Hate speech is a statement intended to demean and brutalize another, or the use of cruel and derogatory language or gestures on the basis of real or alleged membership in a social group. Hate speech is speech that attacks a person or a group on the basis of protected attributes such as race, religion, ethnic origin, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. 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 disparages or intimidates 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, hate speech is constitutionally protected.
In some countries, a victim of hate speech may seek redress under civil law, criminal law, or both. A website that contains hate speech (online hate speech) may be called a hate site. Many of these sites contain Internet forums and news briefs that emphasize a particular viewpoint.
There has been much debate over freedom of speech, hate speech and hate speech legislation.
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.