The Volokh Conspiracy

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Amnesty International Canada Questions Freedom of Speech and Assembly

An extraordinary letter from Amnesty Canada suggests that public universities shouldn't allow pro-Israel events to proceed

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

On November 20, a pro-Israel group at York University hosted an event entitled "Reservists on Duty: Hear from former Israeli Defence Force soldiers." Various leftist campus groups vowed to shut the event down. They didn't, thanks to a heavy police presence, but they did disrupt the event while shouting anti-Israel and pro-terrorism slogans; a few lovely individuals chanted to the organizers, "Intifada, Intifada, go back to the ovens." Scuffles between protesters seeking to block entrance to the event and attendees often broke out; contemporary news sources almost universally attribute blame for the violence to the protesters.

Amnesty Canada has now weighed in with an extraordinary letter to York University's president. If you think Amnesty spoke up in favor of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and against violence and disruption by protesters, well, you haven't been paying attention to how groups that used to believe in human rights have evolved into far leftist activist groups with a particular obsession with hating Israel (my bolding):

Amnesty International is writing this Open Letter to request that you convene an independent review into all concerns associated with the "Reservists on Duty: Hear from former Israeli Defence Force soldiers" event, organized by the Herut Zionism Club at York University on November 20, 2019.

As you know, this controversial event was met with protests which descended into violent confrontations outside the venue. It was clearly foreseeable that there would be controversy and protest, given the history of human rights violations committed by Israeli Defence Force soldiers amidst the illegal occupation of the Palestinian Territories. That was exacerbated by the fact that members of the Jewish Defense League, a far-right group classified as a terrorist organization in the U.S. and with a record of violence and assaults at protests, were allowed on campus.

Amnesty International has an active and dynamic student group at York University that works on a range of campaigns, including our serious concerns about widespread and longstanding human rights violations associated with Israel's occupation of the Palestinian Territories. The group brings a positive voice for human rights to York, in keeping with the university's encouragement of student agency and leadership. They actively defend and promote universal human rights protection for all people, including the freedoms of speech, expression and assembly and the obligation to condemn war crimes occurring anywhere in the world.

While Amnesty International at York had no official presence at the protest, a number of our members chose to participate in an individual capacity, as is clearly their right. We are very troubled to learn that some members were physically assaulted during the confrontations that occurred and have been receiving threatening messages on their cell phones. They are now fearful when they are on campus and have taken to limiting their movements, staying in groups, and ensuring that there are safe spaces to study in security.

It is evident that the considerable confusion, tension and fear associated with the November 20th event and its aftermath lingers. That is clear from the number and nature of statements and resolutions that have been issued by various student groups on campus. We have noted from your statement on November 21st that you have taken two steps in response, namely: (1) tasking the Vice President of Equity, People and Culture and your Division of Students to take the lead in developing a strategy for "fostering a more productive dialogue around these issues"; and (2) the launch of an upcoming Freedom of Speech Working Group to "make specific recommendations on how to create a more respectful climate on campus for the discussion of difficult topics."

Given conflicting views about what happened that evening, the worrying ongoing impact on students at York and the important human rights considerations that are at stake, Amnesty International urges York University to go further and convene an independent review of all circumstances associated with the Herut Zionism Club event and its aftermath, with a mandate that includes examination of:

considerations that were taken into account in approving the event, including the fact that the speakers were former members of a military with a clear record of responsibility for war crimes and other serious human rights violations;

decisions made with respect to the presence of members of the Jewish Defense League on campus;

Note: (1) Amnesty does not condemn the disruption and antisemitic remarks made at the event; (2) Amnesty is apparently taking the position that anyone who has ever served in the Israeli armed forces should be treated as a presumptive war criminal [as the spouse of an IDF veteran, you can stick it where the sun don't shine, Amnesty]; (3) Amnesty suggests that hosting a pro-Israel event is inviting violence and disruption, and the university should therefore consider whether it was appropriate to allow such an event to proceed; and (4) Amnesty suggests that a public university should be screening members of the public for their political affiliations before they should be allowed to

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169 responses to “Amnesty International Canada Questions Freedom of Speech and Assembly

  1. Isn’t this entirely in keeping with Amnesty Internationals position on Israel? I don’t know them intimately, but they are more a worldwide human rights org than a freedom of speech org.

    Also, I am not one to carp about the VC not covering something, but the Trump Admin’s recent classification of Jewish as a nationality has me wondering what some of the Conspirators think.

    1. It’s about the same as classifying people as Hispanic. Lots of wiggle room.

    2. Freedom of Speech isn’t a human right but forcing the 1/100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000×10^Graham’s Number cake shops that didn’t want to bake a SSM cake to bake one is. ~progressives 2019

      1. Eugene Volokh and Dale Carpenter filed an amicus brief in that case siding with Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

        We ALL subsidize public accommodations. We pay for the roads that bring customers to the door. We pay for fire and police departments to protect the business. We pay for the infrastructure that makes it even possible.

        People refuse service as a means of expressing disapproval. Their sincerely held religious beliefs™ permit them to serve previously divorced couples, couples with a pre-marriage pregnancy and so on.

    3. There was a time, not that long ago, when saying that “X is a human rights group, but they aren’t especially interested in freedom of speech” would have been incoherent. But it seems not that being a “human rights group” means “will take leftist positions across a wide range of issues, and is focused on the real or imagined ‘war crimes’ of Western powers.”

      As for the the “nationality” issue, the NY Times’ report on this was abysmal. Jews are already a “racial” group for purposes of Reconstruction-era civil rights legislation (as are Arabs) via SCOTUS precedent, and it was the position of both the Bush II and Trump Office of Civil Rights at DOE that Jews are protected as a race or nationality under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act when they face discrimination as an ethnic group rather than based on religion. Trump is just formalizing that, it’s not some novel thing.

      1. Yes, it is the second. Has been for the last 20 years I’ve been politically conscious.

        What you are outraged about is like the NRA not being sufficiently pro-First Amendment.

        Thanks for the insights into the nationality issue. I was looking for the other side of things, and I figured you would have it. The info on the Reconstruction and Title VI is interesting and informs the debate.
        Though I do think it’s hard to ignore how this isn’t mere formalization. This is not the first Trump admin policy that makes things harder for pro-Palestinian groups.

        1. “Nation Origin” can certainly mean ethnicity. One would certainly expect that discrimination against Arabs, for example, would count as national origin discrimination even though “Arab” is not a political state.

          But I’m not sure why they need this classification to suppress anti-Israel speech. Israeli is certainly a national origin, so if you buy the “hostile environment” theory, schools can censor criticism of Israel on the basis that it creates a hostile environment based on Israeli origin.

          1. Not all Jews are of Israeli national origin.

            1. “Not all Jews are of Israeli national origin.”

              Then I’m glad I never said that.

              1. Well, if the underlying concern is anti-Semitism, then protections against anti-Israel speech presumably aren’t enough.

                1. No, they’re enough, because anti-semites almost always go for the anti-Israel speech, because claiming you’re just attacking Israel the country is a good way to launder anti-semitism.

                  1. anti-semites almost always go for the anti-Israel speech,

                    Some do. Far from almost all.

                    1. Yeah, Brett, that’s laughably untrue.

                  2. Anti-Israel speech might or might not be antisemitic. It might or might not be antisemitic even if it were speech which objected to the founding and existence of the state of Israel. Speech might or might not be antisemitic if it objects to policies of the Israeli government.

                    1. Absolutely true. A person might even criticize the existence of the state of Israel because they object to any political entity formed on the basis of a religion.

                      But I’ve only rarely seen someone make those claims and remain consistent in the applications of their stated cause. An anti-theistic state proponent must necessarily also object to Iran, and could only with great nuance and difficulty not object to Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Indonesia, and dozens of other countries who both explicitly enshrine specific religious dogma in their laws and also enforce those laws.

