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Disclaimer: I am Israeli so not truly objective here and I am very left wing in Israel and support two states and full removal of all the settlements.

The problem most of us have with this situation in the universities and some other places around the world, is not about protests against the Israeli government and policy, that many of us also have, including myself. The problem is that many of this demonstrations are also supporting and justifying rape and massacre of innocent civilians, including kids, just because they are Jewish. An opinion that for some reason is ok to have now.

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Yeah. I can tolerate any honest arguments about the history or political solutions. But I don’t have any problem axing the Cornell prof who jumped on a podium and declared Hamas’s massacre to be “exhilarating” and “exciting.”

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The main lesson there is academics are a bit overrated. We (the public) should pay colleges (see Biden's IDR loan plan, the tax status of 529 college savings accounts) that employ them less. That is a lot more simple than demanding people who sincerely believe Jews are of the white/settler race (and therefore not worthy of an institutional mission like George Floyd's death) to change their beliefs. Just give them less public money and they can go find private money to make up the difference for their own purposes.

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Ok and then what's your plan for when they do in fact find private (Qatari) money to make up the difference?

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Exactly - There is a difference between making an unpopular or controversial argument and blatant anti-semitism.

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Oct 24, 2023·edited Oct 24, 2023

I don't see how hecould be allowed to teach after that, at least not any mandatory courses. And I would judge very harshly any colleague of his maintains friendly (as opposed to strictly professional) relations with him after that, and I would support his firing if he isn't tenured, but I imagine that tenure protections might hold even in this case, and that's perhaps a necessary evil. But that doesn't exempt the institution from treating him as anything less than a complete pariah after these comments. Failure to do so is a strong indication of the institution being anti semitic.

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The clip of the Cornell professor sounded really bad. But it was a brief clip. We have no idea what he said before the clip starts. Maybe it provided more of an understandable context; maybe it didn't. But we've been aroused and enraged too often by out of context clips (e.g., the Covington kids) that I'm on a hair-trigger to be suspicious of anyone who presents a brief clip of something outrageous. I'm more than ready to suspect their motives. Our first reaction needs to be suspicion of anyone presenting something intended to be inflammatory. Don't trust, and seek to verify.

OK, so maybe people don't want to watch a 20 minute clip. So present the short clip but provide a link to the full-context video.

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Fair enough. Here's a 2-minute clip that provides some context: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAZcG-ZHOz4. And a full transcript here: https://ithacavoice.org/2023/10/cornell-community-divided-rally-backs-prof-rickford-as-national-headlines-swirl/.

He does claim to abhor violence. But then he compares Hamas to Ella Baker, Sojourner Truth, and (most repellently) to Jews who resisted genocide. Notably, none of these people kidnapped, raped, or murdered innocent people. And he says "I would never presume, to tell an oppressed people how they should seek their liberation." I think it's fair to characterize the whole thing as part Hamas apologia, part progressive word salad.

Classic archetype. The son of a Stanford professor who wishes he were a revolutionary, but without the danger or privation.

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Thanks for sharing this.

I wouldn't say the full context exonerates him but I would say it adds lots of shades of gray to what was presented as black and white.

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Give me a break. Nobody would talk of “shades of gray” for this garbage if it justified the murder of members of any other group. Enough excusing antisemitism. He should be fired asap.

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I thought the opposite. 🤷🏻‍♀️

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Thanks for this. I encourage everyone to read the full speech -- I think it contains a lot of wisdom. I find it repellent that he was exhilarated by even the initial reports of the attack, and unlike him, there are limits beyond which I would tell anyone -- no matter how oppressed -- that they are committing unforgivable atrocities. But the context of his mention of "exhilarated" is specifically *not* to the attack's full "horrific acts" (his words, in that same paragraph) -- he emphasizes that when Palestinians and he felt this, it was before they learned of the murders and atrocities, and in response to the breaking out from Gaza.

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We all extend a degree of grace to people who have been through hell. It's normal and compassionate to consider mitigating circumstances. But suffering does not extinguish all moral agency and obligations. It's infantilizing and disrespectful to presume that the "victims" are incapable of moral behavior.

Eh, I suppose he was trying to distinguish between Hamas breaching the wall (exhilarating) and everything Hamas did afterwards (atrocious). A college professor should be able to articulate his meaning more clearly. And should have the good sense to realize that normal people will see the breach and slaughter as part of the same hideous operation. It's like extolling the skill with which the 9/11 hijackers maneuvered the plane.

Reading the entire transcript made me think he should be fired for being a blithering idiot with the analytical skill of a sophomore.

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I watched the whole thing, and if anything, context made it worse.

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It’s not our job. It’s his employers job to conduct a thorough investigation. If it turns out that it is what it seems to be, then I believe the consequences I outlined should follow. That all such things are always pending proper investigation should go without saying. I acknowledge that unfortunately that’s not always obvious in this day and age.

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That's too easy an out. You must be aware that everyone is viewing this, forming opinions, and joining a raging debate. Like Nancy Reagan, we should just say no and not form an opinion on this guy whatsoever unless and until we're satisfied we have enough information.

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Re the Nancy Reagan reference--reminds me of an episode of the “Hidden Brain” podcast about outrage bait, and how a study found that outrage actually triggers the pleasure centers of the brain kind of like a drug...outrage is kind of like a “high” that people seek out.

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>> just because they are Jewish.

This is where you lose me.

They were quite obviously attacked because they were *Israeli*. Does Hamas hate Israel because it's a Jewish state? Sure, that's a documented part of their politics. Is there a significant overlap between Israeli and Jewish identity? Absolutely. So, yes, you can toss all these terms into a word salad and come out with one big conflation that they were "attacked because they are Jewish".

But the attack was against Israel. It targeted Israelis, not immediately because they were Jewish, but because they were Israeli. No one simultaneously bombed synagogues in the UK, or attacked Cypriot Jews. And it's highly likely that some appreciable minority of the victims of the attack were not even Jewish. Regardless, those victims were attacked all the same, because they were in Israeli towns that Hamas could strike, not because Hamas thought it was specifically targeting Jews for their Jewishness. Hamas simply made no effort to target Jewishness in the first place, despite being a horrifically antisemitic organization.

And this is what Matt was talking about with the stuff about accusations of bigotry. It's REALLY not helping your case to conflate the victims' Israeli-ness with their Jewishness. Because that conflation leads to the mistaken conclusion that, "Well, it's just plain old antisemitism, which we already understand, so we don't have to bother trying to understand anything more about this attack or anyone who supports it."

The reality is, it's not like a bunch of college kids all of a sudden decided it was "ok now" to kill people "just because they are Jewish". You'll never get an opinion poll saying that, because it's simply not true. The reality is, the Palestinian cause has been part of the global anti-imperialist movement for decades now, and gained steam because of the Palestinian and broader Muslim diaspora's growth in the West. It's absolutely a potential vector for antisemitism, and we've seen SOME incidents of outright antisemitism expressed at pro-Palestinian demonstrations. But that's NOT the same as it being an outright antisemitic movement _in_toto_.

So again, as Matt said, "the sins being committed are the commonplace ones of intellectual laziness and performative allyship rather than hatred or antisemitism". It's equally intellectually lazy to just label all of this as antisemitism.

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I think it is helpful here to consider the roots of the Israel/Palestine conflict. Between about the end of WWI to the aftermath of WWII, there was a lot of moving state lines, displacement of people, creating new nations by drawing lines on maps, etc., including in the Middle East. The creation of Israel is merely one of many such examples. But it's the only one that has led to multiple wars with Arabs united against one common enemy and a conflict that has endured for decades. What's different between Israel and, say, Lebanon? Why are the Arabs so opposed to one and not the other?

It's because they're Jewish.

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More to the point - why are westerners so obsessed about this specific conflict, in the way they are not about far deadlier stuff happening literally next door?

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I've made this point to many people who are outraged that my view on the Israel/Gaza conflict is "Let's [US] not get involved."

My view is consistent with my views on Myanmar, Ethiopia, and Haiti.

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Perhaps, but it's not because of their Jewish-NESS: https://www.slowboring.com/p/saturday-thread-b42/comment/41939325

IOW, the fact that they are Jews certainly plays a role in why the conflict started and why it persists. It's related to a really long and complicated history of Jewish and Arab competition over the Holy Land.

But there's nothing about their Jewishness that Hamas is specifically targeting. If you ask a random Hamas militant what it is he hates about Israelis/Jews, he's going to give you a litany of crimes (real and imagined) against his people, not some diatribe about the Rothschilds like you'd expect from an American Nazi.

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Sorry, but this is just not true. I’ve read about the kind of education Palestinian children receive about Jews. Jews are portrayed as literally evil caricatures, complete with hooked noses and horns, like something straight out of 1930s Nazi propaganda.

