Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Israel boycotts and the Rising Danger of 'Intersectionality'
If you want to understand why the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, or BDS, has gained so much ground in the past two years, look no further than intersectionality, the study of related systems of oppression.
Intersectionality holds that various forms of oppression — racism, sexism, classism, ableism, and homophobia — constitute an intersecting system of oppression. In this worldview, a transcendent white, male, heterosexual power structure keeps down marginalized groups. Uniting oppressed groups, the theory goes, strengthens them against the dominant power structure.
As you might have guessed, the BDS movement has successfully injected the anti-Israel cause into these intersecting forms of oppression and itself into the interlocking communities of people who hold by them. So it’s increasingly likely that if a group sees itself as oppressed, it will see Israel as part of the dominant power structure doing the oppressing and Palestinians as fellow victims. That oppressed group will be susceptible to joining forces with the BDS movement.
At Columbia University, Students for Justice in Palestine managed to form an alliance with No Red Tape, a student group fighting sexual violence. What does opposing sexual violence have to do with Israel and the Palestinians?
“The way that No Red Tape conceives of sexual violence is a form of oppression that is related…to other forms of oppression,” said one group member.
“Sexual violence is a deeper political issue, and it cannot be divorced or separated from other oppressed identities,” said another No Red Tape member.
Intersectionality with the anti-Israel cause, unfortunately, has not been limited to groups working against sexual violence at Columbia. The anti-Israel website Mondoweiss recently declared that “since Mike Brown was shot by police in Ferguson … solidarity between the Black Lives Matter and Palestine movements has become an increasingly central tenet of both struggles.”
Other examples of groups and causes intersecting with BDS supporters abound, both on and off campus.
While anti-Israelism has long found a sympathetic ear among segments of the far left, it has not, until recently, enjoyed much popularity among ethnic minorities. Moreover, until recently, BDS supporters probably weren’t organized enough to do the necessary outreach to and stewardship of fellow marginalized groups. Now, evidently, they are.
While he never uses the term intersectionality, Mark Yudof, president emeritus of the University of California system and chair of the recently established Academic Engagement Network, which aims to fight anti-Israel sentiment on campus, ominously describes efforts to “connect the dots” and “co-opt the language of human rights.” The BDS movement is “moving to integrate itself with nearly every progressive campus cause,” Yudof said.
In other words, intersectionality with anti-Israel forces is not just some faddish academic theory bandied about by radical academics and sociology majors. BDS supporters are building alliances, and using those relationships as an opportunity to sell their cause. Much more than a theoretical framework, intersectionality is a comprehensive community relations strategy.
Nor will intersectionality remain primarily a campus phenomenon for long. Yudof worries that “future leaders of America will be viscerally anti-Israel because of the distorted discourse on today’s campuses.” He points out that “what happens on campus never stays on campus.”
Indeed, the growing acceptance of intersectionality arguably poses the most significant community relations challenge of our time. Ultimately, how popular — and threatening — intersectionality becomes depends on the degree to which the far left, constituting about 10 percent of society, is successful in inculcating its black-and-white worldview, simplistic perspectives and resentment toward those perceived as powerful with the mainstream left. But we can influence the direction of this discussion.
Publicly attacking intersectionality and its adherents is not likely to do much damage. To the contrary, calling out Israel’s detractors can paradoxically have the effect of popularizing their views and bringing them further into the mainstream.
Rather, the Jewish community and especially, the Jewish community relations movement, must do more to establish our own intersectionality with groups on the mainstream left, which is not nearly as prone to radical currents. Strengthening ties to these more moderate groups will erect a firewall between the far left and mainstream left on Israel, making it far less likely that the latter will ever take the bait from the BDS movement.
To do this, we need to understand the various issues and causes of the groups that make up this segment of the population, and make common cause whenever possible. Promoting Israel alone is not going to cut it because the various groups will have no reason or incentive to join forces with us. Just as BDS supporters embrace the agendas of the groups they seek to persuade, we must work on issues our key partners deem important.
We may not be able to discredit intersectionality with Israel across the board, but we can limit its reach.
Canada: Maclean's overlooks the "angry Left"
There’s an old saying: "Don’t throw stones from a glass house." Well, this week Maclean’s seems to be throwing a lot of them.
