Saturday, April 9, 2022

Mariupol mayor says 31,000 residents deported at 'gunpoint' to Russian 'filtration camps,' evacuations stalled - Caitlin McFall

 

by Caitlin McFall

Ukrainians prepare for brutal fight in eastern Ukraine as officials warn Russia will launch 'major offensive'

 

 

The mayor of the besieged city of Mariupol said that roughly 31,000 residents have been forcibly deported and sent to Russian "filtration camps" in occupied eastern Ukraine.

Mayor Vadym Boychenko said in a Telegram post Friday that he had "verified" that Ukrainians from the southern port city were being taken "at gunpoint" to a camp in Novoazovsk – a Ukrainian border town 35 miles from Mariupol and just 9 miles from the Russian border. 

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FILE - Marianna Vishegirskaya stands outside a maternity hospital that was damaged by shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 9, 2022.

FILE - Marianna Vishegirskaya stands outside a maternity hospital that was damaged by shelling in Mariupol, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 9, 2022.  (AP Photo/Mstyslav Chernov, File)

Novoazovsk is located in the Donetsk People’s Republic – a breakaway region in Ukraine’s most eastern front that has been backed by Russian forces and engaged in armed conflict with the Ukrainian army since 2014.

Just days before the February invasion, the Russian State Duma passed a bill officially recognizing the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics, which was then signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

Boychenko said Ukrainians have been at the camps for weeks. 

"Filtration is very strict - fingerprints are taken, as well as biometrics. They force people to sign various documents," he described, according to a translation by a Ukrainian news agency.

The mayor noted that government employees have been treated particularly harshly. 

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said this week that she has seen "credible reports" that support the filtration camp claims and noted that Ukrainians are being separated from their families and stripped of their passports and identification cards.

A view of the Mariupol theater damaged during fighting in Mariupol, in territory under the government of the Donetsk People's Republic, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 4, 2022.

A view of the Mariupol theater damaged during fighting in Mariupol, in territory under the government of the Donetsk People's Republic, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 4, 2022.  (AP Photo/Alexei Alexandrov)

RUSSIAN CREMATORIA OPERATING IN MARIUPOL: 'THIS IS THE NEW AUSCHWITZ,' MAYOR SAYS

"I do not need to spell out what these so-called filtration camps are reminiscent of. It’s chilling, and we cannot look away," she said in an address to the UN Security Council, alluding to Nazi-era concentration camps. "Every day we see more and more how little Russia respects human rights."

The Mariupol City Council has estimated that over 100,000 residents are still trapped inside the partially occupied city, but evacuation efforts remain stalled.

Humanitarian corridors have allegedly been agreed to by Russian troops, but aid organizations have been unable to reach the city that has been rocketed by shelling for more than six weeks. 

Boychenko said in late March that 90 percent of all residential buildings had been destroyed and thousands are without water, electricity or heat. 

An estimated 5,000 Mariupol residents have been killed according to the mayor, and reports have surfaced that a mobile crematorium is being used by Russian troops to cover up their alleged war crimes.  

"The world has not seen the scale of the tragedy in Mariupol since the existence of the Nazi concentration camps. Russia-occupation forces turned our entire city into a death camp," Boychenko said this week. "This is the new Auschwitz and Majdanek."

Dead bodies are placed into a mass grave on the outskirts of Mariupol, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 9, 2022, as people cannot bury their dead because of the heavy shelling by Russian forces.

Dead bodies are placed into a mass grave on the outskirts of Mariupol, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 9, 2022, as people cannot bury their dead because of the heavy shelling by Russian forces.  (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

The U.S., NATO and Ukraine have warned that Russia is looking to launch a "major offensive" in eastern Ukraine after it failed to take the capital city of Kyiv. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vowed to keep fighting Russian forces as they prepare for a brutal fight in the Donbas region.

 

Caitlin McFall

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/world/mariupol-mayor-31000-residents-deported-at-gunpoint-to-russian-camps

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New Jersey to require 2nd graders learn about gender identity in fall, alarming parents - Houston Keene

 

by Houston Keene

Sample NJ lesson plan says, 'You might feel like you're a boy even if you have body parts that some people might tell you are 'girl' parts'

 

 

New Jersey public school second graders will be getting lessons related to gender identity this fall under state sex education guidelines that will take effect in September. 

The standards listed "performance expectations" for second graders, which include discussing "the range of ways people express their gender and how gender role stereotypes may limit behavior."

Educators in the Garden State are preparing to carry out the teaching standards, which were established in 2020 but not required to be enacted until Sept. 2022.

One school district in the state distributed sample lesson plans indicating first graders could be taught they can have "boy parts" but "feel like" a girl.

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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy pauses during his COVID-19 update at the War Memorial in Trenton Feb. 5, 2021.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy pauses during his COVID-19 update at the War Memorial in Trenton Feb. 5, 2021. (USA Today Network via Reuters Connect)

The lesson plans, which were given to parents at the Westfield Board of Education's Feb. 22 meeting, appear to be reflective of the Garden State's new, broader sex education curriculum.

One lesson plan, "Purple, Pink and Blue," instructs teachers to talk to their first graders about gender identity, and its first objective is to have the students be able to define "gender, gender identity and gender role stereotypes."

The lesson’s second objective is to have students name "at least two things they’ve been taught about gender role stereotypes and how those things may limit people of all genders."

"Gender identity is that feeling of knowing your gender. You might feel like you are a boy, you might feel like you are a girl," the lesson plan states. "You might feel like you’re a boy even if you have body parts that some people might tell you are ‘girl’ parts. You might feel like you’re a girl even if you have body parts that some people might tell you are ‘boy’ parts.

"And you might not feel like you’re a boy or a girl, but you’re a little bit of both. No matter how you feel, you’re perfectly normal!"

Another lesson plan for second graders, "Understanding Our Bodies," tells teachers to instruct students that "there are some body parts that mostly just girls have and some parts that mostly just boys have."

President Biden visits teacher Allison Hessemer’s pre-kindergarten class at East End Elementary School to highlight the early childhood education proposal in his Build Back Better infrastructure agenda in North Plainfield, N.J., Oct. 25, 2021.

President Biden visits teacher Allison Hessemer’s pre-kindergarten class at East End Elementary School to highlight the early childhood education proposal in his Build Back Better infrastructure agenda in North Plainfield, N.J., Oct. 25, 2021.   (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

"Being a boy or a girl doesn’t have to mean you have those parts, but for most people this is how their bodies are," the plan states. "Most people have a vulva and a vagina or a penis and testicles, but some people’s bodies can be different. Your body is exactly what is right for you."

The objectives for this second grade lesson include having children be able to "identify at least four body parts" from female and male genitalia, and for students to describe "why it is important for them to know the correct names for the genitals."

