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September 2017

British Cabinet Minister: UK Will Celebrate 100th Anniversary of Balfour Declaration ‘With Pride’ By Barney Breen-Portnoy

The United Kingdom will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the issuance of the Balfour Declaration “with pride,” a British Cabinet minister said on Monday.https://www.algemeiner.com/2017/09/12/british-cabinet-minister-uk-will-celebrate-100th-anniversary-of-balfour-declaration-with-pride/

At a meeting in the British capital with a visiting World Jewish Congress delegation, Sajid Javid — the secretary of state for communities and local government — stated, “Someone said we should apologize for the declaration, to say it was an error of judgment. Of course that’s not going to happen. To apologize for the Balfour Declaration would be to apologize for the existence of Israel and to question its right to exist.”

In the Balfour Declaration, which was published in November 1917, the British government announced its support for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

Last year, the Palestinian Authority said it intended to sue the UK over the declaration, claiming it had led to a “catastrophe” for the Palestinian people. And last September, PA President Mahmoud Abbas — during a UN General Assembly address – called on the UK to apologize for the declaration.

In his remarks on Monday, Javid — a member of Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party — highlighted the ongoing failure of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement to harm UK-Israel ties.

“I’ll be 100 percent clear,” he said. “I do not support calls for a boycott, my party does not support calls for a boycott. For all its bluster, the BDS campaign is most notable I think, for its lack of success.”

“Trade is booming, tourism is soaring,” he continued. “The media campaign is full of sound and fury, but to the majority of Britain today it signifies nothing.”

“As long as I’m in government, as long as I’m in politics, I will do everything in my power to fight back against those who seek to undermine Israel,” Javid vowed.

Addressing the same delegation, House of Commons Speaker John Bercow cautioned that Jews across the globe still faced a “pernicious and insidious” danger.

Climate McCarthyism Is on the Rise The two recent hurricanes have made it even worse. By Julie Kelly

Call it Climate McCarthyism.

The question, “Do you believe in climate change?” is the new, “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist party?” Since Donald Trump’s election, climate activists, Democratic politicians, and the media have led a collective inquisition into administration officials, creating a blacklist of those who stray from the ideological groupthink on human-caused climate change.. These demagogues aim to make climate “denial” an offense that should prevent anyone from getting a job or receiving disaster relief. Even the Pope this week suggested political leaders who are climate deniers will face consequences.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was repeatedly subjected to climate interrogations during his confirmation process. CIA Director Mike Pompeo was grilled about his views on climate change by Senator Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) during his confirmation hearing. Harris blamed climate change for rising instability in the world, and demanded to know where Pompeo stood on the issue.

Two major hurricanes have emboldened the climate inquisitors. During a White House briefing Monday about Hurricane Irma, Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert was asked by CNN’s Jim Acosta about the connection between climate change and national security. After Acosta falsely claimed that storms are more frequent and intense (no science supports this; the U.S. has just enjoyed twelve years without a major hurricane), he asked Bossert, “When you see three Category 4 hurricanes all on the same map at the same time, does the thought occur to you, ‘Jeez you know, maybe there is something to this climate change thing and its connection to powerful hurricanes?’” This is your average grade-school understanding of science.

Two new Trump appointees are now before the climate kangaroo court. Representative Jim Bridenstine (R., Okla.), the president’s pick to head the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), is being branded a climate denier as activists attempt to build opposition to his pending Senate confirmation. His offense? During a House speech in 2014, Bridenstine dared to blame natural forces — not human activity — for global warming and correctly said global temperatures had not risen in the past ten years.

Although Bridenstine is a member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, a decorated naval aviator, and staunch supporter of space exploration, that’s not enough to satisfy the climate enforcers. Climate Hawks Vote, a PAC that has former Obama adviser Van Jones and environmental activist Bill McKibben on its advisory board, launched a petition campaign to stop Bridenstine’s Senate confirmation: “NASA needs to be run by someone who respects science. Not climate denier Jim Bridenstine.”