In it, he refers to The Rebel.media, Ezra Levant, and yes, even me -- that is, my Megaphone blog post on Justin Trudeau adhering to a “decadent and debauched leftist ideology.”
The premise of Patriquin's piece is that conservatives are delusional, disenfranchised, and bear an animosity against Trudeau that is increasingly irrational and out of touch with reality.
Really? I stand by my blog post: I do believe the Canadian Left adheres to a decadent and debauched leftist ideology.
When the Prime Minister of Canada prioritizes visiting a mosque in Peterborough before addressing the Canadians who were recently murdered abroad by Islamic terrorists, I do believe that such a gesture is decadent.
When math skills appear to be on the wane in Alberta, yet the NDP Premier Rachel Notley’s priority is to issue a “Guidelines for best practices" that lets delusional grown men use girls’ washrooms, I do find that such policies are debauched.
But let’s not stop there. Let's attack the precise premise of Patriquin's article and his depictions of conservatives. Unlike him, I will not stoop so low as to track down egregious comments on Facebook to try and depict the Canadian Left as crazy. (I don’t need to, and besides, that wouldn’t be too hard).
Instead, let’s look at a few examples from Patriquin's media colleagues, as well as some politicians, who are angry, radical -- and on the Left.
Patriquin points to Lawrence Witko, a 65 year old caretaker who made a few foul mouthed Facebook comments aboutJustin Trudeau, calling him Canada’s Saddam Hussein and saying, "Trudeau has to go—one way or another, he has to go . . . Lock n Load . . . ”
This incident prompted the RCMP to pay him visit.
Now does an angry 65 year old caretaker really represent the conservative movement in Canada? Doubtful.
Now remember Lyndon Penner, the CBC columnist who tweeted that he’d host a party upon the death of Stephen Harper, who later tweeted that he’d hope Harper would lose an eye on his birthday? Sound radical to you?
Remember Mary Walsh, the CBC's This Hour Has 22 Minutes comedian who dresses up as a valkyrie and berates Conservative politicians outside their house at the wee hours of the morning? Recall her segment where she walked around in ragged clothing in the freezing Newfoundland weather, referring to Stephen Harper as “Heir Harper.”
Is that crazy?
Or how about Elizabeth May, going on stage at a press gallery event, possibly drunk, singing and praising convicted terrorist Omar Khadr?
Someone needs to inform Patriquin that if the Canadian Left want to find crazy radicals, they need only look in the mirror.
What was Patriquin's motive for writing such a piece?
Sure, we know that yahoos with crazy views can pop up on any side of the political spectrum, but why is Maclean’s so eager to depict such views as being innate to conservatives?
It’s called "framing." The Left seeks to frame and brand the conservative movement of Canada as closeted, mentally ill racists full of homophobic, xenophobic and Islamophobic views.
Once they have categorized a movement as suffering from a pathology (as opposed to one adhering to a rational outlook), they’ve essentially silenced conservatives.
The Right now has go on the defensive, rather than concentrating on the issue at hand.
However, a better way to combat such tactics are to expose them, and highlight the Left’s own hypocrisy.
PC brigade 'failing victims of sex abuse': Minorities tsar slams liberals over Muslim criminals
David Cameron's integration tsar has blasted 'hand-wringing' liberals for failing to tackle forced marriage and other abuses in Muslim communities.
Louise Casey said some officials were 'so wrapped up in political correctness' they ignored shameful scandals which led to vulnerable women and children being harmed.
Miss Casey, who chaired the Government's troubled families unit and led an investigation into social services in Rotherham – where Asian sex gangs had abused as many as 1,600 children – is carrying out a review of how to boost integration in the most isolated communities.
Commissioned by the Prime Minister, this is looking at how to help migrants learn English, as well as other ways of boosting women's job prospects.
But Miss Casey claimed one issue was that the liberal elite had turned a blind eye to problems within some Muslim groups.
Speaking to the Policy Exchange think-tank in London last night, she said: 'We let forced marriage happen because we were so wrapped up in political correctness and wanting our multicultural Britain. We forgot to talk about equality and we forgot to talk about equal rights.
'We forgot that a girl of the age of eight is being promised to someone. That is not a Muslim issue, that is an equality issue.'
Miss Casey said more effort had been expended on 'Tipp-Exing out the word 'Pakistani' on folders in Rotherham' than addressing the root causes of the problems.
She added: 'This is not just about a particular community not wanting to integrate. It is about those people on the outside who have been hand-wringing.'