A spokesperson for Westfield Public Schools told Fox News Digital that the teaching materials were not the school district's plans. The school superintendent told Fox News Digital that the materials presented to parents at the February Board of Education meeting were a "sample list of resources" aligned with state policy.

"During a presentation at the Feb. 22 Board of Education meeting, we provided an update on the district’s work to revise the Comprehensive Health and Physical Education curriculum," Superintendent Dr. Raymond Gonz├ílez said. 

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"The presentation included a sample list of resources aligned to the New Jersey Student Learning Standards to be considered as school districts work on revisions to the health and PE curriculum.

"We made it clear at the meeting and subsequent meetings that these are resources only — they are not state-mandated — and that the district is in the process of developing its revised curriculum to meet state standards," the superintendent continued.

Republicans say the lesson plans show the educational priorities of Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration are misplaced.

"It’s simple. Gov. Murphy thinks he knows better how to parent your children than you do," Alexandra Wilkes, the New Jersey GOP’s communications director, told Fox News Digital.

"The shocking, graphic materials taught to children barely old enough to read and write fly in the face of the Democrats' insistence on the campaign trail last fall that critics of these new standards were exaggerating or even bigoted for raising concerns in the first place.

"Democrats lied to parents, belittled and shamed them for wanting a say in their children’s education, and they're about to find out this November what happens when you mess with other people's kids."

Phil Murphy, the Democratic Party nominee for Governor of New Jersey, and his family arrive to vote in Middletown, N.J., Nov. 7, 2017.

Phil Murphy, the Democratic Party nominee for Governor of New Jersey, and his family arrive to vote in Middletown, N.J., Nov. 7, 2017. (Reuters/Lucas Jackson)

Legislators in the state also blasted the Murphy administration over the school district's lesson plans.

State Sen. Holly Schepisi, a Republican who was sent the materials by concerned parents, told Fox News Digital that as "a mom and a legislator, I can appreciate the need for students to receive age-appropriate instruction, but this is beyond the pale.

"We knew that when Gov. Murphy used the cover of the pandemic to push these new standards through that something was terribly wrong, and now we can clearly see why they needed to do this in secret. The agenda has swung so far left in an attempt to sexualize our precious children that parents are fighting back.

"Based on the overwhelming outreach I have received from parents, Democrats should expect a reckoning this fall."

Schepisi’s colleague, Republican state Sen. Michael Testa, did not mince words in a statement to Fox News Digital, calling the elementary school sex education lesson plans "abuse."

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"We fought for kids to return to school in person. Then we had to fight to take off our kids’ masks. Now, we have to watch our elementary school children, who have already fallen behind thanks to the Murphy lockdowns, learn about genitalia and gender identity?" Testa said. "It’s abuse, plain and simple."

Testa also had a message to "every Democrat on the ballot this fall," ahead of a widely-predicted Republican wave, to "get ready for the army of parents who will not sit by and watch you steal the innocence of our children without a fight."

New Jersey Assemblywoman Vicky Flynn, a Republican, said that as "a mother, former Board of Education member and current member of the Assembly Education Committee, I am disturbed that Gov. Murphy and the Department of Education are not laser focused on addressing learning and proficiency gaps stemming from COVID lockdowns and remote learning, and instead implement curricula intended to indoctrinate elementary school students and substitute the role of parents in these sensitive topics.

"No kid should have to talk about sex with their elementary school teacher."

New Jersey political commentators also weighed in, with radio host and dad Matt Rooney warning that these lesson plans are what happen "when you let [New Jersey Education Association] radicals and far-left wackos take control of your children's education."

In June 2020, New Jersey’s board of education broadened its sex education standards to include lessons on both abortion and gender identity.

Neither the New Jersey Department of Education nor the Westfield Board of Education immediately responded to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment.

FOX EDITOR’S NOTE: This report was updated to remove a standard designated for children up to fifth grade.

 

Houston Keene  is a politics reporter for Fox News Digital.  Story tips can be sent to Houston.Keene@Fox.com and on Twitter: @HoustonKeene

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/new-jersey-second-graders-learn-gender-identity-alarming-parents

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Biden Administration, EU and Iran's Mullahs: Historical Mistake Repeating Itself - Majid Rafizadeh

 

by Majid Rafizadeh

In his book, Khamenei details his plan of destroying Israel and characterized himself as "the flag bearer of Jihad to liberate Jerusalem."

  • The Biden administration and the EU do not need to go too far back to see the outcome of those appeasement policies and the nuclear deal with Iran. Its theocratic regime became more determined than ever, as an oblation, an offering to God, to annihilate Israel.

  • Right after the nuclear deal, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who enjoys the final say in Iran's domestic and foreign policy, published a 416-page book, titled "Palestine," with a cover featuring a map of the Middle East with no Israel in it.

  • In the book, Khamenei details his plan of destroying Israel and characterized himself as "the flag bearer of Jihad to liberate Jerusalem."

  • The more the Islamic Republic became empowered due to the appeasement it received, the more it boasted that it could destroy Israel "in less than eight minutes."

The Biden administration and the EU do not need to go too far back to see the outcome of those appeasement policies and the nuclear deal with Iran. Its theocratic regime became more determined than ever, as an oblation, an offering to God, to annihilate Israel. Right after the nuclear deal, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (pictured at right), who enjoys the final say in Iran's domestic and foreign policy, published a 416-page book, titled "Palestine," with a cover featuring a map of the Middle East with no Israel in it. (Image source: Khamenei.ir via Wikimedia Commons)

"Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it," Winston Churchill said. This is exactly what is happening as the Biden administration and the European Union continue relentlessly to appease the ruling mullahs of Iran and attempting to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.

The Biden administration and the European Union appear to believe that rewarding the Iranian regime will make it act as a constructive and modern nation-state. This idea first surfaced and was acted upon during the administration of then US President Barack Obama, who, on concluding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal with Iran in 2015, pointed out that he was "confident" it would "meet the national security needs of the United States and our allies".

As a result, members of the UN Security Council lifted rounds of crippling sanctions that it had taken decades to impose on the Islamic Republic. Obama revoked four previous executive orders against Iran — and removed unilateral US sanctions, freeing up Iran's assets estimated to be worth between $50 billion to $150 billion. The US Department of Treasury removed nearly 400 Iranian citizens from a blocked list, freed up their assets and permitted them to do business with the US.

The Obama-Biden administration also gave Iran the ability to re-enter the global financial system and export and import vast commodities that previously had been banned. The rest of the Western world followed as well. The EU removed all nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions against Iran, enabling Europeans to do increased business with it.

