Saturday, September 9, 2017

When great institutions lie - Caroline Glick

by Caroline Glick

By publishing their findings under Stanford’s name, Kelman and his associates are using Stanford’s brand to give credence to their pseudo-academic research.

DIARY on display at the US Holocaust Museum
DIARY on display at the US Holocaust Museum. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Over the past week, two major US institutions have produced studies that discredit their names and reputations as credible organizations. Their actions are important in and of themselves. But they also point to a disturbing trend in the US in which the credibility of important American institutions is being undermined from within by their members who pursue narrow partisan or ideological agendas in the name of their institutions.

The political implications of this larger trend were clearly in evidence in the 2016 presidential election. From a larger, long-term sociological perspective, if the current trend is not reversed the implications for American society will likely be long lasting and deeply destructive.

The first study was produced by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. It dealt with the Obama administration’s policies regarding the war in Syria and specifically the acts of mass murder undertaken by the Assad regime. Authored by Cameron Hudson, a former Obama administration national security official who now serves as the director of the museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, the report absolved the Obama administration of all responsibility of the bloodbath in Syria.

As reported by Tablet magazine, the paper argued that “a variety of factors, which were more or less fixed, made it very difficult from the beginning for the US government to take effective action to prevent atrocities in Syria.”

The paper’s claim was based on “computational modeling and game theory methods, as well as interviews with experts and policy-makers.” It argued that had then-president Barack Obama not ignored his own redline and actually responded with force to the regime’s 2013 chemical weapons attack at Ghouta, it wouldn’t have made a difference.

In the last months of the Obama administration, Obama appointed several of his loyalists, including his deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, to positions on the board of the Holocaust Memorial Museum. Rhodes was one of the architects of Obama’s Syria policy.

After sections of the report were released to Tablet and the report was posted on the museum’s website, its findings were angrily rejected by prominent Jewish communal leaders and human rights activists.

For instance, literary critic Leon Wieseltier told Tablet, “The first thing I have to say is: Shame on the Holocaust Museum.”

He added, “If I had the time I would gin up a parody version of this that will give us the computational- modeling algorithmic counterfactual analysis of [then-US assistant secretary of war] John J. McCloy’s decision not to bomb the Auschwitz ovens in 1944. I’m sure we could concoct the f***ing algorithm for that, too.”

Wieseltier was exactly right. A mathematical model is based on inputs and outputs. If you input specific data, you will get specific consequences. From an academic perspective, the study’s findings are worthless.

In the wake of the firestorm the report provoked, the museum pulled the study from its website and canceled its scheduled formal presentation on September 11.

But the damage that the Holocaust Memorial Museum did to its reputation by producing and publishing a transparently false, politically motivated report is not something that can be mitigated by pulling it from its website.

As some of the Jewish communal leaders who spoke to Tablet suggested, the Holocaust Memorial Museum diminished its moral authority as an institution by publishing a report clearly produced to rewrite recent history in a manner that absolved the Obama administration of all responsibility for the mass murder in Syria.

While distressing, the impact of the Holocaust Memorial Museum’s action is limited to a historical falsehood. The goal of the second study published this week by an esteemed institution is to distort and indeed block discussion about a problem that is ongoing.

This week, Stanford University’s Research Group in Education and Jewish Studies published a report which purports to show that there is no significant antisemitism on US college campuses and that Jewish students do not feel threatened by antisemitism.

The Stanford’s conclusions fly in the face of a massive body of data, collected by researchers over the past decade, which all show the opposite to be the case. If the Stanford study is believed, it will discredit the work of hundreds of professional researchers and academics, journalists and Jewish and academic leaders throughout the US.

But that’s the thing of it. The Stanford study is utter nonsense.

As the researchers, led by Associate Professor of Education of Jewish Studies Ari Kelman, made clear in their report, their study is the product of interviews with a deliberately chosen, nonrepresentative group of 66 Jewish students from five California campuses who are not involved in Jewish life.

The researchers said that they deliberately chose only Jews who aren’t involved in Jewish life on campus, since they make up the majority of Jewish students on campuses. The researchers claimed that reports on campus antisemitism are generally distorted, because they generally highlight the views of the minority of students who deeply involved in Jewish life at their universities. Their views, the researchers said, are different from the views of Jews who aren’t involved.

There is certainly a valid argument to be made for researching the views of uninvolved Jewish students about antisemitism on campus. But the researchers didn’t do that. They didn’t survey a random, and therefore statistically meaningful sample of uninvolved Jews.

They went to great length to ensure that the “uninvolved” Jewish students were their sort of “uninvolved” Jewish students. As they wrote, “We screened students with respect to their activities in order to determine whether or not they fit our general criteria so as to minimize those with vastly different definitions of ‘involvement’ than ours.”

Armed with their painstakingly selected, nonrepresentative 66 Jewish students, Kelman and his team concluded that all the researchers who have conducted statistically relevant studies of Jewish students on US university campuses are wrong. There isn’t a problem with antisemitism on campus. All the Jewish students the researchers spoke with felt perfectly safe on their campuses as Jews.

This academically worthless finding, published under the Stanford University letterhead, would be bad enough. But the fact is that this finding is the least sinister aspect of the study.

The real purpose of the “study” was to use this deliberately selected group of students to shut down debate on the most prevalent and fastest growing form of antisemitism on campuses: anti-Zionism.

The survey found that their interlocutors “reject the conflation of Jewish and Israel.”

“They chafe at [the] assumption that they, as Jews, necessarily support Israeli policies. They object to the accusation that American Jews are responsible for the actions of the Israeli government, and they express similar discomforts with the expectation that all Jews should be Zionists.”

At the same time, they really don’t like Israel much at all. The survey’s Jewish students “struggle with Israel,” whose actions “generally often contradict their own political values.”

Here we begin to see the ideological purpose of the pseudo-academic Stanford study.

First things first. The uninvolved students who think that Israel’s actions “generally often contradict their own political values” told Kelman and his colleagues that they are offended by “the accusation that American Jews are responsible for the actions of the Israeli government.”