She said her report into the failure of some sections of society to integrate, due to be published in March, would criticise those liberals 'with some force'.
Her comments will be a blow to those public figures – particularly under New Labour – who championed multiculturalism, the Left-wing doctrine which encourages migrants to keep their own traditions rather than integrate into British ways.
In a keynote speech last July, Mr Cameron made clear that failures of integration had allowed extremist ideas to gain traction – resulting in around 700 British Muslims travelling to Syria to join Islamic State. Counter-terror police say about half are thought to have returned and could pose a threat.
A Whitehall source said Miss Casey was useful to ministers as she could deliver 'hard truths' to the Muslim community that they could not. She rose to prominence as Tony Blair's anti-social behaviour tsar.
Her comments echo those of Trevor Phillips, former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, who last year condemned the multiculturalism 'racket' championed under the Blair government.
Revealed: How one in five inmates in maximum security prisons is Muslim
One in five inmates serving sentences in Britain's maximum security jails are Muslim, figures show.
There are currently 5,885 highly dangerous criminals behind bars in the eight Category A prisons in the UK, of which 1,229 follow the Islamic faith.
The figure equates to 20 per cent of high-security prisoners and, according to figures obtained by The Sun, is an increase of 23 per cent from five years ago.
The percentage rise has been far greater than the Muslim population increase in the UK, which is currently at five per cent.
At Whitemoor prison in Cambridgeshire, 44 per cent of the 447 inmates are Muslim. It is the highest proportion in any British jail and nearly double the number recorded less than a decade ago.
Among those behind bars at the prison is Zia Al Haq, 36, from Wembley, north London, who was sentenced to 18 years in 2007 after plotting to bomb a London Tube tunnel.
Another terrorist at Whitemoor is Nezar Hindawi, 61, serving 45 years for planting a bomb in his pregnant fiancée's hand luggage on a flight from Heathrow to Tel Aviv, which could have killed 375.
Meanwhile, Belmarsh prison in south east London currently has 248 Muslim inmates out of 868, which equates to more than 28 per cent.
A number of high-profile terror suspects have passed through the high-security jail, including former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg and Lee Rigby's killers Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale.
Anti-terror think-tank the Quilliam Foundation warned jails were 'ripe' to become extremist recruiting grounds.
A series of reports on Whitemoor have also revealed that inmates come under intense pressure to convert to Islam, which is treated by many as a gang or protection racket rather than a religion.
According to watchdog Independent Monitoring Board, Muslims form the 'biggest power bloc' and are taking over from the previous 'gangs'.
In a report released last year, it said: 'Against this background we note that some prisoners and staff found the Muslim presence overwhelming.
'The social and religious fragmentation within Whitemoor potentially posed risks for discipline and hence safety.'
The Prison Officers Association also warned that radicalisation is a growing problem with 'clear evidence of an Islamic gang culture aimed at young men'.
But Ministry of Justice data shows that between October 2012 and January 2015, there were 104 Muslims out of 178 prisoners who'd been jailed for 'terrorism-related offences where the motivation stemmed from extreme ideology'.
This is less than 1 per cent of the total Muslim prisoner population.
In 2010, the then Chief Inspector of Prisons, Dame Anne Owers, published a report on Muslims in jails, in which she linked the growth in numbers to the age and socio-economic profiles of the Muslim population in general.
Charity Muslim Aid has previously said that poverty is a key factor driving crime, and therefore imprisonment, among Muslims.
Last year, extremist Kamel Bourgass, serving life for murdering a policeman as he went on the run from a ricin factory, won a Supreme Court case after claiming he had been held in solitary confinement for too long at Whitemoor.
He was segregated at the jail, and eventually moved out of it, because he was feared to be involved in 'an escalation in violence' at the prison'.
Non-Muslim Whitemoor inmates include Michael Sams, 72, jailed for life in 1993 for murdering Julie Dart, 18, and kidnapping estate agent Stephanie Slater.
Ian Huntley, 40, jailed for 40 years in 2003 for murdering two schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in Soham Cambs, has been an inmate.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman told MailOnline: 'The Secretary of State has asked the department to review its approach to dealing with Islamist extremism in prisons and probation.
'This is being supported by external expertise and sits alongside the cross government work currently underway on developing de-radicalisation programmes.'
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.