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December 25, 2014 / 3 Tevet, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘freedom of speech’

Did Brooklyn College’s Political Science Department Violate the First Amendment?

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

The co-sponsorship by the Brooklyn College political science department of an anti-Israel hate fest, from which pro-Israel students were excluded, may have violated the First Amendment.

Had the event been sponsored only by student and outside private groups, their decision to exclude pro-Israel students and to prevent the distribution of anti-BDS leaflets would have been a private matter, that at worst may have violated the rules of the college. But the official co-sponsorship of the event by an academic department may have turned their exclusionary decisions into illegal “state action.”

For purposes of the First Amendment, the political science department is Brooklyn College, which is the City University of New York, which is the State of New York. It was the State of New York, therefore, that expelled pro-Israel students who wanted to distribute constitutionally protected leaflets and wanted to pose constitutionally protected political questions. Such state action violates the First Amendment and New York law.

Accordingly, the benighted action of the political science department in taking sides in the debate over boycotting Israeli academics and institutions, may now come back to haunt the City University of New York, which is taking this situation seriously. The Chancellor issued the following statement:

At last week’s event at Brooklyn College, sponsored by Students for Justice in Palestine and the College’s Department of Political Science, allegations were made by members of the college community who attended that they were impeded from expressing views either orally or in writing. There were reports that some said they were asked without cause to leave the event. If this were true, it was wrong and we need to understand exactly what the circumstances were. At the request of President Karen L. Gould, I have asked General Counsel and Senior Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs Frederick P. Schaffer to quickly investigate these allegations. This investigation will be coordinated by CUNY’s Office of Legal Affairs, working with an independent consultant, and charged with reporting directly back to me.

There is, apparently, strong evidence to corroborate the accounts that pro-Israel students, especially those wearing yarmulkes or “looking” Jewish, were deliberately excluded, even though they secured written permission to attend. There is also corroboration of the accusation that pro-Israel students who managed to get into the event were thrown out when they refused to turn over to the organizers anti-BDS leaflets they wished to distribute. When these students complained to an official of the college, he reportedly replied that the anti-Israel students who were running the event were “calling the shots” and he could therefore do nothing. But once the political science department became involved as a co-sponsor, the students alone could not call the shots, when it comes to the First Amendment. The university assumed responsibility for assuring that the free speech of all students was equally protected. The First Amendment forbids the State of New York from discriminating against pro-Israel or anti-BDS speech, as it apparently did here.

What happened at Brooklyn College demonstrates the wisdom of keeping academic departments from sponsoring non-academic hate fests, such as the BDS event. When academic departments become selective sponsors, the constitutional rules change, because the imprimatur of the university—and thus the state—is placed on the event.

The radical anti-Israel students who arranged the BDS conference thought they had obtained a benefit from the political science department’s co-sponsorship—and perhaps they did in the short term. But in the long term, they may rue the day they persuaded the department to become involved in what should have been a student event. Now there may be legal consequences. The sword of co-sponsorship may have become a shield to protect the First Amendment rights of the students who were prevented from handing out anti-BDS leaflets and asking anti-BDS questions. I wonder if we will hear from Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York Times editorial board about these violations of freedom of speech!

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.

Islam in the United States

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

John Walker Lindh is a citizen of the United States who was born in Washington, D.C. in the year 1981. Lindh was not born a MuslimHe converted when he was 16 years old and then traveled to Yemen in order to learn Arabic. In 2000, he traveled to Afghanistan and underwent an educational and training course in al-Farouq, an al-Qaeda training camp. He made contact with the organization of Mujahadeen in Pakistan, and was caught in 2001 in Afghanistan serving as a jihadist with the Taliban. He was convicted of fighting for an illegal organization and sentenced to twenty years in the Terre Haute prison in the state of Indiana.