The Biden administration and the EU do not need to go too far back to see the outcome of those appeasement policies and the nuclear deal with Iran. Its theocratic regime became more determined than ever, as an oblation, an offering to God, to annihilate Israel. Right after the nuclear deal, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who enjoys the final say in Iran's domestic and foreign policy, published a 416-page book, titled "Palestine," with a cover featuring a map of the Middle East with no Israel in it.

Khamenei details in the book his plan of destroying Israel and characterizes himself as "the flag bearer of Jihad to liberate Jerusalem."

Hossein Salami, commander in chief of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), followed up, stating:

"Today, the grounds for the annihilation and collapse of the Zionist regime are [present] more than ever.... Hezbollah has 100,000 missiles that are ready to hit Israel to liberate the occupied Palestinian territories".

The more the Islamic Republic became empowered due to the appeasement it received, the more it boasted that it could destroy Israel "in less than eight minutes."

Thanks to the nuclear deal and its appeasement policies, the Iranian regime gained legitimacy, directed the billions of dollars to Iran's military and the IRGC, as well as to Iran's militias and terror groups. Iran, through its proxies, deepened its foothold in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Venezuela, and strengthened its hold on Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Tehran also detained and imprisoned more Americans.

The nations of the European Union, which also normalized relationships with the Iranian regime, faced severe repercussions. When it comes to terrorism, member states of the EU have been among the main targets of Iran's terrorist plots. The Iranian regime was implicated in a series of assassinations, the seizing of hostages and other hostile acts across Europe, some successful, others not, but all traced back to Tehran. European officials were also able to foil a terrorist attack targeting a large "Free Iran" convention in Paris in June 2018, and attended by high-level speakers, including former US House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird. Two years later, in Belgium, one of Iran's active diplomats, the Iranian Assadollah Assadi, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for trying to plant a bomb in Paris in 2018.

The Biden administration and the EU must not repeat the Obama administration's historical mistake. Appeasing and befriending the predatory rogue regime of Iran will not make the EU or the US immune from the Iranian regime's malign, destructive policies. It will only embolden the ruling extremist mullahs more forcefully to pursue their anti-American, anti-semitic, anti-Western policies, and to continue suppressing their own population with an iron fist.

 

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He has authored several books on Islam and US foreign policy. He can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@Post.Harvard.Edu

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/18404/biden-administration-eu-iran-mullahs
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The Iran Nuclear Negotiations: What's at Stake - Saeed Abed

 

by Saeed Abed

The mullahs want a nuclear deal only to secure financing to pay for repression and warmongering.

After one year, negotiations over the Iranian regime’s nuclear program appear to be at a standstill. One of the major sticking points is Tehran’s insistence that the United States remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from its list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO).

Since the start of 2022, senior Iranian regime officials have repeatedly upped the ante in the negotiations in Vienna over Tehran’s nuclear weapons program.

While the talks continued in Vienna, the regime increased its uranium enrichment level to 63%, illegally used advanced centrifuges, and limited access to inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in addition to testing advanced missiles and firing rockets into Iraqi territory.

Members of Congress are opposed on bipartisan grounds to the U.S. government’s potential compliance with Tehran’s demands to lift the IRGC designation as an FTO, as they recognize that the IRGC conducts terror operations around the globe.

Over the years, the Iranian Resistance, with detailed statements, reports, and press conferences, has repeatedly warned about the terrorist threats, plots, and operations of the IRGC and its notorious extraterritorial arm, the Quds Force.

In addition, since last year, the U.S. Representative Office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI-US) has further shed light on the terrorist nature and heightened activities of the Iranian regime, particularly those conducted through the IRGC and the Quds Force.

The IRGC has supplied its proxies in the region with deadly drones, along with necessary training and supplies. Most recently, NCRI-US released a report on the formation of naval proxy terror units by the IRGC, consisting of Yemeni, Lebanese, Iraqi, Syrian, and other nationals who have engaged in attacks on ships and commercial vessels to wage terror in the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, and elsewhere.

Tehran clearly wants to project power and hide its incurable weaknesses inside Iran. In reality, compared to 2015 when the nuclear talks concluded, the Iranian regime is in a much weaker position inside Iran and in the region. There have been eight major uprisings in Iran since 2017, as the Iranian people have been calling for change. Regionally, the Iranian regime is isolated among the Muslim and Shiite populations in the region, and can only rely on its terror proxies.

The Iranian regime has never been as weak in its 43-year rule as today. The economy is bankrupt. Inflation is officially pegged at 41 percent and 70 percent of Iranians live below the poverty line. The institutionalized corruption that spans from the Supreme Leader’s office to the IRGC has engulfed the entire regime, leaving the Iranian economy to be run by mafia-like gangs. There are now no prospects of economic improvements under the current regime.

Most importantly, within Iranian society, the spirit of popular resistance against the regime has never been more powerful. The Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, decided to install Ebrahim Raisi, a mass murderer, as president to consolidate power and prevent more uprisings. For Khamenei, the presidency of Raisi and providing absolute power to the IRGC with more funding, are the two sides of the same coin.

Raisi is hated by the overwhelming majority of the Iranian people for his direct role in the execution of political prisoners, especially during the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, a majority of whom belonged to the main Iranian opposition, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), also known as the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK). Raisi has relied heavily on the IRGC for his cabinet, his foreign policy teams, and to empower terror proxies abroad.

However, Raisi has failed. In 2021, Iran was the scene of major anti-regime uprisings every four months, including those waged by farmers, workers, teachers, nurses, defrauded investors, steelworkers, and fuel porters. This was coupled with the expanding activities of the Resistance Units, a nationwide network of mostly young activists affiliated with the MEK.

 In a daring act of defiance, the Resistance Units disrupted no less than 25 state-run TV and Radio networks on January 27, 2022. Chants of “Death to Khamenei, Viva Rajavi,” and messages of the Iranian Resistance’s Leadership were broadcast on these channels. The channels were not fully functional for more than a month. Since then, similar campaigns have been undertaken in at least a dozen cities across the country. These activities have demonstrably rattled the regime.

The regime’s inability and unwillingness to resolve the underlying economic, political, and social problems plaguing Iranian society, in addition to its failure to extinguish the flames of resistance, the expansion of popular protests, and the activities of the Resistance Units nationwide, lead to only one conclusion: Iranian society is like a powder keg, ready to explode at any moment with the slightest spark.

One thing has become very clear. Regardless of the outcome of the Vienna talks, the mullahs will never stop their bomb-making program, nor will they abandon their terrorism, or the production and launching of ballistic missiles and drones against other countries in the region. Indeed, on March 10, Khamenei insisted that he will not abandon the nuclear program even after the sanctions are lifted.

The mullahs want a nuclear deal only to secure financing to pay for repression and warmongering, while they complete their nuclear bomb-making program. The regime’s entire nuclear weapons program must be dismantled, period. There is no halfway solution for the Iranian regime’s threats.

