Hate speech is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as "public speech that expresses hate or encourages violence towards a person or group based on something such as race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation". Hate speech is "usually thought to include communications of animosity or disparagement of an individual or a group on account of a group characteristic such as race, colour, national origin, sex, disability, religion, or sexual orientation". A legal definition of hate speech varies from country to country.
There has been much debate over freedom of speech, hate speech and hate speech legislation. The laws of some countries describe hate speech as speech, gestures, conduct, writing, or displays that incite violence or prejudicial actions against a group or individuals on the basis of their membership in the group, or which disparage or intimidate a group or individuals on the basis of their membership in the group. The law may identify a group based on certain characteristics. In some countries, hate speech is not a legal term. Additionally, in some countries, including the United States, much of what falls under the category of "hate speech" is constitutionally protected. In other countries, a victim of hate speech may seek redress under civil law, criminal law, or both.
Difficulties in the Middle East crisis are exacerbated by incitement by both Jewish and Muslim fundamentalists who use their religious authority to incite their congregations against members of the other religion. For example, rabbis proclaim that many Arabs are not worth a single Jewish fingernail. Muslims claim that the mere acknowledgement of Jews is nothing but treachery to the way of Islam. In the UK, for example, Muslims hold anti-semitic meetings on university campuses.