The USA: “Now is a time when none of us can afford to remain seated or silent.”

What Others Are Saying

“Now is a time when none of us can afford to remain seated or silent. We must all stand up to be counted.” – Dan Rather, Journalist

History will demand to know which side were you on. This is not a question of politics or party or even policy. This is a question about the very fundamentals of our beautiful dan-rather-2experiment in a pluralistic democracy ruled by law.

When I see neo-Nazis raise their hands in terrifying solute, in public, in our nation’s capital, I shudder in horror. When I see that action mildly rebuked by a boilerplate statement from the President-elect whom these bigots have praised, the anger in me grows. And when I see some in a pliant press turn that mild statement into what they call a denunciation I cannot hold back any longer.

Our Declaration of Independence bequeaths us our cherished foundational principle: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

These truths may be self-evident but they are not self-replicating. Each generation has to renew these vows. This nation was founded as an opposite pole to the capriciousness of an authoritarian monarch. We set up institutions like a free press and an independent court system to protect our fragile rights. We have survived through bloody spasms of a Civil War and a Civil Rights Movement to extend more of these rights to more of our citizens. But the direction of our ship of state has not always been one of progress. We interned Japanese Americans, Red Baited during the McCarthy era, and more. I feel the rip tide of regression once again swelling under my feet. But I intend to remain standing.

In normal times of a transition in our presidency between an incoming and outgoing administration of differing political parties, there is a certain amount of fretting on one side and gloating on the other. And the press usually takes a stance that the new administration at least deserves to have a chance to get started – a honeymoon period. But these are not normal times. This is not about tax policy, health care, or education – even though all those and more are so important. This is about racism, bigotry, intimidation and the specter of corruption.

But as I stand I do not despair, because I believe the vast majority of Americans stand with me. To all those in Congress of both political parties, to all those in the press, to religious and civic leaders around the country. your voices must be heard. I hope that the President-elect can learn to rise above this and see the dangers that are brewing. If he does and speaks forcibly, and with action, we should be ready to welcome his voice. But of course I am deeply worried that his selections of advisors and cabinet posts suggests otherwise.

To all of you I say, stay vigilant. The great Martin Luther King, Jr. knew that even as a minority, there was strength in numbers in fighting tyranny. Holding hands and marching forward, raising your voice above the din of complacency, can move mountains. And in this case, I believe there is a vast majority who wants to see this nation continue in tolerance and freedom. But it will require speaking. Engage in your civic government. Flood newsrooms or TV networks with your calls if you feel they are slipping into the normalization of extremism. Donate your time and money to causes that will fight to protect our liberties.

We are a great nation. We have survived deep challenges in our past. We can and will do so again. But we cannot be afraid to speak and act to ensure the future we want for our children and grandchildren.”

The above comment was originally published today on Facebook by Dan Rather. the thedanrather@gmail.com

(Photo credit: You Tube)

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SEVENTY YEARS LATER -

OVER SEVENTY YEARS LATER – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” | “The more things change, the more they stay the same”

 

“How to Assess the Bannon Appointment”

Special Report

From the publisher of jewishinfoNews. The following article was originally published by Gatestone Institute  and republished with permission by jewishinfoNews on November 17, 2016.

by Alan M. Dershowitz

Alan Dershowitz credit jewishbusinessnews JIN July 13 2016President Elect Trump’s appointment of Steve Bannon as his chief strategist has been criticized on the ground that Bannon is an anti-Semite. There are many reasons for opposing the appointment of Bannon, but anti-Semitism is not one of them. I do not support the Bannon appointment. But neither do I support accusing Bannon of being an anti-Semite, based on the evidence I have seen.

With regard to anti-Semitism, there are three distinct but overlapping issues: (1) Is Bannon personally an anti-Semite? (2) Does his publication, Breitbart, promote anti-Semitic views? (3) Do Breitbart and Bannon have followers who are anti-Semitic?

From what I can tell, the evidence cited in support of the accusation that personally Bannon is an anti-Semite falls into two categories: first, that his wife testified at a hotly contested divorce proceeding that he did not want his children to go to school with “whiney Jews”; and second, that he ran an article describing Bill Kristol as a “renegade Jew.”

Let us consider these items of evidence in order. Senator Harry Reid tried to strengthen the first accusation against Bannon by saying that it appeared in a court document, thus suggesting that it had the imprimatur of a judge. But that is not the case. The claim was simply made by his former wife in a judicial proceeding, thus giving it no special weight. Bannon has rigorously denied making the statement and said that he and his wife were fighting over whether his children should attend Catholic school, rather than a secular school.

On the other side of the ledger is the testimony of Jewish individuals who have worked closely with him for years. These include my former research assistant, Joel Pollak, an orthodox Jew who wears a kippah and takes off all the Jewish holidays. He is married to a black woman from South Africa who converted to Judaism. Joel assures me that he never heard a single anti-Semitic utterance or saw an anti-Semitic action in the four years they worked together. The same is true of numerous other Jewish individuals who work with him, some of whom thoroughly disapprove of Bannon’s politics and the way he ran Breitbart, but none of whom have reported any events of anti-Semitism.

