Preventing “Cultural Appropriation” and the Demand for Ethnoracial Purity

The University of Michigan has recently announced that it seeks to hire a “bias incident-prevention and -response coordinator” whose job will entail the creation of “cultural appropriation-prevention initiatives.” In other words, it will be this individual’s job to decide under what circumstances white students taking yoga classes, or wearing hoop earrings, have committed that newly minted sin. Professor Fred Baumann responds with an open letter to the university’s president, Mark Schlissel:

It occurred to me . . . that the last official I know of whose job was to prevent cultural appropriation was Hans Hinkel. So who was he? When the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, as you may know, every Jew in any cultural position was fired. My father was a young assistant director at the Berlin City Opera and he and his boss, Kurt Singer, also a Jew, lost their jobs. My father had the idea of telling the Nazis, “Okay, you say we’re a different culture; well then, you logically need to allow us to have our own cultural institutions.” Out of that came the Jewish Cultural League, which was headed by Singer, and was able to carry on Jewish cultural life with Jewish artists for Jewish audiences until after the beginning of the war.

My father directed operas but was also the “internal censor.” The man he worked with to make sure that the Nazis were okay with what was being performed and didn’t think the Jews were appropriating Aryan culture was a special commissioner for “cultural particulars” named Hans Hinkel. Now I gather you are taking up the same line of work. From Hinkel to Schlissel, or so it appears.

Unfair? Well, President Schlissel, it grieves me deeply that you seem to have so little memory of the past. . . . Cultural purism is folly and its genesis is invariably chauvinist and very often racist. So why, oh why, are you encouraging the rebirth of this hateful thing?

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Arts & Culture, Nazism, Political correctness, University

The Riots on the Gaza Border are Carefully Coordinated Attacks on Israel, and Should Be Treated as Such

Jan. 16 2019

On Friday, the weekly riots at the Gaza security fence resumed in full force: 13,000 people participated, and a Palestinian woman was apparently killed by Israeli gunfire. The UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR) had established a commission of inquiry in May, not long after these riots began, “to investigate all alleged violations and abuses of international humanitarian law and international human-rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, . . . particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, in the context of the military assaults on the large-scale civilian protests that began on March 20, 2018.” In a report to the commission, Richard Kemp, a retired senior British officer, concludes, after investigating the situation at the Gaza border, that there is no evidence whatsoever of Israeli wrongdoing, and that the commission is operating under faulty assumptions:

The terms of [the commission’s] mandate are self-evidently biased against the state of Israel and the IDF. The context cited—“the military assaults on the large-scale civilian protests”—make clear that the UNHRC either failed to understand what was happening on the ground or deliberately misrepresented the reality. In addition, the commission’s mandate terms the Gaza Strip “Occupied Palestinian Territories,” which it is not. . . .

[T]he so-called “civilian protests” in reality were, and continue to be, a deliberate military operation, orchestrated and controlled by Hamas, [a] terrorist group that has been waging an armed conflict against Israel for many years. Their intention was and remains to kill and wound IDF soldiers, to break through the border fence, to murder and maim innocent civilians, to destroy property, and to compel the IDF to take defensive action resulting in the death of Gaza civilians for exploitation in the international arena. [Israel’s] “military assaults” were not what was implied by this prejudicial mandate. They were in fact lawful, proportionate, and restrained defensive actions. . . .

Suggestions that these demonstrations are [protests] against Israeli policy toward the Gaza Strip are demonstrably false and easily refuted by cursory viewing of Hamas and other public statements made at the time of the events. . . . Further, it is clear that Hamas intended this violence to continue its long-standing strategy of creating and intensifying international outrage, vilification, isolation, and criminalization of the state of Israel and its officials. . . .

[T]he starkest indication that these events were entirely under Hamas control is the simple fact that, when it suited Hamas’s political interests, the [demonstrations] occurred and were of a violent nature, and when such actions did not serve Hamas’s interests, the border was quiet. As the most recent example of this, in November 2018, Qatar began to make large cash payments to Hamas in Gaza. The most recent payment of $15 million was handed over in December 2018. These payments are reportedly part of an agreement with Hamas to diminish violence along the Gaza border. [After] the first payment, the border violence [was] reduced [and the] demonstrations [became] far more restrained.

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More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, IDF, Israel & Zionism, Laws of war, UNHRC