It’s Ordinary Americans, Not Professional Provocateurs, Whose Freedom of Expression Needs Defense

On Monday, the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) had to disinvite the journalist and provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, whom it had previously engaged as the keynote speaker at its annual conference on the grounds of its commitment to “free speech.” David French argues against making people like Yiannopoulos into icons of free expression:

[I]f Yiannopoulos is the poster boy for free speech, then free speech will lose. He’s the perfect foil for [far-left activists], a living symbol of everything they fight against. His very existence and prominence feed the deception that modern political correctness is the firewall against the worst forms of bigotry. . . .

[Yiannopoulos’s] isn’t the true face of the battle for American free-speech rights. That face belongs to Barronelle Stutzman, the florist in Washington whom the left is trying to ruin financially because she refused to use her artistic talents to celebrate a gay marriage. It belongs to Kelvin Cochran, the Atlanta fire chief who was fired for publishing and sharing with a few colleagues a book he wrote that expressed orthodox Christian views of sex and marriage. Stutzman and Cochran demonstrate that intolerance and censorship strike not just at people on the fringe—people like Yiannopoulos—but rather at the best and most reasonable citizens of these United States. They’re proof that [the hard left] seeks not equality and inclusion but control and domination.

Yiannopoulos has the same free-speech rights as any other American. He can and should be able to troll to his heart’s content without fear of government censorship or private riot. But by elevating him even higher, CPAC would have made a serious mistake. CPAC’s invitation told the world that supporting conservative free speech means supporting Milo. If there’s a more effective way to vindicate the social-justice left, I can’t imagine it.

Read more at National Review

More about: American politics, Conservatism, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, Politics & Current Affairs

Why Arab Jerusalem Has Stayed Quiet

One of Hamas’s most notable failures since October 7 is that it has not succeeded in inspiring a violent uprising either among the Palestinians of the West Bank or the Arab citizens of Israel. The latter seem horrified by Hamas’s actions and tend to sympathize with their own country. In the former case, quiet has been maintained by the IDF and Shin Bet, which have carried out a steady stream of arrests, raids, and even airstrikes.

But there is a third category of Arab living in Israel, namely the Arabs of Jerusalem, whose intermediate legal status gives them access to Israeli social services and the right to vote in municipal elections. They may also apply for Israeli citizenship if they so desire, although most do not.

On Wednesday, off-duty Israeli soldiers in the Old City of Jerusalem shot at a Palestinian who, it seems, was attempting to attack them. But this incident is a rare exception to the quiet that has prevailed in Arab Jerusalem since the war began. Eytan Laub asked a friend in an Arab neighborhood why:

Listen, he said, we . . . have much to lose. We already fear that any confrontation would have consequences. Making trouble may put our residence rights at risk. Furthermore, he added, not a few in the neighborhood, including his own family, have applied for Israeli citizenship and participating in disturbances would hardly help with that.

Such an attitude reflects a general trend since the end of the second intifada:

In recent years, the numbers of [Arab] Jerusalemites applying for Israeli citizenship has risen, as the social stigma of becoming Israeli has begun to erode and despite an Israeli naturalization process that can take years and result in denial (because of the requirement to show Jerusalem residence or the need to pass a Hebrew language test). The number of east Jerusalemites granted citizenship has also risen, from 827 in 2009 to over 1,600 in 2020.

Oddly enough, Laub goes on to argue, the construction of the West Bank separation fence in the early 2000s, which cuts through the Arab-majority parts of Jerusalem, has helped to encouraged better relations.

Read more at Jerusalem Strategic Tribune

More about: East Jerusalem, Israeli Arabs, Jerusalem