HOW THE ISRAELI LOBBY IS ASSAULTING OUR FREEDOM OF SPEECH

The First Amendment squarely protects the right to boycott. Lately, though, a legislative assault on that right has been spreading through the United States –  designed to stamp out constitutionally protected boycotts of Israel…

The First Amendment is Under Serious Assault in Order to Stifle Anti-Israel Boycotts

Assaults on freedom speech can be found in many aspects of American life these days, but one specific area that isn’t getting the attention it deserves relates to boycotts against Israel. Increasingly, we’re seeing various regional governments requiring citizens to agree to what essentially amounts to a loyalty pledge to a foreign government in order to participate in or receive government services.

I’m going to highlight two troubling examples of this, both covered by Israeli paper Haaretz. The first relates to Kansas.

From the article, In America, the Right to Boycott Israel Is Under Threat:

The First Amendment squarely protects the right to boycott. Lately, though, a legislative assault on that right has been spreading through the United States –  designed to stamp out constitutionally protected boycotts of Israel…

Over the past several years, state and federal legislatures have considered dozens of bills, and in some cases passed laws, in direct violation of this important ruling. These bills and laws vary in numerous respects, but they share a common goal of scaring people away people from participating in boycotts meant to protest Israeli government policies, including what are known as Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns.

Today, the ACLU filed a lawsuit challenging one of those laws — a Kansas statute requiring state contractors to sign a statement certifying that they do not boycott Israel, including boycotts of companies profiting off settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

We are representing a veteran math teacher and trainer from Kansas who was told she would need to sign the certification statement in order to participate in a state program training other math teachers. Our client is a member of the Mennonite Church USA. In response to calls for boycott by the church and members of her congregation, she has decided not to buy consumer goods and services offered by Israeli companies and international companies operating in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. Our client is boycotting to protest the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians and to pressure the government to change its policies.

Earlier this year, our client was selected to participate as a contractor in a statewide training program run by the Kansas Department of Education. She was excited to use her skills to help train math teachers throughout the state, but when she was presented with a form requiring her to certify that she “is not currently engaged in a boycott of Israel,” she told the state that she could not sign the form in good conscience. As a result, the state refuses to let her participate in the program.

Kansas’s law, and others like it, violates the Constitution. The First Amendment prohibits the government from suppressing one side of a public debate. That means it cannot impose ideological litmus tests or loyalty oaths as a condition on hiring or contracting.

If this was the only example of such behavior, I suppose we could dismiss it as a one-off, misguided directive. Unfortunately, this sort of thing is far more common than any of us would like to admit.

Here’s another recent example, from the article, Houston Suburb Won’t Give Hurricane Relief to Anyone Who Boycotts Israel:

A Houston suburb will not approve grants to repair homes or businesses damaged in Hurricane Harvey if the applicant supports boycotting Israel.

The city of Dickinson’s application form for storm damage repair funding includes a clause stating that “By executing this Agreement below, the Applicant verifies that the Applicant: (1) does not boycott Israel; and (2) will not boycott Israel during the term of this Agreement.”

No other clauses about political affiliations or beliefs are included in the form.

The state of Texas passed a law in May banning state entities from contracting with businesses that boycott Israel. The law, one of 21 passed in states around the country in the past few years, has been criticized by the American Civil Liberties Union as unconstitutional.

This is totally insane. I don’t care what you think about Israel, the above is completely unacceptable in a free society and we should all be making a stink about it. Please share with friends and family.

DERSHOWITZ GETS A TASTE OF HIS OWN MEDICINE

Dershowitz seems to think it was OK to block Dr. Norman Finkelstein from obtaining tenure at DePaul University, but he gets upset when he himself is blocked from speaking at a University.

As we say in Brooklyn, ‘TUFF NUGGIES!’

Harvard Law School prof. says he’s being deprived of free speech rights, charges university of being unfair to pro-Israel speakers

And evil he is!

UC Berkeley blocks pro-Israel talk by Dershowitz, citing rules on advance notice

A speech by Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz at the University of California, Berkeley, may be blocked because organizers did not give campus police the required eight-week notice for the event.

Dershowitz’s lecture, tentatively titled “The Liberal Case for Israel,” is planned for Oct. 10. But Rabbi Gil Yosef Leeds, director of the Chabad Jewish Student Center, which is sponsoring the lecture along with the pro-Israel student club Tikvah, said Thursday that an initially approved 500-seat classroom was pulled because of the advance notice requirement.

“As of last night, Berkeley had reserved a large campus lecture hall for us, but because of a newly instituted policy requiring [giving] UCPD 8 weeks advance notice, so far they have denied on-campus space,” Leeds said in an email. “The semester isn’t even eight weeks old.”

Dershowitz, who could not be reached for comment, said on TV’s “Fox & Friends” Thursday morning that he was being deprived of his free speech rights and accused UC Berkeley of being unfair to pro-Israel speakers.

UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof pointed to the school’s Major Events Hosted by Non-Departmental Users interim policy statement announced on Aug. 14, which states that a request form must be submitted to campus police “at least eight weeks prior to the event” for audiences of more than 200 people.

“If they wish to host Mr. Dershowitz 12 days from now on Oct. 10, we have offered the students a number of venues that can accommodate an audience of 199 people,” Mogulof said in an email. “If, however, having a larger audience is more important to the hosting student organization than holding the event on the date they initially proposed, we would be happy to work with them to reschedule the event for a day at least eight weeks from now so that we can maintain compliance with policy.”

Mogulof said the policy applies only to nondepartmental applicants. That means a speaker hosted by a UC Berkeley department would not have to follow the guidelines. Leeds said among his follow-up strategies is to seek a UC Berkeley department to sponsor the lecture.

Dershowitz, an emeritus professor of law at Harvard, wrote “The Case for Israel” in 2003 and often addresses the issue on college campuses, including an event on Wednesday night at Columbia University in New York.

His bid to speak at UC Berkeley is the latest in a series of recent free-speech disputes on campus. Several right-wing speakers, including Ben Shapiro, editor of DailyWire.com, have visited the campus amid high security, student protests and accusations that the campus was shutting out right-leaning speakers.

Leeds is confident the Dershowitz lecture will take place.

“I’m sure it’s on,” he said. “It’s just a matter of how this will play out.”

WORDPRESS BOWS TO ERDOGAN’S DEMANDS

At the request of Erdogan, WordPress censors a critical Turkish blog that collects Turkey-related cartoons.

Here is a sampling of what was censored … (From the banned Blog)

Jaume Capdevila: “Erdoğan”

Jaume Capdevila: “Erdoğan”

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Joep Bertrams: “Üstün güç”

Joep Bertrams: “Üstün güç”

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Rainer Hachfeld: “Erdoğan’dan günün emri”

Rainer Hachfeld: “Erdoğan’dan günün emri”

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Christo Komarnitski: “Erdoğan’ın Facebook profili”

Christo Komarnitski: “Erdoğan’ın Facebook profili”

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Tom Janssen: “Türkiye’den diyalog manzaraları”

Tom Janssen: “Türkiye’den diyalog manzaraları”

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Olle Johansson: “Kaldıraç”

Olle Johansson: “Kaldıraç”

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Taylor Jones: “Dini bütün Erdoğan”

Taylor Jones: “Dini bütün Erdoğan”

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Marian Kamensky: “Erdoğan”

Marian Kamensky: “Erdoğan”

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Hassan Bleibel: “Erdoğan’ın gücü”

Hassan Bleibel: “Erdoğan’ın gücü”

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Arend van Dam: “Erdoğan basına karşı”

Arend van Dam: “Erdoğan basına karşı”

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Patrick Chappatte: “Türkiye’deki eylemler”

Patrick Chappatte: “Türkiye’deki eylemler”

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Marian Kamensky: “Erdoğan’ın piyanosu”

Marian Kamensky: “Erdoğan’ın piyanosu”

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Tom Janssen: “Sarhoş Erdoğan”

Tom Janssen: “Sarhoş Erdoğan”

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Daryl Cagle: “Erdoğan”

Daryl Cagle: “Erdoğan”

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Hassan Bleibel: “Suriye’ye yardım”

Hassan Bleibel: “Suriye’ye yardım”

WordPress’ censorship follows a trend started by Twitter and FaceBook, where our very own Carlos Latuff was the main target …. (Click on links)

#CensorshipInTurkey ~~ CARLOS LATUFF’S TOONS BLOCKED

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FACEBOOK JOINS THE CENSORSHIP WAR AGAINST LATUFF

ASK NOT WHAT YOUR COUNTRY IS DOING IN ISRAEL …

A new twist to the immortal words of President Kennedy …

My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.

BUT … Don’t ask what your country is doing in Israel!

A Jewish questioner was arrested after asking Middle East expert Dennis Ross a pointed question about what he called Israeli and U.S. “state-sponsored terrorism” at a lecture at a Kansas City library.

Image by Latuff

Image by Latuff

 

Jew Arrested for Questioning Israeli ‘State-Sponsored Terrorism’ at Kansas City Library

A Jewish questioner was arrested after asking Middle East expert Dennis Ross a pointed question about what he called Israeli and U.S. “state-sponsored terrorism” at a lecture at a Kansas City library.

Jeremy Rothe-Kushel was charged with trespassing and resisting arrest after he challenged Ross to explain why the U.S. continues to support Israel at the inaugural Truman and Israel Lecture, established by the Truman Library Institute and the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City on May 9, the Kansas City Star reported.

“When are we going to stand up and be ethical Jews and Americans?” Rothe-Kushel asked.

Private security guards employed by the employed by the Jewish Community Foundation bundled Rothe-Kushel out of the hall. They also arrested Steve Woolfolk, director of public programming for the library, after he tried to intervene. He suffered a torn knee ligament.

Police defended the arrests and said the security officers were enforcing a rule against follow-up questions.

But library officials spoke out strongly against the arrests.

“At this stage, I’m actually outraged,” said R. Crosby Kemper III, executive director of the city’s library system. “This is a big violation of the very first amendment to the Constitution of the United States.”

Rothe-Kushel said he was also outraged.

“The library tried to defend my person and my God-given rights of the First Amendment,” he told the paper. “We believe the charges should be dropped.”

Although the incident took place months ago, library officials went public with their outrage this week after prosecutors decided to press ahead with charges against Rothe-Kushel and Woolfolk.

SILENCING THE LAMBS …. YET AGAIN

 First there was THIS …..
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Famous entertainer and civil rights activist Paul Robeson loses his court appeal to try to force the Department of State to grant him a passport. The continued government persecution of Robeson illustrated several interesting points about Cold War America.
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Robeson was seen as a danger because he often interspersed his performances with comments about race relations in the United States. Before and after his performances, he gave numerous interviews condemning segregation and discrimination in America. For some U.S. policymakers, who viewed America’s poor record of race relations as the nation’s “Achilles’ heel” in terms of the propaganda war with the Soviet Union, having a well known African-American denounce segregation and praise the Russians was unacceptable.
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Full report HERE
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Now THIS …..

Israel has officially refused to renew the travel document of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement co-founder Omar Barghouti in a move that amounts to a travel ban and is an escalation of its attacks on Palestinian human rights defenders who nonviolently advocate for Palestinian rights under international law.

