Elon Musk's Racist Tweet Got Fact-Checked, Christians Blind to Racism, Richard Roundtree ("Shaft") Homage
Challenge yourself to dig deeper on this one, Mr. Jabbar.
First, The piece you aren’t fully appreciating is the level of hate speech (ie calling for extermination of Jews) and intimidation and aggression that has come with the “free Palestine protest rallies” particularly on the college campuses.
Second, as for how Israel has treated the Palestinians prior to this war. Do you mean how Hamas has treated them? That is their elected government that has usurped their water supply for rocket making (Israel controls only 9%). It has pilfered concrete for its tunnels, months of food reserves for itself to make underground tunnels. It has diverted funds that should have been used for hospital generators to go to generating electricity for its tunnels.
Israel has provided jobs to thousthousands of Gazans. Has Hamas tried to build any type of economy inside of Gaza? Have you ever visited Israel to see the hospital on one of its borders that regularly treats Gazans civilians? You should read about it.
And even in this war - savagely initiated by Hamas, Israel has repeatedly warned Gazans to evacuate buildings, move south etc. - only for Hamas to block them in so they can use their death count for their cause (elimination of Israel).
With all due respect, you are not getting this one right on facts. Please dig deeper.
“The aggressive movement to crush free speech is as dangerous to our democracy as Russia and China.”
Excellent column, Kareem.
I agree, crushing free speech is dangerous to our democracy. That said, my issue with the college students isn’t t their protest of Israel. It’s that they make no distinction between the policies of the Israeli government and innocent people at a concert. I have no love for Netanyahu and despise the religious right and the settler movement. Netanyahu’s government is very much responsible for Hamas actions, but the bulk of criticism should lie with Hamas.
That said, the college students were cheering the death of women and children. I am Jewish, believe in Israel, but I am as secular as they come. I’m more humanist than having a single religious bone in my body. Like our founders, or most of them, I believe in deism, not the Bible.
And like you stated, free speech is protected from government interference, not the private sector. I agree, most of these youth will grow up and realize the issues are far more complex than the simplistic version they get from the news, or even the misinformation and lies from social media.
However, you can’t blame companies for refusing to hire people who were literally cheering for the death and destruction of Israel. The youth were chanting “from the river to the sea,” Hama’s credo. It literally means we will push the Jews out of Palestinian; from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea; dead or otherwise.
While I believe in free speech, people are fired every day for far less than celebrating the death of innocent lives. And some of these students were Harvard Law students. How do you study the rule of law, yet celebrate the death of innocents and justify it; regardless of how despicable Israeli policies are in the occupied territories? In Israel proper, 2.5 million Palestinians are citizens and live freely.
Bottom line: like you, I want an end to this war, but the absence of war isn’t peace; it’s the status quo. Both Hamas and Netanyahu’s government don’t want peace, Hama’s charter calls for Israel’s destruction, and Netanyahu has only been paying lip service to a two state solution.
When this war ends we need to demand both sides come to the table and hash out an agreement. Otherwise, it’s like the movie Groundhog Day; every two to three years, we see the same thing over again.
Hamas attacks, Israel responds harder, and then implements even more draconian restrictions on the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Rinse, lather, repeat!
Just some thoughts...:)
Kareem, as carefully as you try to be balanced and nuanced, you missed an important nuance which contradicts part of what you yourself wrote. The restriction on free speech which prohibits hate speech is crucial to the protection of people expressing ideas. “Gas the Jews” is NOT an idea-- it is hate speech. “From the river to the sea” is not an innocent idea - it calls for the destruction of Israel, and is hate speech. The U. of Penn Pro Palestinian event was filled with antisemitic and Israel destruction slogans -- it was hate speech. On the campus ofRutgers University, a counter protest to the Pro-Palestinian ( and hate-speech filled) protest was halted and dispersed, stopping the fee speech of those who were targeted with violence inciting slogans. You usually “ get it.” This time, you are missing a very important nuance. “Kill the Jews” is what Hamas wants, and accomplished on October 7th. Hamas has broken every ceasfire over the past two decades. Until the Palestinian people are really free from Hamas, they will never be free. Golda Meir is credited with saying, “If the Arabs put down their weapons, there would be peace; if Israel put down its weapons, there would be no Israel.” An inconvenient truth! I urge you to read (or watch) Kalim Hafiz, a Pakistani-British Muslim, who traveled to Israel, filled with hate, to find out the truth a out what he had been brought up to believe.