And this makes sense because that accusation is self-evidently a form of antisemitism. Like antisemites who accuse Jews of killing Jesus, antisemites on campuses is ascribe responsibility for the alleged “crimes” of the Jewish state to American Jewish students in California.

So by “chafing” at the allegation, the students his researchers deliberately selected acknowledged that they are offended by antisemitism.

But then, helpfully, they agreed with the researchers that antisemitism isn’t antisemitism.

The study went on to explain that its student correspondents have been intimidated into silence by the “tone of campus political activism in general, and around Israel and Palestine specifically.”

That tone, they said, is “severe, divisive and alienating,” and the students wish to avoid paying “the social costs” of involvement.

So a study involving a deliberately selected, nonrepresentative sample of Jewish students who acknowledge that they don’t think much of Israel still found that the atmosphere of the debate about Israel is so wretched that Jews who might otherwise have wished to participate are too scared to speak their minds.

Somehow, the researchers managed to ignore this obvious finding. Instead of paying attention to the elephant in the room, Kelman and his team pretended the elephant was a dishwasher.

They concluded the problem isn’t the antisemites.

Kelman told Tablet that in addition to being “turned off” by people who blame them for Israel – that is, antisemites, “they’re similarly turned off by the assumptions of people in the Jewish community that all Jews will get behind the actions of the State of Israel.”

In other words, the antisemitism of the students who accuse them of responsibility for Israel’s policies because they are Jews is just as bad as the attempts by pro-Israel students to get them involved in defending Israel – a place Kelman’s deliberately unrepresentative sample doesn’t care for very much.

By conflating pro-Israel Jews and antisemitic Israel- bashers, the Stanford researchers give cover for continued antisemitism on campus.

As they explain things in the name of their unrepresentative Jewish students, attacking Jews as Jews is just part of a legitimate, if alienating, debate about Israel where Israel’s defenders are as bad as its opponents.

Students who call for Israel’s annihilation and demand that Jews not defend Israel’s right to exist, are not antisemites for wanting to kill more than 6 million Israeli Jews and attacking anyone who doesn’t share their genocidal view. They are just partisans in a legitimate debate.

BDS supporters who wish to wage economic and cultural war on Israel and Israeli Jews just because Israel exists aren’t antisemites. They are just advocates of a legitimate policy preference.

Anti-Israel activists who attack any American Jews who profess support for Zionism aren’t antisemites. They, like pro-Israel students, are just engaging in an unpleasant but entirely legitimate debate.

By publishing their findings under Stanford’s name, Kelman and his associates are using Stanford’s brand to give credence to their pseudo-academic research whose transparent and pernicious goal is to end public debate about antisemitism on college campuses while keeping Jewish students intimidated into silence.

Whereas the Holocaust Memorial Museum was rightly excoriated for its willingness to have its institution hijacked for narrow partisan ends that distort the historical record, media reports of the Stanford pseudo-study have been respectful. This is deeply troubling. So long as institutions pay no price for the exploitation of their name by agenda- driven members, they will not rein in their members. And over time, the American public’s faith in its national institutions will continue to diminish, to the detriment of the US as a whole.

Caroline Glick


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Twitter Moves to Silence All Criticism of Islam - Robert Spencer

by Robert Spencer

As Sharia continues to descend over the Internet.

Remember Google’s old motto, “Don’t be evil”? It sounds so ironic now, with the social media giants all rushing to implement Sharia blasphemy restrictions and choke off all criticism of Islam. Twitter is working so hard to do this that it should adopt a new motto: “Be evil.”
Twitter certainly lives by that motto. It lets stand open death threats against me. It censors content to suit Iran’s Islamic authorities. It has flagged as “hateful” tweets stating the fact that Islam is not a religion of peace and reporting accurately about anti-Semitic statements by an imam. It has let Islamic State accounts stand while banning those of people who report terrorists. It has shadowbanned my account, preventing thousands of readers from seeing Jihad Watch posts.

And it isn’t just me, of course. Breitbart reported Monday that “a Muslim apostate and high profile campaigner against both female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage has been suspended from micro-blogging platform Twitter, amidst a wider crackdown on right wing voices on the website, and other online platforms like Facebook.”

The human rights activist in question, Shazia Hobbs, explained: “It’s absolutely disgusting. There was no reason given. Twitter would not tell me what tweets were in violation of their rules. They said it was because of ‘harassment’. All I tweet about is the rape of Pakistani children by Pakistani men.”

That’s not allowed to be noticed. Twitter even classifies as “hateful” the commonplace and demonstrably true observation that Islam is not a religion of peace.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that a hashtag, #ConfessYourUnpopularOpinion, was trending on Twitter. So I thought I would have a little fun, wrote out the tweet below, and forgot about the whole thing until several days ago, when I received this email warning me that this tweet was being evaluated for possible violation of Twitter’s “hateful conduct policy.”
Dear Twitter user,
We are writing to inform you that certain content on your Twitter account @jihadwatchRS has been flagged, for possible violation of Twitter’s hateful conduct policy (, specifically:
We are sending you this notification to allow you to evaluate it.
If it is determined that the flagged content does not violate our hateful conduct policy, Twitter may still withhold content in France if the content appears to violate the laws of France.
For more information on our Country Withheld Content policy please see this page:
If you believe we have contacted you in error, please reply to this email and let us know.

“We are sending you this notification to allow you to evaluate it,” said Twitter.” All right. Let’s evaluate it.

One might also get the impression that Islam is not a religion of peace from these Qur’an verses:

2:191-193: “And kill them wherever you come upon them, and expel them from where they expelled you; persecution is worse than slaughter. But do not fight them by the holy mosque until they should fight you there; then, if they fight you, kill them — such is the recompense of unbelievers, but if they give over, surely Allah is all-forgiving, all-compassionate. Fight them, till there is no persecution and the religion is Allah’s; then if they give over, there shall be no hatred except for evildoers.”

4:89: “They wish that you should disbelieve as they disbelieve, and then you would be equal; therefore do not take friends and protectors from them, until they emigrate in the way of Allah; then, if they turn their backs, take them, and kill them wherever you find them; do not take any of them as friend or helper.”