Vox’s David Roberts wrote (with zero self-awareness) that “it is difficult to appreciate just how deeply and ceaselessly bizarre US climate politics has become. Several bits of recent news — for instance, Trump’s nomination of a climate denier with no scientific credentials to lead NASA — serve to illustrate the point.” A Newsweek headline read, “Who is Jim Bridenstine, the climate-change denier Trump picked to head NASA?” The piece scoffs that Bridenstine is a “critic of climate science” for saying the scientifically accurate claim that “the climate has always changed.” Now, even repeating an historical, scientific fact amounts to misconduct in the eyes of the climate witch-hunters.

Sam Clovis, Trump’s nominee for a top scientific post at the Department of Agriculture, has been branded both a climate denier and “an unacceptable and illegal choice” by the Union of Concerned Scientists, a liberal activist group. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Senator Brian Schatz (D., Hawaii) urged Trump to withdraw Clovis’s nomination “because he is a proud ‘skeptic’ of climate change and wildly unqualified for the position of USDA Chief Scientist.” (Both Clovis and Bridenstine are under scrutiny for not having specific scientific degrees because of course scientists make the best managers.)

Hillary’s Infinite Jest The failed candidate’s awkward book misfires on all fronts, obsesses over sexism, and even drags David Foster Wallace into the whole mess. By Heather Wilhelm

In What Happened, Hillary Clinton’s new 512-page recollection of what was perhaps the most painful and awkward election in American history, the former secretary of state recounts an infamous debate moment she shared with Donald Trump:

We were on a small stage, and no matter where I walked, he followed me closely, staring at me, making faces. It was incredibly uncomfortable. He was literally breathing down my neck. My skin crawled.

In her mind, Clinton recounts, she weighed two options:

Do you stay calm, keep smiling, and carry on as if he weren’t repeatedly invading your space? Or do you turn, look him in the eye, and say loudly and clearly, “Back up, you creep, get away from me, I know you love to intimidate women but you can’t intimidate me, so back up.”

Option B, as the kids like to say, would have escalated things rather quickly, with the added bonus of seeming a teeny bit unhinged. Hillary, of course, chose the more repressed Option A: “I kept my cool, aided by a lifetime of dealing with difficult men trying to throw me off.”

Ah, yes. It’s difficult to pinpoint the most painful Hillary Clinton moment of the many painful Hillary Clinton moments that populate What Happened, but this one certainly comes close. Think about it: Even now, after months of time to reflect and ruminate and engage in self-soothing techniques like downing Chardonnay and “one-nostril breathing,” Hillary Clinton is completely oblivious to what any decent politician would have realized, if not in the heat of the moment, at least in hindsight: There was an obvious Option C.

I’m referring, of course, to one of my favorite moments in presidential debate history, when a rather creepy Al Gore sidled up to a cheerful George W. Bush, looking as if he may or may have been considering a duel or a gentlemanly bout of fisticuffs. The year was 2000, and the heated topic that catapulted Gore’s blood pressure skyward — brace yourself, for in the scope of today’s tabloid-splashed politics, this will seem rather quaint — was the details of the “Dingell-Norwood Bill.” Gore edged closer, quietly lurking, deadly serious. After ignoring him for a few moments, Bush turned, acted mildly surprised to see him, and greeted him with a bemused, dismissive nod.

The audience broke into laughter. They loved it. Gore did not.

Well, as we all know, Hillary Clinton is no George W. Bush. She is also, as What Happened strains to remind us over and over and over again, no Donald Trump. And while many Americans might wonder why on earth anyone would spend their free time reading a book rehashing what should be fairly obvious by now — Hillary Clinton is not a very good politician — What Happened does manage to offer some valuable insights. Unfortunately, they’re not the ones the author intends.

Let’s talk about David Foster Wallace, shall we? Hillary Clinton does, bringing up his famous “This Is Water” commencement speech in her chapter entitled “On Being a Woman in Politics.” She’s referring to the deeply moving and widely read address in which Wallace discusses human nature and life’s various struggles, noting that “the most obvious realities are often the ones that are the hardest to see and talk about.” The speech opens with an anecdote about two fish who fail to recognize that they are completely immersed in water.

This, according to Clinton, “sums up the problem of recognizing sexism — especially when it comes to politics — quite nicely.”

How a Democratic New York City Councilwoman Became a Crusader for School Choice Shocked by her firsthand experience of the city’s failing public schools, the author put her career on the line to do something about the problem. By Eva Moskowitz

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from The Education of Eva Moskowitz: A Memoir. It is reprinted here with permission.