There was sufficient evidence in 2019 to designate the IRGC as an FTO, however, the actions of this terror machine over the past three years have represented additional proof to maintain the FTO designation and increase accountability.

Instead of considering delisting the terror machines of the Iranian regime, including the IRGC and the Quds Force, the U.S. and western nations should look for ways to hold the regime responsible for its decades of ongoing repression, genocide, and terrorism. The regime’s leaders must face justice for four decades of crimes against humanity and genocide.

The international community should recognize the Iranian people’s struggle to overthrow the clerical regime and establish a democratic, secular, non-nuclear republic in Iran. Nothing can stand in the way of victory by the Iranian people, who have demonstrated incredible courage, resilience, and resolve in the face of intolerable adversities.

Any sanctions relief would benefit the IRGC and the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism. Every dollar in the hands of the IRGC would prolong the rule of the ayatollahs and enables the regime to force more repression at home and terrorism and mayhem abroad.

 

Saeed Abed,: Member of the NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee; Human Rights Activist, Expert on Iran, and the Middle East

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2022/04/the_iran_nuclear_negotiations_whats_at_stake.html

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The Gender Cultists Meet Resistance - Larry Sand

 

by Larry Sand

DeSantis signs a parental rights bill - and the Left flies into a ferocious rage.

 


On March 28, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law Florida’s House Bill (HB) 1557, which disallows or limits schools from instructing children in certain sexual matters. The heart of the new law states, “Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”

The news was met in many quarters with histrionic outrage. The American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten groused that the law will “single out certain kids and families for derision and denigration. It is just wrong. Its intent is to divide our communities and make political hay, but it hurts children, hurts families and makes it hard for teachers to do their jobs.”

Hardly. It simply doesn’t allow teachers to discuss certain sexual identity issues with young children. Weingarten also inanely insisted that the law would shame “LGBTQIA+ people back into the closet by policing their identity.”

Following the signing of the bill, a gay teacher in Parish, Florida, creepily bemoaned the fact that he can’t talk about his love life with his kindergarteners anymore.

No one was more outraged than Joe Biden, however. On March 31 – the day that some celebrate as the “International Transgender Day of Visibility” – the president insisted that his administration is “standing up” for transgender Americans “against ‘hateful bills’ being passed at the state level” and assured them, “You’re so brave. You belong. And we have your back.”

To show that Biden is really, really serious about his stance, his administration’s Department of Health and Human Services raised the pink, white and blue striped “Transgender flag” at its D.C. headquarters.

Frighteningly, the Department of Justice got into the act, issuing a press release on the Transgender Day of Visibility in which it proclaims that it sent a letter to all state attorneys general “reminding them of federal constitutional and statutory provisions that protect transgender youth against discrimination, including when those youth seek gender-affirming care.” The missive advises states that laws and policies that prevent individuals from receiving gender-affirming medical care may infringe on federal constitutional protections under the Equal Protection Clause and Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Not surprisingly, the word “parent” never once appeared in the document.

And California – of course – is doing what it can to maintain its reputation as the nation’s wackiest state. Democratic lawmakers are proposing to make California a haven for transgender youth and their parents who are fleeing other states. State Senator Scott Wiener said – apparently with a straight face – “They have a safe place to go if they’re threatened with prosecution. California will not be a party to this new wave of deadly L.G.B.T.Q. criminalization.”

It's fascinating how a bill which doesn’t allow for sexual identity issues to be discussed in grades k-3 can morph into “deadly L.G.B.T.Q. criminalization.” How could the Babylon Bee possibly satirize this?

In fact, California is actually the anti-Florida, and has done much to disempower parents. To wit:

  • AB 2119, which passed in September 2018, provides that the “rights of minors and nonminors in foster care…include the right to be involved in the development of case plan elements related to placement and gender affirming health care, with consideration of their gender identity.” At the time, the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) filed testimony against the bill, urging legislators to reject it. “Children with gender dysphoria believe they are not their biological sex,” the group’s March 2018 testimony read. “A delusion is a fixed false belief. This bill proposes that foster children with gender dysphoria be socially affirmed into their delusion, and allowed to obtain experimental puberty blockers, and dangerous cross-sex hormones and surgery without parental consent.”
  • In September 2021, AB 1184, a bill cosponsored by Planned Parenthood, became law. As the California Family Council explains, this diktat “prohibits insurance companies from revealing to the policyholder the ‘sensitive services’ of anyone on their policy, including minor children (starting at age 12), even though the policy owner is financially responsible for the services.” The term “sensitive services” refers to all health care services related to mental or behavioral health, sexual and reproductive health, sexually transmitted infections, substance use disorder, gender affirming care, etc. The bill doesn’t detail the kindly sounding “gender affirming care,” but as defined by the University of California, San Francisco, it’s hormone therapy and a laundry list of surgeries including vaginectomy, scrotoplasty, voice modification, etc., ad nauseam.
  • At a California Teachers Association conference in October 2021, teachers were advised on “best practices for subverting parents, conservative communities and school principals on issues of gender identity and sexual orientation.”
  • The Los Angeles Unified School District’s Office of Human Relations, Equity and Diversity hosted a 10-week online club for LGBT elementary schoolers, including children as young as four years old in the fall of 2021.

And then there’s Disney, which is in a state of rage over the passage of Florida’s parental rights bill. As Christopher Rufo explains, Disney executives immediately organized a “Reimagine Tomorrow Conversation Series” meeting for its leaders and “pledged to mobilize the entire corporation in service of the “LGBTQIA+ community.” Those recruited included a “black, queer, and trans person,” a “bi-romantic asexual,” and “the mother [of] one transgender child and one pansexual child,” and “announced ambitious new initiatives—seeking to change everything from gender pronouns at the company’s theme parks to the sexual orientation of background characters in the company’s films.”

Also, speaking in blunt terms, Disney executive producer Latoya Raveneau laid out the company’s game plan. She said her team was implementing a “not-at-all-secret gay agenda” and regularly “adding queerness” to children’s programming. Production coordinator Allen Martsch, said his team has created a “tracker” to ensure that “they are creating enough ‘canonical trans characters, canonical asexual characters, [and] canonical bisexual characters.’” Corporate president Karey Burke said she “supported having ‘many, many, many LGBTQIA characters in our stories’ and reaffirmed the company’s pledge to make at least 50 percent of its on-screen characters sexual and racial minorities.”

The gender obsession has also extended to Disney’s theme parks in Anaheim and Orlando. Diversity and inclusion manager Vivian Ware explains that Disney made the decision last year to eliminate all mentions of “ladies,” “gentlemen,” “boys,” and “girls” in order to create “that magical moment” for children who do not identify with traditional gender roles.

