Like Her Defense of Tyrannical Regimes, Angela Davis’s Anti-Semitism Has a Long Track Record

Jan. 16 2019

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Alabama recently rescinded its decision to present a reward to the author and radical activist Angela Davis. Indeed, it was her commitment to the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel (BDS) that precipitated opposition to the institute’s decision. Davis and her allies have in response rushed to claim that her detractors are racist. Jonathan Tobin comments:

Davis . . . claimed she was being shunned because of her support for “the indivisibility of justice.” She and her supporters in Birmingham and elsewhere argued that her support for the Palestinian cause was inextricably linked to civil rights in the United States. That resonated with some institute board members who resigned in protest over the . . . treatment of Davis. . . .

[However], this is not the first time that anti-Semitism has played a part in Davis’s career. As a radical celebrity in the 1970s as well as a prominent Communist and supporter of the Soviet Union and its satellite regimes, she was asked to support the struggle for human rights in those countries. In particular, some on the left pleaded with her to aid Jews who were persecuted by the anti-Semitic Soviet government, which refused them the right to leave for Israel or to practice Judaism at home.

Her response was not merely silence. She actively supported the repressive regimes in Russia, East Germany, and Czechoslovakia and opposed the activities of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and other dissidents. Though she styled herself a “political prisoner” for being called to account for her role in an act of domestic terrorism [committed by the Black Panthers], Davis was quoted as saying of Czech dissidents, “They deserve what they get. Let them remain in prison.” According to Alan Dershowitz, who also asked for help for Jewish refuseniks and other prisoners of conscience, she told him, “They are all Zionist fascists and opponents of socialism.”

Davis and her defenders have sought to depict her critics as racists. But the idea that a person with a record of support for totalitarianism and consistent anti-Semitism deserves to be honored as a human-rights advocate is an insult not so much to the Jewish community but to genuine civil-rights heroes who fought for justice—and not, like Davis, to defend injustice.

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Read more at National Review

More about: Anti-Semitism, BDS, Human Rights, Politics & Current Affairs, Refuseniks

Gaza’s Quiet Dissenters

Last year, the Dubai-based television channel Al-Arabiya, the Times of Israel, and several other media organizations worked together to conduct numerous interviews with residents of the Gaza Strip, taking great pains to protect their identities. The result is a video series titled Whispers in Gaza, which presents a picture of life under Hamas’s tyranny unlike anything that can be found in the press. Jeff Jacoby writes:

Through official intimidation or social pressure, Gazans may face intense pressure to show support for Hamas and its murderous policies. So when Hamas organizes gaudy street revels to celebrate a terrorist attack—like the fireworks and sweets it arranged after a gunman murdered seven Israelis outside a Jerusalem synagogue Friday night—it can be a challenge to remember that there are many Palestinians who don’t rejoice at the murder of innocent Jews.

In one [interview], “Fatima” describes the persecution endured by her brother, a humble vegetable seller, after he refused to pay protection money to Hamas. The police arrested him on a trumped-up drug charge and locked him in prison. “They beat him repeatedly to make him confess to things he had nothing to do with,” she says. Then they threatened to kill him. Eventually he fled the country, leaving behind a family devastated by his absence.

For those of us who detest Hamas no less than for those who defend it, it is powerful to hear the voices of Palestinians like “Layla,” who is sickened by the constant exaltation of war and “resistance” in the Palestinian media. “If you’re a Gazan citizen who opposes war and says, ‘I don’t want war,’ you’re branded a traitor,” she tells her interviewer. “It’s forbidden to say you don’t want war.” So people keep quiet, she explains, for fear of being tarred as disloyal.

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Read more at Boston Globe

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Palestinian dissidents, Palestinian public opinion