In Britain, the attitude towards “grossly offensive public electronic communication” seems to be getting more and more draconian. On the other side of the Channel, however, things seem to be going the other way.
Twitter in France has seen a “concerning” new trend for anti-Semitic remarks, posted under the hashtag #unbonjuif, or “a good Jew”.According to the Jewish Chronicle, in recent days the hashtag has been attached to comments such as “a good Jew is a dead Jew” and “a good Jew can pump up your tyre with his nose”, as well as photographs of concentration camp victims. Worryingly – and astoundingly – the hashtag has become the third most popular on Twitter in France.
The Paris-based group SOS Racisme said it was appalled by “the wave of feverish hatred” and insisted that freedom of expression could not be upheld when it comes to comments “endangering life or personal integrity.” Le Monde called it “a competition of anti-Semitic jokes”; Conseil Représentatif des Institutions juives de France (CRIF), the umbrella group representing French Jewish communities, is threatening legal action. But are the authorities doing anything about it? #Aretheyhell.
Ordinarily, I would argue that the internet, while offering a voice to people who are often ignored, also allows trolls to have a disproportionate level of public exposure. As a blogger, I am keenly aware of this; I have received so many insulting “electronic communications” in response to my posts that I’ve become effectively immunised. In general, the notion that this stuff actually means anything, or that it represents the views of anything but a reprehensible – and probably mentally ill – minority is, it seems to me, something of an over-reaction.
In this case, however, it’s far more serious. Continue reading on the Telegraph website