A social media campaign encouraging Democrats to leave their increasingly left-wing party is gaining notoriety – and followers.
The #WalkAway Campaign is the brainchild of “former liberal” and New York actor and hair stylist Brandon Straka. It bills itself as “dedicated to sharing the stories of people who can no longer accept the current ideology of liberalism and what the Democratic Party has become.”
“We want people on the right to use their voices and tell the world the truth about whom they are by making videos telling everyone what it means to be a conservative in America and what your values really are,” the campaign’s website says. “Tell minorities on the left, who have been told their whole lives that they are not welcome on the right because of the bigotry and hatred, that they are welcome. Tell them there is a seat at the table on the right for everybody.”
The campaign’s primary means of spreading this message is through written and video testimonials from former Democrats of various backgrounds explaining why they became Democrats and how they then came to reject the label.
Among that radicalization in recent years has been the official Democrat platform removing its call to make abortion “rare” in 2012 and demanding the federal nullification of state pro-life laws in 2016; Democrat National Committee chair Tom Perez hailing self-proclaimed socialist candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as “the future of the party”; left-wing leaders like Rep. Maxine Waters openly advocating the harassment of Trump administration officials; boycott and intimidation campaignsover keeping men out of women’s restrooms; and attempts in numerous states to force private citizens to participate in same-sex ceremonies.
Straka, who is openly gay, launched the campaign with his own May 26 video testimony (full transcript here), explaining that he originally became a liberal out of opposition to hatred, discrimination, groupthink, censorship, and junk science, and that he walked away from liberalism when he came to believe liberalism embodied rather than opposed those ills.
“Liberalism has been co-opted and absorbed by the very characteristics it claims to fight against,” he said. “For years now, I’ve watched as people on the Left have become anesthetized to their own prejudices and bigotry, and the prejudices and bigotry of those around them who echo their values.”
“I have witnessed the irony of advocacy for gender equality morph into blatant hatred and intolerance of men and masculinity,” he continued. “I’ve seen the once-earnest fight for equality for the LGBT community mutate into an illogical demonization of heteronormativity, and the push to vilify and attack our conventional concepts of gender.”
At the time of this writing, Straka’s kickoff video has been viewed more than half a million times, his campaign’s official Facebook group has more than 73,000 members, and there is already reason to believe the movement may represent a deeper cultural shift.
Citing a Reuters/Ipsos poll from April, PJ Media’s Tyler O’Neil notes that whites between the ages of 18 and 34 are equally likely to vote Democrat as they are Republican, a nine-percentage-point decline for Democrats from the 2016 election. Many observers have attributed Trump’s unprecedented victory that year in large part to moderate and formerly left-leaning voters alienated by far-left stances and tactics.
Straka elaborated on his efforts in an interview Tuesday with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham. He said his homosexuality was the only reason he used to be a Democrat, and that he was still a liberal as recently as November 2016, when he cried in response to Hillary Clinton’s loss. But since then, watching the Left’s increasing intolerance toward dissent served as a “red-pill” experience.
On Thursday, Straka said that he entered a camera store to buy some equipment, and was denied service by one employee who recognized him from a TV appearance and didn’t want to facilitate a transaction for “alt-right” purposes.
“[Please] do not retaliate against this camera shop. All of the other employees could not have been nicer,” he said, noting that another employee completed the sale for him. “The reason I decided [to go] forward w/ the story is because I hope [to open] a conversation between me [and] gays on the left.”
Last night the CEO of @adorama camera store &I spoke on the phone. He was a total gentleman and very apologetic about my incident being refused service in the store. Adorama is a great store with great service, unfortunately one person chose to act outside the company’s values.
— Brandon Straka (The Unsilent Minority) (@usminority) July 10, 2018
Far-left media outlets are now circulating a conspiracy theory that the #WalkAway hashtag is a product of "Russian bots".
They cite the work of discredited Hamilton 68, which uses an EXTREMELY loose criteria to classify accounts as "Russian linked". pic.twitter.com/mFs5YptGs4
My WalkAway was in 2016. The ironic thing is that it wasn’t Trump that made me WalkAway. It was the Democrats themselves. I saw my own (liberal) friends become ugly and hateful. I saw disgusting personal attacks, elitism, arrogance, and rampant stereotyping. I saw them insulting any one they disagreed with as a racist, bigot, xenophobic… etc. I saw identity politics ruining people’s sense of individuality and cultural Marxism pitting people into the “oppressors vs. the oppressed.” It reminded of the early years of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, particularly Mao’s Red Guards. I saw the calls for censorship and the repeated attacks on free speech. I saw the lies. I saw the hypocrisy.
