Charlottesville: A Counterfactual for Jews

According to Messrs. Bing and Google, there are no statues of Theodor Herzl in the U.S.  Still, it’s not inconceivable that there exists one somewhere, or, on some university campus, at least a bust of the founder of political Zionism. He was a popular figure in ‘50s, when Americans across the political spectrum celebrated the founding of Israel.

Now let’s say the town or university, under pressure from CAIR, BDS, BLM, Students for Justice in Palestine, the Muslim Student Association, and other teachers’ pets and their engagé sponsors, decides to remove the statue or bust. This dead white male was a colonialist, an imperialist, and a racist, and should not be honored by a tolerant, multicultural community. His presence is creating a hostile environment.

So a group of Jewish and other students organize a rally in front of the bust to protest its removal. Leftist thugs vow that they will not let the rally take place. Racism is not protected speech.

Again, this is not inconceivable. In California alone, and just during the past year, mobs have forced the cancelation of talks by Charles Murray, Heather MacDonald, Ben Shapiro, Ann Coulter, and Milo Yiannopoulos, and on campuses across the country events sponsored by Jewish organizations have been disrupted and Jewish students intimidated.

The attacks at U.C. Irvine have been particularly egregious.

Those demonstrating against the removal of the bust would have a right to expect that their rally would be protected by campus security and local police. They would expect to be permitted to hear what their speakers had to say. The First Amendment is still on the books. It prohibits “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press” and guarantees “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Imagine, then, that, though a federal judge has ordered that the event proceed, less than half an hour before it’s to begin, the police declare a state of emergency and order everyone to disperse. The reason? Protestors have been trying to push their way into the park and break up the rally and some of the Jewish students have defended the entrances. The police, who have failed to secure the park or keep the counterdemonstrators behind barricades, then force the students on to a street filled with counterdemonstrators. The cops disappear and the Jewish students have to run a gauntlet of black-clad, masked fascisti armed with bats and sticks, pepper spray, flamethrowers, bottles, and balloons of urine and dye. Some of those attending the rally are injured. None of the pogromchiks are arrested.

Would this be a scandal in the Jewish community? Would we hear denunciations of the police from the ADL, Hillel, the American Jewish Committee, and the local Federation? Probably.

But this outrage would likely inspire nothing more than a tepid response from university administrators or city fathers. There would be lamentations about the absence of civility, perhaps proposals for a dialogue between the two sides, and maybe a warning, as was issued after chanting demonstrators interrupted an Israeli film, chased away latecomers, and blocked the exits. Suspensions? Don’t count on it.

But at least the media that covered the event would not confuse victim and perpetrators. The Jews would not be blamed for the violence when their rally was disrupted. And if a particularly sensitive and compassionate university president expressed regret for the violence on both sides, he would not be vilified.

Celebrating the perpetrator is, of course, the stock in trade of progressives -- from Trayvon Martin, the Horst Wessel of the left, and Michael (“the Gentle Giant”) Brown, to successful murderers Mumia Abu-Jamal and the legions of assassins from the PLO, Hamas, Hizb’allah, et. al.

What you have to do in this country to exonerate the would-be killer is show that the victim was guilty of a thought crime. Remember the desperate and expensive attempts to find some racist content in the tape of George Zimmerman’s 911 call?

So here’s the message to my fellow Jews:

I won’t insult your intelligence by disassociating myself from the views of Unite the Right rally participants.

The First Amendment, however, does not apply only to speech that is unobjectionable. What would be the reason for it if this were the case? The only speech that’s prohibited was, once upon a time, that which posed a “clear and present danger.” Nearly fifty years ago the bar was raised: now only speech that is calculated to provoke “imminent violence” is excluded from protection under the First Amendment.

Though “kill the Nazis,” chanted by the Antifa and their friends, might meet that test, nothing said by the Unite the Right marchers does. “White lives matter” doesn’t. “Blood and soil” doesn’t. And “Jews will not replace us,” into which “You will not replace us” morphed, doesn’t. Whether this refers to a nefarious plan by the Jews to give up birth control, or a plot to abandon the professions and go into truck-driving and dry-wall construction, or a conspiracy by the Elders of Zion to import more immigrants into the country, it does not pose the threat of imminent violence.