It must be noted that Disney, whose name evokes warm and fuzzy images of Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Tinkerbell has been over the years the corporate equivalent of a heavy-breathing, sweaty guy in a trench coat lurking in a park. For example, a six-month investigation in 2014 revealed that “at least 35 Disney employees had been arrested for sex crimes against children, attempting to meet minors for sex, and possession of child pornography over the previous eight years.” Additionally, other Disney employees were found to have exhibited an abiding interest in kiddie porn on the internet.

The transgender movement is cultish, and can have dire consequences. Brown University physician and researcher Lisa Littman released a study in 2018, which showed that “rapid-onset gender dysphoria” in young people may be driven in part by “social and peer contagion.” She stresses that nearly 70 percent of the teenagers were involved with a peer group in which at least one friend had identified as transgender. In some groups, the majority had done so. Nearly 65 percent of teens had spent an increased amount of time online and on social media, and “parents reported that pro-transgender YouTube videos and blogs might have been influential.” It is unclear how many of the kids who have joined the cult took it to the next level and actually engaged in hormone blockers and self-mutilation.

In reality, “Sex is determined at conception by our DNA and is stamped into every cell of our bodies,” asserts Dr. Michelle Cretella, President of the American College of Pediatricians. “Human sexuality is binary. You either have a normal Y chromosome and develop into a male, or you don’t, and you will develop into a female. There are at least 6,500 genetic differences between men and women. Hormones and surgery cannot change this.” Nor can Disney, Joe Biden, Randi Weingarten or any other gender zealot.

The good news is that a poll taken in late March reveals that when Americans are presented with the actual language of the new Florida law, 61% are in favor, while just 26% oppose. Importantly, there is bipartisan support. Republicans are in favor by a 70%-23% margin, while Democrats support it by 55%-29%. And, indeed states are acting. Georgia lawmakers have already introduced a bill that would similarly restrict “classroom discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity,” and other bills targeting related content in schools are pending in Indiana, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Kansas. Hopefully, the other 44 states will get aboard soon.

 

Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers and the general public with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues. The views presented here are strictly his own.

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2022/04/gender-cultists-meet-resistance-larry-sand/

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Convention of States gaining ground - Bob Ryan

 

by Bob Ryan

 [A] Convention of the States -- is a legitimate means for the states to take back power lost over time to the federal government.

America's Founding Fathers at the Constitutional Convention knew that any form of government they created would become corrupt.  They had already seen it happen in numerous states.  That and other failings were what led to the need for a new form of government to replace the confederacy.

Those known abuses that would arise were the reason for the amendment process being able to take two distinct routes — one through Congress, before proposed amendments reached the states.  The other was strictly through the states, giving Congress no role other than calling for a Convention of the States.

The Founders, in essence, gave a third option they did not have when rebelling against Britain: the power of the states to curtail governmental abuse.

Article V of the U.S. Constitution lays out the amendment process:

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

Equal weight is given in the Constitution for the amendment process.  One allows for Congress to write amendments before sending them to the states.  The other bypasses Congress, except for the initial application and requirement to call for a convention.

For some reason I have never been able to fathom, a Convention of the States has never been done.  It is a legitimate means for the states to take back power lost over time to the federal government.

Considering the negative results Democrats in Washington have inflicted on this country just since 2021, it is easy to see only the negatives.  Reading and speaking about negatives all the time is not healthy.  Good news needs to get sprinkled in, like getting closer to a Convention of the States.

What used to be considered a long shot when Alaska, Florida, and Georgia passed the resolution in their state legislatures in 2014 has been slowly picking up steam.  It was ignored or written off by Democrats, much of the media, and Republicans who might as well be Democrats.  Now, when they bother to mention it, they attack the very idea that anyone other than Congress should handle the process.

Apparently, some believe that Congress has a better idea of what is happening outside Washington than the states.  Yet it is the states who bear the burden of their recklessness.

The idea that Congress can control itself is ridiculous.  The states should have taken legitimate constitutional action when Woodrow Wilson turned the American press into his own propaganda unit — not to mention the political prisoners, the eugenics laws at the federal level, and a whole host of other really unpleasant things from the worst president this nation has ever experienced.

That slow momentum that began in 2014 has resulted in nineteen states passing the Convention in both state legislative branches.  Four of those states passed it this year.  Six states have had it pass in one house.  Twenty-one states are considering resolutions this year.

That is forty-six states who have passed it in both houses, passed it in one house, or are set to consider resolutions this year.  That's more than enough for a Convention, should enough of those states vote for it in both houses.

The organization pushing for a Convention is the Convention of States Project and has laid out the amendments it wants to pass:

Convention of States Project; a national effort to call a convention under Article V of the United States Constitution, restricted to proposing amendments that will impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit its power and jurisdiction, and impose term limits on its officials and members of Congress.

All three issues will never pass Congress since, congressmen will never limit themselves.  It is long past time for the states to act in their rightful constitutional capacity.

For whatever reason, states have been leery about rights they can constitutionally exercise.  Cowardice is the only thing that comes to mind.  They have been afraid of exercising their own legitimate power.  It is a shame Washington does not have the same restraint.

The simple fact is, had it not been for the train wreck everyone paying attention to politics knew was coming with Biden and Harris, there would not be the momentum the Convention has gained this year.

There are those who fear that a runaway Convention could destroy the Constitution or some part of the Bill of Rights.  Those fears are unjustified.  They could no more have a runaway Convention than the Founders did when creating a new form of government since the states still had to pass the Constitution into existence — just as would happen following a Convention.

A Convention can only create the wording for proposed Amendments, not pass them.  Any Amendment that comes out of a Convention will still need to be voted on by state legislatures, just as they do to have a Convention or pass other amendments that have come out of Congress.

Since a Convention cannot pass anything, time is given to carefully scrutinize the wording.  There is no magic that surpasses the states, and nothing can be forced upon them from a Convention.

Graphic credit: Convention of States Action logo.

 

Bob Ryan is a pen name.

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2022/04/convention_of_states_gaining_ground.html

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Introducing Mariam Barghouti, Washington Post Op-Ed Contributor - Hugh Fitzgerald

 

by Hugh Fitzgerald

She said Israel is "beating Hitler at his own game since 1948."

 


Like the New York Times with its roster of anti-Israel contributors, such as the anti-Israel post-Zionist Peter Beinart, the Washington Post favors op-ed contributors on Israel-Palestine who are very much on the side of the Palestinians. A recent example, featuring the Palestinian Mariam Barghouti, is reported on here: “Washington Post Publishes Op-Ed by Mariam Barghouti, Who Compared Israel to Nazi Germany,” by Rachel O’Donoghue, Algemeiner, April 1, 2022:

It would appear that having a documented history that has included comparing Israel to Nazi Germany does not preclude one from offering their opinions on the editorial webpages of The Washington Post, a publication that prides itself on a self-stated commitment to fairness.