Brandon Straka facebook live encouraging people to do video testimonials to prove they are not bots:
Will Wilkinson at Vox wants to warn us about the strange men influencing President Trump’s White House and pushing for the Muslim ban. But instead of settling for a reasonable critique of their beliefs—and there is certainly much to criticize—he opts for a full-throated insistence that there are no reasonable arguments to be made that radical Islam poses any threat to the United States or Western civilization.
Wilkinson begins by attacking the idea that there’s going to be an all-out war with Islam. Here, he focuses on Steve Bannon, the former Breitbart executive and Trump’s advisor, who has said, “We’re in a world war against a messianic mass movement of evil people, most of them inspired by a totalitarian ideology: Radical Islam.” I won’t defend Bannon’s views, because I don’t agree with many, but I will point out the confused assertions Wilkinson makes, showing his limited knowledge not only of Islam but of international affairs.
Wilkinson compares the military budgets and economic strengths of the United States and its NATO allies with those of the nine top-spending Muslim-majority countries, pointing out that the West has the obvious advantage. He’s right that radical Islam can’t really pose a threat to the United States or its NATO allies in military capacity to conduct traditional warfare. Then again, no one is really arguing that point.
Wilkinson goes on to dismiss Iran as a threat by simply saying it “spends less on its military than Canada.” Never mind the danger Iran poses throughout the Middle East, most specifically to our ally Israel, and the questionable status of its nuclear program. He also argues that Pakistan, the only Muslim nuclear power, is of no concern because we’re allies.
Yes, Lots of Muslims Support Hostile and Radical Policies
Finally, he acknowledges that “this is an exceedingly silly exercise. It shows only that even if the entire Muslim world werehostile to the United States, and unified in that hostility, it would not pose much of a threat. But how many radical anti-US Muslims are there? Not many. Again, the vast majority of the world’s 1.7 billion Muslims live in countries with which the US is friendly.”
He’s right that it’s a silly exercise. One of the reasons it’s silly is because he conflates the official position of a Muslim country’s government toward the United States with the number of “radical anti-US Muslims” in that country. Wilkinson apparently thinks that because Pakistan is officially a U.S. ally, its population must not adhere to a fundamentally anti-liberal interpretation of Islam, and the number of Pakistanis who do have those beliefs must be inconsequential.
In fact, vast numbers of Pakistanis inside and outside their government do have radical beliefs about Islam, which certainly made a difference in sheltering Osama bin Laden for ten years.
Wilkinson can barely bring himself to acknowledge that “Muslims in countries in which Islam is already recognized as the official religion dotend to support the integration of sharia into their countries’ legal codes.” In the Pew study he cites, this “tendency” is overwhelming in the largest Muslim-majority countries. He can’t come to terms with this because he doesn’t understand that in most of the Muslim world, although certainly not all, the integration of government and religion isn’t radical. It’s simply what Islam calls for, because Islam is a fundamentally political religion.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t alternative interpretations of Islam that reject that notion. There certainly are, especially among Muslims living in the West. But they aren’t even close to the majority in the Muslim world.
So why should we care whether Muslims outside the West want Sharia law or ascribe to fundamentalist views if it’s not an “existential threat,” as Wilkinson points out? We should care when it involves human rights, like equality for women and the LGBT community, or when it threatens our allies, like Israel, or promotes instability in a region, like in Syria and Iraq, or when it means sheltering terrorists who are plotting attacks against America. We should care, for example, when Jakarta’s Christian governor is imprisoned for insulting the Quran.
All Who Notice Radical Islam Are Not Steve Bannon
Wilkinson sets up a straw-man argument in which Bannon supposedly represents anyone who argues that there are real and threatening trends in the Muslim world that could not only affect Western liberal values but threaten the growth of peace, equality, and democracy around the world. Since Bannon is such an easy target, and has many oversized, sometimes hysterical, opinions about Islam, it’s easy to knock him down.
Although Wilkinson does acknowledge the existence of al-Qaeda and ISIS, he argues that “from the perspective of empirically grounded risk assessment, this barely ranks as a minor threat to American or Western life and limb. Thethreat to European or American civilization is zilch.” Again, another handy conflation, this time between the risk of a wholesale military defeat and the wearing away at the Western values of freedom, democracy, and the separation of church and state.
Here, Wilkinson shifts gear to attack the proposition that there’s a threat from “stealth jihad,” what he calls an intellectual “retreat” for those bested by his arguments against the all-out war theory.
A key assumption of stealth jihad propaganda is that something like ISIS’s fundamentalist vision of Islam — the medieval elements, the torture, the beheadings, the obsession with building a caliphate — is indeed the genuine article. On this view, Islam is essentially committed to the imposition of religious law, or sharia, on believers and nonbelievers alike.