                      So while it’s possible to not be an anti-Semite and hold those positions (and that describes me when I was younger), holding those opinions is strong evidence of anti-semitism – it has high correlation, low false positives, and low false negatives. It’s absurd to ask that this pattern be ignored – though also absurd to think that holding those opinions is dispositive.

      2. Trump is just formalizing that, it’s not some novel thing.

        Oh?

        The working definition of “anti-Semitism” that the EO is using, as the basis for denying Title VI funding, quite plainly covers a wide range of political speech. Do you disagree that the Trump EO appears designed to force universities to prevent professors, student groups, or campus speakers from describing and criticizing Israel as an “apartheid state,” to say nothing of BDS efforts more broadly?

        1. Opinions are claimed to offend (as opposed to pervasive repeated harrassment) and therefore government power may be used to silence.

          So long, America. Nice knowing you.

          1. Taking refuge in cynicism when your own side is the bad actor makes for a pretty weak set of principles.

            1. But do you think there are any groups with significant power or influence who aren’t bad actors?

              If not (and I can’t think of any immediately, so I’d really like to know if you have any in mind) then a claim of being a bad actor doesn’t mean much.

        2. Yeah, I just read this. It looks like there’s purposeful conflation of antisemitism with criticism of Israel.

          Does Prof. Bernstein’s refusal to address this angle mean that he’s questioning freedom of speech?

          1. I don’t think so, as his track record here (where here = volokh.com) included the nuance that someone who isn’t an anti-Semite might have objections to how the State was formed, and that anyone could have legitimate objections to their policies.

            But he also points out that objection to an Israeli policy is a common ruse to stoke objections to the State of Israel that aren’t founded on anything Israelis do, but on their membership in the Jewish faith and ethnicity.

            So objecting to something Israel has done doesn’t mean mean you’re an anti-Semite, but if you’re an anti-Semite you almost assuredly object to things Israel does.

            Or at least that’s how I’ve always read Bernstein.

    4. Theirs is a human rights issue, Note their basis, Israel’s illegal occupation of Muslim lands, opposed by the UN and most of Europe, Also the military blockade of Gaza, which is an act of war.
      .

      1. Interesting. The Israeli side engaged in a unilateral act of war. Were the attacks on Israeli cities were a peace initiative? Or is the idea here that if you just don’t mention them, you can pretend they never happened.

        1. That’s it in a nutshell. Whatever (real or perceived) ills the Israelis have committed, nothing comes close to what the Palestinian / Arab / Muslim terrorists have actually committed. Illegal as the settlements may be, the anti-Israel mob wants all Jews / Israelis pushed into the sea, gone, disappeared. For every Palestinian orchard and house bulldozed illegally, the Palestinians have used more orchards and residential areas to launch rockets, and those rockets had no targets other than “Israel” — hitting schools, houses, and probably a few orchards too.

          I dislike most Israeli governments immensely, but I dislike all governments immensely, and the Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim governments are all far worse than any Israeli government I can remember in terms of human rights.

          In every comparison, the Palestinian / Arab / Muslim governments come off worse, and they don’t even pretend to be trying to improve or have any accountability. I have sympathy for the people they oppress, both Israeli and Palestinian / Arab / Muslim, but not for their apologists, who are just plain bigots of the first degree.

          1. That’s pretty much my position: If Israel were located on the US/Canada border, they’d look pretty bad. For their neighborhood? They’re practically candidates for sainthood.

            1. But if they were located on the US/Canada border they wouldn’t have any of the problems which their responses to look so bad (and no jokes about Dearborn). Then at least they could be fairly evaluated.

              I at least have found a thought experiment useful. What do you think would happen if Israel instantly and irrevocably disarmed and stopped all violence of any kind? What would happen if the Palestinians did so?

        2. Interesting. We should still be punishing Japan, because wars never end … in YOUR mind.

          You deny Israel shooting missiles into schools .. that hosted United Nations sanctuaries … in the last dustup?

          1. I don’t know about the particulars of the last many years, because I stopped tracking the details many years ago.

            But what I do know from then was that various Palestinian groups explicitly used hospitals and other aid venues as mortar launching sites, precisely because their removal would have far more optical value.

            So assuming that was the fact pattern, which is the real culprit, the one who inadvertently fired at an aid center, or the one who made the aid center a legitimate target of war under the Geneva Conventions?

            1. IT’S THEIR LAND
              And that’s a known Israeli lie … to offset the Israeli carnage you know nothing about.

              Educate yourself

              https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/UN-Israel-may-have-willfully-killed-Gaza-protesters
              Sep 09, 2019 · The UN accused Israel of killing and injuring “peaceful” Palestinian protesters at the Gaza border, when it opened the 42nd session of its Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday

              MORE 🙂

              1. UN Human Rights Council declares Israel world’s No. 1 human rights violator Fox News, 3/24/1917

                According to the U.N.’s top human rights body, Israel is the worst human rights violator in the world today. That’s the result of the latest session of the UN Human Rights Council which wrapped up in Geneva on Friday by adopting five times more resolutions condemning Israel than any other country on earth

                Anything else?

                1. Israel certainly deserves its share of culpability for the suffering caused by its conflict with the Palestinians. The problem is, determining how much of that culpability it deserves is effectively impossible, as there are no reliable neutral arbiters. You can take the word of the IDF or of agencies like the UN Human Rights Council, which at the time of the report you cite, included such paragons of human rights as China, Cuba, Ethiopia, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. Given that choice, I’ll take the IDF, its obvious biases notwithstanding, as the more reliable.

                  1. Simple. They have no right to that land. And never did,

      2. “Muslim lands”

        They were Jewish lands until the Romans committed the great crime of expulsion.

        Then they were Roman/Byzantine for a thousand years.

        Why do the Muslims get them forever because they had the last conquest?

        1. Shouldn’t the question be less about which group gets what and more about what duties individual humans owe to each other in the present?

          1. Shouldn’t the question be whether it is proper to silence this discussion because one side or the other is offended or “feels unsafe”?

          2. Human interactions are of course the important part.

            How many Muslim Arabs are in the Israeli Knesset, or broader government? How many Jews are in the Palestinian government? Doesn’t that answer the basic question, even if not all of the specifics?

        2. Don’t forget that the Byzantine Empire was officially Christian until Constantinople fell in 1453.

          Muslims today consider the Crusaders the bad guys for trying to take back what the Muslims stole fair and square.

          .

          1. Vinzini, “You’re trying time kidnap what I’ve rightfully stolen!”

        3. Why do the Muslims get them forever because they had the last conquest?

          Tell that to the American Indians, and I’ll stop laughing.

          Why should Israel get them forever because they had the first, and bloodiest, conquest?

          This is clearly not one of your better days,

          1. “Tell that to the American Indians, and I’ll stop laughing.”

            Which ones? Pueblo? The Navajo that took over some Pueblo lands? Then the Spanish took over Navajo lands, and the US took over the lands from the Spanish…

            1. “Tell that to the American Indians, and I’ll stop laughing.”

              Which ones? Pueblo? The Navajo that took over some Pueblo lands?

              FAIL ….. YUGELY … PART OF A SINGLE TRIBE?? WAS THAT INTENDED AS SATIRE???

              The rest of the Pueblos (if true) were victims of the Little Big Horn Massacre.

              NATIVE AMERICANS SURRENDERED THEIR LANDS … to get Medicare and Social Security?. I never knew that!

              When you get to high school, and learn US history.
              *The Wounded Knee Massacre
              *The Little Big Horn Massacre
              (and 8 others)

              Educate yourself here

              https://www.cowboysindians.com/2018/01/the-last-battle-of-the-american-indian-wars/

              Sorry, I’m still laughing, now even harder.

        4. They were Jewish lands until the Romans committed the great crime of expulsion.

          Both Jewish nations were conquered by the Assyrians. Two conquests, 10 years apart.

