The Israeli/Palestinian Conflict: The Evidence

 evidence-based reports | authored and compiled by
constantine kaniklidis
scholars for peace in the middle east (spme) | director, progressive voices for peace in the middle east (pvpme)

Unfree speech & principles of community


Facts and Myths of Free Speech
Unprotected Speech: The Limits of Free Speech
First Amendment protections are not, and never have been, absolute, and liberty is not license, and there are a large number of content-based constraints1,3,69: advocacy of illegal conduct, obscenity, child pornography, defamation (or libel in any publication79), deceptive commercial speech, copyright infraction, practicing medicine without a license, and certain proscribed forms of hate speech [such as incitement to violence, among others, considered "performative speech"] - are not by law entitled to constitutional protection, and have none. And all expression is constrained by the rights of others to enjoy their lives and liberties, and nor does the right to self-expression trump other people’s dignitary rights1. As oft-quoted, while the Constitution protects freedom of speech, “it is not a suicide pact2.  As observed: "And so, today, we are all realists. Except in one area—the First Amendment, where argument-closing formulas (the speech/act distinction, the prohibition against “content” regulation) and shibboleths (let the marketplace of ideas work; the cure for bad speech is more speech) still hold sway and are solemnly intoned by otherwise intelligent people who ought to know better"3

► Hate Speech Regulation
Indeed, against the claim that hate speech restrictions would "un-Americanize" America (“But America Wouldn’t Be America Anymore”), the experience of other countries consistently and unambiguously shows that such constraints would not affect American democracy negatively and would in the contrary, cause America to be even more "American", with the experiences of Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and other countries with hate speech constraints showing that regulation of hate speech neither invariably, nor even frequently, weakens the respect accorded free speech nor begins any "slippery slope" to totalitarianism4, or "snowball effect toward censorship"3

Thus in a systematic review commissioned by ARTICLE 19/International Centre Against Censorship78, a London-based international non-partisan organization for advocacy of freedom of expression and the press, the question of hate speech under domestic and international laws was examined in a three-day conference by participants, all major figures in the international human rights community, delegates from European and Third World nations, with legal scholars from the United States and other countries, the conference papers published under the title, Striking a Balance79, and it was found in detailed country reports of Argentina, Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, and the United States, that the charge that hate speech regulation backfires, harming those it is designed to protect, is not borne out, with many countries (like Germany) viewing hate speech and propaganda as an affront to a person’s core identity, effectively causing ethnocentric dignitary harms79-82.     

Thus, fair expression - which denotes the continuum of expressive acts between free speech and hate speech - not being, and never having been, absolute, can be constrained by societally, morally and legally compelling reasons against hate speech, that is, against expression that aims to vilify its target audience based on identity "indicia" (signs) of race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or other group identity traits; both incitement to acts of racial or other group discrimination as well as incitement to hatred are considered a species of hate speech and as such expression is not entitled to protection under international human rights law [as per:  (1) Article 20(2) of the ICCPR5 and Article 13(5) of the ACHR6 re advocacy of hatred; (2) incitement or dissemination of racial hatred, including to raise or strengthen anti-Semitic feelings, as in Faurisson v. France7; (3) incitement to discrimination or hatred or hostility (ICCPR)4, and (4) the ECRI, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance8,  whose mandate includes not only laws about hate speech, racism, and other identity-discrimination but also abuses of freedom of expression], all of which consider hate speech outside scope of protection because these areas are not central to the free exchange of ideas and the associated incitement to hatred inflicts societal harm, and all now customary international law and as such binding on all signing nations, including the U.S.  

These restrictions against hate speech have been upheld by U.S. Law in the landmark Chapinsky v. New Hampshire case9, and in, among others, Cutler v. Dorn10  which found that accumulation of vilifying comments which by being an “intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment”, creates an atmosphere of fear, silencing, and shame for the targets11.12.  

Adopting an unrestrictive perspective on free speech – free speech fundamentalism or absolutism – is the essence of dogma, and is juridically in error, taking a right as an ultimate duty while ignoring the ultimate end of constitutional government: the well-being of all social members13. As hate speech expert Jean-Francois Gauldrault-DesBiens said: “[T]he dilemma [of inhibiting speech] becomes a duty to regulate against abusive forms of expression, because a constitutional democracy cannot tolerate radical denials of the humanity of some of its citizens . . . .14.  Thus the willful promotion of hatred under certain circumstances under international human rights law is deemed a justifiable and proportional limit on free expression in light of its deleterious effects upon the dignity and equality of the vulnerable and demonized, and of society as a whole. 

Indeed, the as the U.S. State Department Report on Global Anti-Semitism concluded (2008): “the demonization of Israel, or vilification of Israeli leaders, sometimes through comparisons with Nazi leaders, and through the use of Nazi symbols to caricature them, indicates an anti-Semitic bias rather than a valid criticism of policy concerning a controversial issue15, and note that as concluded by the  Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law in their position paper on Best Practices Guide for Combating Campus Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israelism16, some anti-Israel incidents and speech may constitute national origin discrimination against those of Israeli national origin even if they are not anti-Semitic.  

► Three Key Aspects of Hate Speech:
(1)  Article 20(2) of the ICCPR [5] and Article 13(5) of the ACHR [6] require advocacy of hatred;
(2) incitement or dissemination of racial hatred (as for instance to raise or strengthen anti-Semitic feelings, as in Faurisson v. France7;
(3) incitement to discrimination or hatred or hostility [ICCPR5].
Thus, international law under ICCPR, and reaffirmed by the US in the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR)6 requires state to declare that advocacy of hatred on national, racial, or religious grounds constitutes a criminal offence, with ICCPR placing an obligation on States Parties to prohibit hate speech (Article 20(2) provides: Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility [hatred] or violence shall be prohibited by law).  