In prison, Lindh continued to preach to his fellow prisoners and exhort them to be persistent in their jihad against the United States and the jihad to enforce Muslim Shari’a law on all of humanity. As a result, the prison authorities limited his participation in public prayer to only one time per week, on Friday. He appealed to the court, demanding to be allowed to participate in public prayer five times a day. The judge of the federal court, Jane Magnus-Stinson, found – contrary to the opinion of the prison authorities – that despite the fact that Lindh does not recognize the legality of the American court or the authority of her honor the judge, he nevertheless has the right to pray in public and to meet with his comrades five times every day, even if it means that the prison must beef up its security arrangements in order to accommodate his wishes.

This is not an isolated case. The United States has been driven for the past several years by “political correctness,” which censors any reference to a person’s faith, even if this faith instigates him to wage holy war against the United States. According to this approach, if someone claims that the United States is the “little Satan,”  Americans must accept this characterization as correct and legitimate, and if the American is uncomfortable with this, he should do some soul searching to ascertain the reason that caused the Other – who is clearly miserable, hungry and neglected because of the crimes of the United States – to regard him as Satan.

Political correctness is what dictates conduct in the highest echelons of leadership in the United States: most citizens of the country consider it to be unacceptable to say that President Obama comes from a Muslim family, and believe that it is not legitimate to refer  to Obama’s religion in any way. This is why the campaign against Obama that was based on this fact failed to prevent him from being re-elected.

The federal investigative bodies have also been seized by American political correctness; and two years ago, in keeping with instructions  from above, training programs for the FBI agents and other investigative agencies were changed, so that today, an interrogator is forbidden to relate to the religion or beliefs of someone under investigation, even if his faith or beliefs actually incite him  to murderous jihad against the state. Authorities of the state forbid the use of the expression “Islamic terror,” and laundered expressions such as “ideological violence” must be used instead.

The slaughter that  Major Nidal Malik Hasan perpetrated against his comrades at the Fort Hood base in Texas in order to prevent them from going to Afghanistan, is described by the authorities as “workplace violence.” For the adherents of political correctness, the fact that Hasan was in contact with Anwar Awlaki, the Yemeni-American terrorist who was subsequently eliminated, does not contradict the theory of political correctness that characterizes Islam as a religion of peace and love, hugs and kisses. “Islam” – so they believe – is based on the Arabic word “salam,” which means “peace,” because the superficiality that characterizes the American media discourages people from looking it up and discovering that the real meaning of the word “Islam” is “surrender” or “submission.”

Together with an American colleague, an attorney by the name of David Yerushalmi, I published an article about two years ago, “Shari’a and Violence in Mosques of the United States.”  This article is based on analysis of data and material that was collected in approximately one hundred mosques across the United States. Included in this material are two interesting pamphlets, in clear English. One is “40 Hadiths on Jihad” (a hadith is part of the Islamic oral tradition that relates to the sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad). This and this booklet is a song of praise to jihad, to the jihadist and to his reward in the world to come. Jihad in this booklet is not against illness, poverty, neglect and corruption, and not even against the evil inclination, but against anyone who is not Muslim, and implicitly, every American who does not convert to Islam.

Blasphemy as a National Security Threat

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

Spain has begun deportation proceedings against Imran Firasat, a Christian refugee from Pakistan, for making a documentary about Mohammed and thereby threatening the national security of Spain. If Firasat is deported back to Pakistan, he will face the death penalty proving that it’s a short step from the Spanish Inquisition to the Pakistani Inquisition.

The United States has a man sitting in prison for making another blasphemous movie, which the government spent weeks blaming for worldwide attacks on American embassies. And he isn’t the first man persecuted or prosecuted for offending Islam. Offending Islam has become a national security issue involving all levels of government. When Bubba the Love Sponge, a Tampa DJ, proposed to burn a Koran, the commander of the Afghanistan war contacted his girlfriend (who would later be stalked by Petraeus’ girlfriend) to contact the Mayor of Tampa to keep Bubba from burning a Koran. Instead of explaining how the American system works to the Lebanese temptress and her four-star general, the mayor wrote back that the city was working on it. That month 50 percent more Americans were killed in Afghanistan in the long slow death march of the war, but a Koran was not burned in Tampa. Mission accomplished.Muslims did not have to kill a great number of Americans to enforce blasphemy law in this country. Counting the various reactions to burnt Korans, rumors of a flushed Koran and assorted things of that nature, the number is still well below a hundred. Even counting every casualty in the war from September 11 onward, it took fewer deaths to make the United States give up on the Bill of Rights than it took to liberate it in the War of Independence.