5:33: “This is the recompense of those who fight against Allah and His Messenger, and hasten about the earth, to do corruption there: they shall be slaughtered, or crucified, or their hands and feet shall alternately be struck off; or they shall be banished from the land. That is a degradation for them in this world; and in the world to come awaits them a mighty chastisement.”

8:12: “When thy Lord was revealing to the angels, ‘I am with you; so confirm the believers. I shall cast terror into the unbelievers’ hearts; so smite above the necks, and smite every finger of them!”

8:39: “Fight them, till there is no persecution and the religion is Allah’s entirely; then if they give over, surely Allah sees the things they do.”

8:60: “Make ready for them whatever force and strings of horses you can, to strike terror thereby into the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others besides them that you know not; Allah knows them. And whatsoever you expend in the way of Allah shall be repaid you in full; you will not be wronged.”

9:5: “Then, when the sacred months are over, kill the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they repent, and perform the prayer, and pay the alms, then let them go their way; Allah is All-forgiving, All-compassionate.”

9:29: “Fight those who believe not in Allah and the Last Day and do not forbid what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden, and do not practice the religion of truth, even if they are of the People of the Book — until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued.”

9:111: “Allah has bought from the believers their selves and their possessions against the gift of Paradise; they fight in the way of Allah; they kill, and are killed; that is a promise binding upon Allah in the Torah, and the Gospel, and the Koran; and who fulfils his covenant truer than Allah? So rejoice in the bargain you have made with Him; that is the mighty triumph.”

9:123: “O believers, fight the unbelievers who are near to you; and let them find in you a harshness; and know that Allah is with the godfearing.”

47:4: “When you meet the unbelievers, strike their necks, then, when you have made wide slaughter among them, tie fast the bonds; then set them free, either by grace or ransom, till the war lays down its loads. So it shall be; and if Allah had willed, He would have avenged Himself upon them; but that He may try some of you by means of others. And those who are slain in the way of Allah, He will not send their works astray.”

Ah, but these are interpreted in a benign way by mainstream Islamic authorities, right? Wrong. There are some tolerant verses in the Qur’an as well — see, for example, sura 109. But then in Islamic tradition there are authorities who say that violent passages take precedence over these verses. Muhammad’s earliest biographer, an eighth-century Muslim named Ibn Ishaq, explains the progression of Qur’anic revelation about warfare. First, he explains, Allah allowed Muslims to wage defensive warfare. But that was not Allah’s last word on the circumstances in which Muslims should fight. Ibn Ishaq explains offensive jihad by invoking a Qur’anic verse: “Then God sent down to him: ‘Fight them so that there be no more seduction,’ i.e. until no believer is seduced from his religion. ‘And the religion is God’s’, i.e. Until God alone is worshipped.”

The Qur’an verse Ibn Ishaq quotes here (2:193) commands much more than defensive warfare: Muslims must fight until “the religion is God’s” — that is, until Allah alone is worshipped. Ibn Ishaq gives no hint that that command died with the seventh century.

The great medieval scholar Ibn Qayyim (1292-1350) also outlines the stages of the Muhammad’s prophetic career: “For thirteen years after the beginning of his Messengership, he called people to God through preaching, without fighting or Jizyah, and was commanded to restrain himself and to practice patience and forbearance. Then he was commanded to migrate, and later permission was given to fight. Then he was commanded to fight those who fought him, and to restrain himself from those who did not make war with him. Later he was commanded to fight the polytheists until God’s religion was fully established.”

In other words, he initially could fight only defensively — only “those who fought him” — but later he could fight the polytheists until Islam was “fully established.” He could fight them even if they didn’t fight him first, and solely because they were not Muslim.

Nor do all contemporary Islamic thinkers believe that that command is a relic of history. According to a 20th century Chief Justice of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Humaid, “at first ‘the fighting’ was forbidden, then it was permitted and after that it was made obligatory.” He also distinguishes two groups Muslims must fight: “(1) against them who start ‘the fighting’ against you (Muslims) . . . (2) and against all those who worship others along with Allah . . . as mentioned in Surat Al-Baqarah (II), Al-Imran (III) and At-Taubah (IX) . . . and other Surahs (Chapters of the Qur’an).” (The Roman numerals after the names of the chapters of the Qur’an are the numbers of the suras: Sheikh Abdullah is referring to Qur’anic verses such as 2:216, 3:157-158, 9:5, and 9:29.)

Here again, obviously there is a widespread understanding of the Qur’an within Islamic tradition that sees it, and Islam, as inherently violent. And we see Muslims who clearly understand their religion as being inherently violent acting upon that understanding around the world today.

But if you note that on Twitter, you’re “hateful.”

Twitter, like the other social media giants, should be broken up using anti-trust laws. It is an increasingly fascist platform that ruthlessly clamps down on voices that dare to dissent from the Leftist agenda.

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Free Speech (and Its Enemies). Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.


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European Court Orders EU Countries to Take Migrants - Soeren Kern

by Soeren Kern

The September 6 ruling, which has been hailed as a victory for European federalism, highlights the degree to which the European Union has usurped decision-making powers from its 28 member states.

  • The September 6 ruling, which has been hailed as a victory for European federalism, highlights the degree to which the European Union has usurped decision-making powers from its 28 member states. The ruling also showcases how the EU's organs of jurisprudence have become politicized.
  • Many so-called asylum seekers have refused to relocate to Central and Eastern Europe because the financial benefits there are not as generous as in France, Germany or Scandinavia.
  • "Let us not forget that those arriving have been raised in another religion, and represent a radically different culture. Most of them are not Christians, but Muslims. This is an important question, because Europe and European identity is rooted in Christianity. Is it not worrying in itself that European Christianity is now barely able to keep Europe Christian? If we lose sight of this, the idea of Europe could become a minority interest in its own continent." — Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
The European Union's highest court has rejected a complaint by Hungary and Slovakia over the legality of the bloc's mandatory refugee quota program, which requires EU member states to admit tens of thousands of migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that the European Commission, the powerful executive arm of the European Union, has the legal right to order EU member states to take in so-called asylum seekers, and, conversely, that EU member states have no legal right to resist those orders.