I was hopeful my Education Committee’s hearings would contribute to real changes in the teachers’-union contract, which had expired in May 2003 and was now being renegotiated. Throughout 2003 and 2004, the city held firm, refusing to sign a contract that preserved “lockstep pay, seniority, and life tenure,” which, said Chancellor of New York City Schools Joel Klein, were “handcuffs” that prevented him from properly managing the system. In June 2005, however, the United Federation of Teachers brought 20,000 teachers to a rally at Madison Square Garden, where Randy Weingarten demanded a new contract and Mayor Bloomberg’s prospective Democratic opponents in the upcoming mayoral election spoke. The message was obvious: Sign a new contract or we’ll back your Democratic opponent. In October, the city capitulated, signing a new contract with none of the fundamental reforms sought by Klein.

This development accelerated a shift in my views on public education. I already supported charter schools, but I’d nonetheless held the conventional view that most public schools would and should be district run. I’d begun, however, to question that view. Every year, more children attended charter schools and you didn’t have to be Einstein to see that there would come a day when most did if this trend continued. Maybe, I thought, this wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Maybe a public-school system consisting principally of charter schools would be an improvement.

This change of heart wasn’t sudden. I didn’t go to sleep one night believing in traditional public schools and wake up the next morning believing in charters. Rather, my views on school choice evolved gradually from profound skepticism, to open-mindedness, to cautious support, and were the products of decades of experience with public schools as a student and then as an elected official.

At the very first school I attended, PS 36 in Harlem, I saw just how poorly some students were being educated. Through my work with Cambodian refugees in high school, I saw that good public education was largely reserved for those who could afford expensive housing. As a council member, I increasingly came to understand how the public-school system’s design contributed to segregation and inequality.

While it won’t come as news to most readers of this book that schools in poor communities tend to be worse, understand that there is a difference between reading about this in the newspaper or a book and coming face-to-face with a mother who is desperate because she knows her son isn’t learning anything at the failing school he is attending. Understand that there is a difference between knowing in the abstract that there are schools at which only 5 percent of the children are reading proficiently and actually visiting such a school and seeing hundreds of children who are just as precious to their parents as mine are to me but who you know won’t have a fair chance in life because of the inadequate education they are receiving. Firsthand experiences like these cause you to reexamine your views carefully, to make absolutely certain they aren’t based on faulty assumptions or prejudices or wishful thinking.

As a council member, I’d also become increasingly aware of the school system’s dysfunction. In this book, I’ve recounted some of what I saw: textbooks that arrived halfway through the school year; construction mishaps; forcing prospective teachers to waste half a day getting fingerprinted. Know, however, that these are just a few selected examples of a mountain of evidence that came to my attention from 100 hearings, 300 school visits, and thousands of parent complaints that came to me as chair of the Education Committee.

Moreover, even at their best, the district schools weren’t innovative or well run, a point made by the late Albert Shanker, who was head of the American Federation of Teachers:

Public education operates like a planned economy, a bureaucratic system in which everybody’s role is spelled out in advance and there are few incentives for innovation and productivity. It’s no surprise that our school system doesn’t improve; it more resembles the communist economy than our market economy.

While I was already convinced that the district schools weren’t in good shape, preparing for the contract hearings was nonetheless an eye-opener for me. Interviewing principals, superintendents, and teachers helped me understand just how impossible it was for them to succeed given the labor contracts, and how job protections created a vicious cycle. Teachers felt they’ve been dealt an impossible hand: their principal was incompetent or their students were already woefully behind or their textbooks hadn’t arrived or all of the above. They didn’t feel they should be held accountable for failing to do the impossible so they understandably wanted job protections. However, since these job protections made success even harder for principals who were already struggling with other aspects of the system’s dysfunctionality to achieve, they too wanted job protections. Nobody wanted to be held accountable in a dysfunctional system, but the system couldn’t be cured of its dysfunction until everyone was held accountable.

Some felt the problem was that the people entering the teaching profession tended to be weak, but I’d seen plenty of idealistic and intelligent teachers on my school visits. The system’s dysfunction, however, took its toll on them. Some became so dispirited or went to a suburban school; others burned out and became mediocre clock punchers; some heroically soldiered on, but even they barely became the teachers they could have been.