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RemovedOct 24, 2023·edited Oct 24, 2023
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That explains a lot.

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I mean, I agree that antisemitism in Hamas is different from antisemitism in America or Europe, but Hamas and their supporters in the Middle East are still motivated in large part by Israelis being mostly Jewish. I guess I don't really understand your point.

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See my other comments.

The difference here is teleology. I'm basically arguing that the proximate causes (guy on the street is mostly immediately motivated by crimes against his people) are only partially antisemitic at best, but we keep having commentators like Mr. Tepper here conflating the deep (and very obviously antisemitic) _historical_ causes for widespread _proximate_ antisemitic sentiments.

And you're doing the same thing. "Motivated in large part by Israelis being mostly Jewish" is only really true on a broad historical level; it's simply not true at the proximate level of most of the individuals actually making up this conflict.

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I'm not sure I'd really disagree with you, but I thought it was worth mentioning that in the minds of antisemites, antisemitism is always motivated by "crimes against their people": the Jews poisoned the well, the Jews kidnap and kill Christian children, the Jews murdered Christ, the Jews control banking and impoverish us, etc. To be clear, I don't think the crimes of the occupation are a conspiracy theory; they are real, and there are many of them. But I think this is why many Jewish people are skeptical of the idea that this time, unlike all the others, the hatred and violence were exclusively or even mostly provoked by real historical events rather than longer-standing antisemitic attitudes.

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I see your point, but I do think you're slicing the salami pretty thin. Hamas ideology is that the area must be ruled by Muslims. You can technically say that this ideology is no more opposed to Jews than to any other religious group, but in practice they preach the murder of Jews specifically. Their supporters just tore down an old synagogue in Tunisia. There have been attacks on Jewish sites in Buenos Aires and Seattle and Paris. And Palestinian schoolbooks include all manner of anti-Jewish tropes and invective. I think you might be giving them more credit than they deserve.

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Those attacks in BA/Seattle/Paris were by *supporters*, not Hamas themselves. I don't think that's "slicing it thin". It's just keeping a correct accounting of who's doing what and why.

I hear what you're saying, and please trust me when I say I'm not trying to give Hamas ANY kind of credit, except for being murderous fascistic bastards. The only thing they "deserve" IMO is those special Hellfire missiles that can kill a dude standing on a balcony while not harming the poor children in the next room whom the evil fuckhead is trying to use as human shields.

All I'm trying to do is make sure that we understand precisely WHO that fuckhead is, and ALL of the different and many-layered reasons why he's doing what he's doing -- not just SOME, and NOT just the ones that we want to tell ourselves where we and all our friends get to pretend we're history's only victims ever -- so that we can drive this conflict to a long-overdue peaceful conclusion with a minimum amount of whatever violence is necessary, applied in as specific and targeted a manner as possible.

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Oct 24, 2023·edited Oct 24, 2023

"Those attacks in BA/Seattle/Paris were by *supporters*, not Hamas themselves."

And has Hamas disavowed these actions?

(OK, OK, maybe Hamas is too busy kidnapping, raping, and killing civilians right now to issue statements. Do you think they would *ever* disavow such supporters' actions?)

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Respectfully, I'm not so sure your history is accurate.

Arab Jews and Arab Christians got along OK as second class citizens in Ottoman Asia. When something like the Farhud in Baghdad happened, Baghdadi Jews had never experienced anything like that.

When Israel was founded, both the Soviet Union and United States thought they could get Israel on their side. After a little while, the Soviet Union realized they couldn't pull Israel from the US, so they gave up on Israel. Soviets decided to push anti-semitism in the Arab and Muslim world, in order to generate opposition to the United States. They had thousands of embedded agents and mass misinformation campaigns. For example, producing a translation of "The Procolols of the Elders of Zion" in Arabic.

Zionism definitely created tension between Jews and Arabs, and things were far from fair or just beforehand, but the two groups have not been "fighting for the holy land" for a long time.

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>Arab Jews and Arab Christians got along OK as second class citizens in Ottoman Asia.

Mizrahi Jews hate being called "Arab Jews". Albert Memmi has a famous passage that the Arabs never really let them be Arab Jews, even when they would have liked to be so.

Plus, "got along OK as second-class citizens" is the very definition of not getting along OK.

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Mizrahi is just Hebrew for "Eastern", but yes, nowadays Arab is not a word Jews would use to describe themselves.

In the first half of the 20th century, second-class citizen qualified as getting on OK, for Jews.

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Respectfully, there's about 6000 years of history in the region to which I was alluding, not merely the last 60-80.

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And, respectfully, you are wrong about 5900 of those 6000 years.

Michael already gave you some evidence towards this when he wrote "Arab Jews and Arab Christians got along OK as second class citizens in Ottoman Asia." Read more carefully.

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This is what you said, slippery guy,

"a really long and complicated history of Jewish and Arab competition over the Holy Land."

Now you say this is a 6000 year history. Wow. Judaism is not nearly 6000 years old, let alone Christianity or Islam.

The fact is that it was European Christians that oppressed Jews far worse than any Arabs. Jews (and Christians) lived as essentially second class citizens in the middle east, but they were relatively safe from violence. As "people of the book" they were allowed to practice their religion privately (but not to marry Muslims, had to pay a special tax, etc.).

Strong anti-Jewish sentiment in the middle east was a reaction to Zionism in Palestine.

This is the basic narrative you will hear from virtually any Arab Jew that left one of these countries. It is also the story told by their Christian and Islamic friends and neighbors that stayed behind. I don't see any reason whatsoever why Israeli Middle Eastern Jews would whitewash their own oppression at the hands of Arabs.

Muslims and Jews simply have not been longtime foes. It's a recent phenomenon.

Arab muslims have deeply opposed to the existence of a Jewish state in the middle east. It's a religious fundamentalist position that is highly egoistic. The Jews are "European Settler Colonialists"-- never mind that most Israelis are from Middle Eastern families.

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the original Hamas charter (in theory, replaced a few years ago, I don't know how serious that actually was) approvingly cites the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", so there's definitely a lot of classic antisemitism mixed in there.

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See the comments on teleology. Classic antisemitism can historically breed Hamas' ideology without the day-to-day conflict or individual attacks being specific examples of classic antisemitism.

Perhaps another way to put it is that I think it's more useful to think of antisemitism as a *driver* of individuals within the conflict than as an *individual motivation*. We might call the entire 10/7 attack a war crime driven by classic antisemitism, but it's a mistake to call the attack "classic antisemitism".

FWIW, I'm not trying to dice words here. It's just that it's a genuinely complex topic to discuss.

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I don’t see how it’s useful to split hairs this way. If you want to write your own definition for something called “classic antisemitism,” then knock yourself out. But it seems to me that the 10/7 massacre was, in essence, a modern-day pogrom carried out in a particularly ruthless and efficient manner. Pogroms may not be “classic antisemitism,” but they’re surely near the top of the antisemitic greatest hits list.

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At least some of the attackers made phone calls to parents announcing how many people they'd killed, and to some extent it appears they didn't say they killed "Israelis." https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-67198270

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I don't think these motherfuckers can ever be accused of having the most accurate terminology. They'd be hilariously out of place in a meeting of all those woke college kids who are happily defending them right now.

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The woke kids like assaulting Jewish students, they just do it less violently than their Hamas idols. Now pro Palestinian protestors in the streets - those guys got more serious intent than just mocking dead Jews. "Gas the Jews" - a pro Palestinian gem for the ages.

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If you actually ask a Hamas militant you'll get an ideological slurry of both things.

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Think of it this way. Israel and Austria have about the same population. If the residents of the two countries changed places overnight, would Hamas be more interested in driving the Austrians out of Israel or going over to Austria to kill Jews/Israelis?

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I think the Austrians would move back to Austria.

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I’m pretty sure they’d drive the weak and disorganized Austrians out within a week, thank their lucky stars (and Allah) for this great blessing, and spend the next 40 years issuing North Korea-like rhetoric from their state media outlets calling the new Austrian Israel everything BUT a child of God.

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Another day, another Anschluss.

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I think you are collapsing a lot of stuff unhelpfully together to get to a barstool thesis on this one, and it's forcing you into a really simplistic view (for example, the bit about this being the only post-colonial conflict that has endured for decades) that is just flatly wrong. Just to take one obvious example, neither the Iranians nor the Egyptians think of themselves as "Arabs," and you could make a pretty strong argument that the centers of "Arab" power have been in conflict, including shooting, with Iran--and here we are kind of going down the Sunni-Shi'a road--for as long or longer than they have been in conflict with Israel.