The September 6 ruling, which has been hailed as a victory for European federalism, highlights the degree to which the European Union has usurped decision-making powers from its 28 member states. The ruling also showcases how the European Union's organs of jurisprudence have become politicized.

Opponents of the relocation scheme say that decisions about the granting of residence permits should be kept at the national level, and that by unilaterally imposing migrant quotas on EU member states, unelected bureaucrats in Brussels are seeking to force the democratically elected leaders of Europe to submit to their diktat.

The dispute dates back to September 2015, when, at the height of Europe's migration crisis, EU member states narrowly voted to relocate 120,000 "refugees" from Italy and Greece to other parts of the bloc. This number was in addition to a July 2015 plan to redistribute 40,000 migrants from Italy and Greece.

Of the 160,000 migrants to be "shared," nine countries in Central and Eastern Europe were ordered to take in around 15,000 migrants. Although the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia voted against the agreement, they were still required to comply.

Since then, several states have refused to accept their assigned quotas of migrants. Poland, for example, has a quota of 6,182 migrants, not one of whom has been admitted. The Czech Republic has a quota of 2,691 migrants, of whom only 12 have been taken. Hungary has a quota of 1,294, none of whom has been admitted.

In the EU as a whole, so far only around 25,000 migrants have been relocated (7,873 from Italy and 16,803 from Greece), according to the EU's latest relocation and resettlement report, published on July 26, 2017. Of the 28 EU member states, only Latvia and Malta have taken in their full quotas — a combined total of 469 migrants.

Many so-called asylum seekers have refused to relocate to Central and Eastern Europe because the financial benefits there are not as generous as in France, Germany or Scandinavia. Hundreds of migrants who have been relocated to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which rank among the poorest countries in the EU, have since fled to Germany and other wealthier countries in the bloc.

Hungary and Slovakia, backed by Poland, argued that the European Union broke its own rules and exceeded its powers when it approved the quota system with a "qualified majority" — around two thirds of the bloc's members. They also argued that the relocation scheme is a direct violation of the European Union's Dublin Regulation, a law that requires people seeking refuge within the EU to do so in the first European country they reach.

The European Court of Justice ruled that a qualified majority vote was sufficient because the EU "was not required to act unanimously when it adopted the contested decision." The ruling, which did not mention the Dublin Regulation, concluded: "The mechanism actually contributes to enabling Greece and Italy to deal with the impact of the 2015 migration crisis and is proportionate."

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto called the court ruling "outrageous and irresponsible" and "contrary to the interests of the European nations, including Hungary." He added: "The decision puts at risk the security of all of Europe and the future of all of Europe as well."

Szijjarto vowed that Hungary would continue to challenge any attempts by the EU resettle migrants in Hungary without its approval. "The real battle is only just beginning," he said, adding that the decision was political: "Politics has raped European law and values."

Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico said that while he "respected" the court's decision, his government's opposition to the relocation plan "has not changed at all." He added: "We will continue to work on having solidarity expressed in different ways other than forcing on us migrants from other countries that do not want to be here anyway."

Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło also was defiant: "I was convinced that the court would make such a decision, but this absolutely does not change the stance of the Polish government with respect to migration policy."

After the ruling of the European Court of Justice that the EU has the legal right to order member states to take in so-called asylum seekers, and that member states have no right to resist those orders, Polish PM Beata Szydło was defiant, saying, "this absolutely does not change the stance of the Polish government with respect to migration policy." (ECJ photo by Transparency International/Flickr; Szydło photo by Polish PM Chancellery)

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said that the ruling means Eastern European member states must abide by the refugee sharing scheme: "I always said to our Eastern European partners that it is right to clarify questions legally if there is doubt. But now we can expect all European partners to stick to the ruling and implement the agreements without delay."

EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos welcomed the ECJ ruling: "ECJ confirms relocation scheme valid. Time to work in unity and implement solidarity in full." He warned holdouts of legal action if they do not comply with the refugee obligations "in coming weeks."

The European Commission has already initiated legal action against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland for failing to take in their quotas of migrants. The so-called infringement procedure, which authorizes the Commission to sue member states that are considered to be in breach of their obligations under EU law, could lead to massive financial penalties.

The ECJ ruling and the continued threats from Brussels are likely to help Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orbán in his campaign for re-election in 2018. In a recent opinion survey, Orbán's Fidesz party polled at 53%, followed by the nationalist Jobbik party, at 21%. He has said that his campaign platform would focus on boosting the economy, improving security and preserving national identity.

Orbán, who has emerged as the standard-bearer of European opposition to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's "open-door" migration policy, has repeatedly warned that Muslim migrants are threatening Europe's Christian identity:
"Let us not forget that those arriving have been raised in another religion, and represent a radically different culture. Most of them are not Christians, but Muslims. This is an important question, because Europe and European identity is rooted in Christianity. Is it not worrying in itself that European Christianity is now barely able to keep Europe Christian? If we lose sight of this, the idea of Europe could become a minority interest in its own continent."
At a September 3 campaign rally in the town of Kötcse, Orbán cited expert predictions that more than 60 million people are expected to make their way from Africa into Europe during the next 20 years — thereby pushing Europe's Muslim population to above 20% by 2030. "The Islamization of Europe is real," Orbán warned.

Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute.


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DoJ files brief on behalf of baker in gay wedding cake case - Rick Moran

by Rick Moran

Here, the Justice Department argues, the making of a wedding cake is an expressive activity, and the court needs to engage in heightened scrutiny of the First Amendment issues

The Department of Justice will file an amicus brief in the case of a Colorado baker who ran afoul of the state's civil rights laws when he refused to bake a wedding reception cake for a gay couple.

Hit and Run:
The baker, Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Bakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, is the plaintiff in a case scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court this fall. The state's civil rights commission ruled that Phillips violated Colorado's public accommodations law and engaged in discrimination for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
Phillips has argued that his religious beliefs oppose same-sex marriage recognition. Forcing him to make a wedding cake for a gay couple was compelling him to participate in the couple's wedding and that the act of crafting a wedding cake—not merely just selling one—is expressive activity protected by the First Amendment.

