MICHAEL MORRIS: Police failure in pro-Israel rally taints hate crimes bill with pretence
The state failed to provide protection against haters by cancelling the protest
An all too familiar atmosphere of pretence pervades the inexorable progress of the Prevention & Combating of Hate Crimes & Hate Speech Bill through the legislative process, sharpened somewhat by recent evidence of the state’s inability — even unwillingness, perhaps — to do much in the way of protecting citizens’ rights.
Of course, if a state is keen to step in and act against the hateful, an atmosphere of pretence might well be preferable to an atmosphere of single-minded determination. Better by far — as colleague Sara Gon, director of the Free Speech Union of SA (a unit of the Institute of Race Relations), argued at the weekend — is a social and political environment in which the law imposes “the least possible limitations on free speech”. ..