Others claimed the solution was to increase education funds and reduce class size. There are limits, however, to how much we can afford to spend on education, and it’s not clear it would make much of a difference anyway. Take PS 241, which is co-located with one of our schools. In the 2014–2015 school year, it had an average size of just 12.7 students and spent $4,239,478 on one hundred kids, $42,394 per student, but only two of those students passed the reading test that year.

In order to have any chance at fixing this system, I came to believe, we needed to radically change the labor contracts, which in turn required having elected officials who were willing to disagree with the United Federation of Teachers and stand up for children. I hoped to advance that goal by showing that even if you were independent of the United Federation of Teachers, you could survive politically. Obviously, that plan failed and the result was the opposite of what I’d hoped. Elected officials were more afraid of the United Federation of Teachers than ever and would tell Chancellor Klein, “I ain’t gonna get Eva’d.”

— Eva Moskowitz is the founder and CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools. She served on the New York City Council from 1999 to 2005. © 2017 HarperCollins Publishers

Hillary Clinton’s book signing was as insufferable as you’d expect By Maureen Callahan

Among the enduring criticisms of Hillary Clinton: Her sense of entitlement is limitless. She’s tone-deaf and doesn’t understand the average American — nor does she care to. Her greed is insatiable.

Add to this a gaping lack of self-awareness, and you have all the ingredients for the New York City launch of Hillary’s nationwide book tour Tuesday morning (also primary day, not that Hillary — who maintains she’s still here only for us — cares about that either).

Thousands of people lined up outside the Barnes & Noble at Union Square in hopes of meeting their idol. Some slept outside the night before. Clare Hogenauer, an older, disabled upper West Sider, told me she rented a downtown motel room nearby. “I didn’t want to take a chance,” she said.

For Hillary supporters, this event was meant to be a salve, a corrective, a moment of collective grief and healing.

“I’m excited for her book release because it’s something I’ve never seen from a candidate dealing with defeat,” 24-year-old Brandon Echevarria told me. He was at the front of the line, having arrived outside last night at 10 p.m., too excited to sleep. The book and the launch, he said, “has a lot to do with experience and self-help.”

Hillary’s attendees were willing to follow any directive. There were many, and here, in part, were the written instructions:

“A limited number of wristbands for entry will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis with purchase of the featured title at Barnes & Noble Union Square. Hillary Rodham Clinton will sign copies of her new release, What Happened and the 2017 illustrated children’s edition of It Takes a Village, no exceptions or personalizing. She will sign up to two books per customer, one of which must be What Happened. No other books or memorabilia please. Posed photos or selfies will not be taking place . . . Book purchase and wristbands are both required to meet the author, no exceptions.Customers without wristbands will not be allowed to participate in any capacity.”

In other words, everyone was here to serve two purposes: To make sure “What Happened” debuts at No. 1 on the bestseller list and to line Hillary’s pockets. (At least she wasn’t surcharging $89-$3,000 per head, as she is at forthcoming events.)

Hillary’s advertised arrival time was 11 a.m., which came and went. Hundreds of people were penned in on a top floor, with thousands more waiting outside in 80-degree heat. All bags had to be checked, so people didn’t have food or water. Yet most retained their excitement: If they couldn’t have Hillary as president, this was the next best thing.
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Thousands line up outside Barnes & Noble for Hillary Clinton’s book signing.Gregory P. Mango

Thirty more minutes went by, then forty. And it wasn’t as though people could read Hillary’s book while waiting: They wouldn’t get their copy until they approached the dais, where Hillary would then generically sign it.

Perhaps that was for crowd-control reasons, or perhaps so she wouldn’t be challenged on some of the book’s doozies, such as:

“Although I never imagined running for office myself . . .” (after her politically-charged 1969 commencement speech was covered in Life magazine, her later work on the House Judiciary Committee’s Watergate investigation and her marriage to the politically ambitious Bill Clinton).

Student Writer Wonders: Could Antifa Do More Harm Than Good? A “proud liberal” suspects Antifa might be going a little too far. Mark Tapson

A Texas-based website called StudyBreaks.com, which features writing from “exceptional students” across the country, has posted an essay by Eric McInnis of Arcadia University which poses the burning question, “Could the Leftist Group Antifa Create More Harm Than Good?”