That's mostly because Israel is a relatively new political entity, and I guess you could cobble together some kind of thesis about the region just since 1950 (although I'm not sure why you are writing off India-Pakistan), but the oversimplification is hurting your analysis. If you don't understand recent events in part through the lens of Iranian competition with the Arab states--a "conflict that has endured for decades"--you end up missing some fairly critical context.

None of that erases the antisemitism from the conflict, but I would argue that the strategic politics matters more here than the antisemitism. Absent the geopolitical realities, a lot of other stuff changes pretty massively.

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Or maybe it’s because they have the steadfast support of the US no matter what? (In spite of not having any oil)? Not denying the Jewish part, but anti-Americanism is a thing, too. Fits with their “anti-colonial” narrative.

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Good comment.

US support for Israel has always been a double-edged sword for Israel. The support helps them a lot, but there are major consequences to it.

In particular, US support for Israel basically drove the Arab states into the Soviet Union's arms. We tend to talk a lot about US weapons to Israel. That only really kicked up in the late 1960s. The US would not send weapons to Israel, fearing a regional arms race, for the first two decades of Israel's existence. The weapons that Israel's enemies wielded came predominantly from the Soviet Union.

In addition to needing to face down all this Soviet-supplied weaponry, the Israelis also had to deal with the Soviet disinformation machine. The present day "anti-colonial" lefty crap vis a vis Israel was all thoughtfully engineered in the Soviet Union. In addition to infecting (and funding) Western academic drivel, the Soviets stoked anti-semitism in the Arab world. Translating and exporting all sorts of anti-semitic content to the middle east via their thousands of embedded agents. Of course, the real underlying motivation was to generate hatred for the US, which is held hostage by Jews, or whatever.

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Or, at best, because Israel is *non-Arab* and simultaneously *non-Muslim*. No Arab nationalist or Islamist group would dream of slaughtering Thai or Indian guest workers in Oman or Saudi Arabia as "colonizers".

So then we're left with the question of "is generalized reactionary hatred of minorities winning independence better or worse than antisemitism?", which is dumb.

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No. Hamas always talks about Jews, not Israelis. Their supporters world wide target Jews and Jewish institutions (e.g. synagogues, kosher shops etc). You ought to respond to what reality actually is, not what would be perhaps more convenient but is just not true.

P.S.

You ought to actually look at opinion polls. Palestinians but also Muslims world wide hold very strong, very wide spread "classical" antisemitic views. On the other side, the far left has an old, infamous, super well attested and well known atnisemitic tradition. I really think you need to learn more about all of this.

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You can just as easily turn this round though. Lots of people in Israel will express Islamophobic views too, but you would presumably consider their current operations in Gaza a response to a massacre by a particular group rather than a violent assault on Islam itself.

Of course it's true that there are many deeply-held bigotries at play here but the reason we're talking about this topic today and not geothermal permitting or whatever is the specific events of the last two weeks, which are about Israel and Palestine specifically, rather than about Judaism, Islam or 'the far left'.

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Israel isn't dedicated to the systemic annihilation of muslims or Arabs. On the contrary its founding charter explicitly calls for racial religious and sexual equality, and adds explicit mention of a promise for equal citizenship and representation for Arabs. It's the literal polar opposite of the Hamas charter. Needless to say (I hope) the IDF isn't going to Palestinian homes deliberately murdering babies and raping women Finally, pro-Israel rallies on US college campuses don't include Isamphoboic or racist slogans, nor do their advertisement celebrate the killing of anyone, let alone civilians. It's also worth noting that according to FBI data antisemitic hate crimes in the US occur about 5 times (!) the frequency of Islamophobic and anti Arab crimes combined, despite the two populations being roughly equal in size. Whichever way you look at it there is just no symmetry here.

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I'm not implying there is a symmetry in who's done what to who, though if we do go down that road then I'm obviously going to point out there a lot more dead Palestinians who were living two weeks ago than dead Israelis. But that's beside the point, which is that the conflict is not about killing people 'just because they're Jewish', even though I'm sure understanding that way is extremely useful for the Israeli government, who then get to pretend that their actual political actions have no impact on anything.

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What "the conflict is about" is an ill-defined abstract question. What Hamas is doing isn't. They aren't at all shy about it. They are targeting "Jews" not "Israelis". They were very clear about that in their attacks. However choosing to ignore their explicit statements put into practice in their horrific actions is surely useful to them.

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But Israel is kind of dedicated to the systematic annihilation of Palestinians. How else would you describe continued settlements?

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Oct 24, 2023·edited Oct 24, 2023

Settlement aren’t annihilation. They are, at worst, land dispossession. That’s bad but it isn’t annihilation. Murdering a thousand civilians in a day is.

P.S.

To claim that Israel is dedicated to the settlements, that postdate it, is an oversimplification. Most were built on private initiative if retroactively recognized. At times Israel dismantled some of them as part of peace agreement (in Sinai following peace with Egypt) or unilaterally (in Gaza and parts of West Bank).

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Oct 24, 2023·edited Oct 24, 2023

That is really misguided.

Being slaughtered and indiscriminately shot at are VERY different than the injustice of having a Jewish suburb built nearby your town.

I'm not justifying the settlements--according to my understanding, Israel is militarily occupying the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem, which it has annexed), and thus should not permit the transfer its population there.

But this is not annihilation. It may complicate a future two-state solution. This arguably is a kind of segregation. And for the illegal outposts built on private land, it's land dispossession. But it isn't annihilation in the kind of way that Hamas wants to do to Jews, which is literal slaughter.

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Annihilation means death, Nonexistence. Extermination. The word has a very specific and clear meaning. There is no "kind of."

Settlement means land expropriation or, in some cases, displacement. It is very bad and I oppose it. It is also very different and much less bad than annihilation.

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This is basically what I'm trying to argue. There's a really important teleological difference between the proximate and historical causes.

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Yes, and I think it's also worth stressing that conflating the two can only possibly escalate the fear, hurt and anger so it's a very useful rhetorical tool for 'inflaming the situation' and 'avoiding any introspection' but level heads need to insist on accuracy.

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Exactly! The pro-Israel side gets to retreat into "This is antisemitism so we MUST fight it!" and the pro-Palestinian side gets to say, "We're not bigots, we're trying to stand up for the oppressed; it's clear that this is all just masking Islamophobia and pro-Israel media bias".

It's all bullshit. It's people telling themselves and each other comforting nostrums about how they're under attack, all to excuse the next round of attacks.

As someone going through a mid-life crisis and dealing with my own mortality, it all just seems so fucking petty. My life is the one thing I value the most in the world these days, and so the loss of ANY life just feels like an immense tragedy. I keep finding myself imagining the final moments of all these people who have died, and it makes me fucking sick (not like a fixation, just normal sick). And it puts everything else into perspective: the grudges, the grievances, the rage and murder. It all just needs to fucking stop. Sure, there are some bad people in this conflict who will still have to die before there can be peace, and that in itself is freaking tragic. But we HAVE to stop excusing the violence. We HAVE to stop letting our tribalism and accusations of mass bigotry drive the plane here. Because it's already a fucking WRECK.

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Yeah, I don’t see how replacing “Jewish” with “Israeli” in the comment you’re replying to changes much.

> The problem is that many of this demonstrations are also supporting and justifying rape and massacre of innocent civilians, including kids, just because they are Jewish.

It’s the gruesome actions that are appalling to support and justify. The extent to which they were inspired by antisemitism is secondary to me.

Further, the terrorists who perpetrated these heinous atrocities included individuals who celebrated the Jewish identity of their victims. [1] Note that the actions described in the text of that tweet is too abhorrent for me to quote it here.

[1] https://twitter.com/mrconfino/status/1716427167649661262

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I think their position is that it's wrong to rape and massacre Jewish people generally, but it's right and good to rape and massacre Jewish people if they are in their backyard - that they're fine with Jewish people as long as they live somewhere else.

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“I’m not going to rape or Kill you AS LONG AS you stay far away from me” is not a ringing endorsement of your existence, to put it mildly.

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Interestingly, if you exclude the rape part and stick with just the kill part you are functionally describing the "castle doctrine" that governs firearms usage in the United States.

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It isn't the greatest to be sure. Better than the Nazis though!

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I don't even think it's *that*. I think their position is "The Israelis have forced us to do all these bad things by oppressing our people in what once was OUR backyard". Right or wrong, that's the position. (it's definitely wrong, no one "forces" anyone to murder and rape innocents)

But more broadly, you're right. Besides the usual lunatic fringe you'll find _anywhere_, no Palestinian really gives two shits about murdering Jews in, say, Brazil. And the proof is that before 1949, they literally did not give two shits about murdering Jews in Brazil.

Just because identity and bigotry are inextricable from this conflict doesn't mean that we can interpret every action within it to reflect some deep and abiding bigotry or another.