Here, the Justice Department argues, the making of a wedding cake is an expressive activity, and the court needs to engage in heightened scrutiny of the First Amendment issues:
A public accommodations law exacts a greater First Amendment toll if it also compels participation in a ceremony or other expressive event. That participation may be literal, as in the case of a wedding photographer who attends and is actively involved with the wedding itself. Or that participation may be figurative, as when a person designs and crafts a custom-made wedding ring that performs an important expressive function in the ceremony. Either way, such forced participation intensifies the degree of governmental intrusion.
Read the brief here.
The brief is narrowly argued:
It is not making a case for freedom of association, whereupon businesses would have a general right to decide with whom to do business. The filing is very specific that in this case and in similar cases involving expressive activity (photography, floral arrangements), the First Amendment of the business owners are violated if they're compelled by the law to participate by producing goods or offering their services.
And that's really what the Supreme Court will be considering in this case. Is the act of baking a cake a form of expressive activity and therefore protected by the First Amendment? We'll get a sense of what the justices think when they hear the case later this year.
Liberal justices will almost certainly raise the slippery slope issue:
If a baker can refuse service to a same-sex couple, someone else would surely come forward to claim a religious right to deny service in the case of interracial or interfaith marriages. The courts would naturally be inclined to object to that. In so doing, they'd essentially be saying that discrimination based on sexual orientation is acceptable while other forms are not.
Do courts really want to get into the business of deciding which forms of discrimination have a legitimate grounding in religious values and which do not?
Isn't that what the Supreme Court is supposed to do? Make the tough calls on what objections to a law are based on true constitutional rights and which aren't? Is the fact that ruling in favor of the baker would open the floodgates for litigating all sorts of unrelated cases be a determining factor in gay marriage case?

This may be why the DoJ offered such a narrow defense of the baker:
If the Supreme Court does insist on finding a religious right to deny service, it should do so in the narrowest way possible. One idea might be to find that anyone claiming a religious objection is obligated to find an alternative vendor to provide the requested services.
I can't imagine anyone but radical leftists objecting to that.

But the justices may conclude that after already legalizing same sex marriage, they should be consistent in applying the law to protect gays. It's hard to say what will happen, except the vote will be close.

Rick Moran


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The Latest Victim of the Campus Hate Industry - Bruce Bawer

by Bruce Bawer

Robbie Travers, whose only offense is believing in freedom and opposing a totalitarian ideology, has found himself in hot water -- a real victim of a mentality that is all about power and dogma even as its pretends to be devoted to "dignity and respect" for all.

  • "All men are trash." — Esme Allman.
  • Allman is a young woman who, although a student at one of the finest universities on earth, considers herself to be a multiply oppressed victim and who sees the world around her as swarming with oppressors. She has been so well-schooled in the idea that whites are always the oppressors and dark-skinned people always the victims that when she sees a fellow British subject rooting for his own nation's side in a war against jihadists, her first and only thought is to brand him an "Islamophobe" -- this, even though the enemy in that war are men who would force her into a burka or consider her, as an infidel, deserving of rape and/or death.
  • So it is that Robbie Travers, whose only offense is believing in freedom and opposing a totalitarian ideology, has found himself in hot water -- a real victim of a mentality that is all about power and dogma even as its pretends to be devoted to "dignity and respect" for all.
Robbie Travers is a 21-year-old law student at the University of Edinburgh and an articulate, insightful contributor to Gatestone as well as other websites. In his essays, he has illuminated the topsy-turvy values that dominate contemporary British political discourse – as exemplified by the refusal of the Speaker of the House of Commons to invite President Trump to address Parliament and the refusal of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to ban Al Qaeda from Britain as a terrorist organization.

Now, Travers has become the victim of the very forces about which he has written. In April, after the US Air Force carried out a successful anti-ISIS action, he posted a comment on Facebook:
"Excellent news that the US administration and Trump ordered an accurate strike on an Isis network of tunnels in Afghanistan. I'm glad we could bring these barbarians a step closer to collecting their 72 virgins."
It was no different from a British subject during World War II celebrating the invasion of Normandy. But Travers's comment offended first-year history student Esme Allman, who filed a complaint with the university. In it, she charged that Travers had violated the student code of conduct and accused him of "blatant Islamaphobia [sic]" and of putting "minority students at risk and in a state of panic and fear."

As a result of Allman's complaint, the university is now investigating Travers on "hate crime" charges. A spokesman for the university explained that it is "committed to providing an environment in which all members of the university community treat each other with dignity and respect." Travers, for his part, has described Allman's complaint as retaliation for a social-media posting in which he had drawn attention to a comment by Allman that "all men are trash."

Robbie Travers. (Image source: Robbie Travers Facebook page)
Who is Esme Allman? A member of Edinburgh University's Black and Minority Ethnic Liberation Group, she was a candidate this year for the position of Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) Officer at the university's Student Association (EUSA). Not only did she not win; for whatever reason, her name doesn't even appear on the final list of candidates.

But the university's website does include the text of her candidacy statement, in which she describes herself as a "feminist and womanist from inner-city London" who has "a strong interest in intersectionality" and who values "inclusivity as well as building and preserving safe spaces for us." It has been important to her, Allman writes, to run "a truly intersectional campaign" for the post of BME Officer; if elected, she promises, her "first job will be to work alongside the other liberation groups to ensure EUSA are fully representative of our views."

Allman goes on to list several "manifesto points," including this: "I will continue to engage in the discussions started with academics on the WhyIsMyCurriculumWhite campaign." What is this campaign? Begun at University College London, it is a self-described effort to "decolonis[e] the academy" and "uprising against the 'Whiteness', Eurocentric domination and lack of diversity in the curricula." Allman also says that she "will continue to work with the StudentsNotSuspects Campaign to protect student groups from the enforcement of the Prevent strategy."

What is the Prevent strategy? It is part of the British government's anti-terrorism program; its objective is to prevent Islamic radicalization, which in that country often takes place at universities.

To most sane people in the West, it seems like a laudable goal to keep college students from becoming jihadist murderers. But to certain radical types in the British academy, the very idea of such a policy reeks of Islamophobia. Hence the StudentsNotSuspects Campaign, the name of which gives a pretty good idea of what it is all about.