In their heart of hearts, therefore, all Muslims are committed to replacing secular political authority with Islamic religious law. This makes Islam an inherently seditious doctrine impossible to square with loyalty to a secular liberal-democratic regime.
First, most of the people who are worried about stealth jihad are not concerned that we are going to begin seeing torture and beheadings in the West. As for the concept of building a caliphate and the implementation of Islamic law, as noted earlier Wilkinson is apparently unaware of some very basic concepts within Islam, not to mention beliefs held by the majority of Muslims around the world. But let’s just look at Muslims in the West.
There Is Good Data on Western Muslims, Lots of It Scary
Wilkinson claims that “There’s no good data on Muslim support for the incorporation of sharia into the official law of Western liberal democracies, because it’s irrelevant. Muslims are very small minorities throughout Europe and North America.” Offering only the example of German Muslims of Turkish descent as proof of how un-radical Muslims living in Western countries are, he points out that only 12 percent of Turks want to replace German law with Islamic law.
What he fails to note is that young Muslims in Western countries tend to hold far more radical views than the older generation does. A BBC poll from 2007 found that 36 percent of Muslims in the United Kingdom aged 16 to 24 think Muslims should be killed if they convert to another religion. Seventy-four percent think women should wear a veil. Eighty percent of young Turks in the Netherlands don’t think it’s wrong to commit jihad against a non-believer.
If there is no problem with integration, and if so few Muslims in the West believe in sharia, jihad, or any other number of fundamentalist values, then why is it that after the Bataclan massacre in Paris, it took police months to find the prime suspect because he was being hidden and sheltered in the largely Muslim Molenbeek neighborhood in Belgium?
Wilkinson thinks it’s crazy to believe that Muslims “seek to replace secular, democratic government with sharia,” but he’s willing to grant it to make the point that, even so, there are so few Muslims in the West that it doesn’t matter. “The means by which such tiny minorities could assert control in strong states dominated by other religions and robust liberal norms remains utterly mysterious.” Yet we’ve seen both here in the United States and in Europe the extent to which the Left bends over backward to accommodate Muslim communities and push back against any criticism of them whatsoever.
Whenever the topic of women’s rights in the Muslim world is brought up, there’s always a backlash from the Left, which prefers its multiculturalism to its feminism. Or take the Rotherham sex abuse scandal, in which city officials didn’t pursue evidence of a child sex ring because the perpetrators were of Pakistani origin and they were afraid of being accused of Islamophobia. Or the fact that whenever there’s a terrorist attack in the West perpetrated by a Muslim, there’s a stampede to insist it has nothing to do with Islam, despite the avowal of the attacker himself.
These efforts are significantly supported by Islamist organizations in the United States like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which has taken upon itself to be the spokesman for American Muslims, pushing out more moderate voices, and which has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, a terrorist organization. It would seem, contra Wilkinson, that fundamentalist interpretations of Islam do, indeed, have a strong influence in the West, despite being a small minority.
The Truth Is, the Muslim World Is Largely Illiberal
Unlike Wilkinson, I am not interested in making radical and absolutist claims. I don’t think we’re at war with Islam; I don’t think we’re about to see beheadings codified into law; and I don’t anticipate an imminent global battle between Western countries and Muslim countries.
I do, however, think that the Muslim world, while home to many kind and charitable people, is also largely illiberal—and that in itself is a problem that we should care about. The majority of Muslims in the West, especially in the United States, tend to be a self-selecting group of people open to moderate interpretations of Islam, which is one reason they have settled in the West to begin with.
But they are not all like that, and their voice is not as weak as Wilkinson would have us believe. What is most worrisome is the increasing de facto censorship of any criticism of Islam, even in its most extremist manifestations. That, not roving bands of machete-wielding mujahedeen, is what threatens Western civilization and liberal values.
Wilkinson concludes with an obtuse declaration that “In the real world…the idea that anything at all about the West could be threatened by ‘stealth jihad’ is either an expression of studied ignorance or a form of malicious religious intolerance.” His reductive argument would have been infinitely stronger had he understood the issue not as black and white, as a choice between believing the armies of Islam are marching on the West or denying there’s any reason for concern.
But Wilkinson made no real effort to persuade, which is why he’ll fail to convince anyone who doesn’t already agree with him. Then again, maybe his purpose was not to persuade, but merely to signal his own virtue.
Megan G. Oprea is editor of the foreign policy newsletter INBOUND. She holds a PhD in French linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin. You can follow her on Twitter here.
Asra Nomani, a former Georgetown University professor, co-founder of the Muslim Reform Movement, and author of Standing Alone: An American Woman’s Struggle for the Soul of Islam, joined SiriusXM host Alex Marlow on Tuesday’s Breitbart News Daily.