Marketplace  of Ideas: The Truth Will Out
The dictum that truth always triumphs over persecution if both are allowed free expression is a reassuring and pleasant falsehood which however  all experience refutes, as history is rich with real instances of truth put down by persecution. One example, of dozens one  could proffer:  the truly massive free flow of abolitionist ideas did not peacefully overcome slavery via the exercise and exchange of logical arguments and counterarguments as to its evils, but rather it took a civil war, not a marketplace of ideas and exchanges,  to end the practice. The marketplace of ideas fantasy - that truth examined through the free and competitive exchange of ideas will prevail (most powerfully articulated by Oliver Wendell Holmes), fails in the face of history and reality, and has been rejected in numerous case law:  thus in Times v Sullivan17 it was held that hate speech does not advance “uninhibited, robust, and wide open” dialogue about social improvement, but rather deprecates the overarching goals of representative democracies, of social well-being, fairness, and justice (beyond just equal representation).  Like fighting words, hate speech plays, as per the landmark Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire9 case concluded,  “no essential part of any exposition of ideas and [is] of such slight social value as a step to truth that any benefit that may be derived from [it] is clearly outweighed by the social interest in order and morality”, so it can be seen that since the purveyors of hate speech aim at spreading degrading falsities, these, like defamation, can be limited without violating the First Amendment18.  

The historically laughable and massively erroneous idea that falsehood and hate speech will always be vanquished by truth in the open marketplace of ideas operates in a vacuum free of historical reality: seventy years full of political verbal antisemitism preceded the discriminatory Nürnberg Laws passed in Nazi Germany in 1935 which served only to formalize the unofficial and extensive measures taken against Jews for years leading up to 1935, and years again of antisemitic speech preceded the rise of national socialism and the perpetration of the Holocaust19-21,  and the foundations of the death camps were baptized in years of dehumanizing  rhetoric and condemnation of the Jews22.  This underlines the fact that dissemination of virulent lies targeted by national, ethnic, racial, religious or sexual identity nurtures and promotes the rise of hate crimes via desensitizing people to the serious real-world consequences of bigotry23.  And as we have already noted, the free flow of abolitionist literature was  ineffectual in the fight against slavery, which did not end through rational discourse and open exchange of ideas.  In fact, any close reading of the “marketplace of ideas” perspective to hate speech reveals theoretical foundations that are deeply antidemocratic11,24, and exposes  the failure to grasp that language in aid of exposing and discerning truth, can also stifle and misrepresent it.  

Similarly, in Mauritania, slavery is based exclusively on racial and biological factors:  all slaves are black Africans, all slave owners are Arab/Berbers. It has been found that sanction for the practice has originated as far back as ancient Islamic stereotypes of blacks that purport that slavery is in fact a religious institution, evidenced by Middle East expert Bernard Lewis who surveyed Arab literature and folklore, finding that many “early Islamic poets . . . suggest very strongly a feeling of hatred and contempt directed against persons of African birth or origin”25. In keeping with these findings, a Human Rights Watch/Africa report concluded the Islam religion continues to be “important in the perpetuation of slavery”26. Therefore, as in so many other countries including the Sudan, religion is manipulated to perpetuate privilege based on ethnicity, with constant culturally sanctioned disparagements.  

Thus, the preludes of (1) pervasive and erosive antisemitic expression and the repeated antisemitic propaganda in the Weimar Republic of racist ideologues like Julius Streicher publishing perverse attacks against Jews in Der Stürmer enabled the Nürnberg Laws in Germany and then the death camps, (2) the years of denigrations of blacks and slaves in the U.S., (3) decades of systematic propaganda and imagery of the Indian savage which developed a sufficiently strong hold across America to legitimize the expropriation of tribal lands and removal of the native American inhabitants, and (4) the racist and dehumanizing Arabic discourse about blacks that contributed to the perpetuation of black slavery in contemporary Mauritania and Sudan (and elsewhere), these are all historical examples of gradually inculcated linguistic paradigms that justified and fomented injustices, showing the gradual development of group hatred through propaganda, and such live examples of hate propaganda underline the need for it to be effectively checked since it ultimately threatens to popularize group hatred27.  These real-world  case studies expose the libertarian argument that rights can best be protected by uninhibited and unrestricted hate propaganda as fundamentally counterintuitive and ahistorical, given the demonstrable long-term dangers associated with hate speech.  

► The Low Value of Hate Speech
Diatribe and propaganda are intended to communicate aggression and influence behavior: "Hate speakers do not proclaim their views to engage listeners in intellectual debate; rather, they try to gain adherence to their destructive ideals. The hate message is often meant to curtail inclusiveness"28, and therefore we must guard against a doctrinaire extolling of speech above all other democratic values; "speech that furthers social welfare and justice is on a different par from invectives designed to undermine them"29.  

In agreement, in a joint statement with the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights at the Organization of American States (IACHR) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Representative on Freedom of the Media, the Special Rapporteur recognized that expression that incites or promotes “racial hatred, discrimination, violence and intolerance” is harmful, and that crimes against humanity are often accompanied or preceded by these forms of expression30.   

Despite hiding under democratic mantle of freedom of expression31, it is now increasingly recognized that hate speech has little or no social and political value32, and that, like fighting words, hate speech as recognized in US case law9, is “of such slight social value as a step to truth that any benefit that may be derived from them is clearly outweighed by the social interest in order and morality”, since the social harms of hate speech, the extensive danger posed to both  individuals and to society by expressions of misethnic animus generally outweigh bigots’ private interests of venting their hatred. Indeed, courts have accepted the authority to restrict expressions that significantly undermine the common good33.    