          Israel conquered first, the Judea. (724-734 BC) Judea did not help their fellow Jews defend themselves.

          Jews ruled that land for only 300 years, 2700 years ago. They lost it on their own — the civil war which created two Jewish nations,

          Muslims know the history there.

    5. Israeli is a nationality. “Jewish” decidedly isn’t – certainly not in the modern sense of “nationality” as having a connection to a nation-state. As an American Jew, I find Trump’s order abhorrent. It makes me think of the horrors of Hitler’s Nurenberg Laws, which stripped Jews in Germany of their German nationality. Now, Trump’s order certainly cannot affect anyone’s U.S. citizenship, but I expect some anti-Semitic bigots will use it as an excuse to say to American Jews “You’re not American, your nationality is Jewish, go home to Israel!” The long-term consequences of this order were not well thought out at all.

      1. Oh come on, you find Trump and anything he does abhorrent, don’t be coy.

        People are complex and don’t match up to progressive cutouts. An individual Jew can be one or more of:
        A religious minority
        An ethnic minority
        A person with a national origin not of Israel
        A person with a national origin of Israel

        The Trump EO protects Jews who fit the last category in particular.

        1. You totally evaded his point … typical Trumptardian evasion.

      2. A modern redefinition of a word, or a more common modern usage of a word, does not change the use or meaning of the word in federal laws or court court rulings.

        1. American law certainly uses the word “nationality” as sort-of (but not exactly) equivalent to citizenship. For example, the people of American Samoa are American “nationals” but not citizens.

          1. Who allowed you to make sense here?
            🙂

  2. The hatred is Bernstein’s. Nothing bespeaks a greater threat to free speech than screaming “ANTISEMITISM” at inconvenient truths .. like Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian lands.

    Don’t forget the military blockade of the Gaza Strip. A blockade is an act of war. That makes any response an act of self-defense,

    And 9/11 was a response to our support of Israel, on matters of no concern to American interests, as explicitly stated by Bin Laden, LONG before Dubya’s crazy claim that it was because we are more free..

    Historically, Israel never had any right to that land, which they obtained by committing the only mass genocides of an entire civilization, the Canaanites. Antisemitic? Or straight from the Holy Bible and Quran?

    Then they ruled that land for fewer than 300 years, over 2,000 years ago. A civil had divided the land into two kingdoms, Israel and Judah, When the Assyrians invaded Northern Israel, Judah refused to defend their fellow Jews, So the land was lost by fault of Jews.

    The the false history. The “first Holocaust” was committed by CHRISTIAN Crusaders (google the Rhineland Massacres), on their way to Jerusalem. Where they slaughtered and expelled BOTH Muslims and “the Christ killers” (as Jews were still considered).
    So how did he Jews get back into Jerusalem. The Muslims allowed then back. This is historical record. And the reason extreme Muslims seek …. atonement.

    ISIS recruits by claiming “a Judeo-Christian war on Islam.” — and they have plenty of stuff to prove it. Including this article.

    So, will America’s military might finally force Muslims to abandon their moral and historical rights? Will Israel continue its illegal military occupations and blockade? Hint: at any flareup in that part of the Middle East. google for European media reports. Are they antisemitic? Or simply uncensored.

    Everything here is historical fact, as also confirmed by Jewish history sources (the division and fall of ancient Israel, the Rhineland Massacre, and Jerusalem under Muslim control when Jews were allowed back. THAT is why a thousand year war that we should stay out of. Except politics.

    (Everything you’re heard about the Quran is also bullshit. ONLY Jewish scripture says God commanded to kill all the infidels. Deuteronomy 13. In the Quran, it’s only if they attack the temple, but the infidels mait must stop when the inf

    1. Corrected

      (Everything you’re heard about the Quran is also bullshit. ONLY Jewish scripture says God commanded to kill all the infidels. Deuteronomy 13. In the Quran, it’s only if they attack the temple, but the infidels may not be pursued, once they’re driven away, It’s a parable on self-defense, as now adopted by the entire western world. From Muhammad. Christ explicitly preached AGAINST self-defense, while attacking “eye for an “eye” — in His Sermon on the Mount (turn the other cheek and other submissions to aggression).

      But what are facts?

    2. Dude, your knowledge of the Bible is about an inch deep. I’m no theologian myself, but the Cannanites weren’t wiped out, they were a continual problem though the book of Judges, if you’re going by the Bible as a historical record of Jewish conquest, which it’s not. Only one group did God tell the Jews to “put the ban” on, and it was the nation of Amelek, but Saul didn’t complete the task and in doing so disobeyed God.

      1. It was a specific group of Canaanites, the Amalekites, that God (according to the Bible) commanded the Israelites to exterminate. In fact, they are later punished for their failure to commit a thorough-enough genocide. From a modern perspective, it is certainly one of the most embarrassing passages in the Bible. Any relevance to the current Arab-Israeli conflict is questionable, though. I’ve never been to Israel, it is certainly not my home, but it is the ancient homeland of my ancestors.

        1. I thought that the Amalekites were nomads who attacked the Jews coming out of Egypt, I think that’s why they were getting punished as it were. I’m not sure they were Canaanites, per se, but don’t know enough to debate it.

          Reading the Old Testament, there are lots of passages embarrassing from a modern(ist) perspective, for that matter in the New Testament as well.

          1. Leviticus and Deuteronomy are totally barbaric,
            Nothing in the New Testament comes even close.
            But your knowledge of the Bible here, is not as massive as your other one:

            https://reason.com/2019/12/11/amnesty-international-canada-questions-freedom-of-speech-and-assembly/#comment-8045403

            1. I support paying reparations to the descendants of African-American slaves and certain Native Americans. I wouldn’t be surprised if you do too. If it would make you feel better, we can add Canaanites to the list.

              1. Reparations are about as crazy as your comment, since NO guilty parties now exist.. And I DID march for civil rights in the 60s.

                Please explain how an injustice to one set of people is addressed by a worse injustice to different set.

                In the 1980s, a black journalist wrote a brilliant op-ed … THANKFUL that his ancestors had been brought here as slaves …. without THEIR sacrifice, he’d be still in Africa … with a detailed description of how worse off he’d be, He’d been a foreign correspondent in several African countries, so wrote from high credibility. Launched a shitstorm!

                1. It’s not about guilty individuals. The moral debt is owed by the nation. It’s analogous to holding a 150 yr old treasury bond. Nobody alive today was paid any of the purchase money when the bond was issued, but the nation would still be on the hook to redeem it.

        2. I cited the Bible verse that proves you wrong.
          https://reason.com/2019/12/11/amnesty-international-canada-questions-freedom-of-speech-and-assembly/#comment-8045961

          Any relevance to the current Arab-Israeli conflict is questionable, though.

          Read it again. It’s how Muslims allowed Jews back into Israel … and Christians who had killed and expelled them … ON TOP OF THE FIRST HOLOCAUST.

          Historically, Christians had bee a MUCH greater threat to Jews. And Muslims the most favored. Jews and Muslims lived in peace, in Jerusalem, before the Crusades and when they allowed the Jews back in. FACTS.

      2. Dude, you be full of shit

        “However, in the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them-the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites-as the LORD your God has commanded you. Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the LORD your God.’ Deuteronomy 20: 16-18

        This is the same them as Deuteronomy 13. Under Mosaic Law, Jews are the ONLY people EVER ordered to kill all the infidels. In Deut, equally barbaric, one MUST immediately kill any infidels, including one’s own brother, spouse, child or friend.

