Sunday, February 10, 2013

Aryeh Younger's Pattern of Cluelessness

You may remember Aryeh Younger, editor-in-chief of Yeshiva University's "The Beacon," from a completely nonsensical article that he wrote in the Huffington Post bashing Zionism and talking about how he walked out of a program about Gilad Shalit. So it's time for him to join the Huffington Post's large stable of "clueless Jewish college students" as he puts his pen to paper about BDS and free speech. He has a story to tell for us about an experience of his "friend" at Harvard:
"My friend is a member of the PJA, the Progressive Jewish Alliance, and had recently planned to co-sponsor an event with the PSC, the Palestinian Solidarity Committee, at Harvard's Hillel. But right after several of the Hillel's sponsors got wind of the planned event, they immediately contacted the Hillel director and demanded that it not take place, claiming that it violated Hillel International's charter. The PSC supports the BDS movement, which believes in implementing boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel, they argued, and therefore should not be welcomed at any Hillel. So despite letters and pleas for the Hillel to reconsider -- and the fact that both of the planned speakers were Jewish -- the clubs were instead forced to host the event at Emerson Hall, the center for Harvard's Department of Philosophy."
Just as a reminder, the PSC advocates for Norman Finkelstein's "three tier approach" to destroying Israel, and don't endorse a two-state solution. Okay, so Hillel didn't want to have people who want all Jews in Israel dead to hold an event in their building. What's the problem, Aryeh?
"As a student attending a religious university, I've become more or less used to the notion of censorship and restricted speech."
Censorship? Restricted speech? Really? I know that BDS supporters and their "as-a-Jews" love to see the free speech card to justify everything they do, but this has to be the weakest attempt at it yet. Aryeh, Hillel is a private institution. They are not obligated to give their money, their time, or their resources to anybody that they don't want to. And if they decide not to give you their space, even if you think it's for the wrong reasons, they are not censoring you.

It's amazing. I didn't attend fancy-pants a university like Yeshiva or Harvard and yet I still manage to understand basic constitutional principles better than Aryeh or his friend.

Hillel refused to participate in your event, so you had it somewhere else. That isn't censorship. Get the hell over yourself and stop trying to be a victim 24 hours a day. It's getting pretty old. Anyway, at this point, Aryeh switches from defending enemies of the Jewish people to bashing "mainstream" Jews. Remember, he just said that he was going to a religious university:
"Last year, the online publication I edit, The Beacon, posted an article about premarital sex; it immediately lost funding and was forced to leave the university after refusing to take it down. Above all, that incident demonstrated to me the need for free speech in the Orthodox Jewish community, because the event showed me how surprisingly foreign it seemed."
Ha, amazing. I'm not sure how he got into college when he is obviously so ignorant about the way the world works. Aryeh, you chose to go to a religious university. When you signed up, were you somehow unaware of its Orthodox Jewish nature? I mean, it's right there on its Wikipedia page. It would have taken you five seconds to look it up. At private universities, there is no freedom of speech, there's only what they permit you to say. At religious universities this is multiplied many times over. If Yeshiva University was a public institution you might have a case. But if you really want to go to a school where people talk about premarital sex whenever they feel like it, great. Go to a different school. When you choose to go to YU you chose to abide by their "community standards." You may think it's unjust and so do a lot of people, but as I said before you aren't the victim here. You're in a place of education so consider getting yourself educating in things besides "Complaining about Jews 101."

Speaking of which, everything I just said also applies to the Orthodox Jewish community. Yes, one of the trademarks of the Orthodox Jewish community is that it's considered unacceptable to say and do certain things, like be gay. Freedom of speech is not a virtue of religious communities, no matter what religion they are. How is Aryeh, who claims to be an Orthodox Jew elsewhere in the article, unaware of that? If you love freedom of speech so much, don't be an Orthodox Jew. But part of freedom of speech is accepting the consequences of your actions, but as usual he wants to have it both ways. You aren't going to change YU or the Orthodox Jewish community by whining in the Huffington Post so if it really bothers you that much, join a different community. That's not to say that either of those institutions are perfect, it's more to say that I am not receptive to his complaining right now.
"But especially shocking to me are restrictions on free speech that seem to expand beyond the Orthodox community and over to the mainstream, even to a secular university such as Harvard. As an Orthodox Jewish Zionist, I most certainly do not support the BDS movement -- but I'm nevertheless willing to hear the voices of those who do. The fact remains that an increasing number of Jewish youth seem to embrace liberal, progressive policies involving Israel, so it's important for the entire community to hear them. And that means giving them a platform to speak, so that everyone can listen."
Again, you need to show us what "restrictions on free speech" have occurred at Harvard. Hillel refusing to give their building to your Jew-hating friends does not constitute a restriction on free speech. If you want to hear the voices of BDSers, great. But you seem to want to have your cake and eat it too: not only must BDS be allowed to speak, but Jewish and pro-Israel groups have to give them a platform to do it. Otherwise they are "against free speech" somehow. Your cluelessness about what freedom of speech means will not win you any friends among intelligent people, Aryeh.

Let's see how far your devotion to freedom of speech really goes: Would you insist that Hillel let a white supremacist movement use their building? Or the KKK? Or the Muslim Brotherhood? If Hillel refused to allow those groups use of their building, would you be writing whiny op eds to the Huffington Post about how those groups are being "censored" and their "freedom of speech is violated"? After all, this is not about BDS but is about freedom of speech, right?

I also don't understand his last two sentences. Is he saying that support for BDS is a "liberal, progressive policy?" Because it is outside even liberal Jewish opinion, no matter what your age is. And if he is not saying anything about BDS but merely speaking about Jewish youth, then great, but it has no relevance to the subject at hand.

In short: Hillel will only give platforms to people that they want to give platforms to. Deal with it. To force them to give platforms to people only you want them to would be a restriction of their freedom.

Now that Israel is out of the way, it's time to continue to bash all American Jews for not being as enlightened as Aryeh Younger:
"When it comes to the topic of Israel, some hawkish members of the secular Jewish community appear to follow in the antediluvian footsteps of the shtetl. That anyone in our broader Jewish community is shunned for holding a nonviolent opinion is a travesty for both our people and our religion. The face of the younger Jewish community is constantly continuing to change, and it is important for everyone -- including the much needed philanthropists at Harvard -- to take note."
So we've moved from "I don't agree with BDS" to "BDS is a progressive, liberal opinion" to "BDS is merely a nonviolent opinion." Unfortunately for Aryeh, he's just making things up. There are plenty of Jews who hold "nonviolent opinions" and no one gets shunned for it. This endless attempt to make yourself and your fellow BDS-lovers the victims is just so pathetic, I don't understand how you manage to put your name to it. Do you actually know anything about the Jewish community? Because it's clear you don't know much about BDS or about freedom of speech, so might as well go for the hat trick.

Anyway he is done so it's time for the icing on the crappy cake that is this article:
"But more importantly, these people must remember that giving those with seemingly dissenting opinions a platform to speak doesn't necessarily mean that they agree with them. It's just a sign of respect."
Wow, this is amazing. First Aryeh says that we have to give a platform to BDS otherwise we are tyrants who love censorship and hate academic freedom. Now he says that we should give a platform to BDS because it's a "sign of respect." Well I got some bad news for you, Aryeh, BDS and its supporters have no respect for anyone or anything. So why don't we start with them? That is, if that doesn't offend you. I would hate to be "disrespectful."

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