Ilhan Omar’s Pro-Boycott Resolution Distorts the Meaning of the First Amendment

July 22 2019

Last week, Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, both known for spouting the vilest accusations against Israel and its American Jewish supporters, co-sponsored a resolution affirming “that all Americans have the right to participate in boycotts in pursuit of civil and human rights at home and abroad, as protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.” The text makes no explicit mention of the Jewish state, but Omar made clear in an interview what was already evident amidst all its rhetoric about free speech and American traditions: namely, that the resolution is intended to protect the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel (BDS). David French explains that the resolution rests on a fundamental misunderstanding of American law:

Individual anti-Semites have just as much a constitutional right to boycott Israeli products as individual racists have a constitutional right to refuse to patronize black-owned businesses. The fact that the Constitution protects such conduct doesn’t render it any less repugnant. . . . Supporters of BDS, however, must reckon with some inconvenient facts and some rather important laws.

[In 2014, for instance], I co-authored [a] letter . . . to Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California system, warning her that if the student-employee union voted to join the BDS movement, the University of California system risked serious violations of federal law, state law, and its own nondiscrimination policies. How? “The consequences of any boycott would be grave for Israelis working and studying alongside [union] members, subjecting them to scrutiny, reprisals, and retaliation merely because of their national origin or the national origin of their sponsors or affiliates.”

[Indeed an] analogy to white supremacists holds up quite well. Yes, you have a right to join the tiki-torch brigade and march to your heart’s content. You have a right not to watch professional sports because most of the athletes are non-white. But the instant you form or join a public accommodation—or the instant you join an arm of the state—your discrimination becomes unlawful.

The bottom line here is clear: when Ilhan Omar supports BDS, she shouldn’t be permitted to wrap herself in the American flag. The Constitution grants her the same rights it grants all other bigots, but for the movement to mean anything it has to violate the law, including the very non-discrimination statutes that were designed to lead the United States out of its Jim Crow past.

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Read more at National Review

More about: Anti-Semitism, BDS, First Amendment, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, U.S. Politics

 

Salman Rushdie and the Western Apologists for Those Who Wish Him Dead

Aug. 17 2022

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a fatwa (religious ruling) in 1989 calling for believers to murder the novelist Salman Rushdie due to the content of his novel, The Satanic Verses. Over the years, two of the book’s translators have been stabbed—one fatally—and numerous others have been injured or killed in attempts to follow the ayatollah’s writ. Last week, an American Shiite Muslim came closer than his many predecessors to killing Rushdie, stabbing him multiple times and leaving him in critical condition. Graeme Wood comments on those intellectuals in the West who have exuded sympathy for the stabbers:

In 1989, the reaction to the fatwa was split three ways: some supported it; some opposed it; and some opposed it, to be sure, but still wanted everyone to know how bad Rushdie and his novel were. This last faction, Team To Be Sure, took the West to task for elevating this troublesome man and his insulting book, whose devilry could have been averted had others been more attuned to the sensibilities of the offended.

The fumes are still rising off of this last group. The former president Jimmy Carter was, at the time of the original fatwa, the most prominent American to suggest that the crime of murder should be balanced against Rushdie’s crime of blasphemy. The ayatollah’s death sentence “caused writers and public officials in Western nations to become almost exclusively preoccupied with the author’s rights,” Carter wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times. Well, yes. Carter did not only say that many Muslims were offended and wished violence on Rushdie; that was simply a matter of fact, reported frequently in the news pages. He took to the op-ed page to add his view that these fanatics had a point. “While Rushdie’s First Amendment freedoms are important,” he wrote, “we have tended to promote him and his book with little acknowledgment that it is a direct insult to those millions of Moslems whose sacred beliefs have been violated.” Never mind that millions of Muslims take no offense at all, and are insulted by the implication that they should.

Over the past two decades, our culture has been Carterized. We have conceded moral authority to howling mobs, and the louder the howls, the more we have agreed that the howls were worth heeding. The novelist Hanif Kureishi has said that “nobody would have the [courage]” to write The Satanic Verses today. More precisely, nobody would publish it, because sensitivity readers would notice the theological delicacy of the book’s title and plot. The ayatollahs have trained them well, and social-media disasters of recent years have reinforced the lesson: don’t publish books that get you criticized, either by semiliterate fanatics on the other side of the world or by semiliterate fanatics on this one.

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Read more at Atlantic

More about: Ayatollah Khomeini, Freedom of Speech, Iran, Islamism, Jimmy Carter