Kurly’s Kommentary: Hateful Speech in the Heartland – Anti-Semitism vs. Anti-Israeli Advocacy

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By Steven Kurlander

There’s a free speech controversy brewing in the land of Mount Rushmore and George McGovern over the speaking tour of a virulent anti-Israeli advocate who has made a career employing hateful anti-Semitic representations to argue against the American alliance with Israel.

The issue revolves around whether an anti-Israeli advocate who is accused of consistently stepping over the line in employing both hateful anti-Semitic phrases and symbolism and racially inciting disinformation against Israel should be allowed to speak at both publicly funded institutions and a club sponsored by a local South Dakota Democratic Party.

The controversy surrounds the planned appearances of Alison Weir, who calls herself a
“human rights activist” for the Palestinian cause and heads a group called “If America Knew,” an organization that claims the goal of providing misinformed Americans the “full and accurate information” on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She will be making speaking appearances at the State University campus, a VFW, and a local Democratic club later this month.

The Anti-Defamation League says that in “her discussions of Israel’s influence, Weir employs anti-Semitic imagery and portrays Israel and its agents as ruthless forces that control American policy through brutal intimidation and deception.”

For example, in a 2009 article called The New ‘Blood Libel’ Weir laid false accusations of Israeli theft of body parts from Palestinians for organ harvesting, arguing that the Israeli government and IDF were involved and that this trade in human organs had its roots in Jewish religious traditions involving ritual murder of gentiles.

The blood libel, the charge that Jews ritually murdered gentiles and used their blood to cast spells, was a mainstay of medieval European anti-Semitism and in modern times a dangerous accusation that incited programs and violence against European Jews.

“The kind of information that Weir offers to her gullible audience is built on visions of Israeli ethnic cleansing and brutality towards Arabs,” says Lori Lowenthal Marcus, US correspondent for the jewishpress.com.

http://www.jewishpress.com/news/democrats-invite-spewer-of-anti-israel-lies-to-lunch-in-s-dakota/2013/09/22/0/

Weir’s planned appearances has spurred Dan Lederman, a Jewish South Dakota State Senator, to question whether Weir should be given a forum at both a publicly funded university and at a political club sanctioned by the Democratic Party:

“While I am a strong advocate of free speech, both as representative of the people of South Dakota and as a Jew, I find it offensive that both the State University and the Democratic Party as public institutions are allowing this hateful, and even dangerous, advocate of anti-Semitism to speak,” said Lederman

Lederman further argued that when it comes to Weir, “Her writing illustrates that she’s not only hateful toward Israel, but all Jews. And there’s a big difference between being “anti-Israeli” and “anti-Semitic”… It is nothing but shameful that anyone would provide her a forum and opportunity to churn out such hate-speech disguised and packaged as a “lecture” in our state.”

It seems that Weir has some prominent backers in South Dakota that approve her messaging on Jews and Israel. She was invited to speak by former South Dakota Senator and Congressman James Abourezk, a prominent Democrat in South Dakota who was the leading voice in Washington against Israel and co-founder of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. Abourezk is also vice-chairman of the Council for the National Interest, another anti-Israeli organization.

In recent years, there’s been a huge divergence in terms of political correctness between unacceptable speech and phrases (and even words that can’t be spelled out) that can be perceived as racist or sexist and hypocritical tolerance, if not outright acceptance of anti-Semitic terminology and rhetoric, much of it guised as anti-Israeli propaganda-and it’s particularly true on college campuses across the nation.

So “social activists” like Weir take the liberty of masking anti-Israeli rhetoric in anti-Semitic banter that plays very well in an Arab world and Jew haters in leftist intellectual circles with impunity.

And that in turn allows mainstream Democrats like Abourezk to sponsor anti-Semites like Weir to speak at public universities and Democratic clubs.

Given that we live in a society that measures the significance and acumen of political rhetoric solely in terms of its shock value, the acceptance and promotion of Weir’s hateful speech and writing by Palestinian sympathizers like Abourezk and other far leftists in the Democratic Party reflects the hypocritical ease in which anti-Semites are given a green light to push centuries-old hate and propaganda.

And while Weir’s bigoted shocking speech and thoughts may be protected by the 1st Amendment, her anti-Semitism should not be disregarded in light of a public policy of the state and nation that seeks to promote equality and tolerance of minorities in this country.

Giving Weir the opportunity to speak at a public university or a Democratic club does nothing more than condone the same messaging that Nazi Propagandist Joseph Goebbels perfected in the Third Reich’s almost successful attempt to cleanse Europe of Jews in the 20th century. Lederman is right-public institutions shouldn’t condone or serve as sounding boards for such bigoted and hateful rhetoric.

9 Comments

  1. Alison

    This is disgusting.

  2. Marshall Rubin

    The First Amendment right to free speech should extend, even to those whom we hugely disagree with. However, college audience members and others should be given the opportunity to speak out in opposition. If we only allow those with whom we agree to speak, we become as oppressive as those who we would prevent from speaking.

