In a Texas Philosophy Department, Raising the Subject of the Treatment of Homosexuals in Muslim Lands Is Forbidden

In a casual conversation with a fellow student, Alfred MacDonald—then a graduate student in philosophy at the University of Texas at San Antonio—stated that he doesn’t “think highly of Islam” since, as a bisexual, he “could be legally put to death in about a dozen countries that use Islam for their legal system.” The other party to the conversation reported him for his comments, and MacDonald soon found himself summoned to the offices of the departmental chairwoman, Eve Browning, who then chastised him for his remarks. Describing the episode, Bruce Bawer writes:

Browning, after being told by MacDonald what he had said to his fellow student about Islam, asked him, “Do you understand how someone would find that offensive?” Note well: Browning didn’t mean that the Islamic death penalty for gay people is offensive; she had nothing to say about that. What she meant was that mentioning the penalty is offensive. . . .

She then threatened to refer MacDonald to the university’s “Behavior Intervention Team,” which, she explained, is “trained in talking to people about what’s appropriate or what isn’t,” or to “the student conduct board,” which had the power to recommend his dismissal from the university. . . . For her, apparently, this wasn’t a question of ethics or logic; it was a matter of shutting up and obeying the rules. Period. “I’m not out to persuade you,” she admitted. “I’m just out to read you the riot act, basically.”

Eve Browning is . . . far from alone in taking the view—or, at least, acting as if she takes the view—that the execution of gay people in countries that are governed in accordance with sharia law is less offensive than mentioning those executions.

Fortunately, more and more gay people are awakening to the fact that the left, academic and otherwise, does not have their back. When it comes to supposedly downtrodden groups, the left has a distinctive pecking order. Especially now that same-sex marriage is legal in the U.S., gays are no longer seen as being particularly oppressed—especially not gay white males, who thanks to their whiteness and maleness are increasingly viewed as members of the oppressor class, not the oppressed. Muslims, on the contrary, are at the very top of the victim-group heap—and, perversely, every time another act of murderous jihad is committed in the name of Allah, Muslims’ victim status seems to grow.

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More about: Academia, History & Ideas, Homosexuality, Islam, Political correctness

Jerusalem’s Economic Crisis, Its Arabs, and Its Future

Oct. 18 2018

The population of Israel’s capital city is 38-percent Arab, making Arab eastern Jerusalem the largest Arab community in the country. Connected to this fact is Jerusalem’s 46-percent poverty rate—the highest of any Israeli municipality. The city’s economic condition stems in part from its large ultra-Orthodox population, but there is also rampant poverty among its Arab residents, whose legal status is different from that of both Arab Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank. Haviv Rettig Gur explains:

Jerusalem’s Arab inhabitants are not Israeli citizens—in part because Palestinian society views acceptance of Israeli citizenship, [available to any Arab Jerusalemite who desires it], as acceptance of Israeli claims of sovereignty over the city, and in part because Israel is not eager to accept them, even as it formally views itself as having annexed the area. Nevertheless, they have a form of permanent residency that, unlike West Bank Palestinians, allows them unimpeded access to the rest of Israel. . . .

There are good reasons for this poverty among eastern Jerusalem’s Arabs, rooted in the political trap that has ensnared the Arab half of the city and with it the rest of the city as well. Right-wing Israeli political leaders have avoided investing in Arab eastern Jerusalem, fearing that such investments would increase the flow of Palestinians into the city. Left-wing leaders have done the same on the grounds that the Arab half would be given away in a future peace deal.

Meanwhile, eastern Jerusalem’s complicated situation, suspended between the Israeli and Palestinian worlds, means residents cannot take full advantage of their access to the Israeli economy. For example, while most Arab women elsewhere in Israel learn usable Hebrew in school, most Arab schools in eastern Jerusalem teach from the Palestinian curriculum, which does not offer students the Hebrew they will need to find work in the western half of the city. . . .

It is not unreasonable to argue that Jerusalem cannot really be divided, not for political reasons but for economic ones. If Jerusalem remains a solely Israeli capital, it will have to integrate better its disparate parts and massively develop its weaker communities if it hopes ever to become solvent and prosperous. Arabs must be able to find more and better work in Jewish Jerusalem—and in Arab Jerusalem, too. Conversely, if the city is divided into two capitals, that of a Jewish state and that of a Palestinian one, that won’t change the underlying economic reality that its prosperity, its capacity to accommodate tourism and develop efficient infrastructure, and its ability to ensure access for all religions to their many holy sites, will still require a unified urban space.

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More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli Arabs, Israeli economy, Jerusalem