Dear Kareem - thank you for your thoughtful piece on free speech. I agree completely. However, I need to make some comments about the following sentence, which is not about free speech, but about your desire for a peaceful resolution between Israel and Hamas in this war. You said: "to stop the killing of innocent people on both sides in order to peacefully resolve the issue in a way that protects Israeli and Palestinian rights." You noted that Hamas attacked Israel in a terrorist pogrom (my words). Hamas' constitution is clear, that its aim and mission is the destruction of Israel between the river and the sea and the murder of all Jews with the goal of establishing an Islamic Caliphate in the entire region. Frankly, there is no peaceful resolution possible with Hamas. It is a terrorist organization that is worse than Isis. Isis did not murder children. Hamas' pogrom killed babies and kids, pregnant women and seniors, mercilessly decapitating children and shooting babies in their cribs in kibbutzim in uncontested Israel territory. Hamas' intentions have been clear for years, and Israel thought it could contain them in Gaza, but even in Gaza, when Hamas overthrew the Palestinian Authority in 2007, it murdered Palestinians who got in the way. It puts Palestinian children and all civilians as defensive shields, putting their center of operations under a Palestinian hospital, arms caches under schools. It is an understatement to say that Hamas is a criminal enterprise. There is no compromise possible with it for Jews. As a long-time peace advocate, who is sick about the numbers of innocent Palestinian civilians getting killed in this war, and who cares deeply about them and my people in the State of Israel, I support Israel's efforts to eliminate Hamas as a military and sovereign power over Gaza. Only through defeat on the battlefield is there any hope for Israel and the Palestinians to ever come together and resolve their differences. But first, Hamas has to go. There is no alternative, I am sorry to say. This war will be bloody. It is a war not only against a terrorist anti-Israel organization, but against those who wish to destroy western civilization. I do not believe this is an exaggeration. October 7 is proof of what the civilized world is up against. With respect for you and your voice always.
Kareem - I recently became a subscriber because I found you to be intellectual and entertaining and, like most of us when we subscribe, basically in agreement with you on most issues. I have not regretted subscribing and will not unsubscribe on this issue but I do believe, like Mr. Jaffee below, that you are not fully accounting for the Hamas-Israel war and the effects here in America. The reaction in the US and the World to Hamas' butchery has made me sick to my stomach and I am as afraid for the Jewish community that I have been in my 64 years. To see brainwashed students throughout America and Administrators who take stands on most issues remain "neutral" in the face of butchery is not an appropriate exercise of "free speech". "From the river to the sea" only has one meaning, and is akin to saying "Back to Africa" in the 60s. The "protests" are further evidence of growing anti-Semitism in this country and will culminate in what? We have not yet seen the worst. Every synagogue and Jewish Community Center is now preparing for a "Tree of Life" event on the 5th year anniversary of the shooting. As a Jew, I feel personally attacked from the right and left and by the ambivalence in between. The viewing in this country of Jews as part of the privileged class is astounding - we have been "privileged" to be persecuted for millennia and, until very recently, treated as second class citizens, even in the great US of A. Judging by hate crime statistics, much of this hate has not changed as much as we would like.
