Author Archive: David Bernstein

WHY DON’T PEOPLE WHO EXPRESS GRAVE CONCERN ABOUT PALESTINIAN CASUALTIES CALL ON HAMAS TO RELEASE ITS HOSTAGES AND SURRENDER?: Because they don’t really care about Palestinian well-being. The allegedly “pro-Palestine” movement’s main objective is to destroy the State of Israel, for various reasons–antisemitism, Islamism, pan-Arabism, hatred of the West. The welfare of actual Palestinians is at best a secondary concern. This, among others things, is why you see virtually no voices who claim to be concerned with Palestinian well-being calling on Hamas to surrender. Hamas’s surrender would surely be good for the Palestinians. It would end the war and its attendant destruction, and it would mean that some new group would govern Gaza, and that new government could hardly be worse than the corrupt, Islamist, war-mongering dictatorship of Hamas. But, and here’s the key, Hamas’s surrender would also benefit Israel. And the “movement” is happy to sacrifice both immediate and long-term Palestinian well-being to harm Israel.

WHEN “HUMAN RIGHTS” ORGANIZATIONS ARE REALLY JUST ON THE OTHER TEAM: Human Rights Watch, once a reputable organization, has for many years hired only anti-Israel activists to work on Israel/Palestinian issues. The result has been predictable. HRW is not much of a fan of the United States, but it had to grudgingly acknowledge during the war against ISIS that hospitals, while protected by international law, are legitimate targets if they are used for military purposes and adequate warning is provided.

But there are special rules for Jews, umm, Israel. On Monday, HRW tweeted: Hospitals “must be safeguarded, especially during times of war. Doctors, nurses, and ambulances have to be permitted to do their work and be protected in all circumstances.” (emphasis supplied)

Those paying attention already knew that HRW, Amnesty, and similar groups had gone far left, international law be damned, on many issues. The sort of thing described above should be the final nail in their credibility coffin.

POLITICS MAKES STRANGE…: Abortion doulas for Palestine. Can’t make this stuff.

“ISLAMAPHOBIA?”: A Jewish student attending a pro-Israel rally sponsored by the campus Hillel was punched in the head and kicked in the stomach by a “pro-Palestinian” Turkish Muslim student. The attacker then grabbed the student’s sign and shredded it with a knife. The attacker was duly arrested. The university then issued a statement noting that the attacker’s conduct was “reprehensible, illegal, and unacceptable.” It then added, “Antisemitism, Islamophobia, or any form of bigotry have no place in our community.”

Some have criticized the university for “All Lives Mattering” the victim. But this is much worse. Imagine if after an attack on a black student by a racist white student, the university issued a statement condemning “anti-black racism and all other forms of bigotry.” That’s a version of All Lives Matter, but I don’t find it objectionable to condemn the specific bigotry and issue and then all other bigotry. Imagine instead, though, that the university condemned “anti-black racism, anti-white racism, and all other forms of bigotry.” Why would anyone specifically bring up anti-white racism after a white student attacked a black student? And that’s essentially what UMass did here. But it’s been a deranged progressive tick to be unable to condemn antisemitism without mentioning Islamophobia, regardless of the underlying circumstances.

Bonus?: The mom of the student in question says that she reached out to the university chancellor and “he didn’t care” and that the university has “provided little assistance” to her son while a professor is providing legal assistance to the attacker.

AND THIS IS WHY I CAN’T STAND GLENN GREENWALD: I know some folks have been pleased that Greenwald’s hatred for the American political establishment leads him to sometimes deviate from the left’s party line, but I’ve long noticed that he tends to make broad, provocative claims unsupported by the evidence. Today brings a good example: Putting aside that “Josh” isn’t calling for “extinguishing all life in Gaza,” Josh is some rando on X with 60 followers. Glenn cites this to support the claim that not just “Josh” but people at all pro-Israel rallies are calling for killing everyone in Gaza. But he doesn’t cite even one example from an actual pro-Israel rally, just one tweet from Rando Josh. This is typical.

THE WOKE DICTIONARY, ISRAEL-HAMAS EDITION: To follow the debate, you need to understand that words and phrases lose their ordinary meanings in favor of Orwellian ones when used by the woke. Thus:

Israeli occupation of Gaza before 10/7: Not a single Israeli soldier or civilian in Gaza

Indiscriminate bombing” Any bombing by Israel. Even the most precision bombing by Israel is always “indiscriminate.”

Innocent civilians: Any Palestinians, including armed terrorists.

The resistance: Armed terrorists.

Settlers: All Israelis.

Colonialists: See settlers.

Genocide: Any military action taken by Israel. Also, Israel just existing.

War Crime: See Genocide.


