The Cost of Freedom of Speech

Guy Nahmiach

My dad always told me that he would rather see the KKK march down main street in full daylight for all to see, rather than have them meet in dark basements. 

Last week at council, several speakers, using fake names, signed up for public speaking to get their three minutes to talk about rounding up Jewish people in camps and exterminating them. All in the name of free speech. Stop them and we could get sued for infringing on their right to speak. All the council could do was to make a rule change reducing the amount of time each person gets to speak. Should we eliminate the zoom option? After all, it was made during COVID. Maybe having people sign up earlier, allowing the city to vet the names and addresses?

Less than a year ago I spent nine days at Lutheran trying hard not to die. With the help of their amazing doctors, nurses and staff I survived an incurable disease. It brought me closer to my family, friends and my faith. A few months after being released, I got a tattoo of a star of David with the Western Wall in Jerusalem as the background. I love wearing my religion literally on my sleeve. That was before the attack on Israel on October 7th.

I was just in Hawaii on vacation, laying on the beach and realizing that this same symbol of pride potentially made me a target. With the rising number of attacks on Jews worldwide,

I found myself compelled to hide my “Jewishness” so as to avoid altercations or dangerous situations. This is 2023 not 1933. I felt like my freedom to display my religion was compromised.

Mayor Bud Starker boldly defends the right of free speech despite the verbal abuses his council and our residents had to endure. I don’t know how I feel about that. Someone was speaking about rounding up Jews in camps and wiping my people off the face of the earth and I have to stand there and listen to my may- or defend their right to speak. When ac- tually he was sending out a message that our right to speak will always be stronger than any evil words of hatred.

It’s an interesting situation for me, as an owner of a newspaper, to be contemplating free speech.

The positive in all of this were the many letters of support I received. As one of the readers quoted from the movie Jaws, if we are going to focus only on the positive, we’re “going to need a bigger boat.”

I remain optimistic about living in a town with such a bright future. 2J was voted with a huge majority, and I can’t wait to see the improvement projects come to life. As always, thanks for reading.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Neighborhood Gazette or its staff.

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