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We know of at least one very famous Palestinian who was very into murdering Jews in Europe before 1949 though. Maybe there weren't enough Palestinians in Brazil before 1949? After 1949 we have things like the AMIA bombing in Argentina which explicitly targeted people for being Jewish while not being Israeli.

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One of... millions? I did say "Besides the usual lunatic fringe".

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This is so wrong that it's right.

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Build lots of sweet luxury high-rises in Gaza and there'll be no more need for a right of return!

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This and unironically is basically the political movement I want to build up.

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As I said in my comment, it changes how we analyze the attack.

Cf my reply to CarbonWaster on teleology. The deep historical causes may have a whole LOT to do with antisemitism, and indeed I didn't deny that. And sure, I'll grant you that there's direct evidence of some proximate role of antisemitism in the attacks themselves. Thank you for that, btw.

But that's VERY different from saying that the demonstrators must, to a one, be antisemitic, merely for supporting a horrific crime with some proximate antisemitism and loads of historical antisemitism. Correlation is not causation! Proximately speaking, there simply isn't a remotely respectable case that most of the demonstrators we so adamantly disagree with are even a mere plurality motivated by "the same old antisemitism", even if, as Matt points out, they all may be acting as "useful idiots" for a cause with deep antisemitic roots.

To analogize to a more familiar context, it's like the difference between saying, "American communists are communists because they hate America", and "Some American communists have come to hate America because they hate the un-communist things it does".

Again, the reason why it matters is because "the same old antisemitism" conclusion basically ends the discussion. And I simply don't think it's REMOTELY the end of the discussion.

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No, the whole Palestinian project doesn't have to be anti-Semitic, but for 75+ years it has been suffused with it. . It's obvious that Jewish communities the world over are targets because of their presumed affinity for Israel, which has been a constant with the Palestinians since at least the 1960s and their spate of hijackings, bombings and terror attacks even when their terrorist organizations were secular Leftist.

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Hamas is pretty open about its desire to kill Jews. Its goal isn’t merely the destruction of Israel, but purging Jews from the area and region. IOW, if Israel ceased to exist tomorrow, Hamas would busy itself with killing/purging/cleansing Jews.

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My point is, it's mostly about the "from the area and region" part, not the "Jews" part. Hamas isn't going to hound them to the ends of the Earth.

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It's clearly both since it's specifically the Jews Hamas is targeting in that area and region. It's not a case of mostly one or the other, they are inextricably linked.

And who know what Hamas would actually do if they had the ability to hunt Jews to the ends of the Earth. I see no reason anyone should give them the benefit of the doubt that their hatred of Jews is limited only to those in a particular area.

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As I've written elsewhere on this thread, I think there are significant and meaningful distinctions to be found on the level of teleology here. Please don't take this personally, but I've been spending all day reiterating the same basic point, so I'm kind of out of gas at the moment. Just read the other comments? Thanks.

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No worries. I haven't had the time to dig deeply in the comments yet, so missed your other explanations.

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For most Israeli Jews, their Jewish and Israeli identities are inexorably intertwined. Of course they are overlapping, not the same identities (there are non-Jewish Israelis and non-Israeli Jews), but to say Hamas wasn't attacking Jews only Israelis is like saying that China doesn't oppress Muslims, only Uyghurs. To say this wasn't attack targeting Jews is really misinformed and misguided. Clearly this attack was targeting Jews for their Jewishness. For one, Hamas is a radical Islamic movement based in the Muslim Brotherhood that very much views its mission in religious terms and as a holy struggle for Islam against Jews. It is not simply a secular struggle against the Jewish state (other Palestinian movements may be described more in this way, but not Hamas). Up until 2017, Hamas' charter specifically described its mission against the "Jews" who usurped the land, not "Israelis". (In 2017 they revised the charter to change this, but I do not believe that that reflected an actual reform in the groups ideology, but rather was a PR stunt).

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I think it's a sad byproduct of social media-driven polarisation. Lies are created and people are expected to repeat them to show loyalty to the cause.

In the same way that people feel that you can't just be Republican, you have to actively say that Donald Trump is an honest and public-spirited person, who was defrauded of election in 2020.

You can't just say 'I think the Russians have been hard done by since 1990', you have to say that the current Russian invasion of Ukraine is pure self´defence.

And now many feel you can't say the Palestinians have been badly treated without denying that hundreds of shocking, documented atrocities by Hamas didn't happen.

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I think another sad byproduct of our society is that people who know a tiny bit about a subject feel compelled to speak out and have their voice and opinion heard. It's an irrational confidence pandemic.

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The Algorithm demands a response on social media. The whole ecosystem is about typing without thinking for that sweet, sweet hit of dopamine and piling on with your friends against the disfavored out group. You must love or hate everything and you have to decide NOW. Your past post will follow you and you will be forced to defend dumb stuff you said because you "never back down!". It's addict brain behavior and it feels like we are losing so many friends and family to a disease we haven't yet recognized.

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I agree.

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This is a sympathetic position but one has to articulate a clearly defined bright line of what speech is off bounds, otherwise you end up in an anti-speech arms race exactly like the one Matt describes. And the problem, of course, is that you then end up litigating where exactly the line is, whether a particular piece of speech violates the line, etc.

Personally, I categorically reject the idea that words cause violence. Seeing people support Hamas attacks is obviously going to be very uncomfortable for Jewish students -- but would it be better for the pro-Hamas people who think murdering Jews is good to keep their opinions to themselves? Is it not better that they are able to speak their minds, and then subsequently Jews are free to disassociate themselves from such people?

My belief has always been, and remains, that you are free to hate people for their opinions, but also that opinions on their own never constitute an act so abominable as to be worthy of punishment from an institution acting in its official capacity. Because being willing to countenance bad opinions is table stakes for liberalism. The 'line' for me has always been whether you are explicitly advocating a particular *action* which is evil. I.e., the difference between "those guys who did terrorism are good" vs. "I think you students should all go out and find a Jew and murder them"

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Oct 24, 2023·edited Oct 24, 2023

Racism against Black people is now socially taboo in the US. I think most of us believe this is a good state of affairs. We didn't need to erode free speech rights stricto sensu to achieve this, but we did need civil rights legislation and a social movement. There is no reason why antisemitic hate would be any different. No, you shouldn't be able to prosecute anyone for condoning the murder of Jews, but you sure as heck ought to think twice before hiring them. If the result is that people think twice before calling for the murder of others, then that's a feature not a bug.

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I think I disagree. I think racist ideas are quite widespread in the US, and the taboo mainly has the effect of people keeping these views to themselves or to their close peers. To be clear, I think racist views are bad, but rather than shame people for expressing such views we should engage with them and make persuasive arguments as to why they are wrong. This may seem like an extreme view in the current landscape, but the work of Daryl Davis of engaging with actual white supremacists (like really, super racist people!) suggests that this can and does work.

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Ok. You may think civil riights legislation is wrong. You may think it would be better if people could be explicitly racist and face no social consequneces. Understaandbly few minorities would agree. But that's an ok view in an abstract discussoin. Now let's get down to earth for a second, recall that there is an extremely widespread consesnsus about this in the US, and ask ourselves why does the far left wish to uniquely exempt Jews from the prtoection offered to everyone else?

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And now the conversation has essentially collapsed into pointing out hypocrisy. This is exactly why I think Matt's piece is great.

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Oct 26, 2023·edited Oct 26, 2023

Matt simply agrees with the pro Palestinian college students, professors, and journalists for whom Hamas can never do anything worse than Israel. Free speech doesn't mean other people can't call you on your horrid stances. When the bright 'progressives' keep chanting for genocide in Israel (and Matt is being incredibly disingenuous to claim they don't know what they're saying), it is fine for future employers to hold them accountable. Same thing would happen to far Right students chanting vile racist things...only that doesn't happen on campus. The only people you can be racist and genocidal about as a 'progressive' are Jews, particularly Israelis.

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It's not hypocrisy, it's systemic racism. Matt ignores the elephant in the room to discuss incidental issues. That's why I think his piece is lousy.

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I don’t think that’s what civil rights legislation does--it says you can’t deprive people of employment or public accommodation on account of their race, it doesn’t say anything about expressing racist attitudes (other than, obviously, expressing those attitudes will make it easier for a plaintiff to prove their discrimination case against you if you try to deny them any of the aforementioned rights).

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Yes, but the passage of civil rights legislation was a very large and well-publicized signal to all Americans that racism was bad, that anti-racism* constituted the consensus opinion, and that tolerating it in economic contexts (which pervade modern life) was no longer acceptable. You can't claim that didn't change people's responses to expressing racist attitudes.

* In the old-fashioned sense of opposing conscious discrimination on racial lines.

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I did not say civil rights legislation is wrong. I said that it is counterproductive to engage in social shaming as punishment for people expressing racist views.