Image by Carlos Latuff

Israel imposes travel ban on BDS co-founder

Israel imposes travel ban on BDS co-founder

 

Israel imposes travel ban on BDS movement co-founder Omar Barghouti 

Israel has officially refused to renew the travel document of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement co-founder Omar Barghouti in a move that amounts to a travel ban and is an escalation of its attacks on Palestinian human rights defenders who nonviolently advocate for Palestinian rights under international law.

Barghouti, who lives with his family in Acre, has Israeli permanent residency and requires an Israeli travel document to be able to travel in and out of Palestine/Israel. His immediate reaction was: “I am unnerved but certainly undeterred by these threats. Nothing will stop me from struggling for my people’s freedom, justice and peace”.

Israel’s decision not to grant a renewal of the travel document on baseless bureaucratic pretenses is being viewed by human rights experts as the first step towards revoking Barghouti’s permanent residency.

Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri had threatened as much at a recent anti-BDS conference held in Jerusalem when he disclosed that he was “inclined to fulfill” a request he had received from a far-right Israeli member of parliament to revoke Barghouti’s permanent residency.

The travel ban follows thinly-veiled incitement to physical violence against Barghouti and BDS activists by Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz and Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan. Katz called on Israel to engage in “targeted civil eliminations” of BDS leaders, while Erdan described BDS activists and leaders as threats and called for them to “pay the price” for their work, following this with a clarification that he does not mean “physical harm”. Defending “campaigns to hold Israel accountable for human rights and other international law violations”, Amnesty International has expressed its concern for “the safety and liberty of Palestinian human rights defender Omar Barghouti” following these threats, “including of physical harm and deprivation of basic rights”.

As a leading volunteer with the BDS movement, Barghouti regularly travels internationally to raise awareness about Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights and to advocate for BDS as an effective strategy to end Israel’s regime of occupation and apartheid. Rooted in a long heritage of Palestinian popular resistance, BDS is also inspired by the global boycott movement that helped to end South Africa’s apartheid regime and by the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.

The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council has recently affirmed “the right of all individuals to participate in and advocate for boycott, divestment, and sanction actions”, calling on states and businesses to “uphold their related legal responsibilities”.

Mahmoud Nawajaa, the general coordinator of the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the broadest coalition in Palestinian civil society that leads the global BDS movement, said:

“Having failed to stop the growth of BDS in the mainstream, Israel is now launching a desperate and dangerous global war of repression on the movement. After losing many battles for the hearts and minds at the grassroots level, Israel and its well-oiled lobby groups are pressuring western states to implement patently anti-democratic measures that threaten civil liberties at large”.

“By banning our colleague Omar Barghouti from travelling and threatening him with physical violence, Israel is showing the lengths it will go to in order to stop the spread of the non-violent BDS movement for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality”.

The international BDS movement aims to pressure Israel, as South African apartheid was pressured, to comply with international law. It has attracted the support of mainstream unions, churches and political parties across the world and compelled large corporations, including Veolia and Orange, to end their involvement in Israel’s human rights violations.

Prominent artists including Ms. Lauryn Hill and Roger Waters have refused to perform in Tel Aviv; several academic associations in the U.S. and thousands of academics in Europe, South Africa, North America and Latin America have endorsed a comprehensive boycott of Israeli universities. The authors of a recent UN report said that a 46% drop in foreign direct investment in Israel in 2014 was partly due to the impact of BDS.

At Israel’s request, governments in the UK, France, Canada and state legislatures in the U.S. are introducing anti-BDS legislation and taking other anti-democratic measures to repress BDS activism. In France, one activist was arrested simply for wearing a BDS t-shirt.

Israel is also using its security services to spy on BDS activists across the world, as repeatedly reported in the Israeli media and by the Associated Press. This espionage is likely to involve monitoring of citizens’ communications in violation of domestic laws.

Journalist and constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald, known for breaking the NSA surveillance story, has described this well-orchestrated series of draconian measures against the BDS movement as the “greatest threat to free speech in the West”.

Mahmoud Nawajaa added:

“The western governments that are repressing BDS activism at home are giving Israel a green light to continue its violations of international law with impunity. We urge governments, parliaments and human rights organisations to follow Amnesty International’s lead and uphold his rights as a human rights defender under threat”.

Find out more about Israel’s attacks on the BDS movement here.

Source Palestinian BDS National Committee  VIA

BILLBOARD OF THE DAY ~~ BOYCOTT ISRAEL-STOP APARTHEID

Kudos to the Lamar Advertising Agency for refusing to bow to zionist pressure

Chicago billboard: ‘Boycott Israel, stop apartheid’

In response to massive online protest, Lamar Advertising agency refuses to apologize for anti-Israel sign.
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Boycott Israel sign (illustration) Miriam Alster / Flash 90

Boycott Israel sign (illustration) Miriam Alster / Flash 90

A storm is brewing in the Windy City, as a massive anti-Israeli Chicago billboard has sparked a massive campaign calling for it to be taken down – but the advertising company adamantly refuses to apologize for the discriminatory sign.

“Lamar has been in the billboard business for over 100 years and we have developed a strong commitment to supporting the First Amendment right of advertisers who wish to use our medium to promote legal products and services or to convey noncommercial messages such as the one in Chicago. We do not accept or reject copy based upon agreement or disagreement with the views presented. We think SEAMAC has a right to present their views and would also support the right of those who disagree with SEAMAC. We welcome your comments.”

Full report HERE

US DISTRICT COURT BANS PRO PALESTINIAN ADS ON SEATTLE BUSES

A victory for Islamophobes

THIS is allowed

While

County officials in Seattle can prohibit an advertisement criticizing Israeli policies toward Palestinians from appearing on local buses without violating constitutional protections on free speech, a U.S. appeals court said on Wednesday.

Too true to be legal?

Too true to be legal?

Seattle Wins Right To Ban ‘Israeli War Crimes’ Bus Ads

Court Rules No Free Speech Violation at Stake

From Reuters VIA

County officials in Seattle can prohibit an advertisement criticizing Israeli policies toward Palestinians from appearing on local buses without violating constitutional protections on free speech, a U.S. appeals court said on Wednesday.

In a 2-1 ruling, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco found that Kings County acted reasonably when it barred the ad, which sparked threats of vandalism and violence that could have endangered passengers.

Neither a Kings County spokesman nor a representative for the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington Foundation, which challenged the ban, was immediately available for comment.

In 2010, a non-profit group opposed to U.S. support for Israel proposed a bus ad that read: “ISRAELI WAR CRIMES YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK,” along with a website address. The county originally flagged the ad as controversial, but decided it did not violate bus advertising policy and approved it.

After a local news broadcast about the impending ad, officials faced a public furor. Photos depicting dead or injured bus passengers appeared under the door of a transportation authority service center, the ruling said.

The county eventually rejected that ad, along with others proposed by pro-Israel groups. The pro-Palestinian Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign sued, and a judge in a lower court sided with the county.

“Because the county simultaneously rejected all of the proposed ads on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – from opposing viewpoints – no reasonable jury could find that it engaged in viewpoint discrimination,” 9th Circuit Judge Paul Watford wrote on Wednesday.

In dissent, Judge Morgan Christen said that while safety is a concern, “it also may be that the county inappropriately bowed to a ‘heckler’s veto’ and suppressed speech that should have been protected.”

She said the case should have been sent back to the lower court for more fact-finding.

#JeSuisAnti-Apartheid

Paris university shuts down Israeli apartheid event featuring Max Blumenthal

Author Max Blumenthal banned by zion

Author Max Blumenthal banned by zion

In the current context, to ban such a conference amounts to aligning with the policy of exploiting the reaction to the attacks of last January 7 and January 9 in order to install permanently a version of freedom of expression with variable rules. We can still read “We are Charlie” on huge posters on the walls of the university. Doesn’t this mean the university is showing support for a controversial newspaper ? Should we understand that controversy is not legitimate unless it is consistent with the dominant ideology ? 

The following news statements about an event set for tomorrow night in Paris at a university founded in 1969 as an experimental center on social issues were issued today by the French Palestinian solidarity organization AURDIP (Association des Universitaires pour le Respect du Droit International en Palestine) and the Collectif Palestine at the university.

AURDIP COMMUNIQUÉ – We have just learned that, once again, the presidency of the University Paris 8/Saint-Denis decided, at the last moment, to ban a conference, this one entitled Israel apartheid is real [featuring Max Blumenthal and Bilal Afandi]. The conference intended to shed light on Israel’s apartheid policy toward the Palestinian people, a policy that AURDIP itself has constantly condemned. As a collective of academics, we are outraged by this attack on academic freedom, the freedom of expression, and the freedom of open debate. As defenders of human rights and the respect of international law, we wish to express our deep dismay at the complicit silence that the administration of the University Paris 8 aims to force upon its students and faculty. We demand that the president of this university reverse a decision that can only exacerbate tensions while pretending to calm them.

Press Release of the Collectif Palestine Paris 8
Stop censorship at the University !

Once again the president of Université Paris 8-Saint Denis has flouted the principle of freedom of expression, by banning a conference organized by the collective Palestine Paris 8, in partnership with other organizations supporting the Palestinian people, just two days before the intended date. The goal of the conference is to condemn the apartheid policies of the state of Israel toward Palestinians. Among the invited speakers are Bilal Afandi, a young Palestinian activist; Max Blumenthal, a journalist from the United States, and a speaker from the BDS campaign.

The presidency’s motivation in censoring this event have never been clear. Expressing itself by means of the Maison de l’étudiant [house of students], which it uses to control student initiative, the university presidency has alternatively pointed to the absence of an available auditorium, the presence of a “controversial” speaker (Max Blumenthal, whose writings are nevertheless published in numerous outlets in the United States), publicity that “doesn’t meet norms,” the risk of disorder… Apart from this bureaucratic censorship, the presidency has not hesitated to use more direct means of repression, including sending university personnel to tear down our posters announcing the event.

In the current context, to ban such a conference amounts to aligning with the policy of exploiting the reaction to the attacks of last January 7 and January 9 in order to install permanently a version of freedom of expression with variable rules. We can still read “We are Charlie” on huge posters on the walls of the university. Doesn’t this mean the university is showing support for a controversial newspaper ? Should we understand that controversy is not legitimate unless it is consistent with the dominant ideology ?

Thus, according to the presidency, freedom of expression ends where there is the slightest risk of undermining the politics of the state of Israel at the level of the university. Still worse, this conference had the audacity to be listed as an activity of Israeli Apartheid Week — an international week of struggle and reflection against the apartheid policies of Israel, which is organized in numerous other universities in the world, notably in England, the United States, Palestine, South Africa, and several Latin American countries. Since 2012 (when the president decided to close the university in order to ban a meeting), pressure and censorship have become systematic when apartheid in Palestine is in question.

But we will not allow ourselves to be tamed by the presidency of the University of Saint-Denis, wallowing in its goals of normalization (whether they be in the domains of security, austerity, bureaucracy, or ideology) And since it prefers to yield to pressure and to accept the arguments of the defenders of Israeli policies, we will take responsibility on our side. We therefore intend to go ahead with this conference and we are calling for massive participation in a rally in front of Building D of the university, starting at 6 PM, to assert our right to speak about “controversial” subjects, our right to express our solidarity toward the Palestinian people, our right to self-organization and to independence of the student movement.