RACIAL CLASSIFICATION in Higher EDUCATION ADMISSIONS BEFORE AND AFTER SFFA: That’s the title of my forthcoming article, which you can download here. Some readers are old enough to remember when the “Hispanic” classification was “Mexican American” or “Spanish surname,” and when Asian Americans were sometimes eligible for affirmative action preferences in higher education, rather than facing discrimination. How and when did these things change? Read the article and find out.

IT’S ALMOST LIKE UNIVERSITIES ARE BEING RUN BY THE AUTHORITARIAN LEFT: Aaron Sibarium reports: “The only student on [Stanford] law school’s search committee, Matthew Coffin is the co-president of Stanford OutLaw, the LGBT student group that led efforts in March to disrupt a Federalist Society event featuring Fifth Circuit appellate judge Kyle Duncan.”

THE ANTISEMITISM IS CONSIDERED A FEATURE NOT A BUG: Wall Street Journal: Democrats Risk Long-Lasting Rift Over Israel-Hamas War

To liberal Jews devastated by scenes of the deadliest attack on Jews since the Holocaust, the ensuing weeks have shattered illusions of solidarity, says Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and director of the Anti-Defamation League. College students and faculty, as well as local chapters of Black Lives Matter and the Democratic Socialists of America, have justified or even celebrated Hamas’s actions, while many others have emphasized the Palestinians’ plight and criticism of Israel over sympathy for the victims of the terrorist attacks.

“It has been an incredibly clarifying and terrifying moment at the same time for many progressive Jews,” Greenblatt said. “They’re calling me, tweeting, messaging, expressing shock and sadness that the people they marched with, the causes they marched for, have abandoned them in their hour of need.”

What left-leaning Jews Jews need to understand that the antisemitism they are seeing is partly but not solely ideological. While some Jews have drunk the far-left Kool-Aid, American Jews are an overall moderating influence on the left and the Democratic Party. In 2020, for example, Jewish Democrats supported Bernie Sanders at the lowest rate of just about any demographic, around 10%.

Jews were once much more drawn to the far left, but those days are gone—because Jews (and of course I’m generalizing here) thrive in meritocracy, because Jews are grateful to be Americans and see the US as a force for good in the world, because Jews can’t accept ideologically driven binaries that make Jews, in Israel and otherwise, into the inherent aggressors and because such binaries are secularized products of god/devil theology that is not part of Judaism, because societal instability is almost always bad for Jews, and because Jews are well-represented in the establishment that the far left wants to tear down.

So rather than try to extinguish antisemitism in their ranks, many on the far left want to fan it, to drive Jews out, so they can be replaced by Kendi-ites. The fact that Jews are repelled by antisemitism spewing from the far left is not a bug but a feature. It’s not a coincidence, for a while, that everyone of the “antiracist heroes” in Kendi and Reynolds’ Stamped: A Remix has a history of making antisemitic comments.

It might be possible to change people’s minds about ideology. But given that the far left thinks that the quest for political power runs through tossing all but the most extremist Jews from the movement, Jews need to understand that they are facing an implacable enemy, not the sincere but misguided. Once they recognize that, those who thought these folks were their “allies” should start to consider what else they got wrong…


Well, we certainly don’t want “violence and extremism” to break out among Palestinians. That might lead to decades of terrorist violence, and the rejection of peace offers. Oh, wait.

THERE ARE STILL POCKETS OF SANITY IN THE ACADEMY: My law school is one of them. Law Professors Protest University’s Silence on Genocidal SJP Rally.

A few of my colleagues declined to sign because they thought the letter should focus on calling for the university to adopt the Kalven Report, which advises universities not to take official position on issues of public import. I agree that my university, and other secular universities should adopt this principle. But so long as they do not, I think it’s appropriate to call them out when they comment on certain things, even when they have nothing directly to do with the university, but stay silent on others, even when they occur at the university.


When conservatives were being canceled over ‘micro-aggressions.’

When genocidal antisemites supporting Hamas get canceled now.

THIS IS CALLED “REAPING WHAT YOU SOW”: And the hypocrisy charge is obvious projection.

I’LL TAKE A HEADLINE YOU WON’T SEE IN THE NEW YORK TIMES FOR $1,000, ALEX: What is, “Palestinian terrorists bomb own hospital, lie and blame Israel.”

U. PENN FACULTY SENATE CHAIRS TO BIG DONORS: Go fuck yourselves. For all the talk of academic freedom, Penn is number 227 out of 228 on FIRE’s academic freedom rankings. It is, shall we say, interesting how many academics have suddenly discovered the virtues of academic freedom, institutional neutrality on political issues, and opposition to cancel culture only when the question is whether it’s okay or even admirable to slaughter hundreds of Jews.

