Miguel touched on this a little yesterday, but I wanted to go into this a bit further.
First, let me say that I have nothing but the utmost respect for the Sun-Sentinel’s coverage of the Parkland shooting and the cluster-fuck that was Scott Israel’s tenure as sheriff. They truly deserve a Pulitzer for that.
This editorial, on the other hand, is pure dog shit.
Before we dive into the editorial, we need to look at the law.
An act relating to anti-Semitism; amending s. 1000.05, prohibiting discrimination in the Florida K-20 public education system based on religion; requiring a public K-20 educational institution to take into consideration anti-Semitism under certain instances of discrimination; defining the term “anti-Semitism”; providing construction; amending s. 1002.20, F.S.; conforming provisions to changes made by the act; providing an effective date.
So what the law is doing is establishing what counts as discriminatory antisemitism in schools.
Here is the text of the bill as to what counts as anti-Semitic discrimination:
(a) Examples of anti-Semitism include:
1. Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews, often in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
2. Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as a collective, especially, but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
3. Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, the State of Israel, or even for acts committed by non Jews.
4. Accusing Jews as a people or the State of Israel of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
5. Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interest of their own nations.
(b) Examples of anti-Semitism related to Israel include:
1. Demonizing Israel by using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism to characterize Israel or Israelis, drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis, or blaming Israel for all inter-religious or political tensions.
2. Applying a double standard to Israel by requiring behavior of Israel that is not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation, or focusing peace or human rights investigations only on Israel.
3. Delegitimizing Israel by denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination and denying Israel the right to exist.
The bill does try and make clear that it respects freedom of speech.
However, criticism of Israel that is similar to criticism toward any other country may not be regarded as anti-Semitic.
(c) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to diminish or infringe upon any right protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, or the State Constitution. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to conflict with federal or state discrimination laws.
So what does the Sun-Sentinel have to say about this?
It goes too far. As they pointed out, some of its provisions confuse anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel. That has profound constitutional problems, as the bill is plainly meant to be enforced throughout Florida’s public schools, colleges and universities. The staff report on HB 741 remarked on the constitutional issue, noting that “the United States Supreme Court has emphasized that the First Amendment right to free speech includes a right to make hate speech.”
Yes it does, and I don’t disagree with that.
Much contemporary criticism of Israel indeed is animated by anti-Semitism, from the left as well as the right, and it is reprehensible.
Because American schools are a hot bed of right wing, white supremacism. This is clearly trying to use whataboutism to diminish the culpability of the Left on this topic.
J-Street, a pro-peace Jewish lobby in the U.S., criticized the bill as seemingly intended to “crack down on campus critics of Israel” rather than the “xenophobic, white nationalist far right.”
God damn fucking Lefty Jews always defend the Left to the detriment of other Jews. They are Leftists above all else and give cover to anti-Semites.
“At a time when we should be welcoming and valuing open debate on issues of social concern,” said the Floridians’ letter to DeSantis, “HB 741 is a heavy-handed attempt to silence public criticism of the Israeli government’s human rights violations. Agree or disagree with the critics, the Florida Legislature has no business intruding on those discussions. Additionally, the accusation that such criticism is anti-Semitic does a disservice to the real issues of anti-Semitism that should concern all of us today.”
The issue on campuses today has nothing to do with “open debate” and is in fact, open and taxpayer funded discrimination.
The legislation amends Florida’s Educational Equality Act which requires equal access and prevents discrimination against students and employees in Florida’s K-20 public education programs. It adds religion to the existing prohibitions against discrimination on grounds of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability and marital status.
So far, so good. That would protect people of all faiths, including Islam.
But then it deals explicitly and only with defining anti-Semitism. The exclusion of other bigotries, such as anti-Islamic prejudice, occasioned a bitter debate in the House.
No, there is a clear difference here. The issue is that “anti-Israel” or “anti-Zionism” has become a proxy for anti-Semitism. These people deal in every anti-Semitic trope and act, then say “no, we’re just against Israel” to avoid the accusations of religious hatred that should apply to them.
I have not seen anything similar where Muslims are attacked and chastised en masse because of the actions of Saudi Arabia or Iran.
In a December 2016 New York Times op-ed, Stern wrote that congressional attempts to write them into U.S. law were aimed directly at the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel, which has traction on many college campuses. At best, he said, “students and faculty members will be scared into silence, and administrators will err on the side of suppressing or censoring speech.”
“Rather than suppressing speech about the conflict,” he concluded, “we should be encouraging it. How else will students learn?”
This is total horseshit. The last thing the hard Left wants to encourage is actual debate. They want to bash and burn and de-platform, and drown out, and shout down everyone they oppose. That is not free speech.
So why do I support this bill while still supporting free speech?
Because as a tax payer, I do not believe that I should have to pay for discrimination.
At UCLA, Jewish student Rachel Beyda was denied a position on the UCLA student government, which is school funded, because other students questioned if she had dual loyalty and would be impartial in a vote to support campus BDS. This is actual, school funded and sanctioned discrimination that was passed off as “anti-Zionism” and not anti-Semitism, until the school board was reminded that they could be sued over this and reversed the student government’s decision.