Principles of Community in Action
One Principle of Community (derived from UCSD’s charter for “tolerance”, as it were) states, “[w]e affirm the right to freedom of expression…[w]e promote open expression of our individuality and our diversity within the bounds of courtesy, sensitivity, confidentiality and respect.34 and towards the goal of fostering inclusiveness, respect, and a welcoming environment35, in order to preserve and enhance social welfare [71,72].  

The Principles of Community operate under the assumption that not all speech is protected. Words and accusations which at their core demean, defame and degrade must be addressed and denounced36. Widely adopted at : Dartmouth37; Virginia Tech38 [Virginia Tech]; and many others35-36,37-38,75-76. Thus, in general, other countries merely go one step further by banning speech intended to intimidate vulnerable groups. So what we have is: The Fair Expression Continuum (a continuum of constraints & safeguards). 

And within this context, universities can limit hate speech that aims to stifle conversation by putting members of the campus community in fear for their well-being. Indeed, it has been demonstrated that this can be done - that is, developing hate speech codes informed by and consonant with international norms [as per the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)5, the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (CPHRFF)39, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)40, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)41, European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)42, European Commission against Racism and Intolerance) (ECRI)8] and including the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR)5, as we have specified them above - without violating the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech83. This recognizes hate speech as fundamentally a campaign of silencing through intimidation - and as such itself threatening the university's "marketplace of ideas" - and with no benefit to educational interactions84. Under law, academic freedom is not a license for harassment, and nor does hate speech further the pursuit for truth, since calling Jews Nazis, women whores, Native Americans savages, Tutsis cockroaches, etc., does not  engage the quest of truth, being derogatory statements meant to exclude, and like asserting false claims that damage group reputations, such hate speech is academically punishable when it is meant to defame, intimidate, threaten, terrify, or instigate violence or incite to hatred83, and hate, exterminationist, or genocidal symbols such as the swastika or Hamas flag only advance an ideological agenda, with the intent being dehumanizing, degrading, defamatory, and exclusionary, and as such do not implicate the First Amendment.  History swells with examples making it clear that hate propaganda was absolutely essential to eventual Nazi' genocide of Jews, the Hutu slaughter of Tutsis in Rwanda, the Islamist Arab Janjaweed's continued mass murder and enslavement of Darfurians, and the Turkish exterminationism perpetrated against Armenians, and other hate-primed and sown exterminations.

Principle of Community Under International Law: Applications 
(1) That constraints to expression are legitimate, given that the community’s well-being is society’s most important goal and that expression may be limited in the interests of community harmony.

(2) That, therefore, there is a proactive duty to establish and maintain a "safe, caring and humane environment", a principle enshrined in multiple covenants of international law (as in: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)5, the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (CPHRFF)39, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)40, and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)41, European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)42, and European Commission against Racism and Intolerance) (ECRI)8, all now customary international law and as such binding on all signing nations, including the U.S. And this includes This includes even and New York State Unlawful Discriminatory Practices/Human Rights Law88.

(3) Example of the Principle of Community constraining speech is the Twitter lawsuit: Twitter has now been successfully sued, over hate speech hashtags and content (#unbonjuif, #unbonmusulman), under national and international laws in violation of established collective Principles of Community. The Union des Étudiants Juifs Français (UEJF)43 asked Twitter to remove several racist and anti-Semitic tweets under the hashtags #unbonjuif, #unbonmusulman, and #UnJuifMort ("agoodjew", "agoodmuslim” and "adeadjew"), as well as ) that some Twitter users were using to post derogatory comments about Jews and Muslims44,45,85. On March 20, 2013 UEJF in conjunction with four other non-profit human rights organizations (J’accuse/Action Internationale Pour la Justice (AIPJ)46, SOS Racisme47, the Movement Against Racism and for Friendship between Peoples (Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l'amitié entre les peuples) (MRAP)48, and the International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism (Ligue Internationale Contre le Racisme et l'Antisémitisme)/LICRA)49, sued Twitter, for damages of 38.5 million euros ($50 million) in damages, for failing to comply with a Paris Court of Appeal order (Jan 23, 2013) to provide data to French authorities to help identify the authors of the anti-Semitic and racist tweets50. Although Twitter initially refused, it announced on July 12, 2013 that it has provided French judicial authorities with the requested information and has entered into an agreement of cooperation and compliance with UEJF51.

(4) This again puts the lie to the free market fundamentalism of speech perspective (remove all coercive rules and the “marketplace of ideas” will naturally produce the best and most equitable result (Jeffrey Rosen is one of the foremost advocates52). In this connection, Humboldt State University compiled a visual map that charts 150,000 hateful insults aggregated over the course of 11 months in the U.S. by using DOLLY, a University of Kentucky project that search-enables and maps social media according to geography, to pair Google’s Maps API with a series of the most homophobic, racist, and prejudicial tweets53.

Geography of Hate

The Geography of Hate (above; click image for live map) map contradicts the notion that the “twittersphere” can organically combat hate speech, but rather is testimony to the fact that without protective regulatory and judicial intervention, hate speech will not dissipate from Twitter and its brethren on its own; as developer Prof. Monica Stephens noted: " they show the significant persistence of hatred in the United States "89.

The velocity of hate outruns truth: common sense and democratic moderation finish last. Nor are antisemitic/anti-Muslim/homophobic tweets best mitigated with Jew-/Muslim-/gay-friendly ones drowned out in a sea of hatred1,3,19,44-51,61-62,69,78,80,85. #BurningGaysIsWrong" will not effectively countervail the calls for the murder and extinction of LGBT's permeating #BrulonsLesGaysSurDu/“Let’s burn gay people" on Twitter. Only protective interventions can motivate social media providers (Twitter/Facebook/Reddit) insensitive and clueless to, and inexperienced with, the signs and tropes of online racism to remove virulent hate content.

