Daily Briefing: Cancel-Culture” and Cultural Crisis: Addressing the Contemporary Malaise (November 22,2019)

                              SAVE THE DATE – Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019

CIJR’s Annual 31st Gala will be held in Montreal at the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue at 5:30 pm.  We are honoured to welcome Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld as keynote speaker.  Dr. Gerstenfeld is a writer and scholar of renown, and is considered one of the world’s leading authorities on contemporary antisemitism. His talk is entitled “Strategic Priorities for the Fight Against Contemporary Antisemitism.”  For tickets contact cijr@isranet.org or call 514-486 – 5544




The government of Canada has voted against Israel at the UN this week, and supported a resolution brought by those two great democracies—North Korea and Zimbabwe — as well as the PLO.  It is a break with the previous two decades of support for Israel  which was hard won, but now Canada provides huge amount of financial support to a terrorist regime, supports UNWRA which sucks up vast amounts  of money and helps very few people and we were shocked to learn of this country’s vote against the only democratic  and free society in the Middle East. Voice your opposition to this move.  Let the Trudeau government know what you think.  Sign the  petition at  https://www.mozuud.org/petition_to_the_prime_minister_of_canada

Forest Hall – Middlebury College – Middlebury, Vermont, USA. (Source:Wikipedia)
Table of Contents:
Journalists Against Free Speech John Tierney, City Journal, Autumn 2019

Word by Word, SJW’s Are Changing America:  Philip Carl Salzman, Minding the Campus, May 21, 2019

Douglas Murray’s The Madness of Crowds Offers Sanity and Hope:  Madeleine Kearns, National Review, Oct. 24, 2019

The Perils of Forgetting: Alvin Rosenfeld, Tablet, Nov. 8, 2019

 ___________________________________________________Journalists Against Free Speech
John Tierney
City Journal, Autumn 2019

Suppose you’re the editorial-page editor of a college newspaper, contemplating the big news on campus: protesters have silenced an invited speaker and gone on a violent rampage. Should you, as a journalist whose profession depends on the First Amendment, write an editorial reaffirming the right to free speech?

If that seems like a no-brainer, you’re behind the times. The question stumped the staff of the Middlebury Campus after protesters silenced conservative social thinker Charles Murray and injured the professor who’d invited him. The prospect of taking a stand on the First Amendment was so daunting that the paper dispensed with its usual weekly editorial, devoting the space instead to a range of opinions from others—most of whom defended the protesters. When a larger and more violent mob at the University of California at Berkeley prevented Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking on campus, students at the Daily Californian did write a forceful editorial—but not in favor of his right to speak. Instead, they reviled Yiannopoulos and denounced those who “invited chaos” by offering a platform to “someone who never belonged here.”

Free speech is no longer sacred among young journalists who have absorbed the campus lessons about “hate speech”—defined more and more broadly—and they’re breaking long-standing taboos as they bring “cancel culture” into professional newsrooms. They’re not yet in charge, but many of their editors are reacting like beleaguered college presidents, terrified of seeming insufficiently “woke.” Most professional journalists, young and old, still pay lip service to the First Amendment, and they certainly believe that it protects their work, but they’re increasingly eager for others to be “de-platformed” or “no-platformed,” as today’s censors like to put it—effectively silenced.

These mostly younger progressive journalists lead campaigns to get conservative journalists fired, banned from Twitter, and “de-monetized” on YouTube. They don’t burn books, but they’ve successfully pressured Amazon to stop selling titles that they deem offensive. They encourage advertising boycotts designed to put ideological rivals out of business. They’re loath to report forthrightly on left-wing censorship and violence, even when fellow journalists get attacked. They equate conservatives’ speech with violence and rationalize leftists’ actual violence as . . . speech.

