“Not In Our Name”: Tablet on the Antisemitism Awareness Act

Must read

Our objection, however—and it is an important one—is to the broader edifice of speech-policing of which this bill is a part. . . .

In a world in which people with minority opinions are increasingly subject to the full force of “the whole of government” or “the whole of society” being brought against them by a narrow group of powerful people, we have an existential interest as a people in supporting free speech and constitutional rights for others—on the historically sound principle that they will soon be coming for us.

There are those who argue that the old speech regime isn’t coming back, and like any other group we have to optimize around the one that actually exists. It makes no sense for Jews, they say, to unilaterally disarm in a war that isn’t ending anytime soon or probably ever, so we might as well ask for our own protections, demand our own diversity officers, start our own affinity clubs, and so on.

In addition to killing our souls, this direction also has the disadvantage of not actually working. The government can—and usually does—twist any new office or power it receives such that it permanently serves the opposite of its original purpose, and that these offices never, ever go away, turning your brilliant temporary solution into a source of permanent hostility. . . .

This means that we must reject all proposals, even from well-meaning sources, that seek to empower government to address the issue of speech on our behalf—like when New York Congressman Ritchie Torres introduced a bill that would allow the Department of Education to subject universities that receive federal funding to “third-party antisemitism monitors.” Torres is a courageous and smart lawmaker, and no one here doubts that his heart is in the right place. But this is lunacy. No one should support it.

More articles

Latest article