Ad Remembering Victims of Islamic Apartheid Deemed 'Hateful' by U.S. Campuses
Every year, college campuses across the country hold a festival of hatred aimed at Jews and the Jewish state. Israeli Apartheid Week has become notorious for the targeted harassment of Jewish students, support for Hamas, and even physical violence.
This year the David Horowitz Freedom Center responded to Israeli Apartheid Week with Islamic Apartheid Week. Unlike Israeli Apartheid Week, which is based on a lie, Islamic Apartheid Week addresses the sexism, homophobia, and religious bigotry threatening minorities in the Muslim world.
To promote Islamic Apartheid Week, the Freedom Center attempted to place an advertisement in 40 college papers.
The ad, titled “Faces of Islamic Apartheid,” drew attention to victims of Islamic sexism, homophobia, and theocracy by briefly relating true events: we told of gay men who were hanged in Iran; of women and girls who were murdered by their governments -- and their families -- for the crime of falling in love; and of the Christian minister for minority affairs in Pakistan’s cabinet who was murdered for trying to reform his country’s theocratic blasphemy laws.
These four women, three men, and one little girl were victims of Islamic apartheid.
Five of them were murdered. Two live under constant threat of death.
One has been on death row for six years. Telling her story, as we wished to do, may help save her life.
Yet instead of listening to their stories, the campus culture of political correctness drowned out their voices. Further, they felt the need to apologize for allowing our ad to run, for allowing their stories to be told.
Nine college papers turned the ad down; five of the nine are part of the University of California system, which has often been criticized for tolerating anti-Semitism. When the California State Assembly passed a resolution condemning anti-Semitism on campus and warning that no public resources should be used for anti-Semitic hate, the University of California objected on free speech grounds.
However, those concerned regarding free speech for Israeli Apartheid Week went mute for free speech regarding Islamic Apartheid Week.
Seven college papers took the advertisement. Of those papers, two -- Tufts University’s Tufts Daily and Austin's Daily Texan -- later ran apologies from their editors for printing the ad.
Tufts Daily editor Martha Shanahan called the decision to run the ad an “editorial oversight.”
Daily Texan editor Susannah Jacob denounced the attempt to tell the stories of victimized women and children as “hateful”, and as “an unspoken incitement to violence.”
Martha Shanahan dedicated two pages to her apology, mentioning the “Islamophobic and violently offensive” advertisement. However, at no point during her long apologia did Shanahan acknowledge that her paper had run four editorials that very week from Students for Justice in Palestine: each one attacked Israel, each one promoted hatred for the Jewish state.
In an unequal response to this, Shanahan’s paper also ran a brief letter from Tufts Friends of Israel distancing itself from the ad, and politely suggesting that “apartheid” shouldn’t be used to refer to Israel.
These were students, but the hypocrisy extended all the way to the university president.
Anthony Monaco, president of Tufts, took to Twitter to denounce the advertisement for vilifying Islam. Yet he made no such denunciation of the Tufts Daily’s op-ed “The Case for Israeli Apartheid,” which (not coincidentally) appeared on the same day as our ad.
At Tufts, no one apologizes for accusing democratic Israel of apartheid. There are only apologies when theocratic Iran and Pakistan are accused of practicing Islamic apartheid.
When anti-Israel voices are outweighed four to one, yet the editor feels the need to apologize for publishing a perspective that would have made it four to two, then the freedom of debate at Tufts University is at a sad state.
When that same editor prints editorials describing Israel as an apartheid state, but promises to put in place an entire system of oversight to make certain that no advertisement challenging Islamic apartheid is ever printed again, then a system of censorship has been put into place silencing the voices of victims and encouraging their persecutors.
The Daily Texan’s Susannah Jacob claimed that, in our ad, the crosshairs over the faces of the victims were an incitement to violence. This is irrational: the crosshairs were over the faces of people who were already victimized, a visual means of bringing urgent attention to the violence that had already been committed against them. That and another element of her response make it clear that she never even saw the advertisement that she was denouncing: Jacob described the ad as depicting six women; the ad actually included two gay men, one Christian man, and one little girl.
Jacob further distorted the truth about Islamic apartheid when she described the pervasive sexism, homophobia, and theocracy that these people fell victim to as “discrete incidents of violence by Muslims” being used “to implicate all Muslims.”
Ms. Jacob: five of the victims in the ad had been targeted by their governments, or were targeted by others with government backing. “Discrete incidents” hardly represents an informed analysis, but a distorted, biased one. Can the Daily Texan’s editor honestly claim that Iran’s persecution of women and gay men, or Pakistan’s persecution of Christians, are “discrete incidents of violence” when they are openly state policy?
Could Ms. Jacob offer her readers a single human rights organization that would agree with her dishonest whitewashing of the terror under which millions live?
The responses to the advertisement have established -- once again -- that some forms of apartheid are privileged causes on campus, while some forms of persecution are not to be mentioned. Demonizing the Israeli victims of Islamic terror -- that falls within the realm of campus free speech. Speaking up for the vulnerable minorities in the Muslim world does not.
If our advertisement was wrong, then there would have been no need to censor it. False claims can easily be disproven. Five minutes with Google would have told every reader and editor whether there was any truth to our Faces of Islamic Apartheid.
It is never necessary to censor lies. It is only necessary to censor truth.
That is why the majority of campus papers -- ten so far, including Harvard, whose editors said they would not print it under any circumstances -- refused to run this paid advertisement. It is why those few who did have been offering ritual apologies while lying about our ad’s content. It is why the attacks on the advertisement have taken refuge in vague platitudes about offensiveness, though have not offered a single attempt at a factual rebuttal. It is why every response to the ad has claimed that speaking about Islamic bigotry constitutes the only real bigotry involved.
There were eight faces, eight names in the censored advertisement that the president of Tufts, the editors of Tufts Daily and the Daily Texan, and the editors of ten college papers that turned down the ad did not want their students to see or know about. They did not want those names to disturb the manufactured campus consensus they have constructed, with great effort, about Israel and Islamic terrorism.
So: again, here are their names:
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani.
They were repressed as individuals. Now their story is repressed on the American campus.