Old-School Anti-Semites Discuss Anti-Semitism at the New School

Nov. 28 2017

The New School for Social Research plans to host a panel this evening titled “Anti-Semitism and the Struggle for Justice”; participants include the Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour (infamous for such comments as “nothing is creepier than Zionism”) and two representatives of Jewish Voice for Peace, an organization dedicated to anti-Israel propagandizing. At the same time, the panel includes no speakers with a record of opposing anti-Semitism or defending the Jewish state, or of representing any political orientation outside the far left. Phyllis Chesler, herself an alumna of the New School, comments:

The description of the panel tells us: “Anti-Semitism is harmful and real. But when anti-Semitism is redefined as criticism of Israel, critics of Israeli policy become accused and targeted more than the growing far-right. Join us for a discussion on how to combat anti-Semitism today.”

More targeted than the far-right? . . . Words almost fail me [reading the organizers’] self-serving bid for victim status: they themselves are the aggressors who maliciously conflate anti-Semitism, which they practice, with “criticism of Israel,” as if the all-powerful Jewish Lobby is now threatening to shut down even the most innocent “criticism” of its actions. The canard is so transparent that it’s amazing to think that educated people believe it. But being educated has never proved to be a bar against being anti-Semitic, or being a camp follower or appeaser of haters. . . .

It is ironic: even as charges of “appropriation” are leveled at men who write about women, whites who write about non-whites, non-gays who write about gays—the single exception is that of allowing a non-Jew like Sarsour to hold forth in an academic setting as an “expert” on a subject about which she knows absolutely nothing.

The New School panel is political theater, meant to intimidate, appease, and entertain, not to educate. It is possible because hatred of Jews is in fashion on the left these days, and because academics are in denial about Islamist violence, whether it targets Jews, women, gays, or other minorities. Therefore, they seek to appease such violence by siding with it against permissible scapegoats, beginning with the Jews and Israel. Academics who should have more nuanced views of geopolitical conflicts instead view the jihadist aggressors as “victims” and their true victims . . . as perpetrators.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel & Zionism, Israel on campus, Linda Sarsour

Reforms to Israel’s Judiciary Must Be Carefully Calibrated

The central topic of debate in Israel now is the new coalition government’s proposed reforms of the nation’s judiciary and unwritten constitution. Peter Berkowitz agrees that reform is necessary, but that “the proper scope and pace of reform, however, are open to debate and must be carefully calibrated.”

In particular, Berkowitz argues,

to preserve political cohesiveness, substantial changes to the structure of the Israeli regime must earn support that extends beyond these partisan divisions.

In a deft analysis of the conservative spirit in Israel, bestselling author Micah Goodman warns in the Hebrew language newspaper Makor Rishon that unintended consequences flowing from the constitutional counterrevolution are likely to intensify political instability. When a center-left coalition returns to power, Goodman points out, it may well repeal through a simple majority vote the major changes Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition seeks to enact. Or it may use the legislature’s expanded powers, say, to ram through laws that impair the religious liberty of the ultra-Orthodox. Either way, in a torn nation, constitutional counterrevolution amplifies division.

Conservatives make a compelling case that balance must be restored to the separation of powers in Israel. A prudent concern for the need to harmonize Israel’s free, democratic, and Jewish character counsels deliberation in the pursuit of necessary constitutional reform.

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Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli Judicial Reform