As far as a ceasefire, how is that possibly a workable solution? A ceasefire brings Israel 5 steps behind the status quo of before October 7th. Hamas, Hezbollah, every fringe group and, most importantly Iran, would be emboldened by learning they could commit the atrocities of a pogrom with impunity. No, the only solution is the eradication of Hamas. In a just world, an International coalition would take the job out of Israel's hands and walk into Gaza and take care of the Nazis that have dominated it since their "election" in 2007. However, instead of a just International coalition to eradicate terror, we are faced with a UN whose sole purpose seems to be the criticism (and eradication?) of the sole Democracy in the Middle East that just happens to be the only Jewish state in the world. The civilians of Gaza are suffering and have been suffering. I will not defend every Israeli decision but the plight of Gazans lies with Hamas and Iran, not with Israelis. As Golda Meir famously said: "Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us." On behalf of the 14 million Jews worldwide, representing .2% of the global population, I say pick on somebody else for a change.
Good morning, Kareem. As always, an incredibly insightful take on current events. And wonderful memories of our shared era (loved Richard Roundtree and Isaac Hayes). Thank you in particular for the new reveal about gender. I have always been a female hunter. Even after the birth of my child, I used to say you couldn’t pay me to stay home. I’ve been provider, protector, and nurturer--all in one superhuman package. And I know that Sunday is still the most segregated day of the week. Patriarchal religions wreak a lot of havoc. I’m determined to join with your fellow deep thinkers (many here on Substack) to continue working for freedom for all with Peace and Love.
Kareem - free speech is not free of social cost or consequences for making it. I agree that a persons right to say what they want within the reasonable “non-violent incitement” parameters that you generally identify correctly should be protected by our laws. However that does not mean you are also protected from my or our society’s collective disagreement and my nonviolent response to your spewing antisemitism or hatred. If you’re a racist, and you tell me or the world you’re a racist on social media or worse I don’t have to hire you, find you, defend you or associate with you. If I gave you or your business money I can stop. If you have a right to stand in the public square and call me a “dirty Jew” I can stand in that same square with a louder megaphone and shame you for doing it. Your defense of free speech misses the point that whatever we do or say rightfully has a social cost, we live in relationship with each other.
Rabbi Dan Moskovitz
Btw: it’s the Israel-Hamas War not “Israeli-Hamas War” as you wrote. The later implies it’s individual citizens again Hamas, the equivalent of saying Ukrainians-Russia War. It’s a nation defending itself, yes with all the brutality that comes with war but War is a right of nations, not individuals or terror groups like Hamas. In the most subtle way your grammar equates the two.
You're missing a big difference here, Kareem. Sure, students and professors have the absolute right to express their opinions (as long as it doesn't veer into incitement or threats of physical violence). But donors and captains of industry surely have the right to not hire students with ideas with which they disagree, and to withhold donations (and encourage others to do the same) from institutions whose ideas and behavior they disapprove of. Surely I don't have to continue contributing to university that has proven to be feckless, cowardly, hypocritical, or even hateful, do I?
I'm afraid you've lost me in this one. Again, it's your absolute right to be wrong, as it is mine to vote with my feet or pocketbook.
If only Americans could be as passionate about taking a side on domestic, ingrained racism and stamping that out, the way they do about this war. The unwavering support, if given to those affected by racism in America, could implement change in our society.
Relatedly, what if corporations and billionaires who brag about blacklisting people who exercise their free speech, instead shred resumes of those who exhibit sympathy toward racists, White supremacists, Capitol Rioters, election deniers, and the like? Hey, if you're going to politicize your hiring practices and not hire someone because their beliefs differ from yours (or they don't take a side), then do it to benefit American equality, not your own smugness or profits. A litmus test should aim to stamp out racism at home and level out the playing field. Corporations make blanket statements on their websites about "BLM" and "Equality" with a big rainbow, but it never translates into the hiring. Imagine if they said "We Stand with Anti-Racists" and proved it by hiring people who believe in furthering that mission.