It’s a strange new world for those who remember liberal journalists like Nat Hentoff, the Village Voice writer who stood with the ACLU in defending the free-speech rights of Nazis, Klansmen, and others whose views he deplored—or who recall the days when the Columbia Journalism Review stood as an unswerving advocate for press freedom. While America has seen its share of politicians eager to limit speech, from John Adams and Woodrow Wilson (who both had journalists prosecuted for “sedition”) to Donald Trump (who has made various unconstitutional threats), journalists on the left and the right have long shared a reverence for the First Amendment, if only out of self-interest. When liberals supported campaign-finance laws restricting corporations’ political messages during election campaigns, they insisted on exemptions for news organizations. One could fault them for being self-serving in this selective censorship, which the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional in its Citizens United decision, but at least they stood up for their profession’s freedom. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]


Word by Word, SJW’s Are Changing America
Philip Carl Salzman
Minding the Campus, May 21, 2019

It is not news that “social justice” ideology, supported by its pillars of “diversity,” “inclusion,” and “equality of results,” has replaced liberal democratic culture in our government, university, and business offices. Instead of being treated as individuals, people are treated according to the racial, gender, sexual preference, and ethnic categories that they belong to. Instead of being assessed by their potential, achievements, and merit, people are now assessed based on the census categories to which they are assigned and the statistical “representation” of category members.

Instead of receiving opportunities that they have earned, today they receive opportunities according to the census categories to which they belong. Instead of being judged on their individual characteristics, people are judged according to whether they belong to “oppressor” or “victim” census categories. Instead of participating in an open competition, white people and members of successful minorities are excluded in order to make places for underperforming minorities.

Flipping Old Bigotries

Old illiberal bigotries, in which women and people of color were demeaned, have not been removed, they have simply been flipped and applied to men and white people, demeaning and vilifying them as women and people of color were demeaned previously. Is the new bigotry more righteous than the old?
How did this revolutionary change in Western culture come about? We did not vote for it; we did not sign on. This was a stealth revolution, camouflaged as a quest for civil liberties and civil rights. Its tactics consist of semantic tricks, redefining reality by twisting the meaning of words. Here are some examples:
Feminists have repeatedly claimed that their goal was “gender equality,” but they have never acted to advance gender equality. They have lobbied remorselessly for special preferences, benefits, and privileges for women, at the expense of men, for example, preferred admittances to university, preferred hiring, fellowships designated for females, gender appointments to boards, and designated gender places in legislatures.

[The War Against White People]

Women are now highly overrepresented in universities, but never have feminists criticized female overrepresentation and called for equality for males. And notwithstanding that overrepresentation, the demands for more women university admittances and hiring, particularly in the STEM fields, are as shrill as ever. In short, “gender equality” for feminists is now unlimited benefits for females at the expense of males. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

Douglas Murray’s The Madness of Crowds Offers Sanity and Hope
Madeleine Kearns
National Review, Oct. 24, 2019

One of the great pleasures of journalism is that your heroes (the living ones, at least) become accessible. That might be an unorthodox way to begin: a warning that I am biased in this author’s favor. But actually, no. Two years ago, I admired Douglas Murray’s The Strange Death of Europe from afar. Today, after having come to know him, I can say that Mr. Murray (a senior fellow at National Review Institute) is just as incisive, my appreciation is (deservedly) unwavering — and in any case, his most recent book, The Madness of Crowds, demands serious attention from friend and foe alike.

The book wades into four thorny issues — “gay,” “women,” “race,” and “trans” — marking new territory for the author, whose last book was about Islam and immigration. No tidy resolutions are found in its pages. Rather there are questions — precisely the right questions — giving the reader permission to think, without telling her what to think. “I hope that this book will help clear some terrain across which afterwards other people may more safely pass,” he explains in his introduction, invoking as a metaphor the Great Viper, a mine-clearing device used by the British army during the Second World War.

Our culture is a much longer, more sprawling river than is often imagined. Murray treks upstream to the polluted waters of contemporary philosophy, before heading back down to pop culture’s shallower pools. Near the source of these waters, Murray discovers Foucault’s “perverse” and “dishonest” obsession with power, as well as his disregard for charity and forgiveness. He finds latent Marxism, its anti-capitalist formula applied to new structures of “privilege,” ones that relate to identity. The new formula insists that “the power of the patriarchal white males must be taken away and shared around more fairly with the relevant minority groups.”