Because we didn’t hear the speeches in Charlottesville, we don’t know what their leaders believe, or how representative the sometimes imbecilic and offensive cherry-picked sound-bites from interviews are.

What you didn’t hear at the rally were chants calling for the destruction of Israel.

Go on any campus during “anti-apartheid week” and you will.

We are told ad nauseum that anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism. Except it is. Nearly 45% of the world’s Jews live the historic homeland of the Jewish people. For over a millennium, Jews, both in Europe and the Islamic world, were subject to arbitrary fees, confiscations, humiliations, expulsions, and, periodically, arson, robbery, rape, and murderous attacks. Jews, in turn, regarded themselves in exile, and knew they were tolerated only as long as rulers found them useful. Then, after they were granted civil and economic rights in Western Europe, their success triggered a new wave of anti-Semitism, despite their wish to assimilate and become merely Germans, Frenchmen, etc. of the Hebrew persuasion. The Holocaust was only the culmination of centuries of persecution, as were the pogroms, beginning with the Iraqi Farhud of 1941, that drove 800,000 Jews from lands in the Middle East and North Africa where they’d lived for 2,500 years. But the most compelling argument for a Jewish nation with a Jewish army is not what the Germans did, but what the British and Americans didn’t do between 1941 and 1945.

If you identify with the fate of the Jewish people, you want to see Israel survive and prosper. Of course, just as Christianity attracted talented and ambitious converts, who were sometimes among the most zealous opponents of the Jews, so the dominant religion du jour has attracted numerous converts. Jews who demonize Israel are always welcome by the radical left.

Our Kulturträgers loathe Jewish nationalism only a little less than they loathe Western European and American nationalism. If you support Israel, be prepared to be labeled a hater and a racist. These labels exclude you from the protection of the First Amendment.  

You are not being threatened by punks in white polo shirts parading under tiki torches. Waiting for you at the bottom of the slippery slope are the masked, black-clad Antifa, with sticks, mace, blowtorches, bags of urine, and bottles of concrete. And their violence will be applauded, or at least defended, by clergy, professors, entertainers, journalists, and politicians with advanced views.

According to Messrs. Bing and Google, there are no statues of Theodor Herzl in the U.S.  Still, it’s not inconceivable that there exists one somewhere, or, on some university campus, at least a bust of the founder of political Zionism. He was a popular figure in ‘50s, when Americans across the political spectrum celebrated the founding of Israel.

Now let’s say the town or university, under pressure from CAIR, BDS, BLM, Students for Justice in Palestine, the Muslim Student Association, and other teachers’ pets and their engagé sponsors, decides to remove the statue or bust. This dead white male was a colonialist, an imperialist, and a racist, and should not be honored by a tolerant, multicultural community. His presence is creating a hostile environment.

So a group of Jewish and other students organize a rally in front of the bust to protest its removal. Leftist thugs vow that they will not let the rally take place. Racism is not protected speech.

Again, this is not inconceivable. In California alone, and just during the past year, mobs have forced the cancelation of talks by Charles Murray, Heather MacDonald, Ben Shapiro, Ann Coulter, and Milo Yiannopoulos, and on campuses across the country events sponsored by Jewish organizations have been disrupted and Jewish students intimidated.

The attacks at U.C. Irvine have been particularly egregious.

Those demonstrating against the removal of the bust would have a right to expect that their rally would be protected by campus security and local police. They would expect to be permitted to hear what their speakers had to say. The First Amendment is still on the books. It prohibits “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press” and guarantees “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Imagine, then, that, though a federal judge has ordered that the event proceed, less than half an hour before it’s to begin, the police declare a state of emergency and order everyone to disperse. The reason? Protestors have been trying to push their way into the park and break up the rally and some of the Jewish students have defended the entrances. The police, who have failed to secure the park or keep the counterdemonstrators behind barricades, then force the students on to a street filled with counterdemonstrators. The cops disappear and the Jewish students have to run a gauntlet of black-clad, masked fascisti armed with bats and sticks, pepper spray, flamethrowers, bottles, and balloons of urine and dye. Some of those attending the rally are injured. None of the pogromchiks are arrested.