Marlow professed his admiration for Nomani’s recent column, “The Alt-Left’s Cyber Jihad Against Trump and His Supporters,” which covered what Marlow described as “the most significant news event of the year so far, aside from the Trump inauguration”: the anti-free-speech riots at U.C. Berkeley.
“Being a journalist, I believe in the power of words, and I also study propaganda. I feel like we’re in the middle of a fierce propaganda war,” Nomani said. “The one word that I think is important for everyone to know is ‘agitprop.’ It’s an old word for agitation propaganda. As you know, working at Breitbart, the concept of ‘alt-right’ is thrown at you all the time. It’s being used today as a way to try to immediately discredit folks. I thought to myself, ‘Well, what do we have happening on the Left?’”
“I write in the piece about how I’ve been a lifelong liberal,” she explained. “Just to let your listeners know, I came from India at the age of four and grew up in Morgantown, West Virginia, in a college town and absorbed all the strong liberal politics, really absorbed it into my heart. So I’ve been really distressed these last months. Another confession I had written a while ago in the Washington Post was that I had voted for Donald Trump, as a lifelong liberal.”
Nomani recalled the impact of seeing Milo Yiannopoulos of Breitbart News under assault by left-wingers at a speech in Chicago and then again at U.C. Berkeley.
“I watched this happening on my TV screen, and I thought to myself, just like we do with anything in journalism, ‘Where did it begin?’” she recalled. “I had the good fortune to have met this really great cyber-sleuth named Eric Feinberg, who works out of New York City, and basically what we noticed was the hashtag that was being used to bring people to the streets there in Berkeley was hashtag #ShutDownMilo. And so what Eric did was track it, track the hashtag back to months before the actual protest happened against Milo, to a kind of odd website called ItsGoingDown.org.”
As chronicled in her latest essay, Nomani worked from that website to trace the outlines of a “far-left radical movement that is causing mayhem in our streets today.”
“I call it a cyber jihad because, as a Muslim, I’ve been well familiar with the agitation propaganda by my Muslim extremists,” she explained. “I see how what’s happening here is this very dangerous intersection – ‘intersection politics’ is such a popular word – between the far Left in America and the far Right in my Muslim community. That’s why I now see this as a cyber jihad that’s now trying to really claim America.”
Marlow noted the grim irony that the new “Antifa” (anti-fascist) movement is “just about the most fascist force in the West,” and he argued this intersection of totalitarian ugliness and left-wing politics is more widespread than the “alt-Left” fringe Nomani describes in her work.
“I hear you, and you won’t get a fight from me on this one because, honestly the disturbing reality for me as a liberal is exactly this dynamic you’re talking about,” Nomani replied. “I use this concept of ‘alt-Left’ really as a counter-propaganda to the use of alt-Right. It’s a linguistic tool on my part as a writer. But intellectually, absolutely what you’re saying has been my experience and my observation in my reporting.”
Marlow asked Nomani about the most controversial action taken to date by the president for whom she voted: his executive order temporarily banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.
“I do call it a ‘so-called Muslim ban,’ as I also called the women’s march a ‘so-called women’s march,’” Nomani said. “They are all examples of ‘hashtag intifada,’ as I also talk about – an attempt to try to exaggerate reality, to make it agitprop. I as a Muslim and a member of the Muslim Reform Movement recognize the extremism problem that we have in the world and want us as a country to develop pragmatic solutions.”
“The ‘Muslim ban’ did not work because of this framing that was done, this propaganda that was done against the executive order,” she said, stressing that she uses the term ‘Muslim ban’ for Trump’s executive order sarcastically.
“What I also ultimately think we have to do is, in your community and in America, really walk the middle path with solutions,” she urged, warning that extreme expressions from the far Right would lead to the same sort of angry but ineffectual dead end as the alt-Left.
“Everything that has to happen in our country going forward, I think, has to be done with sensibility but also a sense of compassion to each other as human beings. I hope that does not sound too far liberal to you, but I think you know what I mean, in terms of trying to draw people at their heart also,” she said.
Nomani said it broke her heart to declare that America has become embroiled in a civil war, but she added, “There is an insurgency that’s trying to claim America from the far Left.”
“We have to have a balanced and rational response from all circles. And that’s what I just want to continue to appeal to people to be, is civil and human, remembering the humanity of each other – because where we see that lost from the far Left, we cannot replace it with inhumanity,” she said.
Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.
Leftists are currently engaged in a concerted effort to bury the truth behind the catalyst for the Orlando terror attack, pushing the narrative that because Omar Mateen drank alcohol and seemed to have gay proclivities (taboos in Islam) he could not have been a religious Muslim and therefore could not have been a radical Islamic terrorist. Some, who try exculpate Islam at all cost, insist that Mateen was “never all that religious” and thus could not have been motivated to carry out the carnage in the name of Islam.
