Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) cast their vote on the resolution on Jan. 18. The resolution passed in a 397-121 vote, with only 26 MEPs abstaining. Most lawmakers who abstained expressed concern that the law may be used to silence anti-Israel voices, according to the European Conservative.
"As always, only the two conservative blocs – ECR [European Conservatives and Reformists] and ID [Identity and Democracy] – voted against it. [Meanwhile], all leftist parties and the center-right EPP [European People's Party Group] supported the [resolution]."
Spanish MEP Maite Pagazaurtundua explained prior to the vote: "The current EU legal framework only covers hate speech and hate crimes on some bases. But there is currently no common, comprehensive legal definition at Union level."
"With the new social dynamics, the normalization of hate evolves very quickly. We must protect ourselves as a society and protect people who are attacked, persecuted and harassed."
According to the European Conservative, the resolution seeks to include hate speech among "particularly serious crime[s] with cross-border dimensions" like terrorism, human trafficking, drug and arms trafficking, money laundering, and organized crime."
Brussels' official explanation said hate speech causes serious harm not only to individuals and communities, "but also society as a whole by undermining the functions of the EU." It added that social media gives hate speech a "cross-border dimension" as well.
Moreover, the resolution also seeks to expand "the definition of hate speech and hate crimes to cover several additional victim categories. Currently, EU laws define them as hatred only toward a specific race, skin color, religion, nationality or ethnicity – which leftist lawmakers argued is not nearly enough in today's world."
"Therefore, the document calls for extending the definition to 'sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sex characteristics, age, disability and any other fundamental characteristic.' Absent an objective definition, it's easy to imagine the last one functioning as a blank check to cover whatever anyone might be offended by."
Critics argue, however, that this could lead to overreach and the ultimate suppression of free speech. Some have even compared the measure to "Big Brother," the overarching antagonist of George Orwell's novel "1984". Brussels nevertheless remains firm, asserting that this radical change is a crucial step in combating hate. (Related: EU signs draconian anti-free speech law to "police" the entire internet, take down websites containing "unapproved" speech.)
"You don't want a political debate, you want an inquisition," lamented French MEP Patricia Chagnon.
"If I were to say … I don’t want minors to receive hormonal treatment or other medical treatment, that's not hate speech against transgender persons. That is a declaration of love for children. If I fight against excessive migration into my country [and] our continent … I'm not moved by hatred, but love for my country and for our continent."
Italian MEP Silvia Sardone meanwhile minced no words in condemning Brussels. "You're the Big Brother. You establish thought crimes to limit the freedom of speech and expression, … and to attack anyone who's against your ideology."
Ahead of the vote, Austrian MEP Harald Vilimsky stressed that the whole resolution "must be seen as politically motivated." He continued that the text's supposed guarantee of the freedom of expression can no longer be taken seriously, adding: "Such statements are Orwellian Newspeak in Brussels and have become part of the standard repertoire."
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Watch this episode of "The Fascist New World Order Podcast" that touches on hate speech.
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