Would this be a scandal in the Jewish community? Would we hear denunciations of the police from the ADL, Hillel, the American Jewish Committee, and the local Federation? Probably.

But this outrage would likely inspire nothing more than a tepid response from university administrators or city fathers. There would be lamentations about the absence of civility, perhaps proposals for a dialogue between the two sides, and maybe a warning, as was issued after chanting demonstrators interrupted an Israeli film, chased away latecomers, and blocked the exits. Suspensions? Don’t count on it.

But at least the media that covered the event would not confuse victim and perpetrators. The Jews would not be blamed for the violence when their rally was disrupted. And if a particularly sensitive and compassionate university president expressed regret for the violence on both sides, he would not be vilified.

Celebrating the perpetrator is, of course, the stock in trade of progressives -- from Trayvon Martin, the Horst Wessel of the left, and Michael (“the Gentle Giant”) Brown, to successful murderers Mumia Abu-Jamal and the legions of assassins from the PLO, Hamas, Hizb’allah, et. al.

What you have to do in this country to exonerate the would-be killer is show that the victim was guilty of a thought crime. Remember the desperate and expensive attempts to find some racist content in the tape of George Zimmerman’s 911 call?

So here’s the message to my fellow Jews:

I won’t insult your intelligence by disassociating myself from the views of Unite the Right rally participants.

The First Amendment, however, does not apply only to speech that is unobjectionable. What would be the reason for it if this were the case? The only speech that’s prohibited was, once upon a time, that which posed a “clear and present danger.” Nearly fifty years ago the bar was raised: now only speech that is calculated to provoke “imminent violence” is excluded from protection under the First Amendment.

Though “kill the Nazis,” chanted by the Antifa and their friends, might meet that test, nothing said by the Unite the Right marchers does. “White lives matter” doesn’t. “Blood and soil” doesn’t. And “Jews will not replace us,” into which “You will not replace us” morphed, doesn’t. Whether this refers to a nefarious plan by the Jews to give up birth control, or a plot to abandon the professions and go into truck-driving and dry-wall construction, or a conspiracy by the Elders of Zion to import more immigrants into the country, it does not pose the threat of imminent violence.

Because we didn’t hear the speeches in Charlottesville, we don’t know what their leaders believe, or how representative the sometimes imbecilic and offensive cherry-picked sound-bites from interviews are.

What you didn’t hear at the rally were chants calling for the destruction of Israel.

Go on any campus during “anti-apartheid week” and you will.

We are told ad nauseum that anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism. Except it is. Nearly 45% of the world’s Jews live the historic homeland of the Jewish people. For over a millennium, Jews, both in Europe and the Islamic world, were subject to arbitrary fees, confiscations, humiliations, expulsions, and, periodically, arson, robbery, rape, and murderous attacks. Jews, in turn, regarded themselves in exile, and knew they were tolerated only as long as rulers found them useful. Then, after they were granted civil and economic rights in Western Europe, their success triggered a new wave of anti-Semitism, despite their wish to assimilate and become merely Germans, Frenchmen, etc. of the Hebrew persuasion. The Holocaust was only the culmination of centuries of persecution, as were the pogroms, beginning with the Iraqi Farhud of 1941, that drove 800,000 Jews from lands in the Middle East and North Africa where they’d lived for 2,500 years. But the most compelling argument for a Jewish nation with a Jewish army is not what the Germans did, but what the British and Americans didn’t do between 1941 and 1945.

If you identify with the fate of the Jewish people, you want to see Israel survive and prosper. Of course, just as Christianity attracted talented and ambitious converts, who were sometimes among the most zealous opponents of the Jews, so the dominant religion du jour has attracted numerous converts. Jews who demonize Israel are always welcome by the radical left.

Our Kulturträgers loathe Jewish nationalism only a little less than they loathe Western European and American nationalism. If you support Israel, be prepared to be labeled a hater and a racist. These labels exclude you from the protection of the First Amendment.  

You are not being threatened by punks in white polo shirts parading under tiki torches. Waiting for you at the bottom of the slippery slope are the masked, black-clad Antifa, with sticks, mace, blowtorches, bags of urine, and bottles of concrete. And their violence will be applauded, or at least defended, by clergy, professors, entertainers, journalists, and politicians with advanced views.