In the academy, Murray encounters deconstructionists — perhaps more accurately labeled destructionists — and, nearby, social constructionists and others who have breathed life into some staggeringly mad ideas (e.g., that gender is entirely a “performance” untethered to biology). The new “disciplines” are fool’s gold. Queer studies, black studies, gender studies, whiteness studies — all explore new “interlocking oppressions.” Murray observes wryly that no accompanying “map of utopia” has ever been (or, presumably, ever will be) provided. So what do we nourish ourselves with in the meantime, while awaiting salvation? Shame, anger, confusion, and despair — all force-fed to the young, whom the author advises us to pity. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

The Perils of Forgetting
Alvin Rosenfeld
Tablet, Nov. 8, 2019

In today’s impassioned political wars over the politics of racial hatred, it is no surprise that words and images from the Nazi period are regularly invoked. Hitler analogies have long been with us but they are now especially popular, with President Trump’s face often photoshopped alongside the Nazi Fuehrer’s. While we are not yet witnessing anything as widespread as the “swastika epidemic” of 1959-60, which saw the proliferation of thousands of swastikas in more than 30 countries, the Nazi symbol is making a comeback with a proliferation of swastikas defacing synagogues, Jewish homes, and cemeteries in the U.S. Swastikas were on proud display at the infamous 2017 rally in Charlottesville where far-right marchers chanted “Jews will not replace us.” But such imagery is not confined to white nationalist circles, it has appeared as well among high school students who, perhaps ignorant of the history of Nazi atrocities, fool around with Nazi symbolism.

The backdrop for this revival of Nazi symbolism is the global resurgence of anti-Semitism, including in the United States. This resurgence, less than a century after the end of WWII, calls into question the long and widely held assumption that popular knowledge of the Holocaust—what we have come to call Holocaust education—would inhibit the return of anti-Semitic passions in the public sphere. But, to work, this assumption in turn requires that Holocaust education is substantive and effective, amounting to more than the mere instrumentalization of historical tragedy.  Here the conclusion is stark: Though the debate over matters related to racism, anti-Semitism, and the nature and legacy of fascism may be impassioned, there evidently has been a major, ongoing failure in transmitting meaningful and lasting knowledge about the Holocaust to a great many Americans.

To grasp the extent of this failure and its consequences, the questions we must ask are: What does this generation of Americans know about the Holocaust? How much do they care about it? And what are the connections between the incipient mainstreaming of today’s anti-Semitism and the weakening or fading of Holocaust memory?

These are not new questions, but they came to my attention in a new and unexpected way during a recent visit to Berlin. I was in the city in June to participate in a conference titled “A Transatlantic Wave of Anti-Semitism? Jew-Hatred in Europe and the United States” (more about this conference later). What provoked the questions about Holocaust memory, however, was not anything I encountered in Germany but, rather, news that reached me there about a contentious debate back home about “concentration camps” on our country’s southern border. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK– Ed.]

For Further Reference:

The Aboriginal Grievance Industry and the Demise of the University:  David Solway, Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship, Sept. 2019— In a brace of scathing articles for the Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship (SAFS), former Native Studies professor at Brandon University in Manitoba, Jeff Muehlbauer, recounts the doctrinal travesty and ideological perversity that has overtaken the modern academy.

Blood for Soil: The Fatal Temptations of Ethnic Politics: Lars-Erik Cederman, Foreign Affairs, March/April 2019 — Since the French Revolution, nationalism—the idea that state borders should coincide with national communities—has constituted the core source of political legitimacy around the world. As nationalism spread from western Europe in the early nineteenth century, it became increasingly ethnic in nature. In places where the state and the nation did not match up, such as Germany, Italy, and most of eastern Europe, the nation tended to be defined in terms of ethnicity, which led to violent processes of unification or secession.

LISTEN:  What They Don’t Teach You at the University of Washington’s Ed School:  Quillette, YouTube — Greg Ellis reads What They Don’t Teach You at the University of Washington’s Ed School, Nick Wilson’s account of spending a year at what turned out to be Neo-Marxist madrasa. It was published in Quillette on April 5, 2019.

The Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar Affair – What We Learned About the Democratic Party: Yossi Kuperwasser, Fathom Journal, Oct. 2019 — Israel’s decision to deny two new Democratic members of the US Congress, Rashida Tlaib from Michigan and Ilhan Omar from Minnesota, an entry visa to visit ‘Palestine’ (the name of a state that does not exist in reality and according to Israel and the United States), or, in fact, the Palestinian Authority (and a bit of Israel) for a tour that was quite clearly intended to demonise Israel and would have showcased their double standards about it, caused criticism to be directed at Israel from the entire Democratic party.

This week’s French-language briefing is titled:  N’en déplaise à l’Union européenne, les implantations sont légales (Novembre 22,2019)
          CIJR wishes our friends and supporters Shabbat Shalom!