Monday, March 22, 2010

Consider the Muzzler...

Looks like there’s a bit of catching up to do on the old Muzzlewatch monitoring front.

To start off, I noticed that our old MW pals have finally had something to say about the assault on free speech that took place at UC Irvine last month, the one which featured an orchestrated attempt to shout the Israeli ambassador off the stage to prevent his words from being heard from a large audience of UC students, most of whom (presumably) were there to hear him speak.

Now the Muzzlewatchers have stayed mum about this topic until now (keeping with their general refusal to acknowledge occasions when disruptive tactics – up to an including violence – have been used to prevent Israelis or their supporters from being heard at public gatherings). That said, as Adam has pointed out, Jewish Voice for Peace’s second “front” site (the first being Muzzlewatch) did mention the Oren incident, but only to demand understanding for those who tried to shut down free speech at Irvine.

Well a couple of days back, Muzzlewatch itself finally managed to chime in on the incident in a piece which focused exclusively on the punishments being contemplated for the perpetrators of the incident.

Now I don’t claim to be fully aware of how seriously school authorities are about making the incident an expellable or even prosecutable offense. Nor will I speculate (as does Muzzlewatch) on the involvement of parties outside the university in either planning the disruption of the Oren event or in attempts to influence how the perpetrators of that disruption are to be treated.

But I will note how interesting I find it that after 3-4 years online, the only statement I believe Muzzlewatch has ever made on the subject of people trying to stifle the free speech of Israeli or pro-Israel speakers (something that’s become routine in recent years, especially at West Coast universities) has been to ignore this clear-cut example of “muzzling” and instead ask us to consider only the (so far, theoretical) fate of the muzzlers.

You would think that an organization posing as champions of speech would at least be willing to acknowledge the achingly obvious fact that those with whom JVP/Muzzlewatch politically agrees might take part in attempts to stifle discussion of the Middle East (even if they can’t bring themselves to admit that virtually all attempts to shut down debate via tactics of intimidation and violence come from those they support).

But, once again, this question would assume that Muzzlewatch actually exists to promote free and fair debate which – as we’ve been proving here again and again – they most clearly do not.

Rather, Muzzlewatch is simply a tactic: a pre-emptive strike against any and all who might question the activities, motives, alliances or behavior of Jewish Voice for Peace and its allies.

While, to most of us, “muzzling” consists of actual attempts to limit free speech of others (much like what happened in Irvine), Muzzlewatch (as always) takes an opposite approach: defining as “muzzling” any attempt by their political adversaries to use their free speech rights to say things JVP would prefer never get spoken or heard.

1 comment:

  1. You know, Jon, the more I look at Ms Surasky's blogging effort, the more I become convinced that she is, to put it simply, stupid. Or terminally indoctrinated, which, at the end of the day, is just stupid in another words.

    There couldn't be any third explanation, could there?


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