 

Posted AT

CHARLIE’S DOUBLE STANDARDS … #JeAiDoublesStandards

Charlie Hebdo Fired ‘Anti-Semitic’ Cartoonist For Ridiculing Judaism In 2009

The cartoon world’s double standards on freedom of speech…

sine

These are some of Latuff’s cartoons that speak a thousand words:

double-standard 2

double-standard 3

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Charlie Hebdo mocks the prophet Muhammad through insulting cartoons and calls it satire. As a result, half of the magazine’s staff is wiped out by terrorists in the name of Allah. The massacre raises questions about “freedom of speech.” The cartoon world, media, governments and intellectuals all have double standards regarding the answer.

When the world was condemning the January 7th attack on the satirical magazine, Muslim heroes were being applauded and world leaders and dignitaries were walking in a march for unity, although it was not shoulder to shoulder:

parismarchCritics suggest images show dignitaries ‘didn’t lead march’ after all, but many still speak positively about display of global unity

Then came the breaking news – a reminder that 80-year-old Maurice Sinet, political cartoonist withCharlie Hebdo for 20 years, was fired in 2009 for his anti-Semitic cartoons mocking the relationship of former French President Sarkozy’s son with a wealthy Jewish woman.

Maurice Sinet, known to the world as Siné, faced charges of “inciting racial hatred” for a column he wrote in July 2009. “L’affaire Sine,” followed the engagement of Jean Sarkozy to Jessica Sebaoun-Darty, the Jewish heiress of a major consumer electronics company, the Darty Group. Commenting on rumours that Jean intended to convert from Catholicism to Judaism (Jessica’s religion) for social success, Siné quipped, “He’ll go a long way in life, that little lad.”

It didn’t take long for Claude Askolovitch, a high-profile political journalist, to accuse Siné of anti-Semitism. Charlie Hebdo‘s editor, Philippe Val, who re-published Jyllands-Postens controversial cartoons of the prophet Mohammed in the name of ‘freedom of press’ in 2006, agreed that the piece was offensive and asked Siné to apologize. Siné refused, saying, “I’d rather cut my balls off.” He was fired and taken to court by the Ligue Internationale Contre le Racisme et l’Antisémitisme (LICRA), an organization which works to promote racial tolerance. In December 2010, Siné won a €40,000 court judgment against his former publisher for wrongful termination.

Charlie Hebdo publishes cartoons insulting Islam and Muslims as well as Jesus and Christianity, and tags them as “freedom of speech.” However, in the case of Siné, it failed to stand firm on its provocative “freedom of speech” stance.

Carlos Latuff, a world renowned Brazilian cartoonist, told Daily Sabah, “It is an everlasting discussion, because what is freedom of speech and what is hate speech? Why are some subjects protected by freedom of speech and others not? Why can we mock some issues and cannot do so with others? Should Holocaust denial, for example, be included as freedom of speech, or racial hatred? See, for example, the treatment given by the Western mainstream media to Muhammad cartoons and the Holocaust cartoons.”

Latuff added that the motive behind the urge to mock Islam remains unknown. “Who knows? Hatred against Muslims, testing the limits of freedom of speech, mocking Muslims just for fun, who knows? However, the fact is that they [Charlie Hebdo editors] died not for a good cause, what could be seen as noble, but for provoking Muslims and feeding the hatred against Islam.”

Click HERE to read more …. includes offensive cartoons both to Jews and Muslims

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RELATED …. Cartoonists united for Justice

We, cartoonists, illustrators, writers, editors, distributors, translators, critics and workers in the comic book industry, alongside people of conscience from countries all over the world, re-affirm our February 2014 call for the Angoulême International Comics Festival to drop all ties with the Israeli company Sodastream. Furthermore, we urge the Angoulême Festival, and all festivals, conventions, and celebrations of comics and cartooning art in which we participate, to reject any partnership, funding, or co-operation with any Israeli company or institution that does not explicitly promote freedom and justice for Palestinians, as well as equal rights and equality for Israeli Jews and Palestinians, including the Israeli government and its local consulates, so long as Israel continues to deny Palestinians their rights. 

80+ Cartoonists And Comics Workers Tell Comics Industry: ‘No Business As Usual With Israel’

(Image: Ethan Heitner)

(Image: Ethan Heitner)

The following press release was published today:

Lewis Trondheim (creator of the Angoulême mascot), Jacques Tardi, Jaime Hernandez, Alison Bechdel, Warren Ellis, Dylan Horrocks, Kate Beaton, Eleanor Davis, Ben Katchor, Jeet Heer, and Palestine Comics festival expand on 2014 letter to Angoulême Festival

More than 80 cartoonists and other workers in the comics industry, including colorists, writers, critics, and editors, from over 20 countries, signed an open letter released today addressed to Franck Bondoux, the head of the International Festival of Comics at Angoulême, which opens in France on January 29th.

The letter, a follow up to a 2014 letter, demands that he sever ties between the Festival and Sodastream, an Israeli manufacturing company complicit in the occupation of Palestinian land. The authors of the letter include 10 prize winners at Angoulême itself, two winners of the MacArthur “Genius Grant,” many Eisner and Ignatz awardees, and a Palestinian cartoonist previously imprisoned for his work by the Israeli military.

The organizers of the letter also released an accompanying statement, in the wake of the slaying of cartoonists Wolinski, Cabu, Honoré, Tignous and Charb, among many others in Paris this month. “These horrific acts of violence compel artists of the world to act urgently for a world where the dignity, freedom, and equality of all people are respected and promoted,” said cartoonist Ethan Heitner and writer Dror Warschawski, organizers of the open letter. “We affirm that the Palestinian boycott movement is one important step towards that vision, and we urge others to join us.”

The 2015 letter expands on its predecessor in several key ways. Its signatories include workers in the comics industry beyond cartoonists, including critics Jeet Heer and former heads of the Cité internationale de la bande dessinée Thierry Groensteen and Gilles Ciment, and organizers of the first-ever festival of comics held in Palestine, Palestine Comics, which opened in November of 2014.

The letter also addresses itself beyond Angoulême, to “all festivals, conventions, and celebrations of comics and cartooning art in which we participate.” Finally, the letter expands its target beyond Sodastream, to all “Israeli companies and institutions” complicit in ethnic cleansing, discrimination, and war crimes. Noting that Israel’s assault on Gaza in the summer 2014 alone killed over 2,100 Palestinians, the signatories urge, “No business as usual with Israel.”

 

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Open letter to:

Monsieur Franck Bondoux
Direction du Festival international de la bande dessinée
71 rue Hergé
16000 Angoulême

We, cartoonists, illustrators, writers, editors, distributors, translators, critics and workers in the comic book industry, alongside people of conscience from countries all over the world, re-affirm our February 2014 call for the Angoulême International Comics Festival to drop all ties with the Israeli company Sodastream. Furthermore, we urge the Angoulême Festival, and all festivals, conventions, and celebrations of comics and cartooning art in which we participate, to reject any partnership, funding, or co-operation with any Israeli company or institution that does not explicitly promote freedom and justice for Palestinians, as well as equal rights and equality for Israeli Jews and Palestinians, including the Israeli government and its local consulates, so long as Israel continues to deny Palestinians their rights.

(Image: Ethan Heitner)

(Image: Ethan Heitner)

We cannot accept our art being used to whitewash these crimes, as the Israeli Ministry of Foreign affairs has explicitly stated it will attempt to do through its “Brand Israel” campaign. Angoulême, a center of appreciation for comics internationally, should not be used in this manner.

We again urge you to sever ties between the Festival and Sodastream, and we extend our call to directors and organizers, editors and associations of comics and illustration around the globe. No “business as usual” with lsrael!

Sincerely,

Leila Abdul Razaq (USA), Zainab Akhtar (UK), Khalid Albaih (Sudan/Qatar), Albertine (Switzerland), Hilary Allison (USA), Enzo Apicella (Italy), Alex Baladi (Switzerland), Edd Baldry (UK/France), Edmond Baudoin (France, 3 Angoulême prizes), Kate Beaton (Canada), Alison Bechdel (USA), Sofiane Belaskri (Algeria), Faiza Benaouda (Algeria), Peter Blegvad (USA/UK, Angoulême prize in 2014), David Brothers Paul Buhle (USA), Nicole Burton (Canada), Jennifer Camper (USA), Gilles Ciment (France, former director of the Cité internationale de la bande dessinée in Angoulême from 2007 to 2014), Rob Clough (USA), Sean T. Collins (USA), Gianluca Costantini (Italy), Jean-Luc Coudray (France, Angoulême prize in 1990), Philippe Coudray (France, Angoulême prize in 2011), Molly Crabapple (USA), Pino Creanza (Italy), Marguerite Dabaie (USA), Bira Dantas (Brazil), Eleanor Davis (USA), Marcel « Lidwine » De la Gare (France, Angoulême prize in 1999), Dror (France), Warren Ellis (UK), Magdy El Shafee (Egypt), elchicotriste (Spain), Brigitte Findakly (France), Ganzeer (Egypt/USA), Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz (USA), Graphic History Collective (Sam Bradd, Sean Carleton, Robin Folvik, Mark Leier, Trevor McKilligan, Julia Smith) (Canada), Dominique Grange (France), Thierry Groensteen (France, former director of the Cité internationale de la bande dessinée in Angoulême from 1993 to 2001), Jeet Heer (Canada), Ethan Heitner (USA), Delphine Hermans (Belgium), Anaële Hermans (Belgium), Jaime Hernandez (USA), Dylan Horrocks (nominated for 2 Angoulême prizes in 2002, New Zealand), Igort (Italy, nominated in Angoulême in 2003), Hatem Imam (Lebanon), Jiho (France), Monica Johnson (USA), Ben Katchor (USA), Mazen Kerbaj (Lebanon), Peter Kuper (USA), Carlos Latuff (Brazil), Wilfrid Lupano (France), Rodolphe « Ohazar » Lupano (France), Katie Miranda (USA), Anne Elizabeth Moore (USA), Mric (France), José Muñoz (Argentina, 3 Angoulême prizes and Grand Prix in 2007), Ernest Pignon-Ernest (France), Maël Rannou (France), Patricia Réaud (France), Barrack Rima (Lebanon/Belgium), Mohammad Sabaaneh (Palestine), Amitai Sandy (Israel), Gabby Schulz (USA), Siné (France), Jean Solé (France), Philippe Squarzoni (France, nominated in Angoulême in 2003), Sylvain-Moizie (France, Angoulême prize in 2000 and in residence at the Cité internationale de la bande dessinée in Angoulême in 2014-2015), Tardi (France, 5 Angoulême prizes and Grand Prix in 1985), Seth Tobocman (USA), Lewis Trondheim (France, 2 Angoulême prizes and Grand Prix in 2006, creator of the Angoulême mascot), Guillaume Trouillard (France), Willis From Tunis (Tunisia), Jordan Worley (USA), Wozniak (France/Poland), yAce (France), Germano Zullo (Switzerland)

FINALLY A VOICE OF REASON FROM THE POPE

In short, We Muslims cannot and don’t understand why questioning the holocaust or castigating Israeli crimes is anti-Semitism whereas mocking the Prophet of Islam is freedom of speech.