We don't know much about Allman. But her candidacy statement makes one thing clear. Although only a first-year student, she has certainly learned the language of identity-group grievance and victimization. "Womanist", if you didn't know, is a word coined by the novelist Alice Walker to describe feminists of color and to indicate a focus not only on sexism but on racism. "Intersectionality," coined by activist Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, refers to the idea that persons belonging to more than one oppressed group experience a form of oppression that is greater than the sum of its parts. Allman's use of the term "safe spaces" suggests that she considers much of her university campus, and presumably much of the U.K. generally, to be an "unsafe space"; from her membership in to a "liberation group," we must assume that she considers herself, in some sense, imprisoned or tyrannized. At Edinburgh University, she is "colonized" because of her race and is oppressed by a "white" curriculum.

Given all this, Allman's complaint about Travers is not only unsurprising, but predictable. This is a young woman who, although a student at one of the finest universities on earth (it came in at #27 in Times Higher Education 's latest international rankings), considers herself to be a multiply oppressed victim and who sees the world around her as swarming with oppressors. She has been so well-schooled in the idea that whites are always the oppressors and dark-skinned people always the victims that when she sees a fellow British subject rooting for his own nation's side in a war against jihadists, her first and only thought is to brand him an "Islamophobe" -- this, even though the enemy in that war are patriarchal monsters who would force her into a burka or consider her, as an infidel, deserving of rape and/or death.

Such perverse thinking, of course, is commonplace today among college students in the English-speaking countries. Instead of taking full advantage of the precious opportunity that a university education affords them, they prefer to spend much of their student years finding examples of oppression -- real or imagined -- to denounce. So it is that Robbie Travers, whose only offense is believing in freedom and opposing a totalitarian ideology, has found himself in hot water -- a real victim of a mentality that is all about power and dogma even as its pretends to be devoted to "dignity and respect" for all.

Bruce Bawer is the author of the new novel The Alhambra (Swamp Fox Editions). His book While Europe Slept (2006) was a New York Times bestseller and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist.


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A Smash Zionists Rally at the U of Illinois - Matthew Vadum

by Matthew Vadum

Students advocate violence as the "only option" against Zionists and other "fascists."

The radical Students for Justice in Palestine organized a “Smash Fascism” rally this week at the University of Illinois to attack Zionism and the fiercely democratic State of Israel as a supposedly white-supremacist, fascist country.

What these left-wingers meant by “fascism” is subject to debate. Fascism has long been in the eye of the beholder. The term has been used so promiscuously in recent decades that it has been drained of meaning.

George Orwell’s observation in the essay, “Politics and the English Language,” that “The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies 'something not desirable,'” is as true today as the day he wrote it.

When the Left speaks of fascism they don’t refer to actual fascism as an ideology and political system -- they mean whatever they oppose. What is fascist changes, sometimes daily.

But today’s leftists don’t oppose fascism: they demand it. They want speech codes on university and college campuses. They want to abolish the First Amendment. They want omnipotent government and central planning of the economy. They want to kill police officers and persecute white people. They want to tear down old statues commemorating people they don’t like. They want to extinguish whatever freedom remains in this country after Barack Obama’s eight-year anti-American juggernaut.

Speakers at the rally Tuesday led the small audience in a chant of “No Zionists, no KKK, resisting fascists all the way.” Among the other groups participating were United Muslims and Minority Advocates, Jewish Voice for Peace, Asian Pacific American Coalition, Campus Union for Trans Equality and Support, Black Lives Matter, and the Chicano separatist group MEChA.

What they said was less important than what they did.

Old-time liberals, as opposed to flaming leftists, were not welcome at the rally whose organizers went out of their way to use the descriptor “radical” to refer to themselves in communiques. Tellingly, one commenter on the event’s Facebook page, linked to an old clip of Malcolm X speaking.

The assassinated Nation of Islam figure is shown saying:
There are many whites who are trying to solve the problem but you never see them going under the label of liberals. That white person that you see calling himself a liberal is the most dangerous thing in the entire Western Hemisphere. He’s the most deceitful. He’s like a fox and a fox is always more dangerous in the forest than the wolf. You can see the wolf coming. You know what he’s up to, but the fox will fool you. He comes at you with his mouth shaped in such a way that even though you see his teeth you think he's smiling and take him for a friend.
Rules for Radicals author Saul Alinsky, now the patron saint of the Democratic Party, also despised liberals, viewing them as wimps for shunning aggressive, disruptive tactics aimed at driving change in society.

Posters promoting the event didn’t refer to Israel or Zionism specifically, but the SJP expressed its bigotry another way. It stated, “There is no room for fascists, white supremacists, or Zionists at” the university.

The Left has been fairly consistent on this point for some time. Free speech is supported, but only the Left is entitled to it.

After some blowback, SJP reacted to criticism of its event on its Facebook page. The statement only amplified their call for violence against Zionists and other "fascists":
We, the collective organizers of the “Smashing Fascism: Radical Resistance to White Supremacy” rally, are disgusted with the preemptive backlash our event has received. This opposition highlights the unholy union of American fascists, white supremacists, and Zionists which seeks to weaken and destroy intersectional movements for mass liberation….
Apparently the language of “smashing fascism” has connotations too severe for those who believe that being nice to Nazis may curry their favor. We do not believe there is any other option when it comes to dealing with fascists and white supremacists. Granting them any platform will only lead to further normalization of their violent ideologies. Granted, violent resistance is not always the best option. Nonviolence and peaceful civil disobedience have their places and have achieved great change throughout history. However, violent resistance–whether it is a black bloc or full-scale armed conflict–also has its place. The struggle for liberation must exist on multiple levels and scales–it cannot, and will not, be confined….
Today’s rally is not a culmination of our activism, but a beginning. We will continue to resist injustices which surround us, whether it be at the hands of the US government or this University. We will fight and we will win, by any means necessary.
Groups criticizing SJP “seek to protect the rights and speech of literal Nazis, of white supremacists all along the political spectrum, and those who seek to implement and continue all manner of ethnic cleansing or indigenous genocide.” Their “speech is not just expression but violence.”

In other words, the First Amendment doesn’t apply at the University of Illinois.