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Would Daryl Davis’s work have been effective back in the days of Jim Crow? Maybe even more effective than today, since people were (by your formulation) more willing to speak their minds?

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Actually they weren’t, it’s just that the social pressure was going in the opposite direction (expressing support for equal rights for black people could get you in a lot of trouble).

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I agree with you. I have always found the “people are just as racist now, they just hide it better” perspective to be highly under-baked.

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I think I'm being misunderstood. I am not saying institutionalized racism should not have been overturned. I am saying socially shaming people for expressing racist attitudes doesn't achieve what folks think it does, and that it would ultimately be more effective to discuss these issues openly. I could add a bunch of qualifiers, but one is that of course that doesn't mean you have to like racist people, invite them to dinner, or certainly not vote them into political office. In fact, wouldn't you want racists to be open about it so that we know who not to vote for or place in other positions of power?

I'm also not saying that people are just as racist now as in the Jim Crow era.

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If we are not placing racists in positions of power, how is that different from socially shaming them? Wouldn't that create the strongest possible incentive to keep racist views secret?

At any rate, I'm in favor of discussing issues openly and of not trying to get people fired over disagreements, though I do think some attitudes are egregious enough to be beyond the pale.

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Oct 24, 2023·edited Oct 24, 2023

>> The 'line' for me has always been whether you are explicitly advocating a particular *action* which is evil.

This is delicate to write about, but sometimes even evil speech can be useful for society to hear. Hearing the chants of "gas the Jews" on that video from Australia really reshaped my understanding of Israel's predicament. I knew that sentiment existed in parts of the Middle East, but to see it so out in the open and being repeated by so many people in a modern western society really affected me. However horrible this is to admit, sometimes we need to see and hear evil with our own eyes and ears to really grasp it.

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I think that you can be pro Palestinian/Hamas but without supporting violence.

When I am being asked about the situation, I am saying that its a national tragedy for us and I am against any form of violence but I also can understand why the Palestinians hate us over the occupation.

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Are you able to provide any evidence of people saying it's OK to kill Jewish kids? I've seen an interview with the #2 guy in Hamas and even he claims not to believe that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkZDxJ3JhCA

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I don't know if it's fair to ask for concrete examples of people saying this, because I think there are a lot of motte and Bailey tactics on this.

But two things comes to mind as getting pretty close: that BLM group (Chicago maybe) that posted a "Free Palestine" text over the image of a paratrooper. And personally, when I re-posted an Instagram story to the effect of "deliberate murder of civilians and children in never okay", someone I hadn't talked to since high school direct messaged me the response "do you support decolonization only in theory or in practice?"

So, yeah, I do think there are real voices out there condoning violence. They might not be especially prominent, and they may try to weasel out of that commitment if you press them on it, but there certainly are people who want to at least flirt with it. (This is what I mean by the rampant motte and bailey tactics.)

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As annoying as my alma mater is, it’s given me the priceless gift of a highly-educated social circle in which basically every single person, no matter how lefty, will snort with derision when someone uses the term “decolonization” to refer to present-day happenings.

Would that the Ivies can some day achieve this.

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With all the discourse about appropriation around can I, as a part-indian, be offended at the appropriation of the term “colonization” to refer to anything that annoys you, like a McDonalds in Paris

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I just roll my eyes if anyone implies something is a colony other than, you know, an actual colony (e.g., The Massachusetts Bay Colony) or a clump of bacteria in a Petri dish.

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The Vietnamese have decided that Americans are the best thing since they learned about good bread from the French. We killed, what, 10% of the whole population within living memory?

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This still doesn't support the claim people are saying it's OK to kill Jewish kids. They may be saying it's OK to kill Jewish Israeli kids. Which, let there be no doubt, I strongly oppose, as a former Jewish Israeli kid. But it's still different.

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Oct 24, 2023·edited Oct 24, 2023

Binya: If you thought the original poster was trying to distinguish between the murder of "Jewish kids" and "Jewish Israeli kids", you're misinterpreting what he wrote. And to be honest, that kind of parsing is exactly the kind of behavior that many of us have found so abhorrent on the far left in recent weeks.

To be clear, the two things may be "different", but to anyone of any decency, they are equally abhorrent. No one should be ok with the massacre of any kids (or civilians of any kind), whether they are Israeli, Jewish, Palestinian, or anything else.

Now some folks will then raise the question about what about the deaths of kids in Gaza from Israeli bombs. And it's a fair question. I'd make the argument that there is a huge difference between the deliberate massacre of children and the killing of children in bombing raids targeted at a military force that is deliberately positioning itself among these children. Ultimately, I do think Hamas is to blame for those deaths as well, though I do think it's incumbent on Israelis to do all they reasonably can to reduce those deaths without putting their people at undue risk.

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I'd be amazed if you can find any examples of anyone who is pro massacring kids, and even if you can, if it's anything but the most marginal and misrepresentative part of the people expressing solidarity with Palestinians.

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Oct 24, 2023·edited Oct 24, 2023

Binya: It's not that people are pro massacring kids. It's that they're unwilling to unreservedly condemn massacring kids. And while I'm sure you're right that they're refusing to do so because they see it as an expression of solidarity with the Palestinians, that's what we find so disturbing.

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BLM Chicago soon after apologized for that posting.

https://twitter.com/thedailybeast/status/1712155730109669762

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There was no apology nor any attempt at accountability. They merely said they weren't proud of it.

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Oct 24, 2023·edited Oct 24, 2023

I don't think too many people are saying it publicly. But when the response to the killing of babies is "Palestine has a right to defend itself like this" or "what did you think when we meant when we called for resistance?" then it sort of implicitly says the murder of babies is acceptable because it's in furtherance of the stated goals. You also have lots of private threats and hate speech getting leaked where people who have very polite public profiles are saying things like "Hitler should have eradicated all of you" in response to the murder of babies, so I think it's clear that lots of people who refuse to say such things publicly don't seem to have much moral qualm with it when framing their views privately.

As for the statements Hamas' #2 makes in interviews during PR appearances- I think it's far more important that Hamas actually committed the acts and doesn't seem to have condemned or apologized for those actions. He's doing an interview while trying to rally support for his cause- he's not going to say it was okay to commit those acts of barbarity, but his organization is the one that did it, so he doesn't seem to be all that bothered by it even when he's in public and knows he can't support it.

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the people who killed the jewish kids probably thought it was ok, and their opinions are the ones that matter most

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That is a completely different topic. “Do Hamas fighters who commit war crimes suck” vs “is there a casual acceptance of antisemitism on American college campuses”.

This is what Jane Coastan called “thing adjacent discourse”. There’s the thing (terrible Hamas attack, terrible Israeli policies and counterattacks) and then there’s the more juicy thing adjacent discourse: how are colleges reacting to the attacks? Is it appropriate? Is it hypocritical? Are people chanting something really racist or just that can be interpreted as racist or is it a “it’s okay to be white” style cover for racism?? What about news outlets? Did anyone report something and then walk it back? Etc. etc etc.

I find the thing adjacent discussions boring. The key fact is the Netanyahu has spent thirty years pursuing policies that led to this and now thousands of people are dying as a result, and it could get even worse if things spiral.

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“The key fact is the Netanyahu has spent thirty years pursuing policies that led to this…”

That’s hardly a fact, let alone key. Or do you believe that the poor, put upon Palestinians ended the First Intifada and have conducted themselves peacefully and honorably ever since?

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Nah Ken.

Palestinians were just doing their peaceful MLK thing since the 1920s and finally Netanyahu came along and started pressing them. They continued with their peaceful sit-ins until finally, finally, finally, they erupted on 10/7.

10/7. The date of the first ever Palestinian terror attack. The most peaceful people every finally got pushed over the edge.

Palestinian terror attacks prior to 10/7 that didn't happen:

Sbarro's Pizza

Hebron Massacre

Passover Massacre in Netanya

Munich

Airline hijackings

etc..

None of it happened!

Israel has been oppressing Palestinians for all this time, for no reason!

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Have you ever had Sbarro’s pizza? Godawful. Unless it’s really, really late and you’re really, really drunk.

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When you write "terrible Hamas attack, terrible Israeli policies and counterattacks" are you suggesting that the deliberate murder of children, rape of women etc. are equivalent to the "counterattack" targeting terrorists? When you say "pursuing policies that led to this" do you suggest that any policy at all could justify the deliberate murder of babies? Please do explain what on earth you mean by all this??

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This is a side topic, but may I gently suggest that every prior case of "they are deliberately murdering BABIES" has turned out to be false on further investigation. The Germans butchered the Belgians, but did not actually systematically murder Belgian babies as alleged. The Iraqis did not actually unplug Kuwaiti NICUs. The Ryohinga did not massacre Burmese babies. The fog of war is thick, but we are fairly safe in rejecting claims of baby butchering absent extremely concrete evidence. It is the most predictable claim made early in a conflict, and it is almost always false.