The second alleged item of evidence is the following headline that appeared on Breitbart: “Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew.”[1] I am advised, however, that this article and the headline were written not by Bannon but rather by David Horowitz, a right-wing Jew who was upset with Kristol for his refusal to support Trump. Horowitz deemed that a betrayal of the Jewish people. While I fundamentally disagree with that appraisal and also of the article, I find it hard to characterize Bannon as an anti-Semite because Breitbart ran it. Breitbart has also personally attacked me,[2] but that doesn’t change my views.

I keep an open mind waiting for more evidence, if there is any, but on the basis of what I have read, I think it is wrong to accuse Bannon of one of the most serious forms of bigotry. So I will not join the chorus of condemnation that employs this radioactive term against Bannon without compelling evidence. The Anti-Defamation League has now commendably acknowledged that there is no evidence of anti-Semitism by Bannon: “We are not aware of any anti-Semitic statements from Bannon.”

As to whether Bannon promotes the alt-right, and whether the alt-right includes anti-Semites, I think the answer to that is yes.[3] Both Bannon and Breitbart have made bigoted statements about Muslims, women and others, which I do not condone. That is why I do not support Bannon, even though I do not think he’s an anti-Semite. Bigotry against any group should be disqualifying for high office. But let’s put this criticism of Bannon and Breitbart into context. Haaretz certainly serves as a platform for the alt-left in Israel. Though it features a wide range of commentary, primarily from the center-left, it also features hard-left writers such as Gideon Levy, who supports academic, cultural and economic boycotts against Israel and its “criminal” regime, as well as Amira Hass, who encourages Palestinians to throw stones and engage in “violent resistance” against Israel. These writers have certainly been accused, and with some justification, of promoting hatred not only against the current Israel government, but against the very nature of Israel and Zionism.[4] Their hateful writings are often quoted gleefully by anti-Zionist and anti-Semites.[5]

This is not to compare Breitbart with Haaretz, but it is to suggest caution in holding a publication responsible for all the views expressed by its writers. To be sure, Haaretz‘s general orientation tends to be center-left, whereas Breitbart is hard-right, but both serve as platforms for extremes on either side. The same can be said of J Street, which is a center-left organization which serves as a platform for, and includes among its active members and contributors, BDS supporters, anti-Zionists and opponents of Israel’s existence as the Nation State of the Jewish people.

Or consider Black Lives Matter, an organization with a commendable goal, that has promoted anti-Semitism by singling out one country for condemnation in its “platform”: calling the Nation State of the Jewish People an “apartheid” and “genocidal” regime. In an article in Above the Law, Joe Patrice attacks me for my critique of Black Lives Matter, claiming that “it’s certainly possible someone in the movement also has sympathy for Palestinians.” But there is an enormous difference between “sympathy for Palestinians” (which I share) and accusing the entire nation state of the Jewish people of “genocide” (which I believe is anti-Semitic).

Anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are prevalent both on the hard-right and on the hard-left. The Trump election has brought hard-right anti-Semitism into public view, but the bigotry of the hard-left is far more prevalent and influential on many university campuses, both in the United States and in Europe. A single standard of criticism must be directed at each. We must judge individuals on the basis of their own statements and actions, and we should be cautious in judging publications and organizations on the basis of who they publish, who their audience is and who supports them.

People of good will, Jews and non-Jews, must condemn with equal vigor all manifestations of bigotry whether they emanate from the hard alt-right or hard alt-left. That is why I cannot support Bannon’s appointment, even though he is strongly pro-Israel. But that is also why I can’t support those on the hard-left who advocate good causes, while at the same time promoting anti-Semitism and the delegitimization of Israel.

Alan M. Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus and author of “Taking the Stand: My Life in the Law” and “Electile Dysfunction.”


[1]Bill Kristol: Republic Spoiler, Renegade Jew,” by David Horowitz, 15 May 2016.

[2] See Adrian Otto, “Alan Dershowitz Hangs Up Over Clinton College Scandal,” Breitbart, Nov. 4, 2016; the article was originally published with the title “Dershowitz Goes Berserk.” The article falsely claimed that Laureate University received money from the State Department, when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.

[3] See Allum Bokhari and Milo Yiannopoulos, “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide to the Alt-Right,” Breitbart, March 29, 2016.

[4] David Lev, “Amira Hass: I’ve Had it With the Jews,” Israel National News, September, 10, 2011. To Levy, Israel can never do any good. In an op-ed titled “Real Leftists Won’t Go to the Ceremony for Yitzhak Rabin,” he writes, “Peace was murdered with or without Rabin because Israel didn’t want it. It never seriously wanted it because it includes the end of the occupation, which it has never agreed to give up. No ceremony will change that.” Gideon Levy, “Real Leftists Won’t Go to the Ceremony for Yitzhak Rabin,” Haaretz, Nov. 3, 2016.

[5] For instance, Hass is favorably cited by Norman Finkelstein, MondoWeiss, and Democracy Now. Gideon Levy has been praised by the dean of anti-Zionist intellectuals, Noam Chomsky, as “an early Jewish prophet.” Johann Hari, “Is Gideon Levy the Most Hated Man in Israel or just the Most Heroic?“, Independent, Sept. 23, 2010.

The article printed above does not necessarily reflect the views of the publishers of jewishinfoNews

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SEVENTY YEARS LATER -

OVER SEVENTY YEARS LATER – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” | “The more things change, the more they stay the same”