A voice of reason from the Pope

By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied Palestine

On Thursday, 15 January, the Associated Press quoted Pope Francis as saying that there are limits to freedom of expression, especially when it insults or ridicules someone’s faith.

Francis spoke about the Paris terror attacks while en route to the Philippines, defending free speech as not only a fundamental human right but a duty to speak one’s mind for the sake of the common good.

However, the Pope said there were limits to freedom of speech.

By way of example, he referred to Alberto Gasparri, who organizes papal trips and was standing by his side aboard the papal plane. “If my good friend Dr. Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch,” Francis said, throwing a pretend punch his way. “It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”

The Pope’s words show that Muslims are not being unreasonable when they demand respect for their religious symbols, especially the Prophet of Islam, Muhammed (May peace and blessing be upon him).

As an American-educated journalist who is thoroughly versed in western liberal heritage, from Milton’s Areopagitica to the American First Amendment, I really fail to understand why some circles in the West are hell-bent on embracing the misleading notion that insulting Islam (but not Talmudic Judaism for example) is an indispensable aspect of freedom of speech. (I mentioned Talmudic or Orthodox Judaism because it doesn’t even ascribe mere humanity to non-Jews).

In Matthew 5:29, it is related that “if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee.” I know there is a strong metaphorical dimension in this verse. However, we all know that allegories do communicate certain messages that we are called upon to implement or live by in our life.

It is therefore hard to buy the concept that provoking people by offending their religious sensibilities is the right way to achieve peace and human fraternity.

On the contrary, provocation breeds alienation and alienation produces conflict…and conflicts do kill.

Western intellectuals, especially those exercising some rectitude, don’t lack the brain power to understand these timeless truths.

But, unfortunately, many in the West are guided not by moral honesty or even reason in their approach to Islam and Muslims. Their guiding motive is rather malice and ill-will. I also suspect that the freedom-of-speech they invoke is only a mendacious mantra used to mask their real morbid intentions.

No one is demanding to limit freedom of expression anywhere. In fact, no people under the sun are suffering the disastrous effects of the absence of human rights and civil liberties more than Muslims. In some parts of the Muslim world, such as Egypt and Syria, practicing one’s right to freedom of expression could end up with receiving the death penalty by a judge that is always at the tyrant’s beck and call.

Unfortunately, this happens, to a large extent, thanks to a malicious western interference in the Muslim world.

Muslims are not going to apologize for defending their faith and Prophet. Yes, it is wrong to have protests marred with violence and bloodshed. But we will continue to insist on mutual respect. Mutual respect is the simple yet magical tool to achieve peace amongst individuals, nations and cultures.

Finally, I don’t really believe that freedom of speech is the real issue at hand. Indeed, if it were, magazines like Charlie Hebdo wouldn’t have fired cartoonists depicting the holocaust and other “taboos” pertaining to Jews.

In short, We Muslims cannot and don’t understand why questioning the holocaust or castigating Israeli crimes is anti-Semitism whereas mocking the Prophet of Islam is freedom of speech.

We also don’t understand why writers and journalists critical of Israel’s genocidal criminality are hounded and promptly fired from their jobs whereas notorious haters of Islam, such as Steve Emerson, can make disparaging lies about Muslims without being even rebuked.

This is a plain abuse of the very concept of freedom of speech, which should be rectified.

I do believe that offending religious symbols should be regarded as acts of terror. Yes, people don’t get killed in the act itself. However, offending the religious sensibilities of 1.6 billion people can and often does lead to people getting killed.

To conclude, I urge western intellectuals, including media circles, to strike a balance between freedom of speech and expression on the one hand and sensitivity to offending people’s faiths and religious symbols.

This is not asking for the impossible. All you have to do is to exercise a modicum of respect for others. In the final analysis, just as you do have the right to freedom of speech and expression, others do have an equal right not to be offended.

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The zionists don’t see the Pope’s statement the same way as we do …

click on link to see their report.

Did the Pope Justify the Charlie Hebdo Massacre?

 

DEFENDING FREE SPEECH BY DENYING IT IN FRANCE

Who’s a Charlie? France cracks down on free speech in order to defend it

An image posted on his official Facebook page shows the French comedian Dieudonné being arrested at his home this morning in connection with comments he made on Facebook.

In grim and supreme irony, French police have fanned out to suppress free speech in order to defend it.

“France ordered prosecutors around the country to crack down on hate speech, anti-Semitism and glorifying terrorism, announcing Wednesday that 54 people had been arrested for those offenses” since last week, the Associated Press reports.

The news of the arrests comes a week after the murders of 17 people at and near the offices of the magazine Charlie Hebdo and at a Jewish supermarket in Paris.

It also comes days after dozens of world leaders, led by French President François Hollande, gathered in Paris to demonstrate in support of free speech and in defiance of the killers who sought to silence it.

The most high-profile arrest is undoubtedly that of the comedian Dieudonné, allegedly on grounds of “justifying terrorism,” for a comment he made on Facebook.

I do not find Dieudonné funny and I find much of what he says offensive. In my reading, he and his supporters deliberately blur a line that must be kept sharp between criticizing Zionism and Israel, on the one hand, and attacking Jews as Jews on the other.

This is something I have always spoken against clearly and therefore I do not see Dieudonné as someone in solidarity with Palestinians.

I also do not find Dieudonné’s defense that his bigotry is just “humor” any more convincing from him than when it comes from Charlie Hebdo.

“Justifying terrorism”

But I do not think that the Facebook comment for which Dieudonné was reportedly arrested can by any stretch be described as “justifying terrorism.” Nor do I think that if the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists who were murdered were held to the same standards that much of their work would be considered any less offensive or racist than Dieudonné’s.

And of course the implications go far beyond the personal situation of Dieudonné.

The French daily Le Figaro reports that Dieudonné was arrested by judicial police at his home near Paris for investigation of “apologie de terrorisme” – justifying or making an apologia for terrorism.

Le Figaro published this screenshot of a posting on Dieudonné’s Facebook page that apparently precipitated the arrest. It is dated 11 January, the day of the Paris march.

It states:

After this historic march, what do I say… Legendary! A magic moment equal to the Big Bang that created the universe … or at least (more local) comparable to the crowning of [Gaulish king] Vercingétorix, I’m finally back home. Know that this evening, as far as I am concerned, I feel like Charlie Coulibaly.

Amedy Coulibaly was the gunman who killed a police officer and then took hostages and killed four people at a Jewish grocery store.

Who’s a “Charlie”?

By creating the term “Charlie Coulibaly,” Dieudonné is obviously mocking the slogan “Je suis Charlie” heard all over the world in recent days. His words might be objectionable, but are they grounds for arrest for justifying terrorism?

Dieudonné’s meaning becomes clear in a letter he sent to French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve the day after the march.

It begins: “Yesterday we were all Charlie, marching and standing tall for liberties. So that we can all continue to laugh at everything.”

“After coming home from this march I felt quite alone,” Dieudonné writes.

“For a year I have been treated as public enemy number one, even though all I’ve done is try to make people laugh, and to die of laughter, since death is laughing at us, as Charlieknows all too well alas,” Dieudonné states.

He then refers to a “peace” proposal he sent to the government weeks ago to which, he says, he has received no response. And then he says:

“As soon as I speak, you do not try to understand me, you do not want to listen. You look for pretexts to ban me. You consider me to be an Amedy Coulibaly, even though I am no different from Charlie.”

Again, I don’t buy Dieudonné’s line that much of his racist bile is misunderstood satire and humor, but the valid point he is making is that his speech is treated as violence and terrorism and he is treated like a terrorist, while those whose speech is just as disgusting were and are treated like heroes of the republic.

Dieudonné’s arrest this morning ironically vindicates his claim that he is a “Coulibaly” in the eyes of the state.

French “war on terror”

Launching the French government’s newly declared (or re-declared) “war on terrorism,” and its crackdown on dissent, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that “racism, anti-Semitism and justifying terrorism” were “not opinions.”

The arrest of Dieudonné shows that the government will decide what constitutes an “opinion.”

We can be sure that many others whose opinions the state does not like will also be treated as “Coulibaly.” And where France goes, Europe will follow.

France, Germany and other European countries already have “hate speech laws” and it has been much remarked upon how unevenly they are applied.

Why, for example, has a Germany so concerned about “extremism,” and whose leader Angela Merkel marched in Paris, not banned the growing anti-Muslim marches in its own cities?

Europe’s politicians and elites (along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) joined hands to celebrate the vile bigotry of Charlie Hebdo, while Dieudonné was taken away in a morning police raid.

Capitalizing on division, pandering to bigotry and fear

If the French state is looking for a way to increase the influence of and sympathy with Dieudonné, it could not have come up with a better strategy.

Meanwhile, former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has been tweeting comments in the wake of the attacks that can only be taken as a dog whistle to the bigots and ultra-nationalists he hopes will put him back in office at the next election: “The questions of immigration and Islam have been clearly posed. They must be asked calmy, involving everyone.”

Les questions de l’immigration et de l’Islam sont clairement posées. Elles doivent être posées calmement en associant tout le monde.

Sarkozy has proposed a host of repressive measures from arming local police to “expelling any imam who holds views that do not respect the values of the republic.”

Could anyone imagine Sarkozy, or any politician, demanding “expulsion” of French Jewish or French Christian clerics if they espouse views that are antithetical to the republic likebelieving that Israel should be “Jewish” or that France should be “Muslim-free?”

Sarkozy’s clear implication – although he doesn’t say it – is that every Muslim cleric is always already foreign and has some other place outside France to which they more properly belong.

The government’s crackdown appears to be an effort to pander to this authoritarian sentiment and head off Sarkozy’s challenge.

Crackdown on Palestine solidarity

What will happen next? The French state will solidify its alliance with those who claim that criticism of Israel and solidarity with Palestinians is “anti-Semitism” and therefore “not an opinion.”

It was already on such bogus grounds that France banned rallies during the summer protesting Israel’s massacre in Gaza. And for years, France has been prosecuting activistsin the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

There will be many more people who are treated as Coulibalys instead of Charlies for what they say.

It now remains to be seen if those who adopted the slogan “Je suis Charlie” and insisted on republishing Charlie Hebdo’s racially denigrating and satirically worthless cartoons will rush to declare “Je suis Dieudonné” and repost his most vile and objectionable material.

Background on Dieudonné

French courts have banned Dieudonné from performing because the comedian “frequently sprinkles his act with diatribes against Holocaust remembrance,” as The New York Times’ Robert Mackey reported last year.

He has also been put on trial and fined dozens of times for things he has said.

Dieudonné “invented an obscene salute popular with anti-Semites” known as the “quenelle.” As Mackey reported, the comedian “insists” that the quenelle “was not inspired by the Nazis, but is a gesture of obscene disdain for the French establishment.”

However, Mackey adds, “anti-Semites who read his anti-Zionist rhetoric as a kind of code to skirt French laws against inciting racial hatred now frequently do it at Holocaust memorials and other Jewish sites.”