This apologetic — for a butcher who perpetrated the worst terror attack in U.S. history since 9-11 — is gravely flawed on a number of levels.
To begin with, one of ISIS’ trademarks is its effectiveness in radicalizing and recruiting otherwise “normal-seeming” Westerners — even those with no prior Islamic sympathies — in very short order, sometimes in a matter of mere weeks. So to say that Mateen never seemed all that “radical” or “religious” before means nothing, because all that can turn on a dime. But the truth is, Mateen was anything but “normal-seeming” even as far back as high school, when classmates say he celebrated the 9/11 terror attacks.
We know that Mateen’s father openly supported the Afghan Taliban, thus exposing the kind of ideological upbringing Mateen likely had at home. What’s more, Omar Mateen made not one — but two — haj’s (holy pilgrimages) to Mecca in 2011 and 2012. He then found himself on the FBI’s radar back in 2013 for terror ties. Former colleagues also reported Mateen for his disturbing behavior and virulent bigotry against Jews, women, and members of the LGBT community. So no, his “radicalization” did not come out of nowhere.
In terms of Mateen’s vices, those too do not negate the fact that he could simultaneously be a terrorist harboring radical views. For instance, it is well known that the terrorists who carried out the heinous attacks in Paris at the Bataclan nightclub and even the 9-11 hijackers routinely drank alcohol and visited strip clubs, and it is also well-documented that homosexuality — including pedophilia — is practiced even among the “pious” Taliban. In other words, it would not be the first time someone claiming piety were also a hypocrite.
It is likewise plausible that Mateen’s alleged homosexuality catalyzed an internal desire to “prove himself” in the eyes of Islam and seek redemption all the more.
Regarding Mateen’s alleged “lack of religiosity,” even if true, it would not nullify radicalization. One only need look to the late PLO leader Yasser Arafat and just about every other Palestinian terrorist — none of whom have been religious zealots but rather Arab nationalists guided by Islamic ideology — to see that Islamic terror is not a monolith.
And now to the heart of the matter: Mateen’s own words and deeds. Before and during his bloody massacre, Omar Mateen told us in his own words — both verbal and written — the motivation for his attack. In addition to calling 9/11 and pledging allegiance to ISIS, Mateen also called a CNN affiliate from the Pulse night club, informing a network producer that he was indeed the Orlando shooter and that he was carrying out his attack “for ISIS.” It’s now also been revealed that through several different Facebook accounts, Mateen reiterated his loyalty to ISIS and vowed more attacks on the West.
Senate Homeland Security Chairman, Sen. Ron Johnson, led his committee’s investigation into Mateen’s social media accounts, which have since been taken down from public view. Johnson has called on Facebook to hand over all information it has on Mateen.
Here’s a sampling of Mateen’s Facebook posts during the attack, which TruthRevolt shared in an earlier post:
“I pledge my alliance to (ISIS leader) abu bakr al Baghdadi..may Allah accept me,” Mateen wrote in one post early Sunday morning. “The real muslims will never accept the filthy ways of the west” …“You kill innocent women and children by doing us airstrikes..now taste the Islamic state vengeance.”
Rightfully, Sen. Johnson is pressing Facebook about Mateen’s violent rhetoric and asking for more information on his social media activities.
“It is my understanding that Omar Mateen used Facebook before and during the attack to search for and post terrorism-related content,” read Johnson’s letter. “According to information obtained by my staff, five Facebook accounts were apparently associated with Omar Mateen.”
Johnson’s committee uncovered Mateen’s actions in the hours during the attack, revealing that Mateen accessed his Facebook account to search for media reports of the attack with search words like “Pulse Orlando” and “Shooting.”
Mateen also posted the following on Facebook:
“America and Russia stop bombing the Islamic state,” Mateen wrote.
“In the next few days you will see attacks from the Islamic state in the usa.”
Mateen also conducted online searches for the San Bernardino terror couple and speeches given by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.
But you know, why take Mateen at his own words? Let’s instead claim he was not motivated by radical Islam ideology, but was just a self-loathing “psychopath” who could not accept his own sexuality and thus targeted the LGBT community for massacre. Let’s focus on America’s obsession with guns, even though Mateen told officers that he was also wearing a suicide vest. Interestingly, guns were also used at the Bataclan nightclub in Paris and the Charlie Hebdo massacre (in one of the strictest gun-control countries in the world) — yet those incidents were rightfully labeled as “terrorist acts.” But not this.