  3. larry

    While some democrats support her right to speak the vast majority have no difficulty recognizing the lies and propaganda that give rise to her conclusions. Contrast that with the republicans who would prefer to censor public forums for controversial speech while secretly nodding their collective heads in agreement over her every uttered word.Your attempt to politicize this issue is disingenuous.

  4. Jon

    Did you really just compare Alison Weir to Joseph Goebbels? You are clearly unaware of the situation in Palestine. I’m almost compelled to write an essay on human rights abuses perpetrated by Israel upon the Palestinians, but I think it would a waste of time on this lot. You are the same people that denigrate Chomsky, Zinn, Finklestein, and anyone else who disturbs your bourgeois and ethnocentric notions about the world.

  5. ct

    If in fact Weir laid false accusations of Israel and the theft of body parts then she should
    answer to that…., but your comparisons are overreaching. As are your comments and
    bias when calling for anti-Semitism. The plight of the Palestinian people has been nothing
    less then occupation and encroachment by Israel, while the US looks the other way. I too
    have respect for Howard Zinn’s work and listen when Noam Chomsky speaks…..

  6. Yup!

    Alison Weir is a hateful old hag. She cannot backup any of her allegations with empirical evidence, because most of what she spews is concocted by her Nazi/Arab friends.

  7. larry

    I think most would agree that Alison Weir is antisemitic and doesn’t warrant a public forum for her hateful views. That said, your attempt to guilt the Democratic party by association for allowing her to speak in the “heartland” while paying no heed to the bigots and antisemites who reside in the Republican party is nothing short of hypocrisy at its best.

  8. Raymond Howard

    With all due respect to those having posted here where does tolerance begin and end? The stemming issue in this article for anti-Semitism is the blood libel charge being perpetrated here by Wier. For anyone’s information here, I’m of strong German decent, let alone any other mixed heritage, not that, that should have to matter but to be ethnocentric, or more aptly as some would, instead of might see it, racially oriented. In my book yes, I have heard the blood libel charge off and on mentioned of the alleged sacrifice in the Middle Ages of Christian children to make Matzos, and what is worse yet it continuing as a charge of occurance up to the very present. But it hasn’t always been Christian German’s spewing this rhetoric, it has been other nationalities, and their not all Moslem, otherwise Arab or Iranian, (Persian) Regardless the very first time I heard of it, I responded to the person telling me it, “Where did you come up with that urban legend?” I was seven years old!

    The charge to me is in the same category as Nightmare on Elm Street, Germans making soap of Jews in the concentration camps, and eating pop rocks and chasing it with a coke for one’s stomach to explode. I realize the rebutle to deal with this problem for Jews is tentamount being charged as a witch at Salem, where if your dunked in a well and live your a witch and if you die your innocent, but really to either ignore the idiocy of the charges false as they are, or to protest too much…you achieve nothing. It was also tended me that Jews killed Jesus, and so the Jews are in league with the Devil. I’m irreligious, but lets go with that… Jesus is 40 days and nights in the wilderness, and is “tempted’ by the Devil. Seems to me Satan missed his chance! But far as Jews killing Jesus? Hmmm… Jewish prophesy… the Messiah, they reject him. Granted there is the Passion Play in Oberamergau, and Mel Gibson all but plagerised that, but the way I always read the account in the Old Testament to the New, between Caan and Abel is that for the murder of Abel, we’re all the decendants of Caan… Jew, gentile, prophets all. And so far as Jews, much less Romans killing Jesus, forget all that, in his name Christians the way they treat and persecute each other across the board for denominations between Catholic and Protestant and all the 5000 subcults of that including Jews and Moslems, etc. as well as agnostics and athiests they keep crucifying their saviour 24/7 all by themselves and aren’t anymore conscious of it, for him to have said less for Jews, but his own followers, “They know what they do.” They forget the very theology for their assuagement of guilt and transgression, is “forgiveness” in that alleged sacrifice. But what do I know, I’m an unbeliever… and worse yet, being of German decent.

    But lets address who is in league with whom. Yes, I rale at Zionism over issues of Israel with Palestinians, and what goes on between the sets human rights, but to me, like Republicans and Democrats there are shades and grades to Zionists, and attempts to reason shouldn’t be thrown out the window. Zionism, in its nationalism to Israel, makes the choice of association with those like Pat Robertson, or just as poorly sought out, the Adventist Conferences and others like them mostly in America, where the pressure is on to self fulfill Revelation and its prophecy. Christians so disposed for dogma in the Second Coming, look forward to Armegeddon where 3/4 of the population of Jeudishkeit are wiped out let alone the population of the earth and the 1/4 remnant are converted to Christianity. I know their crazy but why are you so Meshuganah to seek through them your own demise that the Nazis didn’t achieve? Do you think I’m making a statement of Blood Libel toward Christians? You can’t do that and wouldn’t… for you it would be the same kind of protestation and reasoning as me claiming reverse descrimination for the enforcement of equal opportunity. But no doubt the protest will go up for me suggesting the cooberation and tacit complicity in your own self destruction. In that you’ll cry foul as blood libel!

  9. I’ve preserved your website as one of my social bookmarks finally,
    and will not be going without any comment updates like I did in the past.

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