- Paperback: 182 pages
- Publisher: Intl Debate Education Assn; 2nd edition (August 31, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1617700452
- ISBN-13: 978-1617700453
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.5 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #404,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Defending My Enemy: American Nazis, the Skokie Case, and the Risks of Freedom Paperback – August 31, 2012
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From the Inside Flap
IDEBATE Press is proud to reissue a classic work on civil liberties with a new preface by the author.
Are Nazis entitled to freedom of expression? In 1977, Frank Collin, leader of the National Socialist Party of America, sought to hold a Nazi march in Skokie, Illinois. Skokie had one of the largest Holocaust survivor populations outside New York City. In this Chicago suburb, more than half the population was Jewish. The proposed march sparked a host of legal actions: the Village of Skokie asked for an injunction to prevent the Nazis from marching, and new ordinances were adopted to do so; Collin applied to hold a march on a later date, but was denied; an ACLU lawsuit was brought in federal court seeking to invalidate the new ordinances Skokie had put in place to prevent the march. In the end, Collin and the Nazis did not march in Skokie, but the Illinois Supreme Court ruled for Collin in 1978. The ACLU felt severe consequences, organizational and financial, from what was seen by many members as defense of the rights of those who did not deserve to be defended because they preached hate. Writing from his perspective as national executive director of the ACLU, a position he held from 1970 to 1978, Aryeh Neier tells the story, and ponders the consequences, of Skokie and other cases in which "the enemies of freedom have claimed for themselves the rights that they would deny to others."
About the Author
Aryeh Neier is president of the Open Society Foundations. Prior to joining the Open Society Foundations in 1993, he was executive director of Human Rights Watch, of which he was a founder. Before that, he worked at the American Civil Liberties Union, including national executive director from 1970 to 1978.
Top customer reviews
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Overall, this book does an excellent job discussing the historical context of the Skokie case and its impact. Neier, writing from his exclusive perspective as national director of the ACLU during the time, provides insights that are not well known. However, people wanting a highly-charged, persuasive, irrefutable defense of free speech will likely be somewhat let down.