But it’s not really about the deaths, if it were then the United States wouldn’t be senselessly squandering the lives of American soldiers in Afghanistan to avoid offending the natives. It’s not the death of men that our leaders are worried about, but the death of stability.

Knowing that a hundred men will die today in car accidents does not alarm anyone, but knowing that somewhere a dozen men might die in a bomb explosion, anywhere and at any time, can bring a nations to its knees. That is the difference between predictable and unpredictable death. Predictable death makes it possible for most everyone to go about doing what they normally do. Unpredictable death however erodes daily order.

Blasphemy makes terrorism seem predictable. It delivers that false sense of control that is at the root of Stockholm Syndrome, the seductive illusion that the thug can be reasoned with and that we can restore control over our perilous environment by accepting responsibility for the enemy’s violence. If we meet a set of conditions then we will have peace. And what kind of lunatic wouldn’t want peace? The kind who needs to be deported or locked up in the name of peace.

When an entire country goes Stockholm then it is no longer interested in winning the war, only in surviving the peace. In a Stockholm country, national security consists of locking up anyone who can be blamed for sabotaging the peacemaking. The less peace there is, the more the peacemakers go on the hunt for “extremists” who are to blame for the lack of it. The more their vision of a better world fails, the more stern measures they must take against their own people. Peace is always one more denunciation of extremism away.

The same countries whose leaders have spent a century and a half blathering incessantly about a truly progressive order under international law have shown no ability to cope with the old-fashioned kind of war. They can quote verbatim the laws of war, but understand poorly that war makes its own laws. War’s simplest law is that you pick a pretext, any popular pretext, make your demands and then go on the attack. If the other side is foolish enough to meet your demands, then it has shown its weakness and must be attacked again and again.

Muslims have restored blasphemy prosecutions to the United States and Europe through violence. Like Khrushchev banging his shoe on the United Nations delegate desk, they did their best to convince the rest of the world that they were violently irrational and liable to do all sorts of things if their demands weren’t met. And their demands were met. Rather than going medieval on their asses, the civilized world instead went medieval on anyone who offended the medieval cult of Islam.

Western Critics of Democracy – “Accomplices to Injustice”

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Support for people who criticize their own Western democratic societies is now all too apparent among many Western intellectuals, academics, members of the media, international organizations, and religious groups which, while refusing to challenge cases of injustice, particularly in Muslim countries, instead criticize and condemn the state of Israel at every turn, despite the continuing physical and rhetorical aggression against it.

Intellectual support for, or acquiescence in, tyrannical regimes and unjust rulers is familiar in history. It runs from Plato supporting the tyrant of Syracuse; Seneca praising Nero; Aristotle advising Alexander the Great, and it extends to modern times with individuals such as Martin Heidegger approving, for a time, Hitler, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, who, in 1947, justified the fraudulent Moscow Trials which condemned the Russian critics of Stalin.

The Dean of Canterbury in Britain for over 30 years, Hewlett Johnson, embodied a deluded, fanatical mind at work: safe in his ecclesiastical position, and suffering no penalties for his utterances and actions, Johnson was a life-long admirer of both Communism in theory, and the Soviet Union in action. He defended the Nazi-Soviet Pact of September 1939 — the prelude to Hitler’s start of World War II. Johnson’s undying admiration for Communism led him to defend both the arrest in 1949 on false charges, of Cardinal Mindzenty by the Hungarian secret police, and the Soviet invasion of Hungary — for which he was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize in 1950, and the Stalin International Peace Prize in 1951.

As George Orwell – himself familiar with such “fellow travelers” of the Soviet Communist regime who, in their irresponsible fashion, supported or excused that regime despite its tyranny and brutality, and at no cost to themselves – wrote, “So much of left-wing thought is a kind of playing with fire by people who don’t even know that fire is hot.”

