When Will the West Stop Giving Mahmoud Abbas a Free Pass?

The PA president may not believe in the murderous ideology of Hamas, and he has proved willing to cooperate with Israel in preventing terrorist attacks emanating from the West Bank; but, writes David Keyes, he is no moderate, much less a benign influence, and:

Abbas, if one listens to leaders of the free world, is a moderate, reformer, and ally. He is better than Hamas, after all, isn’t he? Never mind that Abbas said in 2013, “There is no difference between our policies and those of Hamas.” The point is this: being better than a genocidal terrorist organization does not a “moderate” make. Pretending it does demeans the word. It is condescending to Palestinians and insulting to true moderates. . . .

Under Abbas’s rule, the Palestinian Authority has arrested activists for Facebook posts and jailed atheists. Two weeks ago, a twenty-two-year-old student was imprisoned for insulting the head of the Palestinian soccer federation. Torture is rampant and Abbas refuses to hold elections, even though his term expired six years ago. . . .

Next to issues like war and peace, civil society and Internet freedom can seem quaint and unimportant. This is a grave mistake. The free exchange of ideas is the bedrock of public reasoning and social progress. It is also a bulwark against extremism. But how can moderate voices succeed if they are always silenced?

A modest solution is to begin by using the West’s immense political and economic leverage to encourage real democratic reform in the Palestinian Authority. Right now, the United States supplies about 10 percent of the PA’s annual budget of over $4.2 billion, yet reform has been cosmetic at best.

Read more at Daily Beast

More about: Arab democracy, Freedom of Speech, Israel & Zionism, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority


Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University