        In Deuteronomy 5, God threatens to punish infidels … unto the third and fourth generation … punishing the innocent. It’s all barbaric

        1. Making something bold text, doesn’t make you correct. Fact is, the Jews failed miserably at genocide, not able to kill off any group, and yet God still worked with them. Later books of the Bible also have God explicitly giving borders to the Jews, leaving the very groups you mention intact outside their borders and some inside them. God must have changed his mind. There are lots of inconsistencies in the Bible, you know. You take things one line at a time and out of context.

          Now, since you’ve responded, let me also take issue with your idea that Jesus was against self-defense. He wasn’t. Remember, the original Hebrew was “thou shall not murder”, quite different from “thou shall not kill.” In the gospel of Luke, he tells his closest disciples to sell their cloaks to get swords. Yet, he also said that those who live by the sword, die by it, and to turn the other cheek and forgive those who trespass against us. Clearly, Christ was for forgiveness, but also self-defense. He heals the ear of one who had it sliced off by one of his followers who had a sword when the Jews came and seized him before his crucifixion. He didn’t mind the sword, so much, but that it was the wrong time to use it, as he knew he was being given up for a reason.

          Please, let’s have some more of your biblical exegesis.

          1. Making something bold text, doesn’t make you correct.

            The words prove you wrong.
            The boldface was ridicule.

            NOW YOU INVITE MORE RIDICULE! 🙂

            Now, since you’ve responded, let me also take issue with your idea that Jesus was against self-defense.

            Jam THAT up your ass TOO!!!
            HERE’S WHAT I OPENED WITH.

            Christ explicitly preached AGAINST self-defense, while attacking “eye for an “eye”

            Now, Christ’s own words. (smirk)

            blockquote>Matthew 5

            38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.YOU LOSE … AND IT GETS WORSE FOR YOU

            SUBMIT TO PHYSICAL ASSAULT AND … EVERYTHING

            40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.

            SUBMISSION!

            41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.

            SUBMISSION!

            42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away

            SUBMISSION!

            This is VERY explicit, Sport.

            43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

            SUBMISSION!

            ***TO YOUR EVERLASTING SHAME … THIS ATHEIST KNOWS THE BIBLE BETTER THAN YOUR IGNORANT SOUL.

            Or …. are you an Islamophobe, PISSED that Muhammad had FAR GREATER influence on this than Jesus Christ?

            (Will he force me to AGAIN humiliate him … in self-defense?).

            1. Huh, I think you’ve pretty well humiliated yourself. I forgive you, too, for you false teaching and insults, in spirit of Christ. This is the meaning of “turn the other cheek”.

              1) No one can read your mind when you type…all they have is the words. Bold text implies emphasis, by long shared standards. Sorry.

              2) “Turn the other cheek” wasn’t about being a pacifist, it was about not engaging in retributive justice and having patience against personal slights and insults. Preaching tolerance isn’t preaching against self defense. Moreover, you still do not deal with the quoted words of Jesus telling his closest followers to buy swords, and one had one and used it in his presence. Jesus didn’t rebuke him for carrying one, just inappropriate use.

              3) I haven’t written anything about any other religion in this comment thread, why do you insist on bringing it up?

              1. PATHETIC BULLSHIT CONTINUES.
                RETRIBUTIVE JUSTICE IS …. SELF DEFENSE. WHO TIES YOUR SHOES?

                I haven’t written anything about any other religion in this comment thread, why do you insist on bringing it up?

                1) LIE — YOU ARE THE AGGRESSOR IN THIS THREAD, AT December.11.2019 at 9:52 am

                2) YOU’RE ALSO CLUELESS ON WHAT A THREAD EVEN IS!

                3) ) I do= NOT need your permission to critique all the distortions in Bernstein’s article … which is ABOUT antisemitism

                *What is your lame denial for Christ saying if a man sues you and wins your coat … give him your cloak? SUBMISSION.

                *What is your lame denial for Christ saying if a man forces you to go a mile with him … go two? SUBMISSION

                *What is your lame denial FOR WHAT THIS MEANS?

                43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

                THAT IS A TOTAL, ABSOLUTE, UNDENIABLE SUBMISSION … AND HE AGAIN REJECTS MOSAIC LAW,

                YOU mess with the bull; YOU get the horns, aggressor.

                HE STARTS BY THROWING OUT AN EYE FOR AN EYE.

    3. Yet when you look at consequences, practical effects, and all outcomes, it is the Palestinian / Arab / Muslim governments which stone people to death for leaving the state religion, which have started the wars, which oppress their citizens, which are corrupt beyond compare.

      You need to find a forum whose commenters are incapable of thought. Try any Palestinian / Arab / Muslim government forum, they are right up your alley.

      1. You need to get a mind, then stay on the topic.
        And stop the homophobic bullshit.

        Islam toda

        1. Islam today is where Christianity was just a few hundred years ago. Ever hear of the (un)Holy Inquisition? The HORRIFIC union of Church and State, which so repelled our Founders that they enshrined that “Wall of Separation”

          Islam awaits the Reformation which rescued Christianity. It’s harder now, because NOW one can merely move to another country to escape oppression within one’s religion.

          How come women had the right to vote, in SOME Muslim countries, before the US?

  3. This is of a piece with the general intellectual trends among non-profits and universities.

    “It was clearly foreseeable that there would be controversy and protest,” therefore because unhinged protestors acted unhinged hosting ‘controversial’ speakers is not worth the cost and the risk.

    Contra Popehat’s bizarre free speech legalism, if the cultural respect for free speech falls below a certain level then surely legal safegaurds will follow. People my age chortle at those concerned with free speech, regarding it as merely a tool for people they deem to be oppressors.

    This attitude is fostered at elite law schools where they teach critical legal/race/bad juju theory. A foundational work in critical theory is “words that wound”, which essentially makes a long-winded case for ‘hate speech’ (i.e.: anything that departs from woke dogma) restrictions.
    There is no reason why-despite the best efforts of Fedsoc and others- our future Judges wont shred First Amendment safegaurds

    1. Now this is an interesting question: is social shunning for expressing certain condemnable ideas good or bad for speech?

      On the one hand, it does create a precedent wherein speech is not sacrosanct.
      On the other, insisting speech cannot have consequences is arguably a great way to build up pressure that will eventually blow back against even governmental action respecting freedom of speech.

      I think I tend to come off somewhat wishy-washy – that there should be a social presumption of free speech, but that it can be pierced for certain viewpoints that are way out of bounds (Holocaust denial & other such genocidal thinking comes to mind). Whereas governmental action can never ever ever touch speech.

      And then there are the cases in tension – like consumer-facing corporations expressing themselves by firing CEO’s for unpopular views.

      Anyhow, the last paragraph on law schools and critical race theory is pretty backwards about what it’s all about.

      1. “speech cannot have consequences” The problem is that speech which is pretty innocuous- or even controversial arguments made in good faith on topics of legitimate public concern-are now liable for social shunning.
        If social ostracism was all that the wokesters had in mind that would be one thing (still arguably concerning for stifling intellectual dissent and inquiry given how expansive their conceptions of bigotry are), but I dont think they believe it is sufficient.

        Im not sure what you mean in re: my last paragraph.

        1. I won’t disagree with you that the current mania for private shunning/deplatforming is troublingly overinclusive.

          It’s not just the wokesters, though – perhaps in reaction, conservatives have been pretty excited about their own safe spaces as well. How many prominent conservatives have been going the SLAPP rout lately?

          Critical theory does not advocate abrogating the First Amendment to ban bad speech.
          The misconception that hate speech is an exception to First Amendment doesn’t show up much in actual legal scholarship circles.

          1. Conservatives are slow to adapt, but are getting around to weaponizing “another of our (the left’s) techniques against us!”

            I hope people learn why we have an absolutist nature to much of the Constution, but I won’t hold by breath.

            1. Well, can’t blame the right for bad things if the left is bad!
              This is such a drumbeat around here and it really shows how intellectually bankrupt the right has become.