These critics, consciously or not, are now allying with groups and states whose open, ultimate, objective is the destruction of the state of Israel. In fairness, people with this mindset have, in recent years, also supported worthy causes, such as sanctions against the apartheid state of South Africa and calls for its abolition. Such support, however, could hardly be considered courageous: no one had to pay any price for it; on the contrary, there were benefits, both ideological and personal, such as enlarged self-esteem or glory in success.

What is important is that the compassion shown by these individuals has not been present in the face of gratuitous attacks on democratic values, or in the face of aggression, physical and rhetorical, against the state of Israel. Nor have Western Europeans, at least, been willing to face the real problems currently exponentiating there, such as the mass immigration of people from other cultures, who have failed to be successfully integrated into Western societies, as well as the rise of Islamism. The critics of their own democratic societies rarely discuss the real difficulties, both demographically and politically, of the multicultural societies of Britain and France, or what the significance might be of over half the Muslims in Britain believing that it was actually the CIA or the Israeli Mossad which were responsible for the 9/11 attacks in New York City.

What can explain this failure by self-proclaimed high-minded people to respond not only to the physical violence against a tiny democratic ally, but also to the attacks on free speech, or the attempts to prevent criticism of some activity supposedly based on religious principles, such as Christians continually being burned alive in their churches in Nigeria by the fundamentalist goup, Boko Haram [literally: "Western Education Is Forbidden"], or the the possible judicial murder by Iran of Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani for refusing to recant his conversion to Christianity, or Iran’s illegal, ongoing threats of genocide against a fellow member of the United Nations?

Part of the explanation, at least regarding Europeans, may be due to what Walter Laqueur, in After the Fall, called a “crisis of lack of will, inertia, tiredness, self-doubt, a lack of self-confidence.” Other people, who are perhaps seeking fame, or acceptance as politically correct, or even material rewards, or who are simply ignorant of political reality, pay no price for their appeasement of the actions and language of countries and groups that are critical of, and actively threaten, democratic values.

Israel’s Derfner Affair

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

            One of the most bizarre controversies concerning freedom of the press and freedom of speech has been afflicting Israel in recent days.  The basic question is whether there exists some sort of natural right to advocate the mass murder of Jews.

 

The affair began when Larry Derfner, a left-wing columnist for the Jerusalem Post – probably the most pluralistic and balanced newspaper in Israel, giving ample room for opining by writers right, left and center – justified the killing of Israelis by Palestinian terrorists.

Derfner’s comments were actually published on a blog not connected with the newspaper, and it was his response to the mass murder perpetrated by Palestinians and some Egyptian collaborators near Eilat a few weeks back.
 
Derfner’s posting began: “I think a lot of people who realize that the occupation is wrong also realize that the Palestinians have the right to resist it – to use violence against Israelis, even to kill Israelis, especially when Israel is showing zero willingness to end the occupation . But people don’t want to say this, especially right after a terror attack like this last one that killed eight Israelis near Eilat . I think it’s time to overcome this reticence because this unwillingness to say outright that Palestinians have the right to fight the occupation, especially now, inadvertently helps keep the occupation going.
 
He went on: “But if, on the other hand, we were to say very forthrightly what many of us believe and the rest of us suspect – that the Palestinians, like every nation living under hostile rule, have the right to fight back, that their terrorism, especially in the face of a rejectionist Israeli government, is justified  - what effect would that have? A powerful one, I think, because the truth is powerful.  If those who oppose the occupation acknowledged publicly that it justifies Palestinian terrorism, then those who support the occupation would have to explain why it doesn’t.”
 
Of course Derfner failed to volunteer himself and his own family to be murdered by Palestinian terrorists resisting Israeli occupation.
 
Derfner’s comments triggered a firestorm. Hundreds of Jerusalem Post readers cancelled their subscriptions. Within days the editor of the Post announced the paper would no longer employ or publish Derfner.
 