The Holocaust is the exception that proves the rule. The Germans only murdered Jewish babies after they constructed a vast and terrifying apparatus for murdering everyone young and old, and even that was very difficult to run because ordinary people need a lot of scaffolding to let them do such monstrous work without breaking down psychologically.

"do you suggest that any policy at all could justify"

That is an easy question. No. No one is justifying what Hamas did. What I am saying is that what Hamas did is the obvious and inevitable unjust result of Netanyahu's life's work.

When something bad happens, it worth looking at it from two tracks. One is the person directly responsible. But the other is who is most responsible of the people not directly responsible.

If you get mugged late at night while drunkenly stumbling around in a bad neighborhood and singing with your purse dangling half off your shoulder, the mugger is most responsible. You are secondarily responsible for doing something that predictably led to bad consequences.

Netanyahu has deliberately treated the Gazans like dogs for thirty years. He put them in a cage with no exit. He has supported Hamas to weaken Fatah. He allowed his cabinet to provoke the Al Asqa issue. He made it clear that he was going to cut off all possibility of a change in status for Palestine by pursuing separate peace with the Arab states. In the year before the attacks, 200 West Bank Palestinians were murdered by settlers and the IDF. To facilitate this, Netanyahu shifted IDF resources away from Gaza and to the West Bank. All of that was dousing the region with gasoline, and now Hamas has come with match. Lighting the match was bad and dousing the gasoline was bad. There is no contradiction in saying so.

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I'm sorry, are you saying that Hamas didn't kill babies on October 7?

>What I am saying is that what Hamas did is the obvious and inevitable unjust result of Netanyahu's life's work.

People keep saying this but they do nothing to back this up. There is no reason to think that Hamas, of all Palestinian organizations, is particularly upset about the failure of the peace process. Hamas does not want a peace process. Hamas existed before the peace process, during the peace process, and after the peace process. During that entire time, Hamas has tried to murder as many Israeli citizens as possible. The only thing that separates the October 7 operation from previous attempts is the scale of its success. This operation was years in the making. The blockade was at its most lenient point in years. There is absolutely no reason to tie the motivations to commit this particular massacre to the policies of the current coalition government of Bibi Netanyahu, which is only a few months old. Hamas likes to kill Jews! This was true before Bibi and after Bibi.

It's useful to ask yourself, if it's really so inevitable that Hamas would be driven to this as a result of Netanyahu's policies, or Israeli policies, if it's really true that the Palestinians were driven to this because of Policy X or Policy Y, why did only Hamas and related factions participate in it? Why didn't all 2.4 million Gazans, or at least a significant percentage of them, participate in the massacre?

If any interest in a peaceful solution was motivating Hamas at all, why did they murder civilians? In the most liberal peacenik part of the country? Why didn't they just go to the beach? Imagine the PR coup that would have been for the Palestinian national cause - 1400 Palestinians break out of their Gaza cage and go to the beach, and the IDF is running around like chickens with no head trying to catch them. They'd have a state in a week! But they didn't want to do that. They wanted to kill people. Which is all Hamas has ever wanted to do.

Saying October 7 is the inevitable result of Israeli policies suggests that if on October 6 Israel had ended the blockade, and tore down all the fences, October 7 wouldn't have happened. Does anyone really believe that?

>If you get mugged late at night while drunkenly stumbling around in a bad neighborhood and singing with your purse dangling half off your shoulder, the mugger is most responsible. You are secondarily responsible for doing something that predictably led to bad consequences.

First you said the "key fact" is that Netanyahu's actions led to this, and now you say he's secondarily responsible. Which is it?

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The topic is US demonstrations. It is not accurate to say “many” of these demonstrations “support” deliberately killing Jewish civilians including kids because they are Jewish. I say this as a Jewish person who this month has been more likely to attend a pro-Israel rally than a pro-Palestinian one.

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Oct 24, 2023·edited Oct 24, 2023

Many of the posters created by the organizers of these rallies informing people about them and inviting them to come pretty clearly glorified the attacks. Most included at least some people chanting explicit antisemitic content (e.g. "gas the Jews") and most certainly chanting highly dubious content ("from the river etc."). Quite a few twitterati bothered to justify if not celebrate the attacks. Very very few pro-Palestinain activists, organization etc. bothered to condemn them (apparently they haven't heard of "not in my name"). Quite a few official speakers in those rallies supported the attacks. I haven't seen evidence of the crowd booing or otherwise showing any discomfort with said speakers. So why, exactly, is it a priori so absurd to suppose that "many" of the protestors joining protests directly responding to the attacks, thus advertised and conducted by said organizers are fine or even happy with the attacks? Do you have any data to the contrary? Barring such data, wouldn't this be the most reasonable assumption? Why not? And how is your identity or politics material to this discussion?

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On the question of American campuses and American free speech culture (the topic of the entire), Hamas does not matter at all.

Don’t change the subject. Please and thank you.

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He was responding to a comment that highlighted the views of Hamas' #2- I think the door was opened by Binya to bring up Hamas' attitudes.

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The #2 guy at Hamas is lying about whether Hamas killed kids, because that is a fairly normal thing after killing children. Deny. Deny. Deny.

Either he does not know what Hamas did (then he’s not really #2, I argue) or he does know and he’s singing the praises of those who murder kids after he learned what they did.

It’s really strange how at least 2 comments are now debating whether Hamas does or does endorse murdering children.

(1) It’s not a mystery. Hamas murders children and they like it that way. Firing indiscriminately across the line and killing whoever is in the way. Then they send in terrorists and kill children at close range. I wish the debate was not about this because it’s so ridiculous.

(2) The essay was about American free speech culture after the Harpers letter. Nothing at all to do with Hamas “ethics” or rules of engagement, other than the overall news environment and its effect on American culture.

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Oct 24, 2023·edited Oct 24, 2023

He wasn't denying they did it. He was making the same claim the IDF's defenders do: we focus on military targets but unfortunately in war some civilian casualties are inevitable. That is clearly a lie, Hamas obviously killed a lot of civilians needlessly, but it's instructive that they've noticed that there is so little support for killing civilians that they are trying to spin out of having done so and/or claiming that to extent they did it, they did not want to.

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"it's instructive that they've noticed that there is so little support for killing civilians"

This doesn't seem like it would have been that hard to figure out beforehand.

But maybe not. Maybe overheated campus rhetoric has so clouded the waters that Hamas wasn't sure how people would react to murders. In that case, I would have to think it a very ironic result to the past few decades' analysis of "discourse harms".

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Oct 25, 2023·edited Oct 25, 2023

Hamas has a very long history of speaking strategically in the English language.

Many are coming at this without realizing that Hamas has launched countless attacks targeting civilians since their founding in the late 1980s.

They have always been mealy-mouthed about it. Sometimes they deny they target civilians. Other times they claim all Israelis serve in the army at some point in their lives, so no one is a civilian. Other other times they say that they will stop targeting civilians when Israel does the same.

What is new this time is that Hamas is getting criticized by *Arab* audiences for targeting civilians and they are needing to bust out their peacenik rhetoric, even in Arabic.

This have everything to do with Arab-Iranian hostility and Hamas' status as a client of Iran. Arabs are separating Hamas from the Palestinian cause. They do not support a Palestinian state that is a puppet of Iran. So it is natural to criticize Hamas' methods. Arabs generally have been fine with attacks against Israeli citizens. When Munich went down, Jordan's King Hussein was the only Arab leader to condemn that attack on Israeli civilians, which wasn't even in Israel!

Hamas's days are numbers. They have lost the Arabs. Arabs want to put the old bloodfueds behind and start building real prosperity, at peace with their neighbors, even Israel. Hamas has slowed this process in the short-term, but has only hastened its inevitability.

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There have been several that I think can fairly be described as supportive of Hamas’s attacks. For example, a pro Palestinian student group at Cal State Long Beach used posters with an image of a paraglider to promote a “Day of Resistance: Protest for Palestine” three days after the paragliders were used by Hamas on their terrorist attack at the music festival.

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There was this incident with a UC Davis professor - you could argue that arguing for violence against the children of American "Zionist journalists" is not 100% identical to advocating against Jewish children specifically, because not all American Zionists are Jews, but it's definitely getting into that territory.

"One group of ppl we have easy access to in the US is all these zionist journalists who spread propaganda & misiniformation," Descristo allegedly wrote on X, formerly Twitter. "They have houses w addresses, kids in school," the professor allegedly said, adding "They can fear their bosses, but they should fear us more," followed by a knife emoji, an axe emoji, and three blood drop emojis.

https://www.newsweek.com/professor-threatening-pro-israel-journalist-kids-backlash-1836487

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I once started reading a history of Israel, made it just over halfway through to around 1949 before it became too depressing to finish.