J’ACCUSE CHARLIE

How WE see Freedom of Speech

France is going to give Charlie Hebdo a million Euros to "support free speech" for a magazine that was on the verge of failure because nobody bought it, offended Christians and Jews, but fired one of their writers for anti-Semitism! Image by Latuff

France is going to give Charlie Hebdo a million Euros to “support free speech” for a magazine that was on the verge of failure because nobody bought it, offended Christians and Jews, but fired one of their writers for anti-Semitism!
Image by Latuff

And how the zionists see it

The pages of Charlie Hebdo have been filled throughout the years with anti-Islam images. The images are so offensive that this site cannot reproduce them to show as examples. Yet, the French government granted them full ‘freedom’ to continue with their hateful publishing agenda.

Tom Lehrer performed this parody on hate years ago …. it’s valid today as an example of what I’m talking about …

Now, getting back to Charlie Hebdo … The italics are from yesterday’s post

Since the brutal attack at the offices of Charlie Hebdo there have been vigils throughout the world simply stating ‘I AM CHARLIE’.

That one of those murdered happened to be a Jewish ‘cartoonist’ gave call to the zionists to pull their anti-Semite card and raise the false flag to the top of the pole as can be seen HERE.

Extremism of any nature nourishes itself on hatred. Charlie Hebdo provided that ‘food’ with nearly every issue of their publication. France does not stand alone in its guilt, extremism has no boundaries.

The magazine inflamed those in the extremest camps who took what they saw as justice into their own hands. Killing sprees at supermarkets leave innocent people dead and give ammunition to the zionists and hatemongers to continue with their ‘mission’.

As one zionist stated “My explanation of the anti-Jewish outbursts by French Muslims focused on radicals wanting to participate in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and picking on their French Jewish neighbors as surrogate Israelis.”  Taken FROM

As stated on this site many times, NOT ALL JEWS ARE ZIONISTS!

But, that’s exactly what is happening.

And I for one J’ACCUSE CHARLIE

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The following video, sent by a loyal reader, simply explains why the Muslim Community should not apologise for other people’s crimes …

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If anyone still believes that all extremists or terrorists are only Muslims, the following is a must read …

All terrorists are Muslims? Hmm. A few of the most horrifying acts of slaughter of recent years seem to have been forgotten. They were committed by white, Christian men, but who’s counting? In that case they are always “individuals” who acted alone, mentally ill and disturbed. Anders Breivik, who killed 75 people in Oslo and Utoya Island – is he a Muslim? And the series of massacres in the United States – at Columbine High School, at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and at Virginia Tech. Were all these perpetrated by Muslims?

Meanwhile, Gideon Levy receives a death threat

A menacing letter mailed to Haaretz shows that it’s not only Islamic extremists who seek to blunt press freedom with violence.

“The European Court for Anti-Semitic Crimes. Court Execution squad.

“Re: Proceedings against participants in anti-Israeli activities.

“The Court has been asked to look at the activities against Israel by Gideon Levy, journalist.

“Witness Number 1 showed the article ‘Lowest deeds from loftiest heights’ (Haaretz, July 15, 2014) … Chairman of the court: The court has been convinced that pro-Nazi propaganda has taken place. Once this has been proved, the court has no discretion whatsoever as to the verdict, therefore the above culprit is convicted to death. Given the amount of damage he created, his elimination should take place shortly. Death by ‘accident’: poison, wasps, snakes, viruses, etc.

“P.S: The Pulsa Denura court has no connection with the Israeli security systems … This court is chasing the enemies of Israel wherever they are and verdicts are carried out by the court’s execution squads … Please place this letter in several places in your offices.”

This letter, written in English, arrived last week at Haaretz, in an envelope mailed in Tel Aviv. This letter was not written by a Muslim. At the bottom was written: “Orange pips mean death.” Pips had been stuck to the other side of the letter.

A Sherlock Holmes story is called “The Five Orange Pips,” and revolves around a death-threat letter. This is not the first threat against an Israeli journalist, and not the last.

The attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine last week was preceded by death threats. The massacre came in its wake. It could happen here, too. Anyone who was shocked by the attack on the freedom of the press in France needs to examine what is happening in Israel.

The Israeli media in general does not need threats. It enlisted a long time ago, of its own freewill, to serve the narrative and kingdom; to serve the consensus, the ratings, entertainment, and make the time pleasant for its consumers. Nothing has been forced upon it from above, not by the censor and not from coercion. Just plain commercial considerations, obedience, cowardice, and a basic lack of understanding of what its job is.

Only those who dare step out of line know how great and imminent the danger is, and how much it has increased recently.

The wave of terror in France against journalists and Jews, Israel promoted in a number of ways. The usual security speculators sat in the studios and pontificated their advice to the amateurs of France. A few of them made fun of French law, which does not allow there what is done here. Others spoke about inexperience.

It is clear that these are experts who knew how to exterminate the terror in their own land, once and for all. Of course, they recommended all sorts of aggressive solutions to the French that are employed here – more forces, intelligence and assassinations.

And all of it was covered – how could it not be? – by a manifest feeling of joy that “now they will understand who we have to deal with,” and also Israel’s most popular current mantra: “Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.”

All terrorists are Muslims? Hmm. A few of the most horrifying acts of slaughter of recent years seem to have been forgotten. They were committed by white, Christian men, but who’s counting? In that case they are always “individuals” who acted alone, mentally ill and disturbed. Anders Breivik, who killed 75 people in Oslo and Utoya Island – is he a Muslim? And the series of massacres in the United States – at Columbine High School, at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and at Virginia Tech. Were all these perpetrated by Muslims?

No one attributed these acts to all white men, American or Norwegian. No one thought about Christian terror. And we did not say a word about the biggest spilling of blood in history, which happened not long ago, all of it purely on the enlightened continent, which then had almost no Muslims.

And the killing of journalists? It is also possible to remember that during Operation Protective Edge last summer, 13 were killed in Gaza.

The criminal terror committed by Islamic movements and individuals around the world is very worrying. It is necessary to fight it. But we also need to try to understand its intent and motives.

The attack on the press in France should also cause us to lose sleep, but we must remember what is happening in the meantime in Israel.

Here is another piece of mail I received last week, and this is not from a Muslim, either. “You spat on the People of Israel and God answered you. No child.” And nothing more needs to be said.

PROTECTING PAMELA GELLER’S 1st AMENDMENT RIGHTS MORE IMPORTANT THAN TRASHING ISLAM

‘If you are white and can afford it you can say anything you want about someone!’

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The MTA said the ads violated its “no demeaning” language policy. But a judge ruled that rejecting the ads violated Geller’s First Amendment rights.

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Shocking anti-Islam ad campaign coming to MTA buses, subway stations

JENNIFER FERMINO FOR

Pamela Geller is launching a bunch of bus ads that feature Adolf Hitler.

An incendiary ad campaign that includes an image of American journalist James Foley just before his beheading in Syria is coming to 100 MTA buses and two subway stations.

The ads, paid for by flame-throwing blogger Pamela Geller, at a cost of $100,000, are intended as an “education campaign” to warn of the “problem with jihad” and Islamic sharia law, Geller said.

In one of the placard ads, Foley appears handcuffed, on his knees, next to the hooded, black-clad jihadist who is about to execute him — an image from the video released by the group Islamic State, which boasted of the execution.

The ad also contains a second photo, of the Briton suspected by some of being Foley’s killer. The Brit is shown in happier times, before he allegedly joined ISIS.

“Yesterday’s moderate is today’s headline,” the placard says.

A second ad contains a 1940s photo of a pro-Nazi Palestinian leader chatting with Adolf Hitler under the headline, “Islamic Jew-Hatred: It’s in the Quran.”

In addition to the 100 buses, Geller’s ads will appear at the entrances of the E. 59th St. station on the Lexington Ave. line and the Columbus Circle station.

In a statement to the Daily News on Friday, Mayor de Blasio said, “These ads are outrageous, inflammatory and wrong, and have no place in New York City, or anywhere. These hateful messages serve only to divide and stigmatize when we should be coming together as one city.”

He added, “While those behind these ads only display their irresponsible intolerance, the rest of us who may be forced to view them can take comfort in the knowledge that we share a better, loftier and nobier view of humanity.”

Geller is a prolific blogger who writes of a “global jihad conspiracy” and calls President Obama a “clown” and an “Islamic apologist.” Told of de Blasio’s criticism, she said, “Doesn’t Mayor de Blasio have bigger fish to fry?…New York is the softest terror target.”

Her ads will surely offend some bus and subway riders, but the MTA said it has no choice but to allow them.

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi

ALLISON JOYCE/ALLISON JOYCE FOR THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

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Pamela Geller, creators of the anti-jihad subway ads, speaks at an MTA meeting two years ago.

It tried to block Geller several years ago when she wanted to post ads in the subway that labeled enemies of Israel as “savages.”

The MTA said the ads violated its “no demeaning” language policy. But a judge ruled that rejecting the ads violated Geller’s First Amendment rights.

“If you read the court decision on this, our hands are tied,” said MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg.

Following that battle, the MTA updated its policy to force all viewpoint ads like Geller’s to contain language clearly stating that the opinions expressed are not the transit agency’s.

Geller’s new ads will contain the disclaimer.

In addition to the ads featuring Foley and Hitler, Geller has created a placard that links the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights group known as CAIR, to the terror organization Hamas.

“Geller is a known hater and there’s no law in this country that forces her to tell the truth,” said Corey Saylor, a CAIR spokesman.

He said the group has considered suing her, but doesn’t think it’s worth it.

“Defamation law being what it is in this country, we understand it would be difficult,” he said.

SPEAK NOT AND FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE

THE ISRAEL LOBBY’S NEW MANTRA FOR AMERICAN UNIVERSITIES
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Raw power – intimidation, denial of tenure, firings and other kinds of discipline – are being used to try to stop the growth of Palestine solidarity on campus.

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“Civility” is the Israel lobby’s new

weapon against free speech on US

campuses

“Civility” comes in many forms, sometimes wearing a uniform. (Ali Abunimah)

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As I was driving through Indiana en route to Michigan this weekend, I saw this billboard for a local sheriff’s election campaign. There, above the uniformed police officer with his military-style crew cut, is the slogan “Return to Civility.”

It seemed the perfect metaphor for what “civility” has come to mean on US campuses: the forceful policing, at the behest of Israel lobby groups, of any discourse or activism critical of Israel.

In the wake of Israel’s latest Gaza massacre, the civility police are cracking down hard. Most notoriously, administrators and trustees at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have used the excuse of “civility” to fire Steven Salaita for his strong criticisms of, among other things, Israel’s slaughter of hundreds of children in Gaza.

But civility crackdowns are now breaking out across the country. Another alarming case involves a student at Ohio University.

Pouring cold water on free speech

Last week Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis challenged the newly elected student senate president Megan Marzec to take the “ice bucket challenge.” This is a stunt where someone pours a bucket of ice water over their head on video to raise awareness of the disease ALS.

It has become a very mainstream activity which allows the participant to appear philanthropic at no political risk (former President George W. Bush took the “challenge,”inadvertently recalling his administration’s use of water-boarding as a form of torture).