Derfner issued a “clarification” and a sort of apology, but he remained fired. He then took to the pages of the Forward to try to spin his advocacy of murder into something less offensive.
 
While Derfner was being denounced for his advocacy of murder, leftists in Israel and around the world were defending him. Leftist blogs denounced the Post and its editor for engaging in the suppression freedom of speech, using words like “fascists” and “McCarthyists.”
 
Firing Derfner had nothing to do with freedom of speech. No one is stopping Derfner from standing on the street corners of Zion and advocating the murder of Jews. Actually, open advocacy of murder is against the law in Israel and is decidedly not regarded as protected speech, but that law is never applied against Israeli leftists.
 
Nevertheless, the Left is outraged that the Jerusalem Post “suppressed diversity of opinion and pluralism” by sacking Derfner. This is amusing coming from leftists, who are at the forefront of the campaign against freedom of speech and pluralism of ideas. For the radical left there is one single correct set of opinions – and democracy means only people holding those opinions should be entitled to express them in the media.
 
The most interesting defense of Derfner appeared in a blog entry published in the Huffington Post. It was written by Bradley Burston, a senior editor at Haaretz, Israel’s leftist daily newspaper.
 
            In his posting, Burston complained that pluralism and diversity of opinion at the Jerusalem Post were jeopardized by the canning of Derfner.
 
Burston happens to be employed by what is probably the most non-pluralistic newspaper in the Western world. The levels of pluralism and diversity at Haaretzare similar to those found in Pravda during the Brezhnev era.
 
Haaretz is a monolithic engine of propaganda in which virtually no non-leftist opinion is permitted. Its editorial pages are uniformly far left and anti-Zionist. Once a week a token right-winger is allowed to publish an op-ed – obviously so that editors like Burston can roll their eyes whenever anyone says Haaretz has no pluralism or diversity.
 
The propagandizing at Haaretz fills the paper and is not restricted to the editorial page. News stories are distorted to give them leftist ideological themes, twists and messages. Book reviews are invariably leftist and ideological.
 
So here we have the spectacle of an editor for a newspaper that suppresses diversity of opinion – and that imposes its political bias even on the most minor news stories – whining about the Jerusalem Post’s alleged lack pluralism and diversity.
 
Burston writes that the “management of the Jerusalem Post has caved in to what amounts to a political boycott.” No it hasn’t. It simply maintained fundamental standards of decency. Unlike Haaretz.
 
Burston is suddenly all in favor of pluralism and diversity. But never, Stalin forbid, at his own newspaper.
 
Leftists like Burston are  proclaiming Derfner some sort of free-speech martyr. Because freedom of speech for leftists means the right to agree with the left but never the right to denounce it, disagree with it, or mock it.
 
 

Steven Plaut is a professor at the University of Haifa. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com.  He can be contacted at steveneplaut@yahoo.com.

Israel’s Fickle Standards Of Free Speech

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

The eminent law professor Robert Bork once described the Israeli Supreme Court as the worst in the Western world. Israel, Bork wrote, “has set a standard for judicial imperialism that can probably never be surpassed, and, one devoutly hopes, will never be equaled elsewhere.”
 
Bork finds “less and less reason for the Israeli people to bother electing a legislature and executive; the attorney general, with the backing of the Supreme Court, can decide almost everything for them.”
 
Making matters worse, judges in Israel, including Supreme Court judges, are chosen by a non-elected panel dominated by other judges, and there are no possibilities for impeachment of judges by the parliament or by ballot initiative.
 
Israel’s Supreme Court has been dominated by the anti-democratic doctrine of “judicial activism” for a generation. In many cases its rulings are attempts to implement the leftist ideology of judges. The unelected justices of the Supreme Court claim the right, invented by them out of thin air, to overturn laws passed by the elected representatives of the people.
 
Not surprisingly, the Israeli Supreme Court is militantly aggressive in defending the liberties of Israeli Arabs and far leftists, but seems to have little interest in defending civil liberties, including freedom of speech, for others.
 
