Wednesday, December 13, 2023

"Never Again" Is Now


An Israeli-born restaurant owner in Philadelphia was recently harassed by a large group of pro-Palestinian protesters who gathered outside his store, an Israeli-style falafel shop called Goldie, that he co-owns with chef Michael Solomonov. Hundreds of protesters took to the City of Brotherly Love’s streets calling for a cease-fire in Gaza. Some of the demonstrators broke off from the rest and stormed Goldie, shouting slogans and vandalizing the building, according to officials.


Not to be outdone, a group of Pro-Palestinian students from The New School in New York City recently blocked the entrance to one of the college’s main buildings as they protested the school’s interim president for “condoning genocide” by not calling for the destruction of Israel. Approximately 40 students blocked the entrance to The New School University Center-- which contains classrooms, studios, a library, and a dining hall-- for two hours while waving Palestinian flags and donning keffiyeh scarves.

Meanwhile, back on Capitol Hill, a hearing on growing campus anti-Semitism was held, during which Rep. Elise Stefanik (NY-R) repeatedly asked the presidents of Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, and MIT whether “calling for the genocide of Jews” violates each university’s rules or code of conduct. One might think that a remarkably easy query to answer, but none of the presidents simply answered “yes.” In fact, all three stated that the answer to that poser lies in the “context” surrounding the call for genocide. Because, you know, there is good genocide and bad genocide, apparently. Two of them suggested that the speech must turn “into conduct” in order to violate their school’s rules. 

Incredibly, MIT President Sally Kornbluth, seemingly not grasping the concept of “genocide,” said it would if the comments were “targeted at individuals.” Okey-dokey, then. Kornbluth also noted that calls for “intifada” could be “antisemitic depending on the context, when calling for the elimination of the Jewish people.” Yes, if calling for the elimination of the Jewish people isn’t considered anti-Semitic, one could scarcely conger up what would be. For “context,” it may be helpful to note that Ms. Kornbluth’s school currently teaches faculty and staff that using a gender-dysphoric person’s actual name instead of their new chosen name is a “violent act.”

At one point, Rep. Stefanik said to the higher education heads, “I am asking, specifically calling for the genocide of Jews, does that constitute bullying or harassment.” To which University of Pennsylvania president Liz McGill replied, “If it is directed and severe or pervasive, it is harassment.” This prompted Stefanik to follow up by saying, “So, the answer is yes?”

McGill answered: “It is a context-dependent decision, Congresswoman.”

So, these Ivy League presidents say that if you actually start trying to exterminate Jews-- severely and pervasively exterminate them-- they would consider that “bullying” or “harassment.” But just “calling” for them to be “eliminated”-- on an occasional basis-- is not. And “hate speech?” Pshaw! Well, that clears it up. I feel much better now!

Try to picture openly speaking of the “genocide,” “elimination,” or “extermination” of any other group of people. Blacks? Gays and lesbians? Transgenders? Mind-blowing. Impossible.

Sometimes you look back on something horrific like, say, the Holocaust, and think to yourself: how could this have happened? Some refuse even to believe that it did.

And then you look around today and see things like this…and are immediately both sadder and wiser.

And you think to yourself: 1938? Again?!




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