But what Marzec did – as Palestinians have done with their own “rubble bucket challenge” – is to subvert the meme.

She made a video in which she pours a bucket of fake blood over her head to protest Israel’s abuse of Palestinians.

“I’m urging you and OU [Ohio University] to divest and cut all ties with academic and other Israeli institutions and businesses,” Marzec says in the 50-second video that she posted on her Facebook page Wednesday afternoon, The Columbus Dispatch reports.

“This bucket of blood symbolizes the thousands of displaced and murdered Palestinians, atrocities which OU is directly complacent in through cultural and economic support of the Israeli state,” she adds. (The original instance of the video is no longer available but I am including this copy in my post because I believe people should see that it is, contrary to the lurid criticisms, rather tame, polite and indeed civil.)

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Marzec was quickly and swiftly denounced. The Twitter account of the Student Senate tweeted: “On behalf of the student senate, we humbly apologize for the video President Megan Marzec posted.”

The campus group Bobcats for Israel and Alpha Epsilon Pi, a Jewish fraternity, called for her resignation.

“In part of the video she promotes the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement, which is anti-Semitic,” one student critic told The Cleveland Jewish News.

Marzec herself has reported receiving death threats for her protest. She showed The Athens Post newspaper messages she’d been sent that “ridiculed her as a woman, among other insults,” and said that she’s been subjected to “a whole slew of very vile things.”

But she strongly defended her protest. “It’s clear to me that my video was not anti-Semitic,” she told The Post. “Any reframing of the video is caused by outrage that I am standing in solidarity with oppressed Palestinians.”

More than 600 people have signed an online petition in “solidarity with Megan Marzec’s right of free speech to publicly state her political opinions on the liberation of Palestine.” It also condemns “any attempt to employ threats and/or acts of interpersonal violence to intimidate Ohio University students into silence.”

“Civility”

Enter the president of Ohio University, who has come down not on the side of Palestinians victimized by massive Israeli violence, not on the side of Marzec who was trying to draw attention to that violence, and not against those denigrating and threatening her.

Instead, the university and President McDavis issued a campus-wide call for “civility”that criticized only Marzec.

“Her actions do not reflect the position of Ohio University or President McDavis,” the university statement says. “We recognize the rights of individual students to speak out on matters of public concern and we will continue to do so, but want to be clear that the message shared today by her is not an institutional position or a belief held by President McDavis.”

And then here is the “civility” punchline (emphasis added):

In a university community of our size, there are many issues that merit our attention and dialogue. As stewards of the public trust, we have a responsibility to encourage the free exchange of ideas. For it is through dialogue on conflicting views that we will move toward mutual understanding.

I take great pride in the fact that Ohio University is a community that tackles hard issues head-on. The conflict in Israel and Gaza is no exception. But the manner in which we conduct ourselves as we exercise our right to free speech is of utmost importance.

In my First Year Student Convocation address, I emphasized the idea that we are a University family. As members of a University family, we will not always agree,but we should respect one another. And when we engage in difficult dialogue on issues such as this, we must do so with civility and a deep appreciation for the diverse and resilient international community in which we live.

Who is being protected?

There is much to be said about McDavis’ invocation of the “family” – with all its connotations of patriarchy, hierarchy, privacy, discipline and infantilization as a metaphor – but I will leave that for another day.

There are important unstated assumptions in McDavis’ statement. Notably, he seems to be saying that by criticizing Israeli violence against Palestinians, and urging the institution to end its complicity, Marzec was somehow targeting and injuring a component of the campus community or “family.”

Unless there is a brigade of the Israeli army with particularly sensitive feelings permanently stationed on campus, this cannot be the case.

Rather, the implication seems to be that criticism of Israel and its actions is deemed offensive to Jewish students. This is certainly implied by the intervention of the Jewish fraternity.

But we must always reject the equation of Jewish students with the State of Israel, no matter how often pro-Israel groups and university administrations insist on it.

This is the Israel lobby’s new tactic, as I have argued in my recent book The Battle for Justice in Palestine: to equate criticism of Israel or solidarity with Palestinians with “hate speech,” “hate crimes” or even attacks on an individual such as sexual or racial violence that must be ultimately subject to university or juridical discipline and punishment.

In the case of Salaita, this meant the loss of his job based on libelous and speculative claims that his statements about Israel would mean students in his classroom might be endangered.

In the same vein, when Palestine solidarity groups have distributed mock eviction notices as a tactic to educate peers on campus about Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes, they have usually faced false allegations from Zionist groups that the dorm rooms of Jewish students were “targeted.”

It is in this context that Students for Justice in Palestine at Northeastern University was banned last Spring, an unprecedented act of repression that the administration onlyrescinded after a fierce student campaign and a national outcry. The year before they were banned, Northeastern SJP had been forced to sign a “civility statement,” following an organized walk-out of a talk given by Israeli soldiers.

This is the same basic idea behind the wave of complaints against various universities made by Zionist individuals and organizations under Title VI of the US Civil Rights Act in recent years alleging that campus Palestine solidarity activism was making Jewish students feel “unsafe.”

While the strategy has so far failed at the legal level, it is succeeding with university administrations, who are rushing to issue “civility” statements explicitly or implicitly targeting utterers of speech critical of Israel.

It cannot be mere coincidence that Nicholas Dirks, chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley, sent an email to the entire campus community last week also calling for “civility.”

Ostensibly marking the 50th anniversary of Berkeley’s famed Free Speech Movement, Dirks said, “we can only exercise our right to free speech insofar as we feel safe and respected in doing so, and this in turn requires that people treat each other with civility.”

What does “civility” mean in this context? Does it mean saying “please,” “thank you,” “sir” and “ma’am” to war criminals? Or does it mean electing a sheriff instead of a professor to run a university to make everyone feel “safe” and secure?

(A similar statement has also just been issued from Penn State University. No particular cause is mentioned as prompting the statement and it does not mention Palestine, but I expect to see more of these.)

Dirks, as I recount in The Battle for Justice in Palestine, was the vice president at Columbia University who, prior to taking his new job at Berkeley, boasted about his role in the witch-hunt against Professor Joseph Massad.

Losing their grip

Zionism is losing its grip. It has lost the substantive debate on the past and future of Palestine in the academy. It no longer has a hold on the hearts and minds of young people the way it did in the years after the 1967 War.

Many of the Jewish students whose “safety” is being invoked to justify the campus crackdowns are joining – and in some cases leading – chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine and similar groups.

Key Israel lobby groups, as I explain in the book, see US campuses as the battleground on which the future of US support for Israel will be secured or lost.

Raw power – intimidation, denial of tenure, firings and other kinds of discipline – are being used to try to stop the growth of Palestine solidarity on campus.

Corporatized university administrations across the country are fully complicit in this repression. And this iron fist is being wrapped in the velvet glove of “civility.”

AMERICAS FIRST VICTIM OF THE WAR IN GAZA

ACADEMIC FREEDOM?
FREEDOM OF SPEECH??

AMERICA’S DREAM IS SLOWLY BECOMING A NIGHTMARE!

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Steven Salaita was fired from his position as associate professor in the American Indian Studies program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) apparently over views critical of Israel, especially its current massacre in Gaza.

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University of Illinois fires professor Steven Salaita after Gaza massacre tweets

A mock-up of Israel’s apartheid wall erected by Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (Benjamin Stone/Flickr)

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Steven Salaita was fired from his position as associate professor in the American Indian Studies program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) apparently over views critical of Israel, especially its current massacre in Gaza.

Meanwhile, Cary Nelson, former president of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), who has publicly supported the university’s decision to remove Salaita, gave frank comments to The Electronic Intifada revealing the extent of his own pro-Israel views.

Nelson acknowledged that he had been monitoring Salaita’s social media use for months.

This indicates Salaita may be the victim of a retaliation campaign. Salaita is the author ofIsrael’s Dead Soul and The Uncultured Wars, Arabs, Muslims and the Poverty of Liberal Thought, as well as a contributor to a number of publications including Salon and The Electronic Intifada.

He was a prominent campaigner for the American Studies Association’s decision to boycott Israeli academic institutions last December.

In May, Salaita wrote a post for The Electronic Intifada called “How to practice BDS in academe.”

Fired not “revoked”

This morning, Inside Higher Ed reported that Salaita had merely had a job offer “revoked.”

Salaita was “recently informed by Chancellor Phyllis Wise that the appointment would not go to the university’s board, and that he did not have a job to come to in Illinois, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation,” Inside Higher Ed said.

“The sources familiar with the university’s decision say that concern grew over the tone of [Salaita’s] comments on Twitter about Israel’s policies in Gaza,” it added.

Neither the university nor Salaita have commented on the matter. Salaita did not respond to requests for comment.

But a source with close knowledge of the situation, who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly, disputed Inside Higher Ed’s version. The source told The Electronic Intifada that Salaita had actually been “fired.”

The source said they had seen documentation indicating that Salaita’s appointment had been through all the ordinary procedures for hiring faculty, up to and including the scheduling of new faculty orientation.

Salaita had already resigned from his position as associate professor of English at Virginia Tech, according to Inside Higher Ed. It would not make sense for Salaita to resign from a secure position without already having been fully and properly hired to a new one.

Even though Inside Higher Ed’s sources say the opposite, the publication’s own analysis supports The Electronic Intifada’s reporting that Salaita has actually been fired.

“As recently as two weeks ago, the university confirmed to reporters that he [Salaita] was coming,” Inside Higher Ed reported. “The university also declined to answer questions about how rare it is for such appointments to fall through at this stage.”

Target

Salaita’s exact status at the university is likely to be important to the outcome of his case.

If a job offer was merely “revoked,” as Inside Higher Ed’s sources claim, then Salaita would likely have far fewer protections than if he had already been hired, and then fired.

Opponents of Palestinian rights are already seizing on this distinction to spin and legitimize the decision to remove Salaita for his opinions expressed in public forums.

According to Inside Higher Ed, AAUP past president Cary Nelson, who is also an English professor at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said that “it was legitimate – at the point of hiring – to consider issues of civility and collegiality. In this case, [Nelson] said, that would lead him to oppose Salaita’s appointment.”

Nelson’s views are important because his former role at AAUP means he is often cited as an authority on academic freedom issues, though his own anti-Palestinian biases are rarely examined.

In a telephone interview with The Electronic Intifada from his Urbana-Champaign home, Nelson went even further, claiming that Salaita’s supposed social media transgressions “are more serious than collegiality and civility.”

Nelson accused Salaita of “incitement to violence” for retweeting a tweet by another Twitter user, stating: “Jeffrey goldberg’s story should have ended at the pointy end of a shiv.”

Goldberg, a former Israeli prison guard who participated in and helped cover up the torture and abuse of Palestinian prisoners, and now a writer for The Atlantic, is one of the most prominent defenders of Israel’s bombardment that has killed more than one in every one thousand Palestinians in Gaza over the last month.

While Salaita is known for an acerbic sense of humor – a likely reason he would have retweeted the tweet – it is an oft-stated norm of Twitter that “a retweet does not equal an endorsement.”

When pressed, Nelson could provide no example of any tweet written by Salaita that “incited violence.”