Mariam Barghouti, who describes herself as a “writer and researcher based in Palestine,” was recently invited to share her views with Post readers, in a piece titled, “Another group recognized Israel’s Palestinian apartheid. How will the world react?”

Barghouti, who has also previously written for and contributed to outlets including The New York Times, The Guardian, and Newsweek, came to HonestReporting’s attention last year after we uncovered a series of now-deleted tweets, such as one in which she asserted that “Israel has been beating Hitler at his own game since 1948,” and another that referred to former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu as being “nothing more than a war criminal and a Nazi.”

Barghouti declared in her tweets that Israel was even worse – more murderous, more evil – than the Nazis, for the Jewish state “has been beating Hitler at his own game since 1948.” And Benjamin Netanyahu is a “war criminal and a Nazi.” Yes, we all remember how the Israeli police rounded up hundreds of thousands, or was it millions, of Palestinians and then sent them off to a series of death camps that that “Nazi” Netanyahu had built. Of course, once this grotesque series of tweets was discovered, Barghouti did the only thing she could do: she quickly deleted the tweets, but it was too late; they had already been seen and recorded.

Such remarks are evidence of anti-Jewish bigotry, and are a breach of the IHRA’s internationally-recognized working definition of antisemitism, specifically making comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis and claiming that Israel’s very existence is in itself a racist endeavor.

The IHRA definition of antisemitism includes making comparisons between Israeli policy and the genocidal program of the Nazis, and insisting that Israel is in its very essence a “racist” undertaking. Barghouti’s tweets, now taken down, make both claims.

The IHRA definition has been either adopted or endorsed by dozens of countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Italy, Sweden, Spain, and Germany.

In her latest piece, Barghouti accuses the Jewish state of maintaining a “deep essence of apartheid;” suggests that Jerusalem’s decision to designate six Palestinian NGOs is part of a campaign to “discredit and vilify” critics; and claims that Israel “weaponizes charges of antisemitism to manipulate and gaslight.”

Hundreds of NGOs are active in Israel, many of them quite critical of the Jewish state. But they are not shut down. The six NGOs that Israel banned last fall were not merely critical of Israel, but their members had close ties to the internationally-recognized terrorist group the PFLP. In fact, there was an overlap of the personnel of these NGOs and the PFLP. These six NGOs were, in essence, working hand-in-glove with a known terrorist group, and thus deserved the “terrorist” designation themselves. Initially critical of Israel’s move, Washington asked Israel for more evidence to justify its banning of these six NGOs as “terrorist organizations.” Jerusalem supplied that evidence, which was apparently convincing enough for the Americans, for there have been no complaints ever since from Washington about Israel’s banning of those six NGOs.

Mariam Barghouti’s description of Israel maintaining a “deep essence of apartheid” reflects the latest fashion in anti-Israel propaganda: that Israel is an “apartheid” state. This charge is made ad nauseam, repeated all over social media. For too many, this charge is enough to blacken Israel’s image; the credulous, animated by hate, will believe. Not a shred of evidence is required.

There are a number of points that deserve to be noted in response to such allegations.

For starters, the accusation of apartheid, which has been primarily promulgated by three organizations — Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch (HRW), and B’Tselem — has previously been thoroughly debunked by HonestReporting.

Let’s repeat that debunking of the “apartheid” charge here. There is no apartheid in Israel. Arabs serve in the Knesset, sit on the Supreme Court, go abroad as Israeli ambassadors. The chairman of the largest bank in Israel, Bank Leumi, is an Arab. Jews and Arabs study in the same universities. Jews and Arabs work in the same offices and factories. Jews and Arabs are treated in the same hospitals, by the same Jewish and Arab medical personnel. Jews and Arabs play on the same sports teams (an Arab is the captain of Israel’s national soccer team), and in the same orchestras. Jews and Arabs own businesses together, everything from restaurants to high tech start-ups. Nothing here bespeaks “apartheid.” The only difference is that Israeli Jews must, while Israeli Arabs may, serve in the IDF. 

In addition, two of the organizations, Amnesty and HRW, that have spread this libel have been accused of having a fixation on alleged misdeeds by Israel. For example, when Amnesty released its widely-publicized report last month, an analysis of its Twitter account over the next six days revealed it had posted no fewer than 132 tweets accusing the Jewish state of perpetrating various crimes, compared to just 13 about every other human rights issue in the world.

Human Rights Watch released a 5,000-word report about Israel in December last year, in which it claimed Israeli law enforcement responded to outbreaks of violence in May in an “apparently discriminatory manner.” Yet the same document completely ignored what had been described as “pogroms” by Arab-Israelis against Jews and their property during the same period.

Israel’s police did not “discriminate” in May when they arrested Jews and Israeli Arabs alike who had been attacking one another in such “mixed” cities as Lod and Ramle. But there were many more, and much more violent, attacks by Arabs on Jews than by Jews who, in response, attacked Arabs, during this unrest, which HRW did not see fit to disclose. And that’s why – the only reason – that more Arabs than Jews were arrested.

In April, HRW penned a 213-page report that peddled the “apartheid” canard and a third 6,500-word report was released in May that accused Israel of “war crimes” for its response to the barrage of indiscriminate rocket fire by Hamas during last year’s conflict.

It would be fascinating to see how HRW managed to support its “apartheid” charge when all the evidence – see above — undermines that claim. As for the “war crimes” supposedly committed by the IDF in the May war, there were none. Hamas deliberately placed its weapons, rocket launchers, command-and-control centers, and fighters in civilian buildings, in schools, hospitals, apartment houses, office buildings. It is Hamas that thereby put civilians in danger. Furthermore, Hamas launched its rockets indiscriminately into Israeli cities. The IDF made enormous efforts to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza. It warned civilians to leave, or get away from, buildings about to be targeted, using telephoning, emailing, and the “knock-on-the-roof” technique. No other military, according to Colonel Richard Kemp, commander of the British forces in Afghanistan and the veteran of a half-dozen military campaigns, makes such efforts to limit civilian casualties as does the IDF; it is, he has said, the “most moral” of militaries.

The NGOs that Barghouti claims Israel has unfairly targeted have proven links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a designated terror group by most of the western world.

The six NGOs Israel banned as “terrorist groups” were not only were staffed by members of the PFLP, but served as the conduits for funds that they received from unsuspecting donors, and then were transferred to the PFLP.

The overlap of PFLP personnel with those staffing the six NGOs, and those NGOs also transferring donor funds to the PFLP, proved convincing enough for one European country, the Netherlands, which initially was doubtful about Israel’s charges against these six NGOs, to itself stop its funding of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) this past January; the UAWC is one of the six Palestinian NGOs Israel banned last year due to ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization.