The SJP’s posters promoting the rally referred to “Zionists,” by which these leftists actually mean “Jews.” These Zionists were not welcome to participate at the event held at the university’s Urbana-Champaign campus, unless of course they embraced the anti-Semitic SJP’s objectives.

As Cornell Law professor William A. Jacobson reports at Legal Insurrection:
The demand that Zionists leave campuses or be excluded from events is something that we are seeing more and more of as anti-Israel activists hijack other causes. Zionist Jewish members of the LGBT community were excluded from the Dyke March Chicago, and [sharia-supremacist] Linda Sarsour has demanded that there is no room for Zionist women in the Women’s March movement.
Jacobson writes that the doctrine of intersectionality is a tool routinely used to hijack political events. After all, what on earth does Israel, of all places, have to do with this fascism Illinois radicals believe is in need of smashing? Segments of the Left appropriate, for lack of a better term, political rallies and forums all the time.

But intersectionality has always been embraced by the hive-minded Left even if the word itself is relatively new. Another term for it might be solidarity. Left-wingers honor each other’s picket lines, boycott the same businesses, riot at the same rallies, smash the same windows, and defecate on the same police cruisers. There is a shared, some would say enforced, allegiance to leftist sacred cows like Planned Parenthood and the racist National Council of La Raza that can generally be assumed among so-called progressives. Nowadays, Antifa can be added to the subversive pantheon.

To the intersectionality-embracing demonstrators, the idea “that Israel is the unifying evil force in the world that ties together problems far distant from Israel, including alleged police brutality against and inequality among non-whites in the U.S. Israel thus serves the organizing purpose that Jews historically served in international conspiracy theories,” Jacobson writes.

There have been many “intersectional hijackings” in recent years, according to Jacobson. Other, unrelated left-wing causes have attached themselves to protests regarding the deaths of Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, and Eric Garner. Radicals have poured in to condemn so-called white-supremacy at the Standing Rock Sioux pipeline protests. Black Lives Matter and illegal-alien advocates have super-glued themselves to various women’s marches. This is not an exhaustive list.

The most dangerous hijacking is in progress, Jacobson argues. The violent anti-Israel Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), which targets Israelis and pro-Israel students and faculty, is attempting to turn the “anti-fascist” movement against Israel. BDS-supporting professors are trying to put together a nationwide Antifa network on campuses.

He adds:
One vital participant in this intersectional war is the anti-Israel Jewish Voice for Peace. JVP provides cover against charges of anti-Semitism even as JVP actively stokes anti-Semitism through campaigns such as the Deadly Exchange, which blames American Jewish organizations and Israel for police shootings of blacks in the U.S.
So black bloc Antifa thugs armed with pepper spray and two-by-fours may be coming to your campus soon. Think about that next time you’re tempted to donate to your college.

As FrontPage readers already know, Students for Justice in Palestine is a hate group. And an influential one at that.

As John Perazzo reports in the David Horowitz Freedom Center pamphlet, “Students for Justice in Palestine: a campus front for Hamas terrorists":
SJP is the most influential and most radical anti-Israel organization in American higher education, with chapters at approximately 200 U.S. colleges and universities. SJP defines its mission as “promoting the cause of justice,” “speaking out against oppression,” and “educating members of our community specifically about the plight of the Palestinian people” at the hands of alleged Israeli depravities, in hopes that “one day [the Palestinians] will be free from occupation, free from fear, free from poverty, and ... able to determine their own fate.”
SJP always speaks of Israeli “depravities,” but conveniently leaves out the daily depravities that take place in the Palestinian territory. Palestine is a deeply intolerant place where women are subject to honor killings and gays are persecuted, tortured, and murdered. Political killings are commonplace. Palestine’s leaders commit war crimes by placing armaments in population centers.

Jewish students in the University of California system have complained that SJP members have told them “Hitler was right” and called them “kike” and “dirty Jew.” One Jewish civil rights group reported that 70 testimonials had been collected from Jewish students at UC describing acts of intimidation committed by SJP and other BDS hate groups.

SJP was co-founded in 2000 by pro-Hamas activist Snehal Shingavi and Hamas supporter Hatem Bazian, to wage a campus war against Israel on behalf of Hamas. Bazian is a Jew-hating Muslim whom Rabbi Douglas Kahn of the San Francisco Jewish Community Relations Council has said is "more responsible than any other student on campus for trying to make life miserable for Jewish students."

The founding charter of Hamas, by the way, speaks of “the Nazism of the Jews” and asserts that “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” It claims that peace initiatives “are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement”; that “there is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad”; and that “war for the sake of Allah” is a noble enterprise that requires the faithful to “assault and kill” on a massive scale.

SJP supporters miss the rich irony that the Islamic Republic of Iran and the other Islamist states they adore are the true inheritors of the Third Reich. Like Hitler’s Nazi regime, these countries want to eradicate Jews from the face of the earth. Israel, by way of contrast, only uses deadly force to defend itself. No ethnic, religious, or social group is targeted for extinction. Muslims who live in Israel are treated well, not subjected to second-class citizen status and forced to pay tribute as dhimmis in Muslim countries are forced to pay jizya.

But they can’t very well come right out and admit the ugly truth about their ideological camp.
Then they would be outing themselves as the real fascists.

Matthew Vadum


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Students for Justice in Palestine Finally Held Accountable - Joseph Klein

by Joseph Klein

Modest step in the right direction by University of California, Irvine.

The rabidly anti-Semitic campus group known as "Students for Justice in Palestine" (SJP) has been conducting its own version of an intifada on college campuses for years. Its members do not just shout vile epithets claiming Israel is a “racist apartheid” state and worse. They harass college students who peacefully assemble on campus in support of Israel and disrupt discussion forums, preventing invited guests from speaking.

