Why Angela Merkel Wants to Ban the Veil

In a recent editorial, the New York Times roundly condemned the German chancellor’s support for a ban on the burqa, accusing her of “bigotry” and of abandoning her position as the “bulwark” of liberalism; the paper also accused those who applauded the proposal of “Islamophobia.” Benjamin Haddad begs to differ:

[Merkel] continues to show openness to migrants and refugees, but is merely asking them to embrace and live by the basic liberal principles upheld by Germany. She is not responding to the rise of populism [as the Times asserts], but to the rise of a form of militant Islamism that is not necessarily violent but that advocates segregation from European societies. Indeed, Merkel is consistent; the New York Times isn’t—she stands against far-right populism and against extremist forms of religious practices. . . .

[Furthermore, the] “Islamophobia” argument is absurd; in truth, the charge should be directed at opponents of the ban, not at its supporters. As the Times rightly notes, only a small minority of Muslim women wear the burqa. By claiming that the ban is an assault on Islam, the editorial board thus reduces Islam to its most rigorous, extreme, and marginal interpretation. The liberal tolerance on display here plays directly into the hands of extremists who are trying to turn any questioning of their patriarchal and reactionary worldview into “racism.” . . .

There is a legitimate debate to be had over the extent to which such measures are an infringement upon free speech [and religion]. Many European countries are more comfortable banning hate speech, Holocaust revisionism, and degrading behaviors than is the United States, where the First Amendment generally prevents such prohibitions. . . .

But the Times editorial page doesn’t have a word to say about the worldview the burqa represents. Besides, the paper’s commitment to free speech did not extend to reproducing the Charlie Hebdo cartoons out of solidarity with the victims of the terror attacks, “because it had to consider foremost the sensibilities of Times readers, especially its Muslim readers.”

Read more at American Interest

More about: Angela Merkel, European Islam, Immigration, Islamophobia, New York Times

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