California schools have dropped study abroad programs to Israel. Not because of a lack of academic rigor, but of pure political ideology.
These are both cases of anti-Israel attitudes that actually harm the students by denying them opportunity because of political beliefs. This is naked discrimination.
On many college campuses groups like Students for Justice in Palestine are recognized school clubs and receive funds from the school.
Here is the Sun-Sentinel itself covering the kinds of school funded activities they engage in.
It’s no secret that college campuses are often some of the most hostile environments these days for pro-Israel and Jewish students. From BDS resolutions to anti-Israel speakers, young adults are often on the defensive for openly supporting Israel on campus. However, for one week each year, many campuses across North America and around the world are transformed into hotbeds of anti-Israel programming and events known as “Israeli Apartheid Week” (IAW).
Beyond the usual pro-BDS and anti-Israel rhetoric, several campuses stood out for their activities, events and choice of speakers.
Harvard University’s undergraduate council voted to give $2,050 to the Palestine Solidarity Committee to add to their IAW a physical “Wall of Resistance,” sponsored by 14 students groups, including Harvard College Democrats, Palestinian speakers and a student panel, reported the school’s newspaper, The Harvard Crimson.
The anti-Israel speakers included Princeton University professor and political activist Cornel West and Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill, who was fired by CNN in November as a contributor for calling for “a Free Palestine From the River to the Sea.”
“This openly anti-Zionist event frequently crossed the line into outright anti-Semitism, including conflations of Zionism with ‘white supremacy,’ and enthusiastic chants to free Palestine ‘from the river to the sea,’ which is commonly understood as a call for the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state,” CAMERA campus coordinator Zac Schildcrout told JNS. “These radical ideas that demonize Jews are bigoted and should be passionately countered by the Harvard community.”
The funding came from the student government’s Grant for an Open Harvard College that subsidizes “compelling interests,” which include “mental health, race, culture and faith relations, sexual assault and harassment prevention, social spaces and financial accessibility,” reported the Crimson.
So the question at hand is, should Florida schools be giving money to groups that engage in open anti-Semitism?
Let me put it another way. If a bunch of white students wanted to create a Kollege Ku Klux Klan Klub (call it 5K to make it sound hip) and engage in simulated lynchings and blame black students on campus for raping white co-eds, should the school provide club funds to do that?
No, of course not. Nothing in the First Amendment requires that the government fund speech.
Is my example over blown. No, not at all.
Here are students on the UC Berkely campus chanting for the Intifada.
Intifada refers to several Palestinian uprisings that targeted Israeli civilians for murder and terrorism. These are students chanting for the murder of Jews in Israel, and elsewhere, with a group that receives school funds.
It has been recognized that across many college campuses, it’s not safe to be Jewish or pro-Israel anymore. This is largely the fault of groups like BDS and SJP, who receive the backing of the schools and professors.
The Lewis D. Brandies Center touched on some of the issues here.
Many college and university administrations do not respond to anti-Semitic incidents in a formal statement and if they do, it is typically in vague language that is too general and unhelpful like broadly speaking to issues involving “diversity” or “tolerance”. Even more often, statements are put out involving responses to racist and prejudiced actions against other groups in society, such as African-Americans or LGBTQ, but very few statements condemn anti-Semitism directly. This trend leads to Jewish students perceiving a lack of support from the administrations of their colleges, something that directly affects their willingness to speak out about their own experiences and encounters with anti-Semitism.
One byproduct of the growing trend of anti-Semitic incidents on campus is a wider shield of academic freedom protecting biased professors and scholars. While academics are entitled to their own opinions, there are an increasing number of reports pointing to professors attempting to indoctrinate students in their class. Again, this type of abuse is documented in Columbia Unbecoming. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights observed in 2006 that “many university departments of Middle East studies provide one-sided, highly polemical academic presentations and some may repress legitimate debate concerning Israel.” There exists an even higher degree of conflict when thinking about the constitutional right to freedom of speech. In many situations of the abuse of academic freedom, the culprit is an intimidation on defending an opinion or belittling a point of view. The Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) have released an informative statement detailing the different forms of this abuse, such as hostile environments and silencing students, and how to combat them, through administrative policy.
So again, what we see is not open debate and students being treated with equality. This anti-Semitism masquerading as anti-Zionism or criticism of Israel is institutionalized and often funded by Universities.
There is a documentary called Crossing the Line 2: The New Face of Anti-Semitism on Campus that covers this in great detail. It is worth every minute of its half-hour run time.
I encourage you to watch it. Then ask yourself if any other minority group was subject to so much bigotry and hatred sanctioned by the school system, if the media wouldn’t be screaming about this every second of every day.
With this bill recognizing that certain criticisms of Israel are just anti-Semitism, it is a way to stop schools from officially sanctioning and paying for the groups that peddle in this hatred.
You have the right to spread your hateful bullshit.
You do not have the right to have your hateful bullshit paid for by tax payers.
Any college or campus group that espouses this kind of Jew hating horseshit can have the right to speak, but the school administration needs to understand that that second that they use school funds to pay for it or sanction it as school policy (the way so many campuses have adopted BDS) they are making anti-Semitic description an official school policy.