Israel is an outlaw, racist, apartheid nation, who has been condemned by hundreds of UN resolutions and is supported by only one nation in the world---the US---and condemned by 192 nations. It steals land from Palestinians, cuts down their orchards, confiscates houses, prevents Palestinians from free movement and any hint of free speech. Kareem, you are rightly concerned about free speech, take a look at how Palestinian free speech is trampled by racist jews. American jews should be disgraced by the modern Israel, who are running their country like reincarnated Nazis.
As a middle aged white woman from Canada, you might be surprised that I have a strong African American section to my library. Douglas Adam’s is featured and Henrietta Lacks. Incredibly powerful humans that I learned a lot from.
When I wanted to know more about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict I went to Jewish scholars and internationally respected authors. Thomas Friedman , winning the Pulitzer twice, wrote the acclaimed “From Beirut to Jerusalem” and Ari Shavet “My Promised Land”. The tenacity of their research and unfettered observations of the history (yes, back to the origins of the Zionist movement), gives the reader a fulsome, balanced view... both men observing the original intent of the movement became overshadowed and politicized. Both anti-occupation. They include full recognition that as the world watched Palestinians lose their home and lands , especially post WW2, many were afraid to verbalized dissent on the world stage for fear of being labelled anti-Semitic. This became a common theme. We have no problem criticizing occupation of native lands by governments or big business, or Ukraine by Russia, but there is a big elephant in the room when we address Israel and Palestine.
And so here we are. Passions rising. People thinking they know what they know. And no one backing down. No one seeing with their hearts. The most vulnerable always the ones losing the most.
Like the end of WW2, we have the opportunity to right some wrongs, and forge a new, conscious and loving path. Unfortunately, we lack leadership that is willing to say, all humans have worth. That all humans deserve to live without fear. And that all humans deserve to live in equality based on independent and communal goals, ideals and beliefs.
As for me, I’ll keep my inner house in order and Be Peace.
Thank you, as ever, Kareem, for today’s column. Re: younger people and declining pride in being American, I can’t help but wonder whether one other factor is the grotesque increase in mass shootings and the obdurate, willful refusal on the part of lawmakers at the Federal level (and in many states) to take action on measures that would curb them. The Sandy Hook shootings took place in 2012; the horror of 20 six- and seven-year-old children shot to death in their classrooms made many of us presume that quick action to curb gun access would ensue. How naive we were. After every such act of domestic terrorism - 565 so far this year - there are the same calls for action, which go nowhere. It’s impossible to explain this to people outside the U.S. - because it cannot be explained. It is simply our country’s very public and sorrowful shame.
Bravo Mr. Abdul-Jabber! As always I enjoy your posts. I found myself nodding my head reading about free speech. I have learned sadly people only believe in free speech if your speech matches their own. I am equally befuddled by the disrespect of people who peacefully protest, a constitutional right. Yet how often do we see the protesters assaulted and even killed.
Thank you for your insightful works. I look forward to them always.
Kareem..I know you read a lot...I am Just finishing Heather Cox Richardson's "Democracy Awakening" (notes on the state of America.). I never thought I would live to see our country like this (I am two years older than you.) Your articles keep me hoping we can get through this without the whole country paying the price for the actions if extremists. Julie
"It should be the only question any reporter asks until he answers it." This might be the most important point you raise today in the long run. One of the weaknesses of the public media today is the failure to follow through on a story once the immediate emotional response has passed. Mike Johnson has been "normalized" and, I'm guessing, won't be challenged like this again for as long as he's Speaker. Interesting too that he had to be backed up by what looked very much like a mob in order to stand up to the reporter.
The Shaft theme was excellent, as were all three movies. Roundtree with Samuel L. Jackson and Jessie Usher was one of the best movies I've seen and the power that the three of them projected was amazing.
I appreciate the column and those commenting. Before reading the comments I had never heard the Hamas declaration "from the river to the sea . . ." I'm embarrassed how much I don't know, but not too embarrassed to try to keep learning.