One would expect such false narratives from the likes of President Obama, or the leadership of CAIR, but the disturbing reality is that people of goodwill are now also buying into the lie. I’m not quite certain what good that serves — either in honoring the dead, or in ensuring more innocent Americans don’t lose their lives to terror.
To support Israel is racist; to support ISIS is a demonstration of diversity. This is the atmosphere at American college campuses today. “Higher learning” has become synonymous with “liberal brainwashing.”
It is important to remember that Israel is America’s ally- not just any ally, but America’s closest ally in the Middle East. Despite President Obama’s blatant hatred for Israeli PM Netanyahu and his Administration’s obvious moves against our only truly democratic friend in the region, at the end of the day, Israel is still a close ally of the United States.
Yet at America’s colleges and universities, which celebrate diversity, the extremely diverse, humanitarian and peaceful Israel (whose population is made up of multiple races and religions), is the enemy.
After his Facebook post described Gazans as a wild pit bull in a cage, which attacks violently whenever let out of that cage, all hell broke loose from the anti-Israel camp. The Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity at Connecticut College and the history department condemned the “hate speech,” “dehumanizing language,” “bigotry,” and the celebration or incitement of “violence and brutality.”
The professor is actually against violence and brutality according to what he’s written. Those who disagree with his post are the ones who are supporting violence.
As a matter of fact, Pessin spoke the truth. Gaza is ruled by Hamas. Hamas is a wild pit bull, and no matter how much anyone tries to pretend that Gazans do not support Hamas, the terrorism and support for terror against innocent Israeli civilians and even Jews in Diaspora speaks for itself. Over the summer of 2014, during Operation Protective Edge, anti-Israel rallies around the world turned into anti-Jew violent riots. The pro-Palestinians showed their overwhelming support for Hamas and their hatred for Jews.
Yet this professor is the one accused of hate speech and celebrating violence.
You can start an ISIS “humanitarian” club and training camp at Cornell.
Joseph Scaffido, the Assistant Dean of Students for Student Activities at Cornell University, one of the most prestigious universities in America, spoke on hidden camera to an undercover journalist posing as a student from Morocco who hopes to attend the Ivy League school next year. The “student” asked about starting an ISIS humanitarian group, raising awareness for the “freedom fighters,” obtaining funding to bring over a terrorist to give a speech, and even starting a training camp. The Dean’s responses were all “yes, yes, yes,” explaining that Ithaca, where Cornell is located, is a very liberal community.
Apparently “liberal” now means “terror supporting.” Incidentally, as liberal as President Obama is, and although he is unwilling to admit that ISIS is Islamic, he at least recognizes that it is a terror group.
ISIS is an enemy of the United States. Israel is a friend.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who speaks out against the abuse of women in Islam, was offered an honorary degree from Brandeis University, but after Muslim cries of Islamophobia, the university took back its offer.
Any advocacy of women’s rights is deemed “Islamophobic.”
Ali was raised Muslim and herself is the victim of atrocities like female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage. She was once a pious Muslim, but after the Somali native was granted political asylum to the Netherlands and received an education, she began to reflect on Islam and its teachings. After the 9/11 attacks, she picked up the Qur’an and hadith, and it wasn’t long before she renounced her faith.
Ali’s AHA Foundation “works to protect and defend the rights of women and girls in the West from oppression justified by religion and culture”: http://theahafoundation.org/
Apparently defending the rights of women and girls is “Islamophobic.”
The decision of Brandeis University to revoke its offer to Ali is pure hypocrisy. Why? Because the school has given such honors to anti-Semites in the past. Jay Bergman, Professor of History
Central Connecticut State University, writes for FrontPage Magazinein an open letter to the university:
“You say that you are withdrawing the award because Ms. Hirsi Ali’s views violate what you call ‘the core values’ of the university. But Brandeis saw nothing wrong in awarding an honorary degree to Tony Kushner, who has called the creation of the state of Israel a mistake and falsely accused it of ethnic cleansing; and to Desmond Tutu, an anti-semitic bigot who has compared Israel to Nazi Germany. From this one could reasonably conclude — since Tutu’s anti-semitism did not cause Brandeis to refrain from awarding him a degree — that anti-semitism is either one of the core values of your university or is not inconsistent with these values.
“It is clear that at Brandeis University Israel can be smeared and those who do so are rewarded, but someone who properly criticizes Islam is unfairly attacked and dishonored.”
Anti-Semitism is allowed at a school founded by the Jewish community, but legitimate concerns regarding the mistreatment of women in Islam go against what the university stands for?
The result of a growing Muslim population in America is a growing anti-Semitic population. But it is worse than that. Now our young adults, who attend colleges and universities in the hopes of getting a good education, a higher degree and eventually beginning a successful career, some becoming our future politicians and practically all of voting age already, are being taught that our ally is our enemy, and our enemy is our friend. They are in effect, being taught that it is racist to say anything which might be considered “negative” against terrorists.