In this connection, the SWC Digital Terrorism and Hate Project Report lists 20,000+ hate and terrorism sites, with hate speech online up 30 percent globally compared to 201287,  and the hate speech watchdog group Remove Hate From FB has compiled a list of ~1,200 pages which are manifestly in breach of Facebook’s own Community Standards guidelines90,91.  And virulent hate speech is spreading to new technologies such as Instagram, Tumblr, VK.com, and Weebly (a favorite of the repellent Aryan Terror Brigade)87,96. And for predominantly European-based hate content, the Council of Europe (COE)92, the leading human rights organization in Europe (47 member states who are signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR))93, has established a Hate Speech Watch94, a division of their official No Hate Speech Movement95, for comparable monitoring. Note that now all social media providers have adopted Community Standards/Rules (Principles of Community for social media), the constraints on free speech that hate speech regulation warrants.

(5) Nor will it disappear on its own from the hate-drenched and anti-woman Reddit,(consider: /r/nazi, /r/killawoman, /r/killingwomen, /r/rapingwomen, . . .54), nor from Facebook (see below). And note that on Reddit women have left or changed to more male-sounding usernames to avoid facing harassment and intimidation for speaking about even the most gender-neutral topics55.

(6) With regard to Facebook, the Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI)56 released a major new report into anti-Semitism on Facebook to coincide with the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21st 201357. The report findings demonstrate that Facebook does not really understand anti-Semitism and has difficulty recognizing even certain very well known types of anti-Semitism, such as (1) identifying racism directly based on Nazi propaganda, (2) consistently refusing to recognize as, and remove, hate speech pages promoting the anti-Semitic forgery Protocols of the Elders of Zion, (3) refusing to take action on new anti-Semitism using the strategy of Holocaust inversion to paint Israel and Jews as Nazis, and (4) having trouble in recognizing Holocaust denial as Hate Speech58,59.

(7) Only protective interventions can motivate Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and other social media providers clueless and inexperienced to the signs and memes of online racism to remove racist content. As another example, Twitter is now being sued by International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO)60, an LGBT advocacy organization in France, for the propagation of anti-gay hate speech, and as instanced, for failure to remove #LesGaysDoiventDisparaitreCar (“Gays Must Disappear/Die Because”) and #BrulonsLesGaysSurDu (“Let’s burn gay people") and other viciously antigay hashtags which support hundreds (over 900 as of Aug 13, 2013) calling for the explicit castration, murder and extinction of all LGBT people61,62,85, and the France-based gay rights group SOS Homophobie63 has in parallel also launched an online campaign against Twitter64. And the problem is not of course restricted to antisemitic or anti-LGBT content, but includes Islamophobic and Muslim-hateful content65.

(8)  As to cases of Twitter, Reddit, Facebook and others show, hate speech (as opposed to merely offensive speech) does not – as often but naively claimed - democratize speech, rather it monopolizes speech, intimidating and crowding out of the public sphere the intended targets of hate, and all of these social media allow hate speech to attack the dignity of a group, a practice the U.S. Supreme Court called "group libel"66, where group libel  was defined as expression that “portrays depravity, criminality . . . or lack of virtue of a class of citizens, of any race, color, creed or religion” and exposes those citizens to “contempt, derision, or obloquy.”  This was extended and cross-confirmed in the seminal Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc. decision67, where the Supreme Court qualified the types of relevant expressions as those that offend “our basic concept of the essential dignity and worth of every human being—a concept at the root of any decent system of ordered liberty”, and consistent with the holding in Beauharnais, group defamations can further be extended to revilement based on ethnicity, nationality, alienage, gender, or sexual orientation68. Thus, the intent of group defamation is to render via false and defamatory imputations an individual’s membership in a group a liability ‘‘by denigrating group-defining characteristics or associating them with bigoted factual claims’’97, against the “public good of inclusiveness” and communal/societal cohesiveness97,98.

(9) In academia, many campus have enacted Principles of Community, construed as the university's proactive duty of care to establish and maintain a "safe, caring and humane environment" in which "discrimination and hatred are not tolerated"70;37-38, prohibiting conduct demeaning or denigrating of individuals and groups.

(10) These considerations collectively therefore  remind us that harassing speech is not constitutionally protected speech anywhere1,3,69,80-82. And countries such as Canada, England, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Australia, India and others, who all ban hate speech, have not - as warned against - slipped into totalitarianism, but remain vibrant democracies effectively balancing fair expression with societal Principles of Community.  

► Principle of Community: Summary
Free speech absolutism (free speech "über alles") is ignorant, undemocratic, and juridically false: constraints to "free speech" are legitimate in the furtherance of community harmony and cohesion to  assure individual/group  dignitary rights to freedom from identity-discrimination (bias/advocacy of hatred or hostility based on identity indicia like (race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, sexual orientation). These Principles of Community are enshrined in multiple covenants of customary international law binding on all signatories, including the U.S, and upheld by U.S. Law9-12 and New York State Law88, recognizing hate speech and false claims as damaging group reputations and erosive of individual/group core identity, inflicting dignitary harms1,3,19,44-51,61-62,69,78-82,85, with the accumulation of vilifying comments, contempt and derision66 engendering an “intimidating, hostile" environment and  "atmosphere of fear [and] silencing"11,12.   