OUR ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS HAVE BECOME DERANGED: Quoting Chris Rufo: “A group of prominent academics have signed a letter justifying violent struggle against Israel, including: Adhy Kim (Harvard), RH Lossin (Harvard), Eman Abdelhadi (UChicago), Sophie Lewis (Penn), Marty Cain (Cornell), Maz Do (Cornell), Addie Tsai (William & Mary), Aaron Aceves (UT), Joshua Nguyen (Tufts). Our academic institutions have been deranged.”

Deranged is putting it mildly. If you read this letter, you will have a hard time believing anyone sane signed it. Maybe no sane person did. It’s far worse than any of the pro-Hamas student letter I’ve seen, and that’s saying something.

UPDATE: Just to give you a flavor. Here’s the entirety of how the letter describes the Oct. 7 massacre in Israel: “the resistance bulldozed part of the fence around Gaza and some Gazans set foot outside the boundaries of their besiegement for a moment.”

SELECTIVE LAW ENFORCEMENT: Below is a picture that a friend forwarded to me from a Students for Justice in Palestine rally at my university’s Fairfax campus. The organizers advised students to wear face coverings to hide their identities.

Like many states, Virginia has a law, aimed at hate groups like the KKK (and, for that matter, SJP), prohibiting the wearing of face coverings in public, except for theatrical or medical reasons or during a state of health emergency (which does not currently exist in Virginia): “It shall be unlawful for any person over 16 years of age to, with the intent to conceal his identity, wear any mask, hood or other device whereby a substantial portion of the face is hidden or covered so as to conceal the identity of the wearer, to be or appear in any public place, or upon any private property in this Commonwealth without first having obtained from the owner or tenant thereof consent to do so in writing.” Virginia statutes § 18.2-422.

Are such laws a good idea? Are they constitutional? I am ambivalent on both counts. There is significant value in allowing for anonymous protest, and also significant value in not allowing masked hate groups to intimidate others and potentially cover up criminal behavior by masking their identities in public.

Regardless of my views, however, the law is on the books, creates a felony, and the police should not get to pick and choose which laws they enforce and against whom. I know from my friend that several people called the George Mason University police in advance to inform them that a masked rally was scheduled to occur, that wearing a mask at such a rally is a felony, and that they want the police not to arrest the students or quash the rally, but only to require them comply with the law and not wear masks. Obviously, the police did nothing, apparently telling people that since the rally was peaceful, they weren’t going to interfere. Surely, however, if a KKK or neo-Nazi rally was taking place on campus, no matter how “peaceful,” the police would have enforced the law. That’s what’s known as selective enforcement, and it’s a real problem.

If you are interested, GMU has a form to complain about police misbehavior. And the phone number of the state AG’s office, run by a sound AG is 804-786-2071.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): Eagerly awaiting the “Klansmen for Palestine” march on the GMU campus.

“THEY” SEEM LIKE A DANGER TO OTHERS AND PERHAPS “THEMSELVES”:UC DAVIS professor threatens “Zionist” journalists and their kids. This is crazy and serious enough to warrant a police investigation. Meanwhile, how did someone get a tenure-track job at a prestigious state university who says that “their” scholarly focus is “on the interplay between sound, race, gender, and embodiment.” They must’ve written a heckuva DEI statement.

ONE THING THE MEDIA HOPES YOU WILL FORGET, AND ONE THING THEY NEVER REPORTED: They hope you will forget that Hamas still holds around 200 people, including babies, children, women, and the elderly, hostage. They have never reported, except in Israeli media, that 300,000 Israelis living near the conflict zones in Gaza and south Lebanon have been displaced and are living in temporary locations all over Israel.

IN OTHER NEWS, HUNDREDS OF THOUSAND OF ARABS KILLED IN ONGOING YEMEN CIVIL WAR, FOUR MILLION DISPLACED: Various news report suggest 150,00 killed directly, 300,000 indirectly by disease, famine, etc. brought about by war, and four million refugees.

As with Assad’s brutal war in Syria a few years back, the “Arab Street” has been almost entirely silent about this. Apparently, deaths from war only become meaningful when you can hold Israel responsible, whether it’s true or not, and regardless of who started the hostilities.

Why would that be? The most obvious answer is the most logical one. The “Arab Street” cares little about the welfare of Palestinians, or of other Arabs more generally. They just hate Israel, because Israel is run by Jews, and their religion, history, and culture tell them that Jews are supposed to be dominated by Arabs and Muslims, and it’s humiliating when instead the Jews turn out to be more powerful than their Arab enemies.

And of course leftists don’t care either, because Arab victims don’t interest them unless some Western-oriented country can be blamed.

UPDATE: If you’re interested in the latest on the Yemen situation, check out StrategyPage.

YOU CAN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP: Huff Post spreads misinformation, then changes headline on story to make it about the spread of disinformation. Hat tip: Jon Sutz.