So bring on the ISIS terrorist speakers but condemn the Israel-supporting professors. Welcome to university life in America today.
Anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism — two sides of the same coin — are raging yet again. They are brutally alive in the Middle East, Europe and even here in America.
Yet now, at long last, there is some pushback, at least on the “battlefield of ideas.”
It comes in the form of a new academic institute championed by a hardened veteran of this war, and its presence at universities throughout the world is blossoming.
In this country, we hear shouts of Jew-hatred at every pro-Palestinian demonstration.
We read all about it in the biased left-liberal, anti-Israel media and see it in President Obama’s overt hostility to Israel and its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Perhaps most troubling, though, is its presence on the American campus, where it is at full boil.
There, Israel-bashing is embraced as an expression of politically correct, divine truth — rather than called out for what it often really is: unadulterated racism.
Professors disguise their hatred of Jews by presenting it as a “politically righteous” stand against Israel, since the Jewish state is, in their portrayal, a colonialist, apartheid nation.
A 2015 report by the National Demographic Survey of American Jewish College Students found 54 percent of 1,157 college students polled at 55 American campuses have experienced and/or witnessed anti-Semitic incidents.
Enter Prof. Charles Small — to the rescue. Small founded the Institute for the Study of Global Anti-Semitism and Policy after running a successful similar program at Yale from 2005 to 2011.
The Yale program was superb; experts there examined contemporary Islamic Jew- and infidel-hatred and terrorism in new academic ways — that is, openly and honestly.
That doomed it. The program was squashed and he was forced out by leftist pressure and a campaign by Arab and pro-Palestinian students, faculty and advocates.
Now, he’s back, and his new effort is also seeing success. The institute is proving a powerful force, one the Western academic world (not surprisingly) abhors.
He’s offering a rigorous scholarly program dedicated to the study of contemporary global anti-Semitism.
Anti-Semitism may be the “oldest hatred,” but no such program focusing on its current-day manifestation has ever before existed.
Instead, America today is awash with well-funded anti-Israel, anti-American and anti-Western Middle Eastern studies departments. Small says he is “fighting anti-Semitism on the battlefield of ideas, not in university corridors, not at campus demonstrations.”
By 2012, ISGAP had a foothold at Fordham and Harvard law schools, Stanford and McGill. It’s now at Columbia Law, Sapienza University in Rome and the University of Paris-Sorbonne. In two weeks, it will debut at the University of Chile.
In the 2014-2015 academic year, ISGAP presented more than 100 seminars in English, French and Italian.
Through the guidance of executive-committee Chairman Lawrence Benenson, funding is diverse, coming from “both right of center and left of center.”
The effort has not always been easy. The powers that be at the Sorbonne said “anti-Semitism is not important, not relevant” — their exact words.
Grudgingly, they let Small stage an event “just once,” thinking nothing would come of it; instead, 80 people showed up.
At another seminar after the Charlie Hebdo and kosher supermarket attacks, 150 people turned out. ISGAP was later given military protection and invited to formally join the Sorbonne as a “recognized research center.”
This is an extraordinary victory. “The French now understand that those who are profoundly anti-Semitic are threatening the foundations of their society,” says Small.
This coming summer, ISGAP will be training professors at Oxford. Applications have poured in from Canada, the United States, the UK, Russia, China, Brazil and Argentina.
Yet already, it boasts a prestigious staff, including experts like Robert Wistrich, Martin Kramer, Bassam Tibi, Shimon Samuels, Valentina Colombo, Irwin Mansdorf, Meir Litvak, Richard Landes and others.
Despite the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (a campaign by “Israel-deniers”), the campus Israeli “apartheid” hate-fests and the indoctrination taking place in social sciences and departments of Middle East studies, we now have the beginning of a successful “fight back” strategy. Let’s hope it continues to rise to the enormous challenge it faces.
Here is Sam Harris’s response to the Maher/Affleck brouhaha (in which he was involved, of course) about which I wrote here. The full quote that I shortened for the headline on this post is: “My criticism of Islam is a criticism of beliefs and their consequences—but my fellow liberals reflexively view it as an expression of intolerance toward people.”
