OP-ED: A Double Standard on Hate
- By Daniel Greenfield
Every year college campuses across the country hold a festival of hatred aimed at Jews and the Jewish State. Israeli Apartheid Week has become notorious for the targeted harassment of Jewish students, support for Hamas and even physical violence.
This year the David Horowitz Freedom Center has responded to Israeli Apartheid Week with Islamic Apartheid Week. Unlike Israeli Apartheid Week, which is based on a lie, Islamic Apartheid Week addresses the sexism, homophobia and religious bigotry threatening minorities in the Muslim world. To promote Islamic Apartheid Week, the Freedom Center attempted to place an ad in forty college papers.
The ad called “Faces of Islamic Apartheid” drew attention to the victims of Islamic sexism, homophobia and theocracy by briefly telling the stories of gay men hanged in Iran, women and girls murdered by their governments and their families for the crime of falling in love and the Christian Minister for Minorities Affairs in Pakistan’s cabinet who was murdered for trying to reform his country’s theocratic blasphemy laws.
These four women, three men and one little girl were the victims of Islamic Apartheid. Five of them have been murdered. Their memory lives on only when they are remembered. One has been on death row for six years. Telling her story may help save her life. The remaining two live under threat of death.
Instead of listening to their stories, the campus culture of political correctness drowned out their voices and apologized for even allowing their stories to be told.
Nine college papers turned the ad down, five of them in the University of California system which has been criticized for tolerating anti-Semitism. When the California State Assembly passed a resolution condemning anti-Semitism on campus and warned that no public resources should be used for anti-Semitic hate, the University of California objected on free speech grounds. However free speech for Israeli Apartheid Week did not translate into free speech for Islamic Apartheid Week.
Seven college papers took the advertisement. Of those papers, Tufts University’s Tufts Daily and Austin’s Daily Texan both ran apologies from their editors for even printing the ad.
Tufts Daily editor Martha Shanahan called the decision to run the ad an “editorial oversight.” Daily Texan editor Susannah Jacob denounced the attempt to tell the stories of victimized women and children as “hateful” and “an unspoken incitement to violence.”
Martha Shanahan spent two pages apologizing for the existence of the “Islamophobic and violently offensive” advertisement, the existence of Tufts Daily, its staff and her own existence. At no point during her long series of apologies, did Martha acknowledge that her paper had run four editorials in a single week from Students for Justice in Palestine attacking Israel and promoting hatred for the Jewish State. And in an unequal response to this, it also ran a brief letter from Tufts Friends of Israel distancing itself from the ad and politely suggesting that apartheid shouldn’t be used to refer to Israel.
Anthony Monaco, the President of Tufts University, took to Twitter to denounce the advertisement for vilifying Islam, but made no such denunciation of the Tufts Daily’s op-ed, “The Case for Israeli Apartheid” which (not coincidentally) appeared on the same day as the ad. At Tufts, no one apologizes for accusing democratic Israel of apartheid. There are only apologies when theocratic Iran and Pakistan are accused of practicing Islamic Apartheid.
When anti-Israel voices are outweighed 4-to-1 and the editor apologizes for publishing another perspective that would have made it 4-to-2 then the freedom of debate at Tufts University is in a very sad state. When that same editor prints editorials describing Israel as an apartheid state, but promises to put in place an entire system of oversight to make certain that no advertisement challenging Islamic Apartheid is ever printed again, then a system of censorship has been put into place silencing the voices of victims and encouraging their persecutors.
The Daily Texan’s Susannah Jacob claimed that the crosshairs over the faces of the victims were an incitement to violence when they were actually a way of bringing urgency to the violence that had been committed against them. And making it clear that she never even saw the advertisement that she was denouncing, Susannah described the ad as depicting six women, when it included two gay men, one Christian man and one little girl.
Susannah further distorted the truth about Islamic Apartheid when she described the pervasive sexism, homophobia and theocracy that these people fell victim to as “discrete incidents of violence by Muslims” being used “to implicate all Muslims” while ignoring the fact that five of the victims in the ad had been targeted by their governments or with government backing.
Can the Daily Texan’s editor honestly claim that Iran’s persecution of women and gay men or Pakistan’s persecution of Christians are “discrete incidents of violence”, rather than state policy? Could she find a single human rights organization that would agree with such a dishonest whitewashing of the terror under which millions live?
The responses to the advertisement have established once again that some forms of apartheid are privileged on campus and that some forms of persecution cannot be talked about. Demonizing the Israeli victims of Islamic terror is within the realm of campus free speech, but speaking about the vulnerable minorities in the Muslim world is not.
If the advertisement was wrong, then there would have been no need to censor it. False claims can easily be disproven. Five minutes with Google would have told every reader and editor whether there was any truth to the Faces of Islamic Apartheid.
It is never necessary to censor lies. It is only necessary to censor truth.
That is why the majority of campus papers -– ten so far, including Harvard whose editors said they would not print it under any circumstances — refused to run this paid advertisement. It is why those few who did have begun making ritual apologies while lying about its contents. It is why the attacks on the advertisement have taken refuge in vague platitudes about offensiveness, without a single attempt at a factual rebuttal. It is why every response to the advertisement has consisted of claiming that speaking about Islamic bigotry is the real bigotry.
There were eight faces and eight names in the censored advertisement that the President of Tufts, the editors of Tufts Daily, the Daily Texan and the editors of ten college papers that turned down the ad, did not want their students to see or know about because it might disturb the manufactured campus consensus that they have constructed with great effort around Israel and Islamic terrorism.
These are the names. Amina Said. Sarah Said. Afshan Azad. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. Shahbas Bhatti. Rimsha Masih. Mahmoud Asgari. Ayaz Marhoni.
They were repressed as individuals. Now their story is being repressed on the American campus.
Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center