The court recently refused to review the decision of the Nazareth Appeals court in the long-running Plaut-Gordon lawsuit, in effect leaving the earlier decision by the Nazareth court in place. It took the Supreme Court nearly two years to decide not to review the earlier appeals court decision. Its refusal in essence formally establishes infringements on freedom of expression in Israel.
 
The Neve Gordon SLAPP suit filed against me, which began a decade ago, should have been summarily dismissed in the very first round of litigation.
 
Gordon is a far left academic who routinely calls for Israel to be eliminated and who insists Israel is a fascist, Nazi-like apartheid regime. He sued me because I’d accused him of being a “groupie” of the Israel-hating American academic Norman Finkelstein. I also denounced Gordon for serving as a human shield for wanted terrorist murderers and interfering with Israeli anti-terror operations.
 
His suit was assigned to an Arab judge whose husband was the right-hand party man of Azmi Bishara, the accused Israeli Arab spy now in hiding. She found for Gordon. In essence her verdict amounted to the rule that treason in Israel is protected speech but criticism of treason is libelous.
 
That lower court ruling was later reversed in the Nazareth Appeals Court, but Gordon was allowed to retain 10 percent of the damages the first judge had granted him. That 10 percent was based entirely on the use of the term “Judenrat-wannabe” in reference to Gordon’s activities.
 
I then filed a Supreme Court appeal. After dragging its feet, the Supreme Court panel of three judges (two Jewish and one Arab) decided there was insufficient constitutional or public interest in reviewing the Nazareth appeals ruling, in effect allowing it to stand. And, in effect, also preserving the suppression of freedom of speech contained in that verdict.
 
The Israeli Supreme Court once again refused to defend the “semi-constitutional” defenses of freedom of speech that are supposed to exist in Israel. In their ruling, the judges appeared not to have read my appeal, and so failed to note that the description of Gordon as a “judenrat-wannabe” that was deemed “libelous” was in fact a reference to Gordon’s serving as a human shield for wanted murderers and his illegal interference with Israeli military operations against terrorists.
 
For all intents and purposes, the Israeli Supreme Court re-established Israel’s status as a mere semi-democracy, one in which freedom of speech does not really exist, at least not for non-leftists.
 
The Supreme Court’s ruling established the principle that everyone in Israel may use “Holocaust-era imagery” in discourse, except for critics of the left. The Nazareth appeals court had ruled that my use of the term “judenrat” was not protected speech. Of course, routine denunciations by Israeli leftists and Arabs against Israel as a Nazi or fascist entity are protected speech.
 
The Supreme Court even ignored its own earlier ruling (Freij vs. Kol Hazman) that came out after the Nazareth Appeals ruling in Gordon-Plaut, which stated that use of Holocaust-era imagery in discourse actually is permitted in Israel, especially in political discourse.
 
            The opposition to democracy and freedom of speech in the Israeli legal community transcends court justices. In recent months we have seen repeated rounds of petitioning in favor of leftist causes signed by numerous professors and other faculty members in Israeli law schools. At the same time, it is all but impossible to find examples of law professors speaking out in favor of freedom of speech for non-leftists.
 
In short, Israeli law schools have become home to masses of law professors and other academics who are either fundamentally anti-democratic or too intimidated and cowardly to take a public stand in favor of freedom of speech.
 

Meanwhile, Israeli judges and leftists are campaigning against a Knesset proposal to require parliamentary approval of judicial appointments. They consider the idea preposterous. I mean, what does the Knesset think this is here, the United States?

 

 

Steven Plaut is a professor at the University of Haifa.His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.comHe can be contacted at steveneplaut@yahoo.com.

Israeli Left’s Mind-Numbing Hypocrisy On Freedom Of Speech

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

The assault on freedom of speech in Israel by the leftist establishment continues, manifested in a series of arrests of rabbis merely for expressing opinions.
 
Rabbis Dov Lior and Yaakov Yosef (the son of Rav Ovadia Yosef) were both arrested for the “crime” of approving a book. In response, Rabbi Lior’s followers rioted violently. I strongly oppose such behavior, but I know it was triggered by the anti-democratic zeal of the prosecution in its attempts to suppress freedom of speech.
 
