|[Published: Wednesday November 15 2023]
Palestine is the single most urgent free speech crisis in the U.S. today
NEW YORK, 15 Nov. - (ANA) - The repression of Palestinian rights claims is the single most urgent crisis of free speech in the United States today, writes Mondoweiss.
How we narrate this crisis, and the frameworks we use to analyze organized efforts to silence pro-Palestine speech, shape the strategies through which we resist them. As Gaza burns, the hegemony of anti-Palestine, pro-apartheid zealots seems suffocating – and that’s the point.
The history of McCarthyism, as Alex Kane recently noted in Jewish Currents, offers one useful lens: doxxing trucks, rescinded job offers, law-firm blacklists, and the ignominious House censure of Rashida Tlaib all carry the eerie chill of the 1950s Cold War era. As a historian of censorship, I believe a complementary framework for analyzing the intensifying repression of pro-Palestinian voices can be found in recent censorship campaigns that have resulted in banning LGBTQ books and works of so-called “Critical Race Theory.”
It’s firmly established that efforts to ban these texts are motivated by anti-gay sentiment and racism. But rarely is the suppression of Palestinian voices linked to such efforts – yet Islamophobia animates the pro-Israel crusade in strikingly parallel ways; these are deeply interrelated campaigns of political targeting.
The only serious difference is that the recent censorship campaigns are aligned with the U.S. political right, whereas anti-Palestinian censorship is a joint project of the Republican and Democratic parties. A thorough new report released by the Rutgers Law School Center for Security, Race and Rights maps out the role Islamophobia plays in structuring the national discussion of Palestinian rights.
In Presumptively Antisemitic: Islamophobic Tropes in the Palestine-Israel Discourse, authors Mitchell Plitnick and Sahar Aziz identify how Palestinian rights claims are laundered by the Israel Lobby and others, through Islamophobic lenses. Self-styled experts imbue such claims – calls for Palestinian human rights, for the consistent application of international law, and the like – with the presumption they are antisemitic to preemptively nullify them.
It’s essentially the same “folk devil” basis for moral panic that drives the book bans, with such organizations as AIPAC playing the parallel role to explicitly far-right groups like Moms for Liberty. - (ANA) -
AB/ANA/15 November 2023 — - -