To reasonable people who pay attention to the news, it would seem patently obvious that the violent anarchists of Antifa have already created a lot of harm and zero good, but that’s not how McInnis, and no doubt many other leftists, see it.

“The rise of nationalism and fascism in America has easily been one of the scariest movements within 2017,” begins McInnis, who describes himself as “a proud liberal who leans into certain socialist ideals and policies.”

He is concerned that since Donald Trump’s “infamous election, far-right extremists have moved away from the dark caves where they belong and flaunt their blatant racism, antisemitism and Islamophobia for the world to see. It’s obvious at this point that America needs a hero, and one group named Antifa seems to have answered the call.”

Let that sink in: this student believes that the masked thugs ganging up on innocent bystanders (because they, and not actual Nazis, are Antifa’s primary targets), beating them with poles and bike locks, and destroying property simply for the thrill of anarchic destruction are the heroes America needs. Not the patriot citizens eager to Make America Great Again, but the domestic terrorists chanting, “No Trump, no wall, no USA at all!”

But even for “proud liberals” like McInnis, Antifa is taking things to an uncomfortable extreme: “[W]hile it’s wonderful [!] to see people stand up and fight back against such oppressors, the main question going on in my mind, as a liberal, is whether Antifa’s violent and destructive tactics are something to admire or something to concern.”

If you have to puzzle over that, it’s time to rethink a great many of your life choices.

Still, though, McInnis leans toward admiration of Antifa because their noble cause is just: “[I]f they’re attempting to defeat people that hold a disgusting and hateful ideology, there should be nothing to complain about, right?” After all, “it’s important to remember their actions are nowhere near as dangerous or reprehensible as their foes.”

But as “a supporter of… peace, tolerance and understanding,” McInnis feels that the anarchists need to rein things in a little. Why? Not because they are insanely, indiscriminately violent and seek the destruction of the United States,” but because “their actions could very well lead to an eight-year Trump presidency.”

And for Eric McInnes and so many other “proud liberals,” nothing could be worse than two terms of a President who wants to make America great again.

Hillary’s Cry for Help Q. What Happened? A. Trump Happened. Matthew Vadum

Losing presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is opening a promotional tour for her new campaign memoir by smearing President Trump and his tens of millions of supporters as deplorable racists.

Not content to fade into the background as defeated nominees have tended to do in the modern era, the former secretary of state is race-baiting and grandstanding in front of anyone who will listen, a move that is causing consternation among plenty of professional Democrats.

On CBS over the weekend, her description of attending President Trump’s inauguration – it was “like an out-of-body experience” – seems understandable given Clinton’s belief her election was so certain that, in the words she used in the book, she “had not drafted a concession speech.”

But her incendiary claim that Trump’s inauguration speech almost eight months ago was a “cry from the white nationalist gut” went well beyond sour grapes. When Democrats are in trouble, they cry “racist!” When that doesn’t work, they cry “racist!” more loudly and hire publicists to spread the smear.

A credible case can be made that Hillary’s book is a cry for help from a disturbed individual, one who refuses to take responsibility for anything. Ever.

It is a matter of record that in his first address as president Trump made no attempt to stoke the flames of racial resentment. But left-wingers obsessed with alleged “dog whistles” conservatives throw to their supposedly racist base auditorily hallucinate such coded messages daily.

What Trump did do on January 20 was speak of the terrible damage Hurricane Barack and his party’s left-wing policies have inflicted on everyday Americans.

Speaking of the “forgotten men and women of our country [who] will be forgotten no longer,” the new president said:

Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families and good jobs for themselves. These are just and reasonable demands of righteous people and a righteous public, but for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists:

Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge; and the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.

This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

Anyone who interprets President Trump’s tough, eloquent call to arms against America’s problems as a “cry from the white nationalist gut” needs psychiatric help.

But we knew that already.

In the interview with CBS’s Jane Pauley, Clinton continued the lies, smearing Trump as a racist demagogue.

“He was quite successful in referencing a nostalgia that would give hope, comfort, settle grievances for millions of people who were upset about gains that were made by others,” Clinton said, adding that she was referring to “millions of white people.”

Although known for her angry, sometimes alcohol-fueled explosions in private, Clinton said she wasn’t enraged enough on the stump to match the public mood. “A lot of people didn’t want to hear my plans. They wanted me to share their anger. And I should’ve done a better job of demonstrating ‘I get it.'”