Tribal violence, by both sides, is as old as Jewish efforts to establish a homeland in Palestine. The great continuity is tribal violence. What has changed is the balance of power has tilted more and more towards Israelis and less and less towards Palestinians.

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I think its more simple than you think.

The Jewish people wanted a place to form a country for them to be able to defend themselves and control their own life. Israel was the place where Jews had historic connection to and there was already a community here. The Arabs in the country and other countries could not accept it and the UN two states, so they attacked several times and lost. We took the advantage of the situation to occupy territories and made the mistake of not giving them back in return to peace. We then made it worse by letting extreme religious people to form settlements there.

Simple. Not a tribal war more than US taking of Mexican lands.

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That is basically describing a tribal conflict writ-large?

And the latter analogy is pretty bad; the entire Mexican Cession had fewer than 200,000 Mexican citizens on it, who were immediately offered American citizenship on annexation.

A better analogy would be the Comanche Wars.

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Weren't there around half a million Arabs in Palestine when the Zionist immigrations started en masse? Not sure I understand why this is supposed to be massively disanalogous

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The US offered everyone citizenship in part because there were no concerns of being demographically swamped, and the Mexican landowners were easily co-opted into becoming part of the establishment in most every locale.

The Israelis didn’t feel themselves to have that luxury, and so expulsion was the order of the day for the most part.

Much more analogous to America’s running conflict with the Native peoples, right down to eventually achieving massive military superiority. And we all know what we did with that superiority.

Hopefully Israel can make a different choice but I am doubtful.

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If the point is about citizenship - Arabs and Jews both would have been full citizens in their respective states if the partition plan hadn't been rejected. And Arabs remaining in the green line in 1948 *were* granted full citizenship.

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"Arabs remaining in the green line in 1948 *were* granted full citizenship."

Well, eventually. Like 1966.

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“Remaining” is a hell of a word in the context of having just forcibly expelled 700,000 of them.

I understand the reasons behind that decision, but let’s not pretend it was something other than what it was.

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founding

200,000 in the Mexican cession is less than half the population in about 20 times the area. About two decades before the war, Mexico thought the land was so underpopulated by Mexicans that they actively recruited Americans to settle in Texas to civilize it and displace the indigenous people.

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This seems a bit besides the point. No one is suggesting that one can't condemn those protests or the people who excuse the rapes and killing. I read this very peace as including such condemnation. But no universities are officially endorsing such positions.

And I don't think any reasonable person believes that we should be arresting people for their awful speach here or even violating the protections of tenure. So it's not the existence of some awful protests at universities that's really at issue here -- and if those universities had a general policy of not commenting on such protests/issues I don't think many people would have an issue.

The issue is that those universities haven't been following such a policy. Therefore their silence here sends an implied message that they don't think the kind of protests you mention are clearly morally unacceptable.

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Oct 24, 2023·edited Oct 24, 2023

Palestinian activists generally view themselves as voices for the voiceless and take for granted that, given that the massive pro-Israel biases in the media and political establishment, the Israeli narrative of any given event will be spread far and wide and does not need further amplification by Palestinian activists. It's kind of like BLM activists refusing to say "blue lives matter" since while that phrase might technically true (no one wants to see dead cops) it's rather oblivious to the real power dynamics in the situation.

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The “real power dynamics “ didn’t do jack squat for the teenage girl with cerebral palsy who was dragged out of her wheelchair and butchered at the music festival by Hamas terrorists.

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Oct 24, 2023·edited Oct 24, 2023

"It's kind of like BLM activists refusing to say "blue lives matter" since while that phrase might technically true (no one wants to see dead cops) it's rather oblivious to the real power dynamics in the situation."

I think this is where you're assuming a reasonable position is the only position out there that people hold. There are BLM/Defund activists who would cheer dead cops. There are many pro Palestinian activists who cheer killing Jews regardless of who the Jews are.

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You can find scary extremists on any side of any issue.

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It's always worth applying the 330+ million rule. I.e., this is a huge country with a lot of people. If one million people have crazy views, that sounds like a huge number of people, but it's a drop in the ocean.

The critical question is whether we should pay any attention to them. Maybe debates like this just pump oxygen into the fire they create.

What if we just ignored them?

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A real challenge in the modern media environment is how many people believe something I think is crazy. I think saying that Biden didn't win in 2020 is crazy, but people say/believe that - should we ignore them or condemn them? Racists and antisemitism seem crazy to me...but plenty of people are out there showing their crazy.

And that's not a rhetorical question - I'm really not sure as to the best approach for dealing with certain types of crazy. I want to think that if we ignore them, they'll fade away. And sometimes they do. But other times, if you ignore the crazy, you get the Republican party not convicting Trump for Jan 6 because they hoped if they ignored it, then he would go away and he didn't.

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Here's an easy way to tell the difference: if the majority of national leaders of a party, including its presumptive presidential nominee, believe something crazy then we should not condemn them. If limited numbers of people, with marginal representation or support at the highest levels of the political system (like Congress and the White House) then it's probably okay to ignore them.

I don't condemn the doofus who believes 2020 was stolen because he's parroting what he heard from Trump, Fox, etc. I condemn the majority of Republicans in Congress who refused to certify the vote. Just as I blame Republican Senators for not voting to convict Trump, not because they were ignoring the crazies (the opposite in fact) but because they're cowards and borderline traitors toward the Constitution and our system of government.

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Isn’t it true that the 100 nights of idiocy in Portland had more to do with anarchists/nihilists/no-goodnicks latching on to the initial Floyd protests, which were peaceful, and turning them into something closer to riots? I live here and know people who participates early in peaceful marches before it all went loco.

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Common, but unrepresentative.

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>Palestinian activists generally view themselves as voices for the voiceless and take for granted that, given that the massive pro-Israel biases in the media and political establishment, the Israeli narrative of any given event will be spread far and wide and does not need further amplification by Palestinian activists.

This has never made any sense to me. They would lose absolutely nothing by recognizing that the massacre was bad and by saying they don't support the massacre. "Oh it's not necessary. Everyone else has already condemned it." This only makes it more conspicuous when you refuse to!

Transparently, wht's actually going on is that large parts of the "from the river to the sea" coalition do support the massacre and the people who say "oh it's not necessary, the MSM will do it" don't want to risk the intra-coalition fight with those people.

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Good comment. I think you are still being too charitable to the "coalition [who] do not support the massacre". It is not merely that they need to avoid infighting with maniacs.

There is also the basic cognitive dissonance. Israel claims that they need to blockade/occupy Palestinians to ensure Israeli safety and security. The Pro-palestine crowd has always considered this argument to be merely pretextual.

When we see an attack like 10/7, which is something that would cause any nation to engage with the threat militarily, that upends their whole argument. So they have to just ignore it.

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+100

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I agree with basically everything in this piece, but I'm sympathetic to right-of-center interlocutors who are (rightfully) skeptical that as soon as there's another George Floyd-esque situation, practically every college will throw out their newfound neutrality.

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founding

I think the chancellor of my new university, UC Irvine, has actually done a good job on this. He issued a “statement on statements” saying that he generally wouldn’t make statements on political issues that aren’t of direct relevance to the university, but not a blanket denial of all statements. He identified this moment as one where a statement was still necessary.

https://chancellor.uci.edu/communications/campus/2023/231010-shared-commitment-to-humanity-and-understanding.php

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Go Anteaters!

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Looks great.

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Johnny Hart reference?

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Actually, I did some Googling and it supposedly is a Johnny Hart reference (the anteater being a recurring character in Hart's "B.C." strip): https://ucirvinesports.com/sports/2021/1/4/peter.aspx

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Where does that sympathy resolve to as a policy besides some idea of a "fairness doctrine" within a subjective and fluid overton window, such that we have quotas for discussing topics like Intelligent Design as much as Darwinian Evolution? Or then perhaps discussing phrenology as a reasonable theory in evolution?

It doesn't seem to be the kind of thing that resolves, except to refine that cultivated feeling of fragility that Matt mentioned.

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Can it just resolve to scorn for moral exhibitionism and a healthy disregard for pompous institutions issuing their secular papal bulls to tiny constituencies?

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Is the US audience for a bull from Harvard University bigger or smaller than one from the Bishop of Rome?

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Tough call these days!

The Vatican has one advantage though, which is that it speaks in a single voice, while Harvard's many departments are probably the most relevant comps. I doubt that Harvard qua Harvard (the administration ) even listens to itself.

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I don't think this calls for a policy response and that we should just foster a culture that is supportive of the principle of free speech.