One recent example of SJP's unhinged behavior occurred at the University of California, Irvine, where an SJP chapter disrupted a peaceful event last May sponsored by a pro-Israeli student group, Students Supporting Israel. A delegation from "Reservists on Duty," an Israeli non-governmental organization dedicated to “countering and exposing” the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement, arrived at the campus to lead a panel discussion.  About 30 pro-Palestinian students from SJP entered the room during the question and answer portion of the program, but not for the purpose of asking questions or engaging in a reasonable debate. Instead, they disrupted the program, after having tried to prevent the Reservists on Duty delegates from even meeting with the pro-Israeli students who wanted to hear what the reservists had to say. According to a report in Arutz Sheva, one SJP member even spat on a female Israeli reservist. After investigating a complaint from the Israeli delegation and Students Supporting Israel, the UC Irvine Office of Academic Integrity and Student Conduct decided to discipline Students for Justice in Palestine for violating university policy. 

The discipline amounted to a slap on the wrist for SJP, but at least it evidenced the university’s willingness to begin confronting the hate group for its disruptive actions in violation of other students' rights of freedom of speech and assembly. SJP was placed on disciplinary probation for two academic years, ending June 16, 2019. During the probation period, the SJP chapter must abide by the university’s code of conduct, meet with the dean of students to discuss freedom of speech issues and consult in advance with the dean’s office before hosting or co-hosting an event of their own. SJP could face suspension or revocation of its status as a recognized campus organization if it violates university policy again.

“UCI welcomes all opinions and encourages a free exchange of ideas – in fact, we defend free speech as one of our bedrock principles as a public university,” according to a statement issued by the university. “Yet, we must protect everyone’s right to express themselves without disruption. This concept is clearly articulated in our policies and campus messaging. We will hold firm in enforcing it.”

Unfortunately, the university at Irvine had not always enforced its stated policy of defending free speech with meaningful discipline against infringers. Just a year before SJP disrupted the Reservists on Duty event, SJP had engaged in loud chanting to disrupt the screening of the film Beneath the Helmet, involving the stories of five IDF soldiers. SJP protesters were said to have intimidated pro-Israeli students seeking to leave the room where the film was being shown, forcing the police to escort the students out of harm’s way. While the university’s chancellor said the incident had “crossed the line of civility,” the university bowed to pressure from the National Lawyers Guild, which defended SJP activists as victims of “intimidation.” The university let SJP off with a warning and an educational assignment

Apparently, neither the warning nor the educational assignment had any positive effect on SJP. They returned to their disruptive tactics in May 2017. If the university had let the latest disruption go by with simply another warning, it would have made a mockery of its professed defense of the right of everyone’s right to free speech. Thus, the university took the next step of putting SJP on probation with some light conditions attached.  

SJP will not simply accept the consequences of its actions and try to reform its tactics to conform with the university’s policy of protecting “everyone’s right to express themselves without disruption.” To the contrary, just like the Palestinians themselves who commit acts of terror and then play the victim card when Israel responds, SJP is claiming that its own rights have been violated by the university’s decision. SJP filed an appeal, which will take several weeks to resolve.

“This decision by UCI is not about the facts or the law – it’s a politically motivated choice to curtail the speech activities of students who stand up for Palestinian rights,” claimed Liz Jackson, staff attorney with Palestine Legal. “This kind of institutional censorship is the real threat to free speech on campus, especially when it’s in response to pressure from groups representing a foreign military power and aiming to surveil and suppress student activities.”

SJP has also taken something else from the Palestinians’ playbook. Palestinian leaders have sought with some success to portray their terrorist acts as legitimate “resistance” in keeping with the world-wide struggle of the “oppressed” against the “oppressor’s” “racism” and “imperialism.” SJP uses similar language to align its cause against “the imperialist ideology of Zionism” with the “anti-racist,” “anti-fascist,” “anti-imperialist” rhetoric of the Left. It has done so recently in its attack on white supremacy following the Charlottesville tragedy. It has also aligned itself with the plight of illegal immigrants and anti-Trump activists, increasing its appeal to campus Leftists just in time for the new academic year. 
For example, the SJP Maryland chapter posted the following, hitting all the emotional buttons it could. It even claimed to support Jewish students who are the victims of neo-Nazism, before launching into the usual SJP attack on the Jewish state:
Since the election of Donald Trump (and for centuries prior), marginalized communities across the country have been victimized by hate crimes committed against them. Over the summer, from the lynching of Richard Collins on our own campus to the murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, white supremacy has continued to rear its ugly head. Unfortunately, our government has refused to properly address the crisis; instead, Donald Trump and his White House have continue with racist policies aimed at attacking marginalized communities.
We at Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) feel that white supremacy must be confronted by a unified coalition of social justice groups on our campus. We are prepared to fight alongside undocumented students for a sanctuary campus, alongside prison abolitionists for divestment from prisons, alongside Jewish students in opposition to Neo-Nazism, and alongside other communities targeted by hate groups in this country. As the University of Maryland SJP, in playing our part in confronting white supremacy, we ask that other social justice organizations and students join us in confronting the imperialist ideology of Zionism and the ongoing human rights atrocities committed against the Palestinian people.
Note how the SJP post equates “white supremacy” with “the imperialist ideology of Zionism and the ongoing human rights atrocities committed against the Palestinian people.” By extension, those pro-Israeli students and their invited guests from Israel who try to present Israel’s perspective must be “white supremacists,” “neo-Nazis,” and “racists” themselves, who deserve to be shouted down and prevented from speaking or listening to a pro-Israeli viewpoint.

Students for Justice in Palestine exists for one purpose. It is a hate group with the singular mission of undermining the legitimacy of the Jewish state through anti-Semitic demonization of Israel and its supporters. Its chapters host hatefests on campuses, including the “Israeli Apartheid Week.” Its rhetoric criticizing Israeli policies often give way quickly to hate speech denigrating Jews with anti-Semitic stereotypes. SJP members harass Jewish students on campuses, disrupt events where views are expressed that differ from SJP's anti-Israel talking points, and intimidate anyone who dares to speak in favor of Israel’s right to exist in peace and security.

The University of California, Irvine, has finally taken a modest step in the right direction by holding SJP accountable for its actions. As the new academic year begins, let’s hope that the university will stick to its principles and kick SJP off campus if it again violates the rights of free speech and assembly of those with whom it disagrees. Other colleges and universities must do the same.

Joseph Klein is a Harvard-trained lawyer and the author of Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom and Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations & Radical Islam.


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