► Hate in the Academia Voice
Hate groups and movements regularly cloak themselves with the protective shield of “academic free speech” or "academic freedom" which  however has come to mean that liberal academics can express extremist hatred yet expect no one to question their poisonous rants and diatribes or answer back with a reasoned defense, and all this is taking place in the rarified air of college campuses, where civil discourse and objective scholarly inquiry is the expected norm. This makes the seething hatreds, and reflexive and virulent anti-Israel prejudice that frequently assumes the guise of anti-Zionism in order to evade social censure71,71,99-102,104-114,130-137  all the more unexpected and morally dangerous, as concluded by numerous investigations, reports and studies including those of the U. S. Commission On Civil Rights99-101, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights41 and the United Kingdom’s All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Anti-Semitism102, among  other international and national covenants, allowing as the State Department has observed, that criticism of Zionism or Israeli policy have the collateral effect of promoting prejudice against all Jews by demonizing Israel and Israelis and attributing Israel’s perceived faults to its Jewish character”15.

The breathtaking moral fraud, now well-exposed103-106, perpetrated by universities claiming to be diverse and all-inclusive where "diversity of thought" on most campuses today, as noted by Prof Bruce Thornton, is “a continuum that starts at liberal and ends at radical leftist”107. Reflecting on the  fact that  campuses have become bastions of political progressivism disproportionately associated with the new antisemitism, Abigail Thernstrom, currently Vice Chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights trenchantly - and accurately - characterized American universities as “islands of repression in a sea of freedom"108.  

► Silencing through "Academic Freedom"
Antisemitic incidents have had the affect of silencing some Jewish students and faculty intimidated, like other subjects of identity-based group hatred and defamation, from expressing their viewpoint publicly71,72,82-84,93-106,111-114,128,132-133: (1) because their perspectives are systematically excluded from the dominant discourse; (2) because the pervasive stigma illegitimately associated with them identified with the collectivity of Israel systematically undermines and devalues their speech, and (3) because the visceral fear, rage, [and] shock of hate speech against them systematically preempts response; these are the classic three modes of silencing: systematic exclusion, stigmatization, and intimidation109

Thus, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) admonishes that “it would violate every reasonable notion of student academic freedom to give professors the ability to open classroom discussion for all comments except those critical of the professor’s point of view”110. Hearing repeated calls to "slaughter the Jews" or persistent cries of “Hitler didn’t finish the job” or “let it snow with Jewish ash” or "Shut the fuck up or I’ll saw your head off" is silencing, intimidating and inciteful of hatred and hostility, and not an invitation to the open exchange and debate of free ideas111-114. A university that permits the creation of a hostile environment for certain students cannot legitimately hide from harassment claims behind the First Amendment, especially when the university actively controlled each of the elements which nurtured the environment.

► Profile of On-Campus Hate: Muslim Student Association (MSA)
The  most virulent of campus incitement to hatred has been associated not only with bigoted faculty promoting one-sided anti-Israel invective without allowance of counter-opinions, but  with on-campus hate movements, most especially the ultra-extremist Muslim Student Association/MSA - the most notorious MSA chapter being housed at the University of California-Irvine (as the Muslim Student Union/MSU) -  and their ally, Students For Justice in Palestine/SJP124, both demonstrably terrorist-affiliated with a known "history of terrorist affiliations and extremist positions"116,120,160,167-169: thus, numerous MSA officials have become acknowledged Al-Qaeda and other terror organization officials, praising and raising funds for, and even publishing their bulletins, including (Hamas, Hezbollah, Al-Muhajiroun (the banned UK terrorist group), Palestinian Islamic Jihad/PIJ, al-Shabaab (a Somali Al-Qaeda-affiliate)), among others, with several of these MSA officials now convicted of sponsoring and providing  material support of terrorism115-123,139-166. In fact, MSA was the first official Muslim Brotherhood front organization founded in the U.S., originally first established on the Urbana-Champaign campus of the University of Illinois in 1964116,120,160,167-169.

Consider: Anwar al-Awlaki, former president of the MSA at Colorado State University, before becoming head of external operations for Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, is the notorious al Qaeda cleric who has been linked to terror plots "from Fort Hood to Times Square and beyond", as richly documented by the distinguished non-partisan Center for Security Policy (CSP)139, among dozens of others116,140. Newly obtained records 3/4/13) from a  Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit after his assassination demonstrate the  close ties between Alwaki (aka, Aulaki) and the 9/11 terrorist Hijackers, for three of whom Alwaki  had purchased airplane tickets (including mastermind Mohammed Atta)141,142. Ramy Zamzam was president of the MSA's Washington, D.C., council, convicted in Pakistan in 2010 for attempting to join the Taliban and kill American troops116,123. And Abdul Rahman Alamoudi, while national president of the MSA was a known al Qaeda's top fundraiser in America,  sentenced to prison for terrorism financing, having raised million dollars for al Qaeda123,143,144,164,165. Omar Hammami, former president  of the University of South Alabama MSA Chapter, is a leader of the al-Shabaab terrorist group in Somalia123.  Wa’el Hamza Julaidan was an MSA president at the University of Arizona, then becoming a senior bin Laden advisor and Al-Qaeda co-founder, and was named a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) based on his work with the Rabita Trust, an Al Qaeda funding group117,145. Ali Asad Chandia, president of the Montgomery College MSA, and a member of a Virginia Jihad Network, was convicted of and sentenced to 15 years for providing material support to the terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT)116,147. And Al-Kalima, the publication of the MSA chapter at the University of California, Irvine, has in its pages glorified Hamas161.