In the interview, Clinton stood by her obnoxious “basket of deplorables” comment during the campaign, in which she wrote off half of Trump’s supporters as “irredeemable,” even though she previously backtracked on the comment and feigned remorse. “Trump was behaving in a deplorable manner,” she said, giving the sexually descriptive “Access Hollywood” audio footage from 2005 as proof.

The Death of Liberalism Beating and censoring our way to a progressive new America. Daniel Greenfield

Liberalism is a dirty word in today’s left. You hear it most often as an insult, neoliberalism, hurled by the hard left against anyone accused of insufficient hostility to free enterprise and other open systems. If you trust the free market and individual judgement over state regulation, you might just be a neoliberal.

And neoliberals are the biggest enemies of the left.

Liberal has become a slur on the illiberal left which is intolerant of open and tolerant systems. The defining symbol of the illiberal left is the campus safe space where no free speech is allowed. Safe spaces take the college, once the symbol of a liberal commitment to the free exchange of ideas, and invert it into a space that is safe from the free exchange of ideas under a warm and fuzzy name.

The safe space isn’t a campus eccentricity. As the riots from Berkeley to Boston show, using violence to silence free speech isn’t just something overzealous college kids do. It’s what the left does now. And sympathetic lefty mayors of cities put on the same show of helplessness as university administrators.

When the New York Times runs multiple editorials attacking the very idea of speech, one such op-ed claimed that some forms of speech were stressful and therefore a form of violence, it’s not college kids.

It’s the illiberal left.

After Trump’s win, the left reacted by finding fault with an excessively open society. The media blamed “Fake News” spread on social media for his victory and pressured Facebook, Twitter and Google into agreeing to its let its fact checkers decide what was and wasn’t legitimate. It wasn’t censorship, they insisted. It was social responsibility. And social responsibility is how censors justify what they do.

Meanwhile the latest wave of blacklists seeks to shut down organizations and silence individuals.

The post-election paranoia over Fake News and Russia, and the blacklisting surge have a common underlying theme. Our society is too open. Something has to be done to securely shut it down.

Free speech has the same problem as free enterprise. It assumes that we should trust people.

What Happened to the ADL? by Ruthie Blum

Potential donors to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) need to ask themselves, to what use their money will be put?

In the months leading up to the U.S. presidential election in November 2016, a former director of the World Jewish Congress decried the direction in which the new head of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was taking the international human rights group. In a series of columns, Isi Leibler — a prominent Australian Israeli — blasted ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, a former adviser to President Barack Obama, for turning the 100-year-old organization, whose mission is to monitor and expose anti-Semitism and other forms of racism, into a platform that “represents an echo chamber of left-wing Democratic politics.”

Leibler first took issue with Greenblatt’s April 2016 address to the far-Left Jewish organization J Street, backed by anti-Israel billionaire George Soros.

Leibler wrote that Greenblatt “incorporated [in his speech] criticisms of Israel that were thoroughly inappropriate…[and] indirectly gave a seal of approval for the Obama administration to impose solutions on future borders that could dramatically compromise Israel’s security.”

Ironically, Greenblatt’s rebuttal, in the form of a letter to the editor of The Jerusalem Post, illustrated Leibler’s point. He not only defended J Street, referring to the people in the audience as “a group of deeply thoughtful college students whose commitment to Israel is genuine and whose passion on the issues is impressive;” he claimed that he had not been morally equivocating Israel and the Palestinians.

Columnist Isi Leibler blasted Jonathan Greenblatt (pictured above), CEO of the Anti-Defamation League and a former adviser to President Obama, for turning the 100-year-old organization, whose mission is to monitor and expose anti-Semitism and other forms of racism, into a platform that “represents an echo chamber of left-wing Democratic politics.” (Image source: Erik Hersman/Flickr)

In a subsequent piece, Leibler called Greenblatt to task for having “lost the plot, behaving as though he remained employed by the Obama administration.” Leibler cited the ADL’s July 13, 2016 statement “welcoming the Republican Party platform on Israel,” but expressing “disappoint[ment] that the platform draft departs from longstanding support of a two-state solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict… the only viable way to secure Israel as both a Jewish and democratic state.”