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Fostering a culture supportive of free speech, especially when it's done by an institution like a college, is a policy. That doesn't seem like the kind of thing that can resolve, if you want to have it both ways. If right-of-center interlocutors were so concerned, then I think there'd be more readily available solutions or proposals how to get there.

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Oct 24, 2023·edited Oct 24, 2023

I think this overcomplicates or maybe misses the issue somewhat. College kids can say whatever they want, just like anyone else. The actual issue has been one of a combination of endorsement and discouragement of speech by college administrations based on a very particular world view. Which I think is kind of Allan's point. I don't think anyone at these places is suddenly waking up at all. If anything it's kind of unfair to the students who have been endlessly rewarded for years for saying leftist craptrap, to suddenly now be told 'no but not THIS leftist claptrap!'

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Isn't the policy suggestion here just "don't make public statements about controversial events"?

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That is generally a good idea, especially if one doesn't have expertise, and doesn't want to say anything they regret, but Matt makes that case about making statements about controversial war crimes to gradually convince people it's worth considering.

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I guess then if we have to put up guardrails on what kinda speech is allowed, they would exist but would be wider than it currently is, and would also include saying things like Israel is to blame for the 10/7 (but would also include saying things like there are two genders or whatever).

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I think that's a good example of what I meant about a subjective overton window.

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Yeah my subjective overton window is probably larger and almost certainly a notch to the right of yours. What does yours look like?

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The Chicago Principles got mentioned in the main piece, and I really do recommend them (not just because they're my alma mater). The key distinction isn't whether they fit "a subjective and fluid Overton window". It's whether they're likely to disrupt university activity, either by invoking a crackdown by legal authorities, or because they physically make traditional scholarly activities like visiting a library or reading in peace impossible.

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Oct 25, 2023·edited Oct 25, 2023

Thanks, those make sense and I agree.

Those are good ideas to maintain neutrality that don't bias "center-right" or "center-left" concerns. I'm not sure how they can satisfy someone claiming the neutrality isn't real or reliable neutrality for their particular group, as Allan is concerned about.

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It has always been politically dangerous for academics to be critical of Israel, either in a sane or in a bonkers way (of course everybody draws this line differently). Plenty get away with it, but as with other politically incorrect speech a basically random number suffer consequences, and this in turn has a chilling effect on everybody else.

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> a culture that encourages people to cultivate their own sense of subjective fragility in order to silence enemies.

Sentence of the year, at least!

I want this on merch.

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I want the T-shirt

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As an academic, I agree that universities (and other institutions that don’t exist for political purposes) would be better off keeping their noses out of political issues that don’t directly concern their mission.

I think you’re too soft on people who unthinkingly yell slogans in the street or on social media. I agree that many do it ignorantly, but they are still responsible for the moral implications. Someone who wears a Free Mumia shirt should be explain why they believe he’s innocent in the murder of Daniel Faulkner. Someone who yells “From the River to the Sea” should be able to explain why they don’t think that means the slaughter of the Israeli Jews, when a good chunk of the Palestinian population (the Hamas supporters) clearly thinks that it does. If they can’t explain their slogan, then they shouldn’t be chanting in public. Otherwise, they can be justifiably accused of wanting a cop killer free and not valuing Israeli lives.

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I think you are describing a bigger intellectual problem where people don't care what the words they say mean. They just think they are rhetorically convenient bludgeons to make themselves feel validated.

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Building on that, from the point of view of cultura silencing, I'm more in favour for it when it comes to people who yell stuff that's just not true (Hamas don't kill civilians, Trump won the 2020 election) than people who adopt a particular position (Israel is the Jewish homeland because the Bible says so, or there should be one democratic state in 1947 Palestine). The latter is a key part of democratic debate, the former suggests that someone is just not interested in debate.

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I would say that the former is that they are uninterested in knowing and are unconcerned with truth.

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"I think you are describing a bigger intellectual problem where people don't care what the words they say mean."

I think you're describing a bigger philosophical problem, where words don't carry any sort of inherent meaning, only typical uses, and those uses can vary from community to community.

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One of my favorite shirts I have ever seen is the famous Che Guevera face that's adorned thousands of dorm rooms over the years with the caption underneath "I have no idea who this is". Just encapsulates so much.

I agree with in principle; the protests you go to, the shirts you wear, the slogans you shout are all expressions of speech and expressions of a viewpoint you're trying to convey to the world. You should try to take two seconds to try to think about the message you're trying to send.

The caveat is II can't emphasize enough how often protests or rallies get hijacked by a few speakers or end being about views that you never knew were the real subject of the protest. I remember going to anti-Iraq war rally in March, 2023 (not a popular thing to do at the time). I actually spoke first at that rally. First few speakers including me had some sort of variation of why the invasion was wrong (I remember saying something to the effect of that it was patriotic to be against the war. I didn't want my country committing a mistake). But then a speaker got up and started shouting about (drumroll please)...Israel/Palestine and talked about freeing Palestine. And then someone got up and spoke about freeing Native American lands and I distinctly remember turning to my friend and saying "wait what is going on?"

There have been literally 100s of protests. I suspect at least some of the people attending knew exactly what these protests are about and maybe deserve opprobrium that comes their way for protests that end up defending Hamas. But I can't emphasize enough how many showed up to a rally because someone said "hey we're against war right, we should protest". And had no idea what the true agenda of some of the speakers really were.

I should also emphasize (have emphasized and will continue to emphasize) that so much of the college aesthetic experience is trying to recreate "THE 60S". Protests, posters on your wall and even how you dress (especially at liberal arts schools) are still echoes of 1968 and still this attempt to recreate that aesthetic moment 60 years later. I said in a previous post how overrated Hippy protests were (And also how much more destructive and extreme some of them were).

But reality is, I can't emphasize enough how much protests are an attempt at LARPING The 60s.

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I fully agree with all of this. I attended anti-war protests that were full of posters ranging from off-topic to offensive. Pam Africa actually hijacked the mic at one protest and started yelling Free Mumia. It was incredibly frustrating. You can't really control who shows up at your protest. I would only hold people accountable for the things they individually did (including cheering for certain statements).

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Oct 24, 2023·edited Oct 24, 2023

I had a Che poster in college. It was of a mural with a peasant selling food on the side of the street next to a faded picture of Che. I liked the juxtaposition.

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2023 -> 2003?

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I went to school with one of Faulkner's nephews and every time I see such a shirt I make sure to ask the person if they think he didn't murder Faulkner. Near-universal response: "Who's that?"

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Wow, that's awful. Free Mumia was huge among progressives when I moved to Philly in the late 90s. I remember reading up on the case and concluding that Mumia almost certainly did murder Faulkner and definitely did not deserve all the valorization. At 18, it was my first break from the left.

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Yep. These kids are just astonishingly ignorant, so much so that it’s nearly indistinguishable from stupidity.

I’m very much a believer in MY’s elite overproduction hypothesis, with the added twist that it’s been ongoing in the liberal arts for quite some time. It was concealed by bloat in administrative and bureaucratic staff at universities, which is mainly the tertiary education sector mopping up as large a share as it can of its own otherwise unemployable graduates to puff up graduate job numbers using donor and endowment funds.

It’s basically the original sin of modern higher education: they over-enrolled in cheap but low-value liberal arts degrees, then hired the less employable graduates thereof to prove the program had value, creating both a large constituency for on-campus lefty claptrap and a massive cost center that required tuition increases to meet, thereby necessitating a larger version of the same cycle next time.

3-4 working generations later, the end result is universities with administrative/bureaucratic staff five times the size of the professoriate, costs akin to debt peonage, rapidly degrading value for humanities programs with less and less critical content, and a populist revolt against academia that has wayyy too much genuine merit for me as a center-left type to be comfortable dismissing it out of hand.

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They thought they could give up on intellectual rigor and nobody would notice.

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It's moderately funny when you read about the origins of the most activist "X Studies" disciplines. Largely grew out of activist demands in the late 60s/early 70s; initially contained in a kind of 'quarantine' to sub-disciplines within the humanities; gradually, humanities, and then the social sciences, started to incorporate their ideas (not just as an avenue of exploration, but as more fundamental first principles); now the occasional report on how a physics paper needs a DEI statement.

I suppose the debate could be whether the movement towards these departments occurred as a kind of natural outbreak, or whether the ideas escaped from a contained lab where they were being experimented on.

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I am personally for the 100% Federal defunding of all non-STEM degree programs other than those at state & community colleges.

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Won't solve the problem. Better to try to legislate to make federal and state funding conditional on YoY reductions in support staff and tuition falls in real (or maybe even nominal) terms.

Purdue, of all places, is a leader in this, because Mitch freaking Daniels is committed to actual open inquiry and accessible tertiary education.

We need 5,000 more of him.

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