The avalanche  of evidence of terrorist-affiliation and material support for terrorsim continues: so, Jamal Barzini, co-founder of the Muslim Students Association, was documented under affidavit as  “not only closely associated with PIJ (Palestinian Islamic Jihad), but also with Hamas”, while two two other Muslim Students Association co-founders, Hisham al-Talib and Ahmed Totanji, were shown to be officers of the Safa Group known for funneling money to terrorist front groups147,116. Aafia Siddiqui, a known MSA activist (better known as "Lady Al Qaeda"), was convicted of the attempted murder of a U.S. Army captain in Afghanistan146. The Muslim Students Association has also raised money for terrorist support groups, in particular the Global Relief Foundation (GRF) and the Benevolence International Foundation (BIF), both known Al-Qaeda fronts, and the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), a known Hamas front, and MSA co-founders Barzini, al-Talib and Totanji were signatories to a letter promising support to the leaders of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist organization founded by Muslim Brotherhood members, headquartered in Syria, and which has killed more than a hundred civilians in suicide bombings in the Middle East116,149, and MSA's UCLA chapter's magazine, Al-Talib openly solicited funds for all these front-groups in their November 2001 edition, but within one month, each of these terrorist front groups was shut down under  Federal anti-terrorism-funding laws for funding al-Qaeda and Hamas terrorists151-159.  In February 2003, Sami Omar al-Hussayen, former head of the MSA University of Idaho chapter, was arrested with an indictment that he raised over $300,000 for the Islamic Assembly of North America, known for funding terrorist groups160.  Kamran A. Bokhari, MSA president at Southwest Missouri State University and its Planning Coordinator, also simultaneously served as the spokesman for extremeist Al-Muhajiroun organization linked to several bomb attacks and plots, with Bokhari himself taped leading a chant of praise and  commitment to Hezbollah and support for Osama Bin Laden116,120,162. In addition, he asserted that homosexuals and adulterers should be stoned to death and that it was the duty of every Muslim to kill Jews in Israel163.

In similar vein, in October 2000 former MSA president Ahmed Shama at UCLA, stood before the Israeli consulate in Los Angeles, shouting "Victory to Islam! Death to the Jews!", while  at the same rally Sohail Shakry, the president of MSA West - an umbrella organization of MSA chapters on the West Coast, - quoted with great enthusiasm the leader of Hezbollah’s call for the destruction of Israel160,116. And MSANEWS, MSA's publication at Ohio State University openly distributed terrorist bulletins from Hamas, Hezbollah, Al-Muhajiroun and even Osama Bin Laden, and hosted Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami Al-Arian as speaker at an OSU-MSA rally, while In February 2006, OSU-MSA hosted the “Leaders of Tomorrow” conference co-sponsored by Kindhearts, a terrorist-funding front organization raided soon thereafter by federal law enforcement and was closed by order of the Treasury Department for financing terrorism160,116,166. Special praise must go to courageous MSA members who, like Adam Giorgiou, have directly confronted MSA’s openly expressed hatred and terrorist support (with, regrettably, no success, being drowned out by the voices of hate)160.    

MSA speakers have included Hamas and Taliban officials, known Imam Abdel Malik-Ali who views both the 9-11 attacks and the Matthew Shepard Act to protect gays as Zionist  conspiracies, Sheikh Khalid Yasin advocating that women should be beaten and homosexuals killed125, and dozens of other militants and extremists, with many MSA-sponsored talks (Berkeley and Wayne State) often distributing the anti-semitic forgery Protocols of the Elders of Zion. In conjunction, SJP chapters host leading terrorists as their speakers (head of Islamic Jihad in America, head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine)116,120

It is clear that extremist campus Muslim groups like MSA, SJP, GUPS (General Union of Palestinian Students) and affiliates, are not interested in hearing any dissenting ideas, but only in manufacturing a myth of victim- hood that grants them license for a theology of limitless hate. As noted Palestinian journalist Khaled Abu Toameh observed: "What is happening on the U.S. campuses is not about supporting the Palestinians as much as it is about promoting hatred for the Jewish state. It is not really about ending the ‘occupation’ as much as it is about ending the existence of Israel”
126.

► Profile of Online Hate: Anti-Muslim Bigotry in Social Media
There is no monopoly on the target of hatred, whether online or on-campus and elsewhere, and Muslims have often been targets: thus one  long-standing item on Facebook has been until recently the infamous anti-Muslim “A Pill for Every Muslim” which  shows a picture of rows of bullets of various sizes and  calibers suggesting the solution is genocide, and with a caption reading "Feeling sick? western society has a cure", posted by a hate group known as Infidel Brotherhood (Australia), shown below:

Anti-Muslim Hate on Facebook

Despite the  clear anti-Muslim animus and the call to eradication of Muslim, as a "Western" solution, multiple users who had reported the content to Facebook had their reports rejected by Facebook "deciders". It was only following action by the Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI) that a recalcitrant Facebook reconsidered their decision and removed the content170. But as OHPI notes, we can celebrate the removal, but the initial rejection requests to remove such blatant hate clearly raises disturbing questions about the quality of the hate-content reviewing process that Facebook is guided by.
he content showed a picture of a range of bullets and  the slogan “A pill for every Muslim”. Users who had previously reported the content to Facebook had their reports rejected. Following OHPI’s action Facebook reconsidered and removed the content. While welcoming the removal, the initial rejection of such blatant hate raises question about the quality of the reviewing process. - See more at: http://ohpi.org.au/islamophobia-on-facebook-hate-against-muslims-crosses-the-line/#success


The anti-Muslim hatred also goes beyond simply hatred of Muslims, extending it as a species of collective guilt in ascribing collective responsibility of all Muslims for any acts committed in the name of Islam:

Anti-Muslim Hate: Collective Guilt   

with a caption reading "Islam is for Cretins", added for good measure as a staggeringly ignorant slur against a civilization of indisputably  high intellectual and cultural accomplishment. Dozens of other anti-Muslim hate-content exist many inciting (as above) violence against Muslims.   