              I go on leftist forums as well. And there’s loads of silly ideas and sometimes violent rhetoric. But among the asymmetries, they never argue that methods that aren’t Praxis (LOL) are allowed because the other side does them.

              So maybe clean your own house a bit, and stop rationalizing?

              1. Case and point:
                Why is Michelle Obama rehabbing this war criminal [GW Bush]’s image?.

                She rich.
                ================
                Hehe. I have fun.

          2. Conservatives dont have the institutional clout that the left has at our society’s main cultural organs. But yeah conservative litigiousness is bad (if the suits are frivolous) but im not sure how common it is.

            While you could be right that many critical theorists dont support HSRs, most of the kids have interpreted critical race theory (and other fellow-traveling schools of thought) as providing intellectual basis for it. The equating of words with violence is distressingly common among gen zers even (arguably especially) among those at elite schools, including law schools

            1. Conservative Congressmen are SLAPPing, so don’t give me lack of clout.

              I don’t know from the kids – I know only law students. And they’re doing fine. Insisting that using the analogy of words to violence is bad speech is pretty ironic considering your main thesis, no?

              As an aside – I had to read “The Argument Culture: Stopping America’s War of Words” in undergrad. Didn’t turn me into someone who thought speech was like violence, but the book was sooo bad it felt like an assault.

      2. Is that really an interesting question?

        Social shunning fits well into the free speech philosophy… If it’s speech.

        But one could stretch the “social” part of “social shunning” quite far. If it takes the form of censorship, via governmental or private hypocritical action, then you’re going against free speech. If it’s physically assaulting or something like trespassing, then that’s acting against free speech.

        Google is free to allow whatever they want on YouTube, even if based off an unjustified whim… But when they claim to support free speech, but their actions show that not to be the case, they should be socially shunned for not upholding their professed ideals and being hypocrites.

        Mozilla is free to fire their CEO for private expression via a donation to a political organization, and unless that actually involve Mozilla more directly, then it should be expected for them to receive flak for an ad hoc, free speech abridging, action. Especially from an organization so focused on Internet Freedom.

        If viewpoints are out of bounds and deserve social shunning, then speak up. Don’t “act-up”.

        1. I think the issue is not about who is free, as in free of government coercion. The issue is about what best practices should be given that we are all free to do any of these things.

          I’m not sure if I like your ‘shunning is proper against those who abuse the practice of shunning.’ That’ll get you to shunning all the way down pretty quick.
          There are gradations of social condemnation before shunning. Receiving flack is not the same as a boycott.

          Given international equities and the real radicalization problem YouTube seems to be confronting, I think it’s pretty breezy to just say they’re doing it wrong.
          Should Mozilla’s be socially required to take a hit to the pocketbook to stand up for speech? Because if I were a shareholder, I’d say not…

      3. Agreed that it’s a thorny problem, but if we’re not absolutists then there will be creep around the boundaries of the unacceptable ideas.

        First it’s genocide denial. Then it’s questioning the actual number who died (was it 6M, or only 4.5?) – because we can’t let the unacceptable idea get a foothold. Then it’s objections to governmental bans on holocaust denial in Germany. Then it’s objections to governmental bans in the US. And then we get governmental bans in the US and it’s no longer social ostracism but jail time.

        But absolutism has its own problems, from effectively banning rights of associations (you have to hire the skin head to be your public spokesman, otherwise you’re punishing him for his speech) to effectively incentivizing jackassery – though the fact that a Reason hasn’t devolved into 4chan somewhat refutes this last point.

  4. Distinguishng (1) Israel from (2) Israel’s immoral, deplorable right-wing belligerence seems important in this context.

    So long as Israel chooses right-wing belligerence and especially when that issue is used as a left-right divider in American politics, Israel should prepare to lose the support of many or most Americans.

    If Israel sticks with Mr. Netanyahu, for example, I hope America stops providing political, military, and economic skirts to hide behind for Israel and Saudi Arabia simultaneously and promptly.

    1. Rev you remind me of Reverend Bacon from “The Bonfire of the Vanities” 😛

      1. Paula White, Pat Robertson, Benny Hinn, Ted Haggard, Robert Jeffress, Bob Coy, the Swaggarts, Billl Gothard, maybe Falwell the Even Lesser seem like better bets for you.

        May your wounds in the culture war be made less painful, although they will be fatal.

        1. So you think Catholics from latin America will be more amenable to the cultural mores of SWPLs rather than traditionalism? 😉

          1. I hate to burst your bubble, but the argument that hispanic Catholics are “social conservatives” has not born itself out to be valid in the past 30 years or so of data that we have on the issue.

            1. Except when they vote for Prop 8.

            2. If provided the opportunity to vote for socially conservative causes without having to support an economically Liberal agenda they have done so

              1. Not so much, they are 3 to 1 in favor of gun control, for example, and are not as strident anti-abortion as one would expect considering church doctrine. They are “culturally Catholic” the way a 3rd generation Pole or Irishman is…they remember their grandmother’s pierogis but don’t ever go to confession.

                The Catholic Church is, and always has been (especially now post Vatican II) split between traditionalists and those who have an ecumenical approach to modernism.

              2. Let me add an additional thought. There is no option, in American democracy, to vote socially conservative and fiscally big government, except for the occasional ballot measure because of our two party system. Due winner take all elections, there will always be 2 main parties, and thus no option to split your vote in such a way.

                Hispanics are big government (culturally), and thus will typically vote for socially liberal causes through the Democrat party because socially conservative issues are secondary or tertiary concerns to their big government liberalism.

                1. There is no option, in American democracy, to vote socially conservative and fiscally big government

                  Well, there’s the current GOP.

                  1. And it’s not even current GOP – they’ve been that way for at least 20 years. I’m not even sure that Gingrich’s reforms were really about fiscal conservatism rather than for purely partisan gains.

                    Bush the Elder is the most recent Republican at the Federal level that’s had a fiscally conservative bone in his body.

                  2. lol, good point.

          2. I think America — and most Americans and the most important American communities — will continue to move toward reason, modernity, education, tolerance, science, diversity, progress, and inclusivity.

            Catholics from Latin America seem likely to be part of that arc toward American improvement.

    2. If Israel practiced left-wing belligerence, that would be just hunky dory.

    3. “If Israel sticks with Mr. Netanyahu, for example, I hope America stops providing political, military, and economic skirts to hide behind for Israel and Saudi Arabia simultaneously and promptly.”

      Are you suggesting we meddle in their elections?

      1. Didn’t Obama meddle in Israeli elections?

        1. No.

          1. True. Meddling suggests hidden actions, not standing yabbering on a stage.

            1. But was the funding of Netanyahu’s opponents sufficiently public to not count as a hidden action?

      2. No. I suggest America stop providing multifaceted cover — at great and varied cost — to objectionable conduct by countries that do not deserve our support.

        Saudi Arabia and Israel fit that bill.

    4. “Distinguishng (1) Israel from (2) Israel’s immoral, deplorable right-wing belligerence seems important in this context.”

      Statements like the latter can create a hostile environment based on national origin, and therefore can be censored under some interpretations of the first amendment.

      1. Statements like the latter can create a hostile environment based on national origin, and therefore can be censored under some interpretations of the first amendment.

        Including under Trump’s recent EO!

  5. Prof. Bernstein,

    It seems like you’re trying to apply US F-o-S standards to Canada.

    Canada has different laws which seem to be less open that the US’s (I’m definitely not an expert!).

    1. He’s trying to apply freedom of speech, period.

      Interesting that you think a basic human right differs by crossing a border.

      1. You seem to totally clueless on the nature of rights.
        Rights have NO value at all, unless and until they are acknowledged by others, Which our founders knew, and acknowledged in the 9th Amendment.

        Plus NO rights are absolute, per the definition on unalienable, because they can conflict with each other. How would YOU resolve a conflict between two rights, both absolute? A question which totally bedevils the authoritarian mentality, which attempts to shout down any disagreement.