Nelson acknowledged, however, that he has been closely monitoring Salaita’s Twitter account for months. “There are scores of tweets. I have screen captures,” he said. “The total effect seems to me to cross a line.”

Salaita has “always tweeted in a very volatile and aggressive way,” Nelson asserted, but “recently he’s begun to be much more aggressive.”

Another example Nelson gave was an 8 July tweet by Salaita, at the beginning of Israel’s current massacre in Gaza, stating, “If you’re defending #Israel right now you’re an awful human being.”

Nelson claimed that this might mean that students in one of Salaita’s classes who “defended Israel” could face a hostile environment.

But Nelson acknowledged that he knew of no complaints about Salaita’s teaching and that Salaita was not even scheduled to teach classes on Palestine and the Israelis.

Asked if he therefore supported a “pre-emptive firing” based on a Tweet, Nelson again insisted that Salaita had not been “fired,” but merely not hired. Nelson claimed that if Salaita had already been hired, he would defend him.

When asked if he would oppose the hiring of a person who said that “someone who defends Hamas firing rockets towards Tel Aviv is an awful person,” Nelson answered: “No.”

There could be no clearer admission that Nelson’s opposition to Salaita is based on the content of his views, specifically criticism of Israel.

Resistance to Israel is “criminal”

This became clearer when Nelson expanded on his views on Palestine and the Israelis.

Nelson defended Israel’s attack on Gaza as part of its “right to self-defense,” although he stressed that many aspects of the attack were “unethical” and “immoral” and that pictures of children killed by Israel were “horrific.”

When asked whether he would condemn Israel’s bombing of the Islamic University of Gaza, Nelson used cautious language: “It’s very difficult for someone from a distance to judge particular artillery strikes. My personal view is that Israel should have been more careful. From what I know, there are military actions as part of the Gaza incursion that seem regrettable to me and should not have taken place.”

While asserting Israel’s right to bomb Gaza, Nelson denied that Palestinians have any right to armed resistance to the onslaught.

“I don’t know where that right would come from,” he said. “I don’t view Gaza under as under occupation so I don’t see a right to resistance.”

When asked if the International Committee of the Red Cross and other international bodies were incorrect in their view that Israel’s siege of Gaza constitutes “collective punishment” and is therefore a war crime, Nelson insisted he was unable to make legal judgments.

Nelson added that he did not see that the situation in the occupied West Bank “warrants resistance,” either. “I don’t think there’s a right to violent resistance on the West Bank.”

Asked if he thought “all Palestinian military resistance is criminal,” Nelson answered: “Yes. I think that is my view.”

When asked if any of Israel’s actions could be labeled “criminal,” Nelson repeated that many were “immoral” and “unethical,” but that he was not qualified to give legal opinions about Israel’s actions.

Nelson, an outspoken campaigner against the nonviolent, Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS), said that Palestinians should resort to “civil disobedience” in the West Bank such as “blocking roads.”

Israel has shot dead 17 Palestinians just in the last month in the occupied West Bank.

BDS is “political violence”

Nelson reaffirmed his strong opposition to the BDS movement because some of its prominent advocates – he named Omar Barghouti and philosopher Judith Butler – dispute Israel’s “right to exist as a Jewish state.”

“I consider that to be a form of political violence,” Nelson said.

Asked if he called himself a “Zionist,” Nelson answered: “Yes.”

If there were doubts about Nelson’s clear bias against Palestinians and their pursuit of their rights by any means (except of course the most invisible and ineffective), his frank comments to The Electronic Intifada put them to rest.

On 21 July, Salaita was attacked for his Twitter use in the right-wing, anti-Palestinian website The Daily Caller.

It seems clear that with Nelson now publicly leading the charge, Salaita is the latest victim of a nationwide campaign to intimidate into silence anyone on campus who criticizes Israel or supports effective campaigns to secure Palestinian rights.

Call for action

Brooklyn College political science professor Corey Robin has also pointed out that in the past, Nelson himself has criticized how “claims about collegiality are being used to stifle campus debate, to punish faculty, and to silence the free exchange of opinion by the imposition of corporate-style conformity.”

Nelson has also previously supported academic boycotts, though never for Palestinian rights.

But now, Robin says, Nelson’s about-face is “a symptom of the effects of Zionism on academic freedom, how pro-Israel forces have consistently attempted to shut down debate on this issue.”

Robin urges people to write to UIUC Chancellor Phyllis Wise asking her to reverse her decision.

“As always, be polite, but be firm,” Robin writes. “Don’t assume this is a done deal; in my experience, it often is not.”

Supporters have also launched an online petition, which as of this writing, had already gathered more than 1,500 signatures.

ESSAY OF IMAGES ~~ WHAT DEMOCRACY IS (NOT)

As Thanksgiving approaches, we reflect on what we were once thankful for …

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ALICE WALKER RE-INVITED TO SPEAK

See yesterday’s post
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Pollack in the letter reiterated the university’s “firm commitment to free speech and to the expression of diverse viewpoints.”
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Alice Walker Gets New Invite To Speak at University of Michigan

After Being Disinvited by Women’s Center, Provost Invites Walker

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GETTY IMAGES

By JTA

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Author Alice Walker will be invited to speak in a public forum on campus, the provost of the University of Michigan said, after being disinvited from a women’s center celebration.

The provost, Martha Pollack, said in a letter to university faculty posted on the university’s Center for the Education of Women’s web page that the center and the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies plan to invite Walker to speak on campus.

Walker in a blog post on her website last week said she had been disinvited from speaking at the 50th anniversary of the university’s Center for the Education of Women. The Pulitzer Prize winner maintained that she was asked to step down as speaker at the initiative of donors.

The center said the decision to withdraw the invitation was based solely on the “celebratory nature” they hoped to achieve at the anniversary event.

Walker is a well-known supporter of the boycott, divestment and sanctions, or BDS, movement against Israel, in particular “a cultural boycott of Israel and Israeli institutions,” such as her decision last year to not allow an Israeli publishing house to translate her book “The Color Purple” into Hebrew.

Pollack in the letter reiterated the university’s “firm commitment to free speech and to the expression of diverse viewpoints.”

“At the same time, we respect the right of individual academic units to make decisions about whom they invite to campus, consistent with university principles and values,” she wrote.

Pollack added that the women’s center “apologized for the way the interaction with Ms. Walker was handled and has made clear to me that their decision was not driven by the content of speech.”

Source

IS CENSORSHIP OF RACISM A THREAT TO FREE SPEECH?

“Our job is not to be absolute civil libertarians. We do believe in free speech, but we also believe there are limits to that… Our mission statement says we will always take a strong stand against racism and bigotry in all of its forms, and that’s part of this.”

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Leftist Jewish Groups Want Synagogue To Cancel Speech by Pamela Geller

Are Groups Flip-Flopping on Free Speech?

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Scrapped?: Conservative blogger Pamela Geller, left, protests the cancellation of a planned speech at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles last year. Leftist activists want a Long Island synagogue to cancel her appearance there this month.

GETTY IMAGES
Scrapped?: Conservative blogger Pamela Geller, left, protests the cancellation of a planned speech at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles last year. Leftist activists want a Long Island synagogue to cancel her appearance there this month.

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

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Leftist Jewish groups are calling on a Long Island synagogue to cancel a speech by an outspoken Jewish blogger known for her outspoken anti-Muslim views — raising questions about a double standard on free expression.

New York activist groups Jewish Voice for Peace, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, and Jews Say No! announced their opposition to a speech set for April 14 by Pamela Geller, an activist known for her extreme anti-Muslim rhetoric, at the Modern Orthodox Great Neck Synagogue.

In an email sent to JVP activists on April 3, the organization called on members to contact the Great Neck Synagogue and ask it to cancel the event. Rebecca Vilkomerson, JVP’s executive director, told the Forward on April 4 that at least 50 people had contacted Great Neck Synagogue at the group’s behest.

“Our hope is that the synagogue will cancel her appearance,” Vilkomerson said. “The kind of venom that she spews against Islam is completely inappropriate for a synagogue.”

Geller, in response to the campaign against her event, criticized the leftist groups as insufficiently Jewish.

“Jewish history is plagued with these quislings, who are willing tools serving as the public face for supremacists and annihilationists,” she wrote in an email to the Forward. “The left uses these Jews to defame and destroy a Jew who is truly standing up for Israel and for the principles of freedom and human rights that the Jewish State represents. It’s inexcusable.”

The campaign comes weeks after some of the same leftist Jewish groups organized against efforts to cancel a panel on the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement at Brooklyn College. One of the groups also opposed a decision by the LGBT Community Center in New York to block an appearance by a pro-BDS scholar.

One gay community activist, who opposed the BDS ban at the LGBT Community Center, slammed the leftist Jewish groups for their apparent free expression flip-flop.

“I’m startled [the leftist Jewish groups] didn’t learn any lessons from the controversies of two months ago at the Gay Center and at Brooklyn College,” said Bill Dobbs, a longtime gay activist. “They’ve lost the moral high ground.”

Vilkomerson said that JVP’s call for the cancellation of the event was not evidence of a double standard.

“We’re not the ACLU,” Vilkomerson said. “Our job is not to be absolute civil libertarians. We do believe in free speech, but we also believe there are limits to that… Our mission statement says we will always take a strong stand against racism and bigotry in all of its forms, and that’s part of this.”

JVP was a co-sponsor of a February 7 panel at Brooklyn College on the BDS movement featuring U.C. Berkeley professor Judith Butler and Palestinian activist Omar Barghouti. The event drew condemnation, including from some elected officials. One group of legislators went so far as to threaten the funding of Brooklyn College, a publicly-funded institution.

All three of the sponsors of the campaign against Geller’s Great Neck Synagogue speech made statements in defense of the Brooklyn College event.

“A group of City Council members has even threatened to cut college funding if the event is not cancelled, or the political science department does not withdraw its sponsorship. This abuse of power evokes the purges and repressions of the McCarthy era,” wrote JFREJ, one of the three activist groups, in a February statement. “We as JFREJ position ourselves as watchdogs for justice here in New York City and we feel mandated to speak out against this attempt to silence political viewpoints.”

Speaking on April 4, JFREJ executive director Marjorie Dove Kent said that the elected officials’ effort to block the Brooklyn College event was different than the activist groups’ efforts to block Geller’s speech. “Free speech is a first amendment right. So it’s a right that only the government can violate,” Dove Kent said. “It’s one thing to open one’s synagogue for a dialogue reflecting different political viewpoints, it’s another to invite in someone who spews racist hatred.”

A local news website in Great Neck reported that one local official had asked a local interfaith organization to oppose Geller’s talk. Dove-Kent said that her organization had not determined whether or not to cooperate with that effort.

JVP, for its part, was actively critical of the LGBT Center’s decision to bar a talk by Sarah Schulman, a College of Staten Island professor who backs the BDS movement. The LGBT Center later reversed its decision.

Members of JVP and Jews Say No! were also involved in a recent dispute over a panel indirectly about the BDS movement that was retroactively canceled by the rabbi of the synagogue where it was supposed to take place. The event was eventually rescheduled, and is set to take place at a different synagogue this week.

