How to react to pro-Palestinian demonstrations?

In several European countries there have been pro-Palestinian demonstrations in reaction to Hamas’ attacks on Israel, with participants openly celebrating the operation. At the same time people gathered at rallies to show solidarity with Israel. Commentators discuss the limits and meaning of freedom of expression.

Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

This is no fight for freedom

Dagens Nyheter reacts with disbelief to the celebrations in Sweden:

“Who celebrates a mass murder? That women are being violently driven out of their homes, that children are being kidnapped and murdered. ... It’s bizarre to hear cheering people waving Palestinian flags chanting joyful slogans about Palestinian freedom. ... Even for the most dyed-in-the wool antisemites this is an absurd reaction. Because what Hamas is doing right now has nothing to do with defending freedom. All it means is that Palestinians will never get their own state or peace. What Hamas wants is something very different: the destruction of Israel. ... In that sort of world, a two-state solution was never an option.”

Amanda Sokolnicki
Svenska Dagbladet (SE) /

Proper protection rather than ill-advised bans

Svenska Dagbladet advises against limiting freedom of expression:

“Just this summer, we heard many voices in Sweden arguing that the threat of Islamist terrorism could be reduced by making certain changes to Swedish freedom of expression. The ruthless terror of the past weekend is a reminder of the absurdity of this hope. The threat to our societies does not lie in our freedoms. On the contrary: by protecting well functioning institutions democracies safeguard their superior abilities for development and collaboration. Only in this way can aggressive states and terrorism be held in check: by lending our unwavering support to Israel just as much as Ukraine. ”

Mattias Svensson
Magyar Nemzet (HU) /

The democratic dilemma

The pro-government newspaper Magyar Nemzet is torn:

“One might think that there is a limit to everything, even people taking delight in the killing or kidnapping innocent civilians. ... But you can’t claim that it’s normal for the authorities – like those in Lyon, France – to ban a pro-Palestinian demonstration in the name of preserving public order. In a democratic society, citizens have the right to freedom of expression and assembly. However, the times we are living in may not be normal.”

László Szőcs