During his speech in Phoenix on Tuesday night, Donald Trump spat out the nickname “antifa,” short for “anti-fascist” but also a reference to a particular strand of aggressive left-wing activism. In Mr. Trump’s telling, the presence of antifa activists during the violence in Charlottesville, Va., this month was evidence that the far left is just as violent as the far right: “You know, they show up in the helmets and the black masks, and they’ve got clubs and they’ve got everything.”
Member Writings and Interviews
Hatred comes in many forms. The worst of these in recent decades has been Nazi hatred. It took the lives of tens of millions of innocent people during World War II and focused on the total destruction of Jews. Unrestrained for too long, Nazi power brought catastrophe upon Germany, the country that nurtured and empowered it.
There’s a story conservatives have been telling about the decline of free speech on campuses, and it goes like this: America has spiraled downward from a golden age, when the groves of academe were precincts of whole-hearted civil freedom, to today, when hypersensitive left-wing students, obsessed by race- and gender-based “microaggressions,” clamor for “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings.”
It is tricky to assess the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. On the one hand, one does not want to underestimate the damage to Israel’s reputation done by even unsuccessful campaigns. The campus boycott movement, about which I have written extensively, succeeds not only when students actually vote to divest but also when onlookers, who have no dog in the fight between pro-Israel and anti-Israel activists, come away with the impression that Zionism is, if not a dirty word, at least suspect. We have been fortunate that BDS has done so much of late to discredit itself, but it would be a mistake to underestimate the campaign’s potential.
Six years ago, a teenager in Newton, Massachusetts — Shiri Pagliuso — asked her father if it was true that Israel tortures and murders women activists in the Palestinian resistance movement.
In April, COMMENTARY asked a wide variety of writers, thinkers, and broadcasters to respond to this question: Is free speech under threat in the United States? We received twenty-seven responses. We publish them here in alphabetical order.
Late this May, Vida Samiian, Director of Middle East Studies at California State University, Fresno, resigned. Her complaint: “the unethical and discriminatory cancellation of the Edward Said Professorship [in Middle Eastern Studies] search.”
I am a professor of Jewish history in North Carolina, and I find it very discouraging that so few young academics, particularly tenured ones, in Jewish studies are willing to speak out against Jewish Voice for Peace’s ideology and its increasingly vitriolic tactics. I am calling on my colleagues who believe that dialogue and justice are not incompatible with Zionism to recognize Jewish Voice for Peace’s demagoguery.
This past June 25, a Jewish Zionist group participating in the LGBT Dyke March in Chicago, Ill. was asked to leave that parade. According to Laurel Grauer, the head of the ejected group (called “A Wider Bridge”) was asked to leave since she carried a rainbow gay flag with the Star of David on it. The organizers of the parade found the flag offensive and accused Israel and its supporters of hiding behind LGBT rights.
It was a Chicago weekend filled with gay pride events, with friends and families cheering on the marchers. But a dark cloud loomed over one event. When some lesbians showed up at the “Dyke March” with banners that included a Star of David, they were booted out.