This is all about a 230-page esoteric book written by Rabbis Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur concerning the halachic rules under which non-Jewish non-combatants may be killed during wartime. (The question of collateral harm to civilians arises in halacha as it does in other real-world ethical debates.)
 
The publication of the book was foolish and has served to needlessly antagonize non-Jews. Predictably, it is being featured on anti-Semitic websites as “proof” that Jews connive to murder gentiles (al-Jazeera ran a piece claiming rabbis approve the murder of gentile babies).
 
As one prominent Orthodox Israeli rabbi has said regarding the book, some rabbis should be prohibited from taking pen to hand. Just because something should theoretically be protected speech doesn’t mean it’s smart to say it or write it.
 
(Of course, the position of Israel’s leftist elite is that the book is not protected speech, and that even praising the book or recommending that others read it is illegal “incitement” and “racism.”)
 
Having said that, and given that the book was published, potential provocation notwithstanding, the Israeli judicial establishment has been using it as an excuse to suppress freedom of speech. The authors of the tract themselves have not yet been indicted but are expected to be.
 
Meanwhile, the leftist SWAT teams in the Ministry of Justice are going after any rabbi with anything positive to say about the book.
 
The persecution of rabbis for expressing an opinion on someone else’s book stands in sharp and dramatic contrast to the treatment of Sheikh Salah. Head of the Islamofascist movement in Israel, the sheikh regularly and openly calls for the annihilation of Israel.
 
Two years back, he spoke at the University of Haifa and called for Arab students to become suicide bombers. He is so openly genocidal that he was just arrested in Britain when he slipped through passport control and managed to enter the country. But with the exception of one incident when he punched a policeman, he has never been arrested or indicted in Israel.
 
Persecuting rabbis who exercise their freedom of speech about a controversial book is not all the anti-democratic left is up to. According to Haaretz, authorities are preparing to prosecute rabbis who call on Jews not to sell or lease property in Jewish neighborhoods to Arabs. This is “racist,” cry the leftists.
 
But it is evidently not racist for leftists and Arabs to call for the prohibition of sales and renting of property to Jews in Sheikh Jarrah and other parts of East Jerusalem. There is no thought of prosecuting or indicting anyone for that.
 
The hypocrisy of the left when it comes to freedom of speech is mind numbing. At my own university (Haifa) the tenured left is obsessed these days with justifying and celebrating the decision by the law school to prohibit the singing of the Israeli national anthem lest it offend the delicate sensitivities of Arab students, some of whom regularly hold rallies with Hamas banners and who distribute photos of bin Laden.
 
Scores of tenured leftists are posting support for the decision on an internal university chat list. Some of those express the opinion that the anthem is a racist anti-Arab song and should be banned altogether. At least one Jewish faculty member called for the singing of the PLO anthem “Baladi Baladi” at the university. I have no doubt most of these people would also like to ban all Israeli flags from campus.
 
Now as it turns out, most of the tenured leftists so upset by the idea of Arab students having to be present when the Israeli national anthem is sung also just sent a petition to the university rector and president demanding that Sheikh Salah again be allowed to speak at the university. After that last incident on campus, when the genocidal sheikh called for suicide bombers, the university decided he would not be allowed to speak on campus again. (Tel Aviv University came forward to fill the void and hosted Salah a few weeks back.)
 
So here we have scores of tenured university faculty members insisting, in the name of freedom of speech and academic freedom, that the genocidal sheikh be allowed to speak on campus and call for mass murder of Jews. Many of those signing were faculty members of the law school.
 
So guess how many of those same people, including the law school’s tenured left, have expressed protest and indignation over the arrests of Rabbi Lior and Rabbi Yosef? How many objected to that infringement of freedom of speech?
 

That’s right, not a single one.

 

 

Steven Plaut, a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press, is a professor at the University of Haifa. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at steveneplaut@yahoo.com.

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