One of the current "big lies" circulating across the blogosphere is the alleged "muzzling" of those who differ with Israeli policies. The usual formulation goes something like this: "Those who don't follow AIPAC's. line of unquestioning support of the Israeli government's repressive, racist and apartheid policies are prevented from airing their courageous dissent because of the Jewish lobby, led by Alan Dershowitz. Abe Foxman. , and the American Jewish Congress. American Jewish Congress". Of course, this completely ignores the fact that viewpoints critical of the Israeli government get wide exposure in the US, Europe, and, of course, Israel. We wrote in detail about this in a previous post.
The folks over at Jewish Voice for Peace have now developed this big lie into a sadly repetitive formula:
1. Find those who oppose Israel’s very existence; bonus points if they are Jewish (let’s call them the anti-Zionists, since they wear that label with misbegotten pride). Ignore the fact that these individuals get to appear on TV and radio frequently, speak on college campuses, publish books, etc.
2. Find statements from members of Jewish community organizations opposing the anti-Zionists– not on the grounds that they criticize Israeli policy, but because they oppose Israel’s existence at all.
3. Claim that these anti-Zionists are just “critics of Israeli policy”, ignoring their own self-admitted prejudices which make EVERY Israeli policy or self-defense action something to criticize. Continue to ignore the fact that these individuals get lots of access to an unquestioning media.
4. Ergo, Jewish community leadership is attacking "all critics of Israeli policy” (funny how a few extremists become “all”) and preventing them from spreading their views; now you’ve discovered more evidence of a vast “muzzling” conspiracy!
Never mind that there are no lawsuits, no websites being shut down, no anti-Israel speakers prevented from speaking by rioters.
Interestingly enough, a few ACTUAL episodes of attempted misuse of the legal system to muzzle free speech have come to light; unlike individuals who might simply register an objection to an inappropriate speaker or an unbalanced program, these are actual attempts to shut down free speech. In homage to the new baseball season, let's throw 3 strikes at freedom of speech:
For strike one, we have CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations), which has demanded the names of the passengers who reported the suspicious activity at Minneapolis Airport on November 21, 2006 so they can be included in their religious discrimination lawsuit http://washingtontimes.com/national/20070313-110514-4800r.htm (note that in response to this, Congressman Steve Pearce, R-NM, introduced in Congress the "Protecting Americans Fighting Terrorism Act of 2007, H.R. 1640." This bill would protect Americans from being sued for reporting suspicious activities to law enforcement and security personnel). Apparently, CAIR feels that free speech shouldn't include the right to report suspicious activity to law enforcement officials. (anyone feeling their rights "muzzled" yet?)
Strike two: the Arizona Republic's online edition reprints the story of a film for the PBS. series Crossroads that was the subject of tampering by PBS station WETA: "WETA appointed an advisory board that includes Aminah Beverly McCloud, director of World Islamic Studies at DePaul University.....in a January e-mail, McCloud told Crossroads producers that she had spoken with Nation of Islam representatives and 'invited them over to view this section.' She also wrote that they were outraged 'and will promptly pursue litigation.'" Read the full
story at http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0410crossroads0410.html. (foul ball, strike two)
Now we get the curveball for strike three: there IS a "Jewish" organization that is involved in a lawsuit to "muzzle" free speech. This lawsuit is aimed at both the news media and advocacy organizations on an issue involving the Islamic community. Which group would line up against free speech and freedom of the press, to try to stifle reporting on an issue? Why, it's none other than those brave defenders of free speech : Jewish Voice for Peace! JVP has filed an amicus curae brief on behalf of the Islamic Society of Boston in its lawsuit against Boston area media and a local Israel advocacy group, the David Project. The issues are well described by the American Jewish Committee in its March 15 press release .
Despite multiple posts on JVP's "muzzlewatch" site challenging them on their participation in this legal maneuver to stifle speech with which they disagree, they have even failed to deliver a promised article outlining their rationale for becoming involved in this sordid effort. Muzzlewatch asks for readers to send in tips about the "stifling of open debate" to email@example.com. Perhaps it's worth tipping them off about the hypocrisy staring them right in the mirror.