Besides the efforts of the Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI) to combat online hate regardless of target, a unique initiative called the ‘Tell MAMA’ (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) project171 was created in 2012 by the inter-faith organization, Faith Matters, which conducted research and outreach on inter-faith integration, conflict resolution, and extremism prevention in Britain, Pakistan and the Middle East, and directly modeled on the work of the Community Security Trust (CST), which monitors anti-Semitic incidents within Britain’s Jewish community. With Tell MAMA, any Muslim  across England and Wales can log any attack that they have experienced that either  was based on their Muslim faith, or from someone perceiving them to be Muslim, and Tell MAMA is the first national project to specifically record anti-Muslim hate crime while also offering support to victims of anti-Muslim prejudice. 

Three sobering, often disturbing reports document the extent of online anti-Muslim hate speech:
(1) the OHPI Anti-Muslim Hate Report172, due to appear later November or December, 2013 pending review of the draft report (this author is  one of the reviewers);
(2) the APPG Victims of Anti-Muslim Hate Report173, which concluded that online anti-Muslim hate speech is detrimental to social and community cohesion176, countervailing claims of free speech, and noting explicitly that "whilst free speech is a fundamental human right we all must enjoy, where online abuse is either threatening or becomes a racially/religiously motivated crime then we must try and deal with this in a strong yet proportionate manner"177;
(3) the Teesside University Anti-Muslim Hate Crime and the Far Right Report175 covering online and offline anti-Muslim hate and which is itself based on extensive records and analysis of anti-Muslim hate content and incidents collected by the Tell MAMA Project.

All are must reading for anyone who may have believed that online and on-campus hate was largely encompassed by antisemitism, anti-LGBT, or anti-racial-minority bigotry and somehow anti-Muslim bias being of minor moment: these documents correct that misunderstanding and present a disturbing reminder of the  scope and sweep and hatred everywhere, and the ease of its spread when providers in charge fail to be attuned and vigilant against the voice and  face of hate.

OHPI and Tell MAMA are now a part of a nexus of initiatives fighting anti-Muslim bigotry that I and other people of conscience across every spectrum of race and background collaborate with and support to advance the battle hate speech, along with Interfaith efforts such as those of the World Organization for Resource Development and Education (WORDE) Foundation,174, an organization dedicated to developing an understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims, in part through  bringing youth from different faiths together for dialogue and cooperative community volunteering, to “humanize other communities that have been demonized". And this is all done within a framework respectful of legitimate free speech but intolerant of hate speech hiding under its mantle.

In addition, as we have indicated above in the case of Twitter, international laws are stripping away the putative protection of content providers like social media sites and Wikipedia of a claimed lack of liability for content expressed by users in online postings or user-generated entries, where it has been posited that such content bears free speech protection and is offered "as is". Like the Twitter case lost on such grounds, Higher Regional Court of Stuttgart ruled (2 Oct, 2013)178 that although the Wikimedia Foundation that operates Wikipedia does not have to fact check entry contents before they are published, it is nonetheless liable for the contents of Wikipedia articles in the sense that it has a duty to check veracity if a complaint is raised and must distinguish between facts and opinions, requiring Wikimedia to fact-check the entry and if necessary remove unverified claims; Wikimedia was ordered by the Higher Regional Court of Stuttgart to delete the false passages. Note also that the judgment was applied against the US-based Wikimedia Foundation (WMF), showing that the ambit of such laws can override claims of country-specific applicability.   

Misuse and Abuse of Academic Freedom
Case: College Newspapers/Newsletters 
Unsurprisingly, in almost all current campus controversies, the First Amendment is opportunistically and erroneously invoked. Reflecting on this, Stanley Fish has commented that “In the academy the First Amendment . . . is invoked ritually when there are no First Amendment issues in sight127. As example: "Take the case of the editors of college newspapers who will always cry First Amendment when something they’ve published turns out to be the cause of outrage and controversy. These days the offending piece or editorial or advertisement usually involves (what is at least perceived to be) an attack on Jews127.  In agreement Kenneth Marcus, former Director of the  U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and currently Director of the Initiative to Combat Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israelism in America's Educational Systems, Institute for Jewish and Community Research (IJCR), has noted: "Many in higher education who cry “First Amendment!” in the face of anti-Semitic harassment frequently are opportunists, consciously or unconsciously, pushing the boundaries of constitutional discourse into an area to which it was not previously extended—and to which it is not well suited ". Fish cited a University of Illinois-Urbana student newspaper which printed a letter arguing that “Jews Manipulate America,” and urging the President to “separate Jews from all government advisory positions” lest they “face another Holocaust.” and another case of a Santa Rosa Junior College student article which answered in the affirmative the title question: “Is Anti-Semitism Ever the Result of Jewish Behavior?” In both cases, Fish argued that First Amendment claims raised in response to the inevitable uproar were inapposite, since the editors, he explained, have:

(1) absolutely no First Amendment obligation to print objectionable articles on any theme,
(2) nor any First Amendment/Free Speech constitutional protection from the consequences provoked from their poor judgment127.

(As noted bluntly in The Harvard Crimson, "let’s not kid ourselves with all this banter about free speech"129).

► Misuse and Abuse of Academic Freedom
Case: Invited Speakers
 
In another case of free speech opportunism, Fish argued that the Harvard education department made a fool of itself serially, three times, in inviting, disinviting, and then reinviting controversial poet Tom Paulin to be its Morris Gray Lecturer, an extremist self-acknowledged holocaust denier who believes Israel has no right to exists, that West Bank settlers “should be shot dead,” and that Israeli police and military forces “were the equivalent of the Nazi SS”127. In the best tradition of free speech opportunism and clotted reasoning, a department spokesman claimed that the reinvitation “was a clear affirmation that the department stood strongly by the First Amendment.” Id. In fact, Fish argued, Paulin had no First Amendment right to the invitation, and the department had no obligations other than those brought upon itself through poor judgment. 

