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Charles Krauthammer writes on bigotry in the academic world.
For decades, the American Studies Association labored in well-deserved obscurity. No longer. It has now made a name for itself by voting to boycott Israeli universities, accusing them of denying academic and human rights to Palestinians.
Given that Israel has a profoundly democratic political system, the freest press in the Middle East, a fiercely independent judiciary and astonishing religious and racial diversity within its universities, including affirmative action for Arab students, the charge is rather strange.
Made more so when you consider the state of human rights in Israel’s neighborhood. As we speak, Syria’s government is dropping “barrel bombs” filled with nails, shrapnel and other instruments of terror on its own cities. Where is the ASA boycott of Syria?
And of Iran, which hangs political, religious and even sexual dissidents and has no academic freedom at all? Or Egypt, where Christians are being openly persecuted? Or Turkey, Saudi Arabia or, for that matter, massively repressive China and Russia?
Which makes obvious that the ASA boycott has nothing to do with human rights. It’s an exercise in radical chic, giving marginalized academics a frisson of pretend anti-colonialism, seasoned with a dose of edgy anti-Semitism.
And don’t tell me this is merely about Zionism. The ruse is transparent. Israel is the world’s only Jewish state. To apply to the state of the Jews a double standard that you apply to none other, to judge one people in a way you judge no other, to single out that one people for condemnation and isolation — is to engage in a gross act of discrimination.
And discrimination against Jews has a name. It’s called anti-Semitism. …
John Podhoretz tells us why the IRS scandal is ignored while the media flog bridgegate.
Most government scandals involve the manipulation of the system in obscure ways by people no one has ever heard of. That is why George Washington Bridgegate is nearly a perfect scandal — because it is comprehensible and (as they say in Hollywood) “relatable” to everyone who has ever been in a car. This is the reason this one is not going to go away so easily, even if one accepts the contention that Gov. Chris Christie had nothing whatsoever to do with it.
Government officials and political operatives working for Christie, for weird and petty reasons, chose to make traffic worse. That’s the takeaway. When they are reminded of the fact that people working on Christie’s behalf thought it was a good political game to mire tens of thousands of their fellow Americans in the nightmarish gridlock that is a daily dreaded prospect for tens of millions, they will be discomfited by that and by the politician in whose name it was done.
And yet, you know what is also something everybody would find “relatable”? Politicians who sic the tax man on others for political gain. Everybody has to deal with the IRS and fears it. Last year, we learned from the Internal Revenue Service itself that it had targeted ideological opponents of the president for special scrutiny and investigation — because they were ideological opponents.
That’s juicy, just as Bridgegate is juicy. It’s something we can all understand, it speaks to our greatest fears, and it’s the sort of thing TV newspeople could gab about for days on end without needing a fresh piece of news to keep it going.
And yet, according to Scott Whitlock of the Media Research Center, “In less than 24 hours, the three networks have devoted 17 times more coverage to a traffic scandal involving Chris Christie than they’ve allowed in the last six months to Barack Obama’s Internal Revenue Service controversy.”
Why? Oh, come on, you know why. Christie belongs to one political party. Obama belongs to the other. You know which ones they belong to. And you know which ones the people at the three networks belong to, too: In surveys going back decades, anywhere from 80% to 90% of Washington’s journalists say they vote Democratic.
Scandals are not just about themselves; they are about the media atmosphere that surrounds them. …
Canada’s National Post reviews the Gates book.
A newly published account of Barack Obama’s White House confirms the worst that outsiders have imagined: The Obama staff is over-politicized, over-confident and desperate to oversee every aspect of government. In questions of national security, it’s the most controlling administration since Richard Nixon’s in the 1970s.
This portrait emerges from Robert Gates’ book, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, published this week. Till now, we have been given only a few private glimpses of the Obama team, such as the famous “home alone” anecdote in Ron Suskind’s 2011 book, Confidence Men. He reported that in Obama’s first year, the chairman of the National Economic Council warned a colleague: “We’re really home alone. There’s no adult in charge.”
But that was second hand. The Gates book is an eyewitness account, and a rare one: Unlike most cabinet memoirs, it describes a president while he’s still in office. Gates was secretary of defence for two years with George Bush and stayed for two more with Obama. Earlier, he had served in the CIA for two decades and directed it under George H. W. Bush. According to a Washington Post book reviewer, Gates is considered the best of the 22 defence secretaries since the Second World War. …
Michael Goodwin says the Gates book just confirms what we already knew. The president is a fool.
With media attention focused on Chris Christie and Bridgegate, it was easy to miss a more important Washington story last week. The other shoe dropped on the Obama presidency.
Still battered at home by the ObamaCare debacle and the permanently sluggish economy, the last thing the White House wanted was bad news on foreign policy. But that’s exactly what it got, and then some, thanks to the shockingly scathing book by Robert Gates.
The former defense secretary offers the most devastating critique to come from an Obama insider. He paints the president as estranged from the very Afghan military surge he ordered and suspicious of and hostile toward top leaders of the armed forces.
Gates is especially critical of Vice President Joe Biden, writing that he has been “wrong on nearly every major foreign-policy and national-security issue over the past four decades.”
He blames Biden and others for leading Obama to believe that military leaders were giving the president “the bum’s rush” in seeking more troops in Afghanistan in 2009, according to excerpts. …
Thinking about Valerie Jarrett’s government requires some off-setting humor. Here’s late night from Andrew Malcolm.
Leno: President Obama’s approval is the lowest of any president after five years since Richard Nixon. Jimmy Carter says that’s unfair. If he had a fifth year, he’s sure he’’d have won.
Leno: Over the weekend Obama’s healthcare website was down again. Fortunately, no Americans were affected. Because they never knew it was up.
Leno: President Obama names an ex-Microsoft executive to fix the awful ObamaCare website. How about fixing Windows first? Can you start there please?