        Specifically, you have no free speech right to yell fire in a crowded theater, Hate speech has been unconstitutional for decades, if it’s threatening.

        But, once we acknowledge that no rights are absolute, then one must accept they are debatable. Even Scalia endorsed that, in Heller.

    2. I think the biggest difference is that Canada recognizes a hate speech exception that the US does not, but I don’t see that being relevant to this particular article (though it might play into a followup story). This is about Amnesty advocating shutting people up, not them actually being shut up, and Amnesty would be permitted to make the same speech in the US. At most you might argue they have a greater chance of getting their way in Canada, but that would be the “followup story” potential I referred to earlier.

      1. But, as clearly stated by Bernstein (and distorted) the issue is the legitimacy of Israel’s oppression in the mideast.

        1. No it’s not. It is entirely irrelevant whether you support or oppose Israel’s policies, or even existence. The question is whether a student group has a right to bring speakers on the pro-Israel side of the issue.

          1. Speech, like all rights, is not absolute.
            And its purpose here, which you distorted, YOU emboldened.

            You also distorted Amnesty Canada’s letter, shamefully. THEY ASKED FOR AN INDEPENDENT REVIEW … NOT OF SPEECH AND ASSEMBLY, BUT OF THE INCIDENT. This is like labeling any and all disagreement with Israel and its policies as “antisemitic.”

            Reading it again, for this, your own bias was screaming,
            The Jewish Defense League *IS* a terrorist organization. On the far right, where you seem to reside. (Your defense of a far-right terrorist organization … and your distortion that they were a primary factor in Amnesty’s REQUEST FOR AN INDEPENDENT REVIEW? You sure ACT like you’re afraid what such a review would find.

            Even worse, your bizarre assertion that they think everyone who ever participated in Israeli defense forces is a presumptive war criminal, This shall be your reading lesson. My emphasis

            considerations that were taken into account in approving the event, including the fact that the speakers were former members of a military with a clear record of responsibility for war crimes and other serious human rights violations;
            decisions made with respect to the presence of members of the Jewish Defense League on campus

            1) CERTAIN SPEAKERS, not all Jewish defense veterans/active.
            2) WHY PUT THE JDL SPECIFICITY in boldface, if you’re going to distort it?

            Your assault on THEIR free speech …. denying their request for an independent review (OMG), while lying about that request, is despicable.

            Even worse:

            (2) Amnesty is apparently taking the position that anyone who has ever served in the Israeli armed forces should be treated as a presumptive war criminal [as the spouse of an IDF veteran, you can stick it where the sun don’t shine, Amnesty]

            Up YOURS, with a twist. THAT lie is what confirms your own bigotry.

            (3) Amnesty suggests that hosting a pro-Israel event is inviting violence and disruption, and the university should therefore consider whether it was appropriate to allow such an event to proceed;

            LIAR
            JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE HAS BEEN FLAGGED AS A TERRORIST ORGANIZATION, for nearly 20 years.

            The Jewish Defense League (JDL) is a Jewish far-right religious-political organization in the United States, whose stated goal is to “protect Jews from antisemitism by whatever means necessary”. It was classified as “a right wing terrorist group” by the FBI in 2001 and is considered a radical organization by the Southern Poverty Law Center. According to the FBI, the JDL has been involved in plotting and executing acts of terrorism within the United States.

            FLASH – the light suddenly appears,)
            You’re JDL, aren’t you? Defending against your fabricated antisemitism, by distorting … everything..

            (4) Amnesty suggests that a public university should be screening members of the public for their political affiliations before they should be allowed to ….

            ALLOWED TO … WHAT?
            Blatant lie, Their only “suggestion” is about terrorists.

            Yep, you’re far right.
            .

    3. Amnesty purports to be a human rights organization. Back in the day, it was most famous for supporting “prisoners of conscience” who were in jail for expressing their beliefs. Freedom of speech is no less a human right today. But Amnesty wants to shut down pro-Israel speech. Making it an anti-human rights organization. This has nothing to do with American or Canadian constitutional standards, though I can’t imagine that Canadian law would allow schools to ban pro-Israel speech on the grounds that everyone who ever served in the IDF is a presumptive war criminal.

      1. This remains silly. The Israel-Palestinian relationship is much more in alignment with concerns about oppressive enforcement regimes than it does freedom of speech widely.

        You and I may disagree with their views and priorities, and we may even argue it’s sacrificing a vital right in order to tilt at windmills, but trying to make them inconsistent isn’t a great argument to make.

      2. But Amnesty wants to shut down pro-Israel speech. Making it an anti-human rights organization.

        Your shameful distortions are documented just above.
        https://reason.com/2019/12/11/amnesty-international-canada-questions-freedom-of-speech-and-assembly/#comment-8047375

        REALLY shameful.

  6. Interesting. I guess we have different history books.
    In 1948 the U.N. not Israel or the U.S. created, by law, a two state solution to the middle east ‘issue’. It was the Arab nations who ignored that resolution, and initiated armed assault on the new state of Israel. All ‘occupied’ lands are the result of military prowess in defense of the assigned territories. Never in all of history has the victor been expected to return the spoils of war.
    What exists in the middle east is solely the responsibility of those nations who ignored the U.N. resolution.

    1. In WWII a lot of Arab leadership sided with Hitler, so I invoke Godwin’s Law and declare this debate over.

    2. Your contempt for liberty is astounding.

      What if the UN had sought to “partition” Texas. Why would you endorse so shameful an action here?

      If you grant the UN such power anywhere … on what basis? … the you must accept it anywhere, else moral hypocrisy.

      Oh yeah, the UN opposes the Israeli occupation of Muslim lands. Consistency?

      1. “Oh yeah, the UN opposes the Israeli occupation of Muslim lands. Consistency?”

        Agreed. The UN is not consistent.

        1. Sure they are. But it’s sunning, the level of lying about all of that.

  7. For all those proposing a ‘return to prior borders’, I offer this:
    On that day, the Lord made a covenant with Abraham, saying “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates”. Genesis 15:18

    1. Take that up with the Israeli govt – I can’t think of anyone actually in the Cabinet who wants to expand to the Euphrates. You can find Israelis who believe this, but find me a policymaker in a position to carry this into effect, and willing to do so.

      1. Good job missing the point!

        1. He nailed it.

          1. Great, if TLTT agrees with me I was probably wrong.

            Looking at the comment again, I see I *did* miss the point, so very sorry.

            1. Cowardly liar.

  8. We Jews are to blame – at least in part. We have failed to properly educate people about the origins of Israel and the issues in the region. You really have to start with Sykes-Picot (1916) to understand the frustrations of Arabs. Moreover, we have failed to convey the fact that Israel and Judaism are two different things.

    Israel is the only democracy in the region. Moreover, as a gay man, I am in peril in the entire region with the exception of Israel.

    1. The woke left are OK with supporting regimes that execute people just for being gay because being rabidly anti-Israel is the woke left’s blinder issue.

      1. Or maybe you don’t know the difference between being against imperialism and actual support.

        I think there’s no shortage of silliness amongst the woke, but saying they support Sharia regimes is pretty ridiculous.

        1. Genuinely confused here.

          If there’s imperialism at issue it’s not the people living in the area declaring independence with the agreement of the local government, it’s the alliance of every neighboring nation declaring war on them for the explicitly stated purpose “this will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades” Azzam Pasha, Secretary General of the Arab League, 1947.

    2. Israel is the only democracy in the region.

      Since people vote for their political representatives in Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran, I’m going to have to ask you to clarify what you mean here by “democracy” and “the region.”

      I’ll admit that those political systems have various problems, but considering that Israel is about to enter its third election in a year solely because a criminally-indicted and blatantly corrupt prime minister is unwilling to step aside, I don’t see how Israel is unique.