Source

ZIONISM; GOOD FOR THE GOOSE BUT NOT FOR THE GANDER

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There is never an outcry when pro Palestinian or Muslim students are arrested for peacefully protesting zionist meetings,  BUT …..
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BDS -Brooklyn College - Dershowitz BDS-BrooklynCollege-Dershowitz.jpg

BDS -Brooklyn College – Dershowitz

Brooklyn College probing removal of Jewish students from BDS event

NEW YORK (JTA) — Brooklyn College launched a probe into allegations that Jewish students were wrongly ejected from an event hosted by the school in support of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Karen Gould, the college’s president, on Wednesday ordered officials to conduct a “thorough independent review” of allegations that four members of the Jewish student group Hillel were told to leave the gathering organized by a pro-Palestinian group on campus last week. The college’s political science faculty was an official co-sponsor of the event.

The students claim they were escorted by security out of the room where a lecture by pro-Palestinian speakers was set to take place for no apparent reason other than being supporters of Israel.

The Hillel students had pro-Israel leaflets with them in the lecture hall. They told the New York Daily News that they were asked by an event organizer to give up the leaflets, and when they refused they were told to leave.

“If we learn that these students were denied that opportunity without cause, as they allege, the decision to have them removed will have been inappropriate and the college will issue a formal apology,” Gould wrote in a statement.

The primary host of the event was the Brooklyn College Students for Justice in Palestine, a group that says it is aimed at “helping end Israeli apartheid and the illegal occupation of Palestine.” Some objected that a BDS event was being held on a college campus with the college’s imprimatur.

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There were no arrests, still it’s headine news.

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What really happened at the meeting ….
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‘New York Daily News’ distorts why student Israel advocates were tossed from Brooklyn College event (updated)

by Alex Kane 
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The Brooklyn College campus (Image via Forbes)

The New York Daily News continues to add fuel to the fire over the disturbance involving four student activists affiliated with Zionist organizations who were kicked out of the Brooklyn College event last week on the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. The Daily News ran three pieces addressing the matter recently (two of them today) — a news storyan Op-Ed today by Ari Ziegler, one of the students who was tossed from the event, and an editorial decrying the fact that the students were tossed out. But their coverage is misleading and does not even make the pretense of trying to get the full story out.

The articles push the narrative that was first published by Tablet magazine: that the students had flyers in their laps and were then picked out by a Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) member for no reason other than the fact that they were opponents of BDS. The SJP member, according to the student Israel activists, came up to Melanie Goldberg, an intern with the Israel on Campus Coalition, and demanded that they hand over the flyers in their laps. When Goldberg and the others refused, the narrative goes, the SJP member got security to toss them out. When Goldberg and her friends asked security why they were being thrown out, security had no answer. The college vice president allegedly said that the SJP members “were calling the shots” because it’s “their event.” The bottom line, according to this narrative: the students affiliated with Hillel were doing nothing wrong. They had flyers in their laps. They were kicked out for no reason. They were not creating a disturbance. In the Daily News’ world, that narrative is now fact.

But that narrative has been clearly disputed. As I reported last Friday, organizers of the event and witnesses to the disturbance tell a much different story. Here’swhat I wrote:

According to Sarah Aly, a student volunteer with Students for Justice in Palestine at Brooklyn College who witnessed the mini-controversy, the students were passing out anti-BDS flyers [update: amongst each other] in the middle of the event, while Judith Butler was talking–contra the claim that they had flyers “in their laps.” They were also talking during the event. When a student volunteer asked them to stop passing out the flyers and to quiet down, the Hillel-affiliated activists refused. That’s when a volunteer asked a security guard to remove them. Two other witnesses who preferred not to have their names published also confirmed this story to me. So yes, these students were removed, and you can debate whether that was the right move or not. But it wasn’t about them getting kicked out because they were “pro-Israel” or had flyers “in their laps.”

I have since spoken to SJP member Carlos Guzman, who told me the same story that Aly did. But it’s not only SJP students that dispute the story from Goldberg and Ziegler. It’s also the Brooklyn College administration–as well as another witness who posted her account on Facebook in response to Goldberg’s narrative.

“My understanding is that these students were in the room along with the rest of the audience. From the first speaker they began to speak out, they were becoming vocal and disruptive to the members around them and one of the student organizers of the event went to them and said ‘you really need to be quiet you’re disrupting other people around you,’” Jeremy Thompson, a spokesman for Brooklyn College, told Algemeiner. “They then did not comply and a couple of police officers asked them to come out into the lobby.” Thompson also told the Daily Newsa similar thing in an otherwise misleading story by reporter Corrine Lestch.

The ICC’s Goldberg posted an account on Facebook of what she says happened to her at the event. It is similar to the Ziegler Op-Ed in the Daily News. But someone in the comments section, named Emma Snyders, disputes Goldberg’s story. Snyders is not a member of SJP at Brooklyn College, according to Guzman. “I am a student at Brooklyn College, have been for about two years now. I don’t mind being the odd person out in this conversation by saying that I was directly in front of you and had to ask you to be quiet numerous times before you were asked to leave. While leaving someone you were with yelled ‘This is a violation of our freedom of speech,’” wrote Snyders. “If you had been quiet and respectful of an incredibly amazing and articulate person, such as Judith Butler, you would have had a chance to not only learn that, but ask questions at the end. There was a lot of tension in the room and your behavior made me feel incredibly uncomfortable.”

So on one side, you have a witness to the disturbance who was not a member of SJP disputing the account of Goldberg; multiple members of SJP who say a similar thing; and the college administration confirming the accounts of SJP students. And on the other side are the four student activists who are claiming they did nothing wrong and were tossed out because they had anti-BDS flyers in their laps.

The Daily News is publicizing one side of the story while omitting claims that complicate the story. I did not clearly see the incident, so I can’t definitively say who is right and who is wrong. But it’s the height of journalistic irresponsibility to publicize one narrative while leaving out another side of the story that complicates things greatly.

The Daily News also reports that the City University of New York is opening an investigation into the matter. Let’s hope an inquiry clears the matter up once and for all.

Update: This story has been modified to make clear that the Daily News editorial was not published today, as originally stated. It was published on Saturday. The other modification was to clarify what the students were doing with the anti-BDS flyers during the event, according to witnesses. They were passing out flyers amongst themselves.

Written FOR

FREE SPEECH AND HATE SPEECH

hate-speech-is-not-free-speech
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In a nutshell, free speech, though not an absolute value in itself, is a positive value and ought to be protected and defended; but hate, malicious and vulgar speech is a negative value that ultimately leads to bloodshed and war.
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My response to America’s fanatical libertarians
Just as American libertarians insist that no other value should be more paramount than freedom of speech, Americans should understand that other peoples have equally paramount values
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Khalid Amayreh 
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In some recent internet articles, a number of American writers criticised and ridiculed me for arguing that Muslims have a legitimate right not to be offended by Islamophobes and other provocateurs just as Americans have a constitutional right to free speech, including the right to offend and despise others.

One writer argued that there was no such right not to be offended. Claiming “no one has the right to a world in which he is never despised,” the writer went as far as arguing that attacking free speech was even a greater blasphemy than a slur on the divine.

Furthermore, the writer went on, saying that “Amayreh doesn’t truly comprehend American core values when he says that ‘in the final analysis, a Muslim’s right not to be offended and insulted overrides a scoundrel’s rightto malign Muslims’ religious symbols.’ “

A second writer urged President Obama to refute my defence of Muslims’ rights not to be offended.

Well, Americans seem to have a world of their own just as we have a world of our own. Moreover, many Americans seem to harbour a certain subconscious conviction that non-Americans should unreservedly adopt, or subject themselves to, American values. That was the tacit message communicated ad nauseam by numerous Hollywood movies for many decades.

This condescending perception, often encapsulated in the Yankee slogan, “The American way,” is a natural symptom of American cultural imperialism and megalomania. 

Americans constitute a mere five per cent of humanity, and as such have no right to impose their values on the rest of humanity, however logical and rational these values may sound. There are other peoples in this world, including some 1.6 billion Muslims who adore and love their religion and Prophet.

I know freedom of speech is a sacred value in the United States and many other countries. However, just as American libertarians insist that no other value should be more paramount than this value, we expect the same Americans to understand that other peoples in other parts of the world have equally paramount values, including religious values.

In Matthew 5:29, it is said that “and if thy right eye offends thee, pluck it out, and cast it away from you.”

This biblical quotation should demonstrate that my argument about the right not to be offended is not far fetched and inherently incompatible with Western thinking.

Jesus never really maligned the religious symbols of other people. And the Quran urges Muslims not to “insult those whom they (disbelievers) worship, idols besides God, lest they insult God wrongfully without knowledge” (Al-Anaam,108).

Interestingly, blasphemy laws appeared in Western societies long before they appeared in the lands of Islam.

But all this talk may be virtually inconsequential to self-absorbed libertarians who think they are correct and everyone else is wrong.

According to America’s fanatical libertarians, Americans have an inherent and absolute right to free speech, which conceivably includes hate speech, incitement to murder, defamation and besmirching people’s images and reputation. 

Yet, we see American culture and media have a zero tolerance for critics of Israel and Zionism, particularly in the American arena, which really draws a huge question mark over Americans’ commitment to true freedom of speech.

I am not an advocate of hate speech even under the rubric of free speech. Hate speech could easily lead to mass murder and genocide. We should all remember that before there were Auschwitz, Bergen Belsen and Treblinka, there was Mein Kampf as well venomous anti-Jewish Nazi propaganda.

Needless to say, it was this virulent propaganda that desensitised Europe and much of the Western world to the systematic extermination of European Jewry and others.

In my humble opinion, free speech that is likely to lead to the loss of life is not worth protecting and defending. In the final analysis, a human being’s right to life is more important than a human being’s right to absolute, vulgar hate speech.

Yes, the two rights need not always be in a state of conflict. However, when a purported right has the potential of decimating the other more natural right, the right to life, there should be no question as to where our attention should be focused.

And as we all know, the matter is not merely academic, as recent events in parts of the Middle East have demonstrated.

There are, of course, those who claim that hate speech wouldn’t have to lead to bloodshed. Well, this might be true if the rest of the world adopted the American value system and believed in the First Amendment as God-incarnate. But to the chagrin of our American friends, the world is too diverse to adopt the American way and adhere to the American Constitution as the ultimate religion of mankind.

This shouldn’t mean though that the world is doomed to everlasting cultural confrontations. Conflicting cultural values need not evolve into wars of cultures or even worse, religious wars. A certain compromise solution ought to be found whereby a delicate balance is struck between the world’s various value systems, including the right to free speech versus the right not to be offended by hate speech.

In the final analysis, we have to give due consideration to the magical word: Respect. I realise how difficult it would be to legislate “respect” among heterogeneous communities let alone among diverse cultures.

Nonetheless, the present situation between Islam and the West where one group of people must be offended and insulted on the grounds that another group of people has an allegedly absolute right to free speech cannot be maintained. The global village has become too small to allow fanatical and unbridled American libertarianism to demean and insult other cultures.

In a nutshell, free speech, though not an absolute value in itself, is a positive value and ought to be protected and defended; but hate, malicious and vulgar speech is a negative value that ultimately leads to bloodshed and war.

 

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