By Micah HalpernI've Been Thinking:
Europe is clueless about the scourge of terror ravaging the continent.
For decades, Europeans refused to consider themselves part of the problem and refused to entertain the notion that they needed to clamp down on the terror that was swilling around them. Even events of the past few years and these past few months did not sway them.
Leaders, governments, courts, police - none of them had any idea of how deep, how pervasive, how dangerous and how powerful the terror had grown in their own societies.
One would have thought that the Charlie Hebdo attack would have been a wakeup call. Sadly, it was not. We can only hope that the most recent attacks that horrified Paris finally woke Europe up.
There is one sign that change may be happening.
A Belgium court convicted a famous comedian of hate speech and sentenced him to two months in prison and 9000 Euros (about $9500).
Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, known simply as Dieudonne, has been the center of much hate humor over the past decade. He claims his material is protected by free speech and that it is political and social commentary - not hatred. The court in Belgium has disagreed.
Dieudonne is best known for his "quenelle." I call it the inverted Nazi salute. Right arm stretched down instead of up. Left arm across chest.
The "quenelle" became a symbol of anti-Semitism. Europeans took pictures of themselves posed in front of synagogues, next to Holocaust survivors, at Holocaust memorials, even in soccer matches and at the Western Wall.
Europe must crack down on hate - on symbols of hate and on hate speech. Terror organizations cannot be protected under freedoms of democracy.
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