      Moreover, as a gay man, I am in peril in the entire region with the exception of Israel.

      This seems to be true, though same-sex couples continue to face discrimination there.

      1. You mean “ solely because a criminally-indicted and blatantly corrupt prime minister keeps getting voted for by the people.”

        If these were fraudulent elections (like Russia) you’d have a point, but it’s strange to question a country’s democratic bona fides specifically because you don’t like how they vote.

        Aside: I’m typing this on an iPad Pro, and had to retype “bona fides” many times until Siri would allow me to type it as she continuously “corrected” it. First it was bone, then bind, then she capitalized the B for some reason, the Fido….. you see how this goes. Any ideas why autocorrecting valid words is so prevalent?

    3. David, I’ll say it early: Chag Semeach Hanukkah! 🙂

  9. From other sources, there are many Jews and Palestinians in Israel who peacefully coexist and do not feel as strongly about these issues as the left-wing woke social justice warriors in US and Canadian University campuses.

    Sounds to me that “Reservists on Duty: Hear from former Israeli Defence Force soldiers” would have been an interesting talk, if it weren’t for the busibodies posing and preening.

    1. I’ve come to see that anyone who says “woke” is far too tribal to be accepted by any rational person.

  10. Note: (1) Amnesty does not condemn the disruption and antisemitic remarks made at the event;

    I’d expect that’s because neither the university nor AI had anything to do with them.

    (2) Amnesty is apparently taking the position that anyone who has ever served in the Israeli armed forces should be treated as a presumptive war criminal [as the spouse of an IDF veteran, you can stick it where the sun don’t shine, Amnesty];

    They seem to be quite clear, throughout, that they are not saying this. They say that the IDF has engaged in war crimes, not each and every individual who has ever served in the IDF. And that claim, while concededly polemical, seems to be accurate.

    As for your parenthetical statement – I am not sure who you think your audience is. This kind of remark does not inspire confidence in your ability to approach this issue rationally.

    (3) Amnesty suggests that hosting a pro-Israel event is inviting violence and disruption, and the university should therefore consider whether it was appropriate to allow such an event to proceed;

    Nothing in the statement excerpted “suggests” this. They are simply asking to take more proactive steps to avoiding politically-motivated violence when highly-charged discussions like this are to take place.

    If we’re to apply the same evident inferential standard you’re applying here, to your own commentary, one might infer that you welcome politically-motivated violence as the inevitable consequence of discussing highly-charged discussions. Fortunately for you, some of us hold ourselves to a higher standard than that.

    (4) Amnesty suggests that a public university should be screening members of the public for their political affiliations before they should be allowed to

    I look forward to the exciting conclusion of this obvious strawman!

    1. “a mandate that includes examination of:

      “considerations that were taken into account in approving the event, including the fact that the speakers were former members of a military with a clear record of responsibility for war crimes and other serious human rights violations;”

      How would you interpret that, if not as questioning the decision to approve the event?

      1. How would you interpret that, if not as questioning the decision to approve the event?

        Read the letter. At no point does AI suggest that the event shouldn’t have been approved at all. Throughout, AI reiterates support for the freedom of speech and the goal of discussing contentious issues in a peaceful, respectful manner.

        I appreciate that conservative snowflakes have a hard time not reading the most nefarious of narratives into even the most anodyne of statements by those they view as ideological opponents. But AI is just taking the position here that more could have been done to anticipate and prevent violence against and criminal harassment of their own members.

        1. I’m not sure how you interpret the language I quoted otherwise than a suggestion that the event was a bad idea. Read the sentence over again and see if can get a non-censory interpretation.

          1. I’m not going to read an isolated sentence over and over again until I’ve managed to convince myself that it is suggesting something that the broader context makes clear it wasn’t suggesting.

            1. I read the context in the post – they were concerned about many things, one of which was the decision to hold the event in the first place.

              1. They don’t actually say that, Eddy.

                1. They wanted the reasons for approving the event to be looked into – and one reason they wanted considered was the IDF’s alleged human rights record.

                  To be sure, they also say

                  “Amnesty International firmly supports and, in fact, encourages peaceful debate on the Israeli / Palestinian conflict. It is our hope that this review will provide insights into ensuring that such debate can and will happen at York in a manner that respects and upholds the crucial human rights concerns at stake and will be consistent with the university’s commitment to inclusion and diversity.”

                  …but that doesn’t mean they support the right of IDF reservists specifically to come to campus to speak about their experiences.

                  By way of analogy, suppose there’d been violence at the event where the Cuban ambassador spoke (see my link below). Then suppose that some anti-Communist organization wanted an investigation into the considerations going into holding the event, “including Communist Cuba’s atrocious human-rights record.”

                  Then assume the anticommunists added some language like this:

                  “We firmly support and, in fact, encourages peaceful debate on issues pertaining to Cuba. It is our hope that this review will provide insights into ensuring that such debate can and will happen at York in a manner that respects and upholds the crucial human rights concerns at stake and will be consistent with the university’s commitment to inclusion and diversity.”

                  Would that be read as specifically upholding the right of the ambassador to speak? Critics might be more inclined to see weasel words indicating that Cuban issues should be debated by other people, not the ambassador of a horrible rights-violating regime.

                  I suppose that where a human rights group is concerned, I’d like something specifically along the lines of “however reprehensible and icky we find the IDF reservists to be, we support their right to speak on campus etc.”

                  1. I see that their mission statement tries to have it both ways:

                    “Laws against hate speech or other incitement to discrimination and violence must not be used to repress peaceful dissent.”

                    https://www.amnesty.org/en/what-we-do/freedom-of-expression/

                    So where does hate speech end and peaceful dissent begin?

  11. I thought Amnesty International used to have rules that (a) national chapters could only criticize alleged abuses in other nations and (b) abuses include such things as locking up people for their beliefs or race, killing them or imprisoning them without fair trials, etc.

    Here’s the Canadian chapter opining on events in Canada – something I thought Amnesty frowned on because discussing one’s own country opens the door to bias (excessively pro or excessively con).

  12. It didn’t take long for me to find this event at York U from back in May:

    “Cuba’s New Constitution: A Giant Step Forward

    “On Thursday, June 6, Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, Cuban ambassador to Canada, will join Julio Fonseca, a contract faculty member in the Department of Languages, Literatures & Linguistics (DLLL), to discuss Cuba’s new constitution in the context of the current geopolitical situation in Latin America. The community conversation will take place in Room 802, South Ross Building, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.”

    https://yfile.news.yorku.ca/2019/05/27/two-upcoming-community-conversation-events-have-an-international-focus/

    Did disruptors target this event, blocking entrances and shouting “Commies go home”? If not, is that because Cuba has fewer human-rights violations than Israel?

  13. Professor Bernstein…In my shul, our clergy have noted for the last 3-4 years, the increase of expressed hostility toward Jewish college students. I am now concerned about what I am seeing here in America. All my life, my country has been an oasis (if not a paradise) for Jews. We never really had to worry here. That has changed. Now your post, from a college in Canada.

    What would you tell any young Jewish student heading off to college today?

    1. I would tell him that if support for unattractive conservative policies and practices in Israel continues along the path toward of being a left-right divider in American politics, he should prepare for an Israel that lacks support from the American mainstream.

      Most Americans don’t support superstition-laced, right-wing belligerence at home; why would a reasonable person expect them to subsidize it, at great and varied cost, anywhere else?

      1. ^This

      2. Indeed. This is a bad path to go down.

        The American Jewish right’s enthusiastic following of Netanyahu down this partisan path makes for very bad long-term tactics.

        Not that I don’t hope that the American left doesn’t fall for the silly tribalism and continues to support Israel and a two-state solution. But making Israeli support of a partisan flavor is a dumb risk to take to grab up some fair-weather evangelical support.

