Why laws against hate speech may be counterproductive:
France has put real teeth into laws that punish offensive speech. Yet according to the Anti-Defamation League, 37% of the French harbor anti-Semitic opinions. In the U.S. — which, thanks to the First Amendment, has never banned Holocaust denial or hateful speech — that number is 9%, among the lowest in the world. While this comparison can’t capture all the differences between the two nations, it strongly suggests that punishing expression is no real cure for bigotry, and refusing to punish hateful speech does not lead inevitably to its spread.
Call me crazy, but I’m Jewish and a Zionist, and I’d rather have bands of Palestinian students roving U.S. campuses and spewing anti-Semitic hatred publicly than give up my right to free speech that would allow me to defeat and marginalize them in open, public debate.