Welcome to my world. For years now my colleagues and I have been stigmatized, demonized and marginalized for supposedly professing “intolerance toward people,” when actually we have only engaged in criticism of beliefs and their consequences. Sam Harris may not be fully aware that what his “fellow liberals” are doing to him now in misrepresenting his positions is exactly what Leftists and Islamic supremacists (and paleocons, and many others) do to anyone and everyone who dares to utter a negative word regarding jihad terror and Islamic supremacism — and that many of those whom he may assume are actually bigots and racists are actually just people who have said the same things he is saying now and are previous victims of the campaign that is now victimizing him. In this video, for example, Harris dismisses critics of Islam and jihad who came before him as “fascists” and right wing nuts, without pausing to consider that perhaps his opinions of them are the consequence of previous smear campaigns much like the one of which he is the target. As far as I have seen, Harris is not interested in engaging intellectually with anyone he doesn’t think is on the Left, and that is a shame, as what is needed today is a large movement against jihad terror and Islamic supremacism — one that is not the province solely of the Left or the Right.
Anyway, this entire piece is very good, but here are few of the highlights. “Can Liberalism Be Saved From Itself?,” by Sam Harris, October 7, 2014:
…The most controversial thing I said was: “We have to be able to criticize bad ideas, and Islam is the Mother lode of bad ideas.” This statement has been met with countless charges of “bigotry” and “racism” online and in the media. But imagine that the year is 1970, and I said: “Communism is the Mother lode of bad ideas.” How reasonable would it be to attack me as a “racist” or as someone who harbors an irrational hatred of Russians, Ukrainians, Chinese, etc. This is precisely the situation I am in. My criticism of Islam is a criticism of beliefs and their consequences—but my fellow liberals reflexively view it as an expression of intolerance toward people….
However, others in this debate are not so innocent. Our conversation on Real Time was provoked by an interview that Reza Aslan gave on CNN, in which he castigated Maher for the remarks he had made about Islam on the previous show. I have always considered Aslan a comical figure. His thoughts about religion in general are a jumble of pretentious nonsense—yet he speaks with an air of self-importance that would have been embarrassing in Genghis Khan at the height of his power. On the topic of Islam, however, Aslan has begun to seem more sinister. He cannot possibly believe what he says, because nearly everything he says is a lie or a half-truth calibrated to mislead a liberal audience. If he claims something isn’t in the Koran, it probably is. I don’t know what his agenda is, beyond riding a jet stream of white guilt from interview to interview, but he is manipulating liberal biases for the purpose of shutting down conversation on important topics. Given what he surely knows about the contents of the Koran and the hadith, the state of public opinion in the Muslim world, the suffering of women and other disempowered groups, and the real-world effects of deeply held religious beliefs, I find his deception on these issues unconscionable.
As I tried to make clear on Maher’s show, what we need is honest talk about the link between belief and behavior. And no one is suffering the consequences of what Muslim “extremists” believe more than other Muslims are. The civil war between Sunni and Shia, the murder of apostates, the oppression of women—these evils have nothing to do with U.S. bombs or Israeli settlements. Yes, the war in Iraq was a catastrophe—just as Affleck and Kristof suggest. But take a moment to appreciate how bleak it is to admit that the world would be better off if we had left Saddam Hussein in power. Here was one of the most evil men who ever lived, holding an entire country hostage. And yet his tyranny was also preventing a religious war between Shia and Sunni, the massacre of Christians, and other sectarian horrors. To say that we should have left Saddam Hussein alone says some very depressing things about the Muslim world.
Whatever the prospects are for moving Islam out of the Middle Ages, hope lies not with obscurantists like Reza Aslan but with reformers like Maajid Nawaz. The litmus test for intellectual honesty on this point—which so many liberals fail—is to admit that one can draw a straight line from specific doctrines in Islam to the intolerance and violence we see in the Muslim world. Nawaz admits this. I don’t want to give the impression that he and I view Islam exactly the same. In fact, we are now having a written exchange that we will publish as an ebook in the coming months—and I am learning a lot from it. But Nawaz admits that the extent of radicalization in the Muslim community is an enormous problem. Unlike Aslan, he insists that his fellow Muslims must find some way to reinterpret and reform the faith. He believes that Islam has the intellectual resources to do this. I certainly hope he’s right. One thing is clear, however: Muslims must be obliged to do the work of reinterpretation—and for this we need honest conversation.
I welcomed Maajid Nawaz’s rejection of Qur’anic literalism, even while remaining deeply suspicious of his overall goals, for reasons I explained here. In any case, it is important in this connection not to be naive. What are the chances that Nawaz’s rejection of Qur’anic literalism will become mainstream in the Islamic world, leading to a reevaluation and rejection of the jihad imperative by the schools of Islamic jurisprudence? The chances of that are about nil. So while Nawaz is certainly preferable to the execrable Aslan, his existence should not lull non-Muslims into complacency. If he gathers a significant following among Muslims, then there might be something to talk about. But until then, he’s just another moderate who makes non-Muslims feel good while the jihad fires rage ever more hotly.