Leibler wrote:

“One can disagree about a two-state policy, but for an American Jewish organization which must remain bipartisan and should be concentrating on anti-Semitism to issue such a statement breaches all conventions. It is totally beyond the ADL’s mandate to involve itself in such partisan political issues.”

Yet this is just what Greenblatt did. In a September 13, 2016 article in the journal Foreign Policy, he contested a video clip of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointing to the Palestinian Authority’s outright refusal to have even a single Jew reside within the boundaries of a future Palestinian state. In the piece, titled “Sorry, Bibi, the Palestinians are not ‘ethnic cleansing’ Jewish settlers,” Greenblatt wrote that Netanyahu “chose to raise an inappropriate straw man regarding Palestinian policy toward Israeli settlements.”

Far more questionable, however, has been the ADL’s support for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement — a group established in 2013 to counter police brutality against African Americans, but that quickly mushroomed into a full-fledged “intersectional” anti-American, anti-white, anti-Israel, pro-radical Palestinian organization.

About this, too, Greenblatt made what critics claim is a convoluted statement — saying that the ADL has no “official relationship with the body of activists who claim membership in this effort,” and attributing its “anti-Israel — and at times anti-Semitic — positions” to a “small minority of leaders within the Black Lives Matter movement.”

Campus Censorship: Orwell Ignored by Robbie Travers

What about the delicate sensibilities of those of us who find censoring offensive?

Where are the “safe spaces” for those who would ban banning?

Anyone should be able to criticise or question just about anyone. We should not care — or even know — what minority group, if any, someone belongs to. That would be racist.

When you hear the quite horrific stories of censorship and dangerous restrictions on expression at universities in the US, the UK and Europe, your first reaction might be to laugh at how infantile the nature of political discourse in the student world has become.

Cardiff Metropolitan University banned the use of the word “man” and related phrases, to encourage the adoption of “gender neutral” language. It is the equivalent of the “newspeak” about which Orwell warned: “Ambiguous euphemistic language used chiefly in political propaganda”.

Currently, longstanding expressions carrying no prejudice are now used as the trappings of often fictitious “oppressions.”

City University in London, renowned for its journalism school, is apparently banning newspapers that do not conform to the current student body’s various political biases. If the Sun, Daily Mail and Express are such bad publications, why not allow students to read them and make up their own minds? Perhaps students do not trust their peers to make up their own minds? What if they make up their minds the “wrong” way? To suggest that the brightest and best at our universities cannot contend with a dissenting argument should probably be at least slightly concerning.

There seems to be a growing consensus among student populations that certain views should not be challenged, heard or — if one does not hear them — even known.

A culture has also emerged at universities of promoting “safe spaces”. These ostensibly aim to be free of prejudices such as racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny and other bile. But all too often, we have seen them filled with exactly these prejudices – anti-whiteness, anti-maleness and of course anti-Semitism, as even some of Britain’s leading universities are “becoming no-go zones for Jews”.

We have seen the staff of the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo slaughtered by ISIS terrorists for mocking Mohammad, and banned from Bristol and Manchester University, apparently because some students might find it offensive. What about the delicate sensibilities of those of us who find censorship offensive? Especially of a publication that has stood up to religious fanaticism and paid the ultimate price? Where are the “safe spaces” for those who would ban banning?

At the University of Edinburgh, a student official was silenced for raising her hand — as if a raised hand were a “thought crime” tantamount to physical violence. Yet, as Sigmund Freud said, “The first human being who hurled an insult instead of a stone was the founder of civilisation.”

Does mean, then, that many campuses are going back to pre-civilisation? Last year, the magazine Spiked found that 90% of British universities hold policies that support censorship and chill free speech. In February, riots to disrupt a speech at University of California, Berkeley caused $100,000 worth of damage — but only one person was arrested.

Do the advocates of suppressing speech not see — or care — where silencing free speech leads? You set a precedent that allows further silencing, which, in turn, creates ever-expanding censorships. One imagines that especially universities should be the institutions that protect the exchange of ideas.

Historically, contrarian views — such as those of Giordano Bruno, Galileo, Darwin, Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi, Servetus, Oldenburg, Domagk and Freud — have been essential to shaping our culture. They have reversed accepted practices and opened minds. Where would our culture be without the freedom to question, be creative or even at times offend?