In a letter to the Dutch parliament, two ministers wrote that their investigation found that 34 UAWC employees were active in the PFLP in 2007-2020, some at the same time as holding leadership positions in the terrorist group.

And after it had initially insisted that Israel provide more proof of its allegations about the six NGOs, Washington has gone silent on the matter, presumably because that proof was provided by Israel. The Bidenites still don’t want to follow Israel’s lead and designate those NGOs as terrorist organizations; they are trying to appease the P.A. just as they have been appeasing Iran in Vienna.

Finally, there is an irony in Barghouti accusing Jerusalem of weaponizing antisemitism, when she has manifestly spread anti-Jewish hatred online.

Just this week — mere hours before a Palestinian gunman murdered five people in the central city of Bnei Brak and amid a wave of terrorism — Barghouti tweeted that every year around the time of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Israel becomes “charged with intensified aggression” to create circumstances whereby Palestinians face violence or “the fear and crippling anxiety of anticipated attacks.”…

Ramadan is well known to be a time when Muslim violence erupts, and not just in Israel; it’s the Palestinians, not the Israelis, who during this Ramadan, as in all previous Ramadans, will demonstrate “intensified aggression” against the Israelis. Barghouti turns it upside down, claiming that the violence that erupts at Ramadan will come from the Israelis, and that is why the poor Palestinians, at such risk of terrible violence from the Jews, suffer this “fear and crippling anxiety of anticipated attacks.” That “fear and anxiety” is not felt by the Palestinians, but by their intended victims, Israel’s Jews, who know all too well how the Muslim Arabs customarily behave at Ramadan.

Will the Washington Post, following the “fairness doctrine,” allow an op-ed to be published in response to Mariam Barghouti? Such an article would answer her claim that Israel is an “apartheid” state, by citing all the ways that Israeli Arabs work, study, play, are treated medically, side by side with Jews, and serve in every part of Israel’s government, from the Knesset to the Supreme Court to the diplomatic corps.

And such an article would note that the evidence linking those six NGOs in Israel to the terrorist PFLP has now apparently been accepted by the Biden Administration, as it has ceased to criticize Israel’s banning of those six NGOs.

Finally, the editors of the Washington Post should ask themselves if they think it proper to run an op-ed on the sins of Israel by someone who clearly has exhibited a deep antisemitism, according to the IHRA definition. Shouldn’t such views have disqualified Mariam Barghouti from making her malevolent and baseless claims about Israel from the exalted heights of the Washington Post’s op-ed page?

 

Hugh Fitzgerald

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2022/04/introducing-mariam-barghouti-washington-post-op-ed-hugh-fitzgerald/

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Suppressing Pro-Israel Views at the University of Chicago - Richard L. Cravatts

 

by Richard L. Cravatts

The University’s newspaper removes an op-ed challenging a noxious boycott request by anti-Israel radicals.

 


The suppression of pro-Israel views on campus has been a troubling development in the ongoing cognitive war against Israel. Now, the silencing of pro-Israel voices even appears in college newspapers. The McGill Daily, as one troubling example, has a long-standing, publicly announced policy of never publishing pro-Israel content in its pages, deeming it to be racist or oppressive in its support of the Jewish state. 

This week, the University of Chicago’s student newspaper, The Chicago Maroon, followed that same ignoble path by violating journalistic and free speech ideals in retracting an op-ed written by two students, “We Must Condemn the SJP’s Online Anti-Semitism,” who questioned the tactics and ideology of members of the University’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine(SJP), a perennially toxic and corrosive anti-Israel group of radicals. 

On January 26th, as the op-ed by Melody Dias and Benjamin ZeBrack noted, SJP had posted on its Instagram page the shocking admonition, “DON'T TAKE SH*TTY ZIONIST CLASSES.” Students were asked to “Support the Palestinian movement for liberation by boycotting classes on Israel or those taught by Israeli fellows.” According to the SJP post, any students who enrolled in these classes would be “participating in a propaganda campaign that creates complicity in the continuation of Israel's occupation of Palestine” and that, in its view, “Israeli-centered classes are designed to obscure Palestinian perspectives.” 

Dias and ZeBrack made a number of accusations against SJP in their now-deleted op-ed, including their opinions that SJP posted the inflammatory post on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day as an insensitive, even cruel tactic; that asking their fellow students to boycott three particular classes about Israel and Zionism “taught specifically by Israeli fellows is xenophobic as Israelis cannot change their nationality, and this post demonizes that nationality by declaring all courses taught by someone affiliated with the nation as propaganda;” and, they noted, that “all courses listed are explicitly within the University’s Jewish Studies center. This furthers the trope that Jewish courses and professors work to contribute to propaganda for Israel, which is a blatantly false narrative.”

The two authors also suggested that while the University “prides itself on its free speech policy . . , this SJP post actively encourages students to drop such classes, hence discouraging educational freedom. This also violates the University’s discrimination and harassment policies, as the Israeli faculty are directly discriminated against. As such, the Jewish student community is indirectly discriminated against.” 

Characteristic of their reaction to anyone who answers back to their corrosive activism, SJP was incensed that anyone had the gall to question their tactics and motives. Another post on the SJP Instagram account in response to the Dias-ZeBrack op-ed by SJP expressed the defective view often held by anti-Semites that “To frame this call as ‘anti-Jewish’ not only perpetuates the dangerous (and wholly false) conflation of Jewishness and Zionism, but also deliberately diverts attention from the ongoing ethnic cleansing that the israeli [sic] colony has been inflicting on Palestinian lands and peoples from its inception to the present.”

The widely-adopted International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, as many know, stipulates that, in many instances, attacks on Zionism can be considered anti-Semitic, particularly when those attacks are attempts to deny Jewish self-determination or when Zionism is classified as a racist, oppressive endeavor, so despite SJP’s claim here that the claim is both dangerous and wholly false, experts in these matters—and not biased, anti-Semitic ideologues—have determined that there is support for Dias and LeBrack’s views.

Nevertheless, SJP demanded of the Maroon’s editors, “in response to these offenses,” the “Immediate deletion of the article,” a “public apology issued by the Maroon to SJP UChicago and to Palestinian students for the dissemination of misinformation and the disregard of journalistic integrity and factual reporting,” and, most ominously, “a public recommitment to ensuring that all columns and articles abide by expected standards of accuracy and truth, particularly those written by Zionist authors or on behalf of Zionist organizations.” [Emphasis added.] In other words, SJP requested a separate standard of exclusionary journalistic ethics and practice when Israel, Zionism, and Jews are involved.

