting its YouTube ban as a badge of honor. And, because YouTube is run by "the Jews," Rick Wiles now has further proof that "the Jews" are trying to take him down.

As the ADL reported after PayPal and others stopped processing TruNews donations, "In an anti-Semitic, conspiracy theory-laced letter to supporters, TruNews founder Rick Wiles ascribed the change to his coverage of 'Israeli Mossad's blackmail operation through the fake billionaire Jeffrey Epstein,' adding that we live in 'Bolshevik, Zionist America.'" (If you're wondering what Epstein has to do with all this, check out the story just linked.)

Wiles now has more fuel for his fire.

But that's the lesser of my concerns. Virtually anything can be used to confirm the theories of a conspiracy theorist.

My greater concern is that the charge of "hate speech" can be wielded indiscriminately against upstanding individuals, organizations, and ministries. In fact, the charge has been wielded against many of us, but not because we've been hateful or insulting or untruthful.

Rather, it has been used against us when we affirm biblical truths in the face of a fallen and confused culture. (For examples, see some of the articles and videos listed here.) And just think of what happened to the Prager U channel for allegedly violating YouTube's community guidelines.

That's why I have mixed feelings about YouTube's decision to ban TruNews for good.

To be sure, the less exposure they have, the better. May their audience dwindle and diminish to nothing, and may their funding dry up!

Yet the banning sets a bad precedent for others, since the leftist leanings of YouTube, Google and other social media giants are undeniable. Who will be banned next? Perhaps Christians who say that homosexual practice is contrary to God's will?

So we have to ask, which is worse? Allowing antisemites to spread their dangerous misinformation or potentially curtailing the free speech of others?

As much as I deplore what these antisemites say and do (especially when they do so in Jesus' name), I would suggest these simple guidelines. If they (or any other group) have the constitutional right to share their views in the American public square, they should have the same right to do so online. If their speech would be forbidden from the public square under the Constitution, it should be banned online as well.

Has TruNews crossed that line? To my knowledge, the answer is no, although they are certainly getting close.

That means that, for now, rather than pushing for them to be banned from the internet, we should expose their lies and unite together in combatting antisemitic libels. Truth is a stronger weapon than censorship. Do you concur?

Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Evangelicals at the Crossroads: Will We Pass the Trump Test? Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter, or YouTube.

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