        1. “Indeed. This is a bad path to go down. The American Jewish right’s enthusiastic following of Netanyahu down this partisan path makes for very bad long-term tactics.”

          This is nonsense. The far left has been hostile to Israel ever since 1967, when the USSR began a massive antisemtic antiZionist campaign, and the far left ate it up. The moderate left wasn’t thrilled with Begin or Shamir, who were far more right-wing ideologically and in practice than Bibi is, but that didn’t make them turn against Israel. What’s happened is that the far left used to be a small fraction of the American left, and now it’s much bigger, so the anti-Israel (and antisemitic) voices are much louder and more vociferous and have come to dominate the debate. What’s also happened is that liberal Jewish voices from the Clinton and Obama administration still cling to fantasies about Palestinian intentions, refusing to acknowledge that Oslo was a complete fiasco based on a severe misunderstanding of Palestinian nationalism, which is less about getting the Palestinians a state, and instead primarily about destroying Israel. These voices instead put the blame on Israel’s “right-wing” government to cover their own failings, as if having Shimon Peres in power would somehow have forced Arafat or Abbas to make or accept a peace proposal.

          1. You switched my comment about the left to a comment about the far left.
            Convenient, and why I never like it when you talk about the far left – it allows a no true scottsman-cum-guilt by association like just happened.
            Far left anti-Israel voices now dominate the debate on the left? Not supported. And then you get into policy differences with Democratic administrations, and discuss what these now dominant voices say. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say these dominant shadowy voices were a trope…

            Your point about the moderate left and not being unhappy with other conservative leaders proves my point – it’s not Netanyahu’s policies that are the problem, it’s his playing in American partisan politics – and the right’s enthusiasm in allowing him to do so.

            1. Perhaps. But Obama first gratuitously insulted Likud as a candidate, and then proceed to tell Jewish leaders at the beginning of his first term that he intended to create “daylight” b/n the U.S. and Israel, and then told Israel that he had no intention of abiding by the Bush administration’s commitments to Ariel Sharon in return for his withdrawal from Gaza, all before Bibi was even PM… So I think Bibi mishandled relations with Obama and the Democrats, but the initial aggression, if you will, came from the Obama administration, not from him.

              1. Perhaps. But Obama first gratuitously insulted Likud as a candidate, and then proceed to tell Jewish leaders at the beginning of his first term that he intended to create “daylight” b/n the U.S. and Israel,

                ANOTHER massive distortion?

                What Obama protested was Netanyahu’s strong opposition to a two-state solution. Bibi had said there will NEVER be a separate Palestine state “on my watch” — a TOTAL reversal by him. Proof is here:

                https://www.cbsnews.com/news/obama-white-house-benjamin-netanyahu-israel-election/

                Tell us how seeking actual peace in that region is a gratuitous insult.

                You sure sound JDL with so many distortion and falsehoods from an extreme right-wing position. And you again switched from his topic for yet another unrelated tirade

              2. “I think President Obama has been better to Israel than his critics acknowledge, and has been very pro-Israel by any standard except perhaps that of the prior two presidents, who were the most pro-Israel of any American presidents.”

                – David Bernstein 1/20/2014

                1. Umm, that’s dated 2014. Do the math!

            2. You switched my comment about the left to a comment about the far left.

              He’s VERY far right,

              Convenient, and why I never like it when you talk about the far left – it allows a no true scottsman-cum-guilt by association like just happened.

              His entire article is a far-right distortion. Fully documented
              https://reason.com/2019/12/11/amnesty-international-canada-questions-freedom-of-speech-and-assembly/#comment-8047375

          2. MORE propaganda by the far-right. JDL?

            The distortions and falsehoods in this article are fully documented here: https://reason.com/2019/12/11/amnesty-international-canada-questions-freedom-of-speech-and-assembly/#comment-8047375

          3. I do not understand your approach, Prof. Bernstein, because I would think something similar to a self-preservation instinct would have kicked in by now.

            I also don’t mind if you (and Israel) continue along this course to the predictable conclusion.

            I often tell clients not to engage in a knife fight unless they are prepared to bleed. Israel’s right-wing government and its clinger friends are daring the American mainstream to abandon Israel and its right-wing belligerence. There will be no free swings in this one.

            It’s your funeral . . . or, perhaps more accurate, Israel’s.

            1. ^This

      3. “Most Americans don’t support superstition-laced, right-wing belligerence at home; why would a reasonable person expect them to subsidize it, at great and varied cost, anywhere else?”

        Yes, we should probably stop supporting the Saudis so much.

        1. I would toss the Saudi royals overboard tomorrow. Or earlier, if feasible.

    2. I would tell a young college student to educate himself or herself about the Middle East before getting involved in debates, to not accept the bullshit that “progressive” means to support theocratic terrorists over liberal democracy, and to recognize that antisemitism at least on coastal and elite campuses is likely to come from sources that you may not expect given what you heard from your parents, your religious school teachers, and your sleepaway camp. And don’t accept discrimination from your campus, make it enforce its student code of conduct and if it refuses, i.e., by letting anti-Israel students disrupt events, file a complaint with the university’s Title VI office and with the Department of Education.

      1. Professor Bernstein…Thank you. See, this is what I think is missing for our young people. Educating them on the tools on how to fight back = And don’t accept discrimination from your campus, make it enforce its student code of conduct and if it refuses, i.e., by letting anti-Israel students disrupt events, file a complaint with the university’s Title VI office and with the Department of Education. They need to know where to go; the entry point, and the first couple of things to do. It is still mind-blowing to me that we even have to worry about this in America in 2019.

      2. Glad to see you’re finally outing yourself as a foe of the First Amendment.

        1. Sure, if you hold the bizarre belief that the First Amendment protects people’s disrupting of others’ events, then I’m a foe of the First Amendment. In some parallel university, perhaps that’s even true.

          1. re: SimonP’s comment above
            If your defense of freedom of speech is limited to certain groups, who happen to regularly violate others’ freedom of speech (by disrupting their events), maybe what you’re really after is not “universal respect for freedom of speech” but rather something else entirely…

  14. Trump’s order is justified and helps, but does not go far enough.

    There needs to be an absolute rule that when group A has paid for the use of a meeting hall to have a speech event, and group B tries to physically prevent A’s speakers and/or audience from attending the event or being heard while there, A has the right to succeed with impunity even if it requires using all kinds of force to get past B. And this holds true even if the police side with, and act as part of, B.

    Furthermore, A has the right to arm themselves in order to do that.

    If you disagree with a speech event, you can go have your own at some other place and time. But you are absolutely not entitled to try to stop the first one from taking place successfully.

    1. You’re a yahoo.

      There are ways to ensure free speech that don’t result in blood in the streets.

      After the fact punishments, for instance.

  15. I am Jewish. I stopped taking the ADL seriously when I was about 10 years old. I saw one of their books in my parents’ library and I started reading it. It described purported examples of antisemitic incidents.
    I was a little kid who was teased and beaten up at school regularly. I knew the importance of distinguishing between someone who intends to hurt you and someone who unintentionally hurts you. The ADL was trying to label anything it could as an antisemitic incident in order to make Jews more afraid (and then donate money to the ADL). Sort of a diluted version of what the SPLC does.
    I did not take them seriously then and I don’t take them seriously now.

    1. WOW! This is THE most thoughtful comment in several weeks at reason.com

      Just like Al Sharpton is a proficient race hustler?

  16. Amnesty International completely ignores Israelis’ “human rights” while denouncing supposed violations of Palestinians’ “human rights.”
    If your defense of “human rights” is limited to certain groups, who happen to regularly violate others’ rights (by, e.g., killing them), maybe what you’re really after is not “universal respect for human rights” but rather something else entirely…

    1. IT’S ISRAEL THAT VIOLATES PALESTINIAN RIGHTS. (duh)

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