Astoundingly, in response to SJP’s absurd demands, twofeckless editors, Kelly Hui and Elizabeth Winkler, not only deleted the offending op-ed but published a craven, apologetic editorial of their own in which they dissected the op-ed for its perceived factual inaccuracies and justified their decision by claiming that it was the op-ed written by the pro-Israel supporters which could be the source of campus enmity, not the original action of SJP in calling for a boycott of courses about Israel.

"We condemn the pitting of Jewish and Palestinian students against one another,” they wrote, “and we deeply regret the extent to which the op-ed’s factual inaccuracies—which we should not have published—perpetuated such a harmful dynamic." Of course, in addition to the editors’ outrageously inappropriate action in removing an opinion piece from The Chicago Maroon, written as a response to a campaign of demonization and delegitimization of Israel and Zionism by the chronically toxic activists of SJP, they compounded the offense by suggesting that sections of the op-ed contribute to “pitting of Jewish and Palestinian students against one another.” No, actually, it is SJP's poisonous attacks on anything Zionist on campus and its initial call for “shitty” Zionist courses to be boycotted that pit pro-Israel students against pro-Palestinians, not op-eds that correct misinformation or defend Israel. 

A careful and educated editor could go through SJP's writing and find a litany of factual inaccuracies, distortions of history and fact, and pure propaganda meant to slander the Jewish state. Why have the editors not scanned the writing of SJP supporters for such counter-factual terms as “settler-colonial regime,”“apartheid,” “genocide,” “ethnic cleansing,” racism, or “the liberation of Palestine,” terms which are inaccurate, inflammatory, and part of a false narrative that inspires hatred of Israel, Zionism, and, often, Jews? If accuracy is now going to be the Maroon’s journalistic litmus test for op-eds, then both sides of the argument need to be judged by the same yardstick, not, as SJP has requested, “particularly those written by Zionist authors or on behalf of Zionist organizations.”   

It is a profoundly troubling notion that college newspaper editors now embrace the view that pro-Israel views are somehow immoral, oppressive, indefensible, even racist at their core and should be suppressed and that pro-Palestinian ideology—even when it is corrosive, counter-factual, and sometimes anti-Semitic—is viable and can be promoted. The entire pro-Palestine campaign against the Jewish state, of course, is defined by its created narrative, a way of assessing the Israeli/Palestinian conflict through the use of feelings, emotional reactions, assumptions, and lies, not facts. That is the very reason that SJP, and other anti-Israel groups and individuals, do not wish to defend their calumnies about Israel with actual debate and a recitation of facts and history. Instead, they prefer to attack, as happened here, Israeli scholars and courses about Israel, not by deconstructing them for factual errors but by promoting their false narrative about ethnic cleansing, the occupation of Palestinian land, settler colonialism, genocide, and the unending oppression of an indigenous people—the key themes in anti-Israel ideology.

The annotations SJP unhelpfully included in the course descriptions for the three courses they asked the fellow students to boycott indicate how tendentious and arrogant they are in second-guessing the faculty and academic committees who created and approved these courses—comprised of scholars far more educated and wiser than the activist brats of SJP.

The description for the “Gender Relations in Israel” course taught by Meital Pinto, for example, reads that “Israel does not separate between religion and state, family law in Israel is largely influenced by religious patriarchal norms,” but the SJP notes add that “Prof. Pinto makes it seem as if patriarchy occurs within a narrow scope-caused by religious laws. Israel is patriarchal because it is a colonial apartheid state.” While the course will discuss the different aspects of sexuality and gender in Israeli society, SJP sees no purpose in that discussion since it already has decided Israel’s true nature. “Contradictions arise because israel [sic] uses a propaganda technique called ‘pinkwashing’ which exploits queer rights to hide its occupation and apartheid practices behind an image of progressiveness,”SJP unhelpfully and fallaciously notes. While the course description promises to “explore ways in which [members of the LGBT community] act creatively to affect social change, and the projects and organizations they form to combat gender prejudice and discrimination,” the SJP annotation claims that this ambition is futile “because they exclude queer palestinians [sic], andoperate within a colonial system of racism and apartheid. queer palestinian [sic] representation within "Israeli [sic]" society is not liberatory —the dismantlement of israeli [sic] occupation and apartheid is.”

The critical annotations of the course taught by Stephanie Kraver, “Narrating Israel and Palestine through Literature and Film,” receives a similar critique. While the course intends to engage “with an array of literary and cinematic depictions throughout the quarter [and] to go beyond stereotypes,” the SJP annotations suggested that the description obscures “Israeli settler colonialism, the erasure and demonization of Palestinian voices, and theft of Palestinian land and livelihood,” and that “the Israeli experience is necessarily defined by the colonization and disposession [sic] of Palestinians.”

Professor Pinto’s other class, “Multiculturalism in Israel,” is similarly demeaned. While the purpose of the course is to “review different definitions of terms such as ‘multiculturalism,’ ‘multicultural state,’ ‘liberal state,’ ‘cultural rights,’” SJP instead deems Israel to be “a society founded on racist settler colonial principles, ethnic cleansing, and the attempted erasure of both Palestinian people and their political rights and identity such as the extent to which diversity should be accommodated.” In addition, SJP claimed in its comments, “Zionism has always worked to destroy the Indigenous diversity of Palestine in favor of the violent establishment of the Israeli state, which openly considers itself ‘the nation state of the Jewish people.’”

SJP and other anti-Israel activists on campuses would prefer, of course, that nothing that might be construed as pro-Israel ever be uttered or taught or written about on campus. The late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once quipped that “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts,” something SJP has yet to realize or comprehend. They are certainly permitted to have their own version of history and their own narrative about the Israeli-Palestinian debate, but people as clever, and even more clever, than they also have their own narratives, facts, and set of truths. And both should be, and must be, heard, both in the editorial pages of The Chicago Maroonand elsewhere.

Ironically, it was the University of Chicago that published a seminal set of guidelines for university free speech, the 2014 “Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression,” often referred to as the Chicago Principles. Perhaps the Maroon’seditors should read them again before they decide to suppress the views of any campus group or individuals in the interest of protecting competing thought and expression.

“In a word,” the report read, “the University’s fundamental commitment is to the principle that debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the University community to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed. It is for the individual members of the University community, not for the University as an institution, to make those judgments for themselves, and to act on those judgments not by seeking to suppress speech, but by openly and vigorously contesting the ideas that they oppose.”

The Chicago Maroon editors might want to review those words.

 

Richard L. Cravatts, Ph.D., a Freedom Center Journalism Fellow in Academic Free Speech and President Emeritus of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, is the author of Jew-Hatred Rising: The Perversities of the Campus War Against Israel and Jews.

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2022/04/suppressing-pro-israel-views-university-chicago-richard-l-cravatts/

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