►  Free Speech Opportunism on Campus
Thus we see that on today's campuses, free speech claims are often reflexively and unreflectively raised in the context of incidents of incite to hate or bias or group libel and defamation which protypically use words only in support of threatening and harassing behavior which is outside the ambit of free speech constitutional protection128, this being now known as free speech opportunism (efforts to apply First Amendment principles outside of the context in which they have historically been applied in the service of goals that otherwise lack stronger justificatory support)130, with inapposite and often frankly hypocritical free-speech claims becoming the favorite topic-changing device for defenders of all forms of harassment, incitement to hatred, and group defamation, repackaging actionable harassing conducts as speech expression131

There are therefore indisputable campus hate incidents do not pose even remotely pose First Amendment concerns, rather, they involve vandalism, rock-throwing, stalking, death threats, arson, and physical intimidation132-134, all without constitutional protection. Indeed, even some strong First Amendment advocates support harassment bans while opposing speech codes. Thus: Nadine Strossen, former President of the ACLU, has acknowledged that “The ACLU never has argued that harassing, intimidating, or assaultive conduct should be immunized simply because it is in part based on words137. In addition, a further abuse of the free speech cry is that of the claim of a "chilling" effect of counter-charges of antisemitism, a ruse that has been decisively demonstrated to be absurd, showing that objecting to and exposing defamatory attacks on Israel neither constitutes a threat to free speech nor a strategy for closing down debate on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict135,136,138. (And the Supreme Court has suggested that some hateful expressions may be regulated on the basis of content if the law that does so is based on conduct, as antidiscrimination law is138.  Thus, much of the rhetoric and legal argument surrounding campus hate speech and harassment, especially campus anti-Semitism, is sheer First Amendment opportunism: agenda-driven efforts to change the topic from proscribed harassment, incitement to hatred, collective assignment of guilt (holding Jews collectively responsible for the  State of Israel's actions regardless of actual complicity), and group defamation, to free speech in a context in which the First Amendment is inapplicable, and such free speech opportunism infringes aggressively and illegitimately on a core interest of contemporary constitutional and civil rights law: namely that of protecting equal educational opportunities from hostile environment harassment128,130,132.  And If we permit campuses to develop environments hostile to Jews, then why not to women and other minorities? Academia needs to finally adopt - and commit to - across all campuses Principles of Community that respect but define the legitimate boundaries of free speech under  constraints for the furtherance of community harmony and community, assurance of dignitary rights, and inclusive non-hostile environments free from identity-discrimination, in keeping as we have already shown in our previous contribution, with norms of both international and national laws.  

Academia and other communal environments need to finally adopt and commit to Principles of Community defining the legitimate boundaries and constraints of free speech in furtherance of community harmony and cohesion, dignitary rights, and the fostering of inclusive non-hostile environments free from identity-discrimination, per norms of both international1,3,19,44-51,61-62,69,78-82,85 and national9-12,88 laws.      



References
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evidence-based reports: our reporting


Imperative in this context is a new equity in geopolitics that eschews disproportionate approbation of one actor to the exclusion of all others while also acknowledging the competitive narratives of national ambition and identity in the Middle East, with the need for new engagement and negotiation. 

This misplaced and uncritical reliance on ideological and prejudicial sources has evolved to be a formidable obstacle to peace in the Middle East. It has led to what others have termed a new “soft powerlessness” for Israel whose legitimacy has been successively eroded and who stands accused and convicted in the international arena. And it helps account for the current moribund state of peace negotiation. We therefore realized that what is needed to overcome these barriers to peace is effective confrontation through the exposure and refutation of lawfare as practiced by anti-peace NGOs and obstructionist initiatives like BDS. This will in turn require a new rational and equitable discourse in addressing the clash of competitive nationalist aspirations for self-determination in the same land, in order to achieve a fair and durable peace in the Middle East for Israel, and for the Palestinians.

To that end, I as Director of Progressive Voices for Peace in the Middle East (PVPME) and a member of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), have authored and compiled a series of evidence-based reports (EBRs) on the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict which are founded on an objective critical systemic review of the core issues and a critical appraisal of the relevant arguments, sustained by scrupulous attention to and respect for principles of international and human rights law.  This demands (1) systematic review of all credible sources on an issue, (2) critical appraisal of all sources extracted for factual basis, (3) cross-confirmation of accuracy wherever viable, and (4) use of the highest caliber of sources available, with preference to peer-reviewed literature.

These evidence-based reports hone to the principles of the evidence-based paradigm and methodology as it has evolved from initial domain of application (medicine) into a broad spectrum of evidence-based practice and research
, in the form of evidence-based sociology, evidence-based education and evidence-based teaching, evidence-based psychology, evidence-based crime policy / policing, evidence-based  decision making /policy, evidence-based social work, among many others. We  also commit to industry-standards promulgated by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) in their SPJ Code of Ethics, the guidelines for online  journalism issued by Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism in their What are the ethics of online journalism?, and the elements of PIRC (Public-Interest Responsible Communication), especially the Verification Of The Reliability Of Sources, the Independent Verification of Factual Assertions, the Transparency with Sources, and Assessing Objectivity. (For a good summary, see Elements of "Responsible" Journalism of the Canadian Journalism Project, a project of The Canadian Journalism Foundation in collaboration with leading Canadian journalism schools and organizations). 



progressive voices for peace (PVPME)

Progressive Voices for Peace in the Middle East (PVPME), a Brooklyn based initiative, grew out of the recognition that these next-generation obstacles to peace require effective confrontation through counter-lawfare initiatives and the need for a new rational and equitable discourse in addressing the clash of competitive nationalist aspirations for self-determination in the same land.

Director, Constantine Kaniklidis



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Constantine Kaniklidis © 2016. | Progressive Voices for Peace in the Middle East. | All rights reserved.