Western liberal democracies cultivate a range of fictions about their nature and function. In the myths they tell about themselves, the people are sovereign and politicians merely enact their wishes. In reality, and as in all political systems democratic or otherwise, it is the leaders who exercise power and who strive to herd the people in convenient directions. Democracy imposes various constraints on their actions, but does not meaningfully hinder the unilateral decisions of the establishment. To disguise these uncomfortable truths, democracies eagerly engage in various democratic liturgies, among them the popular protest. Leaders prefer protests which favour their prior political programme, and they sponsor these wherever possible, and with as much publicity as possible, to draw attention away from those less convenient demonstrations that they find it necessary to marginalise or even violently suppress.
Since 2021, Letzte Generation have engaged in a monotonous programme of vandalism and civil disturbance. For their trouble, activists have received mostly fines and some mild chiding from politicians. When police were caught on activists’ cameras roughly handling two climate-gluers last week, the German press collectively hyperventilated and police departments swiftly announced investigations against their own officers. The regime very clearly view Letzte Generation as important if sometimes unruly collaborators. They demonstrate on behalf of the core political goals of the Scholz government and lend substance to the fiction that climate measures are an organic, grassroots demand that flows above all from the people.
The scenic Ohio-based Oberlin College has been rocked again by a major antisemitism scandal with the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights investigating the college for failing to stop harassment of Jewish students.
The new federal probe is just the latest setback for the liberal arts college, which has been reeling from a 2021 Fox News Digital report that its “Professor of Peace” Mohammad Jafar Mahallati called for the eradication of the Jewish state when he served as the Islamic Republic of Iran’s ambassador to the U.N. in the late 1980s.
According to a late September U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) letter, “OCR will investigate whether the College failed to respond to the harassment of students based on national origin (shared Jewish ancestry).”
The OCR letter was sent to Oberlin College alumnus Dr. Melissa Landa, who filed the formal complaint in 2019. Landa told Fox News Digital: “Before Professor Mahallati deleted his students’ blogs, I read them along with other alumni, and saw that they reflected his violent antisemitic teachings. Through his lectures and his readings, Mahallati taught his students that Israel is an apartheid, settler-colonial regime and that Hamas is a benevolent organization that represents the will of the Palestinian people.”
Oberlin College in Ohio is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights for allegedly failing to stop harassment of Jewish students. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Landa spoke to “The Big Money Show” on Fox Business in early November about the alleged outbreaks of antisemitism at Oberlin College.
The OCR investigation into the management of Oberlin College and Mahallati coincides with Hamas’ mass murder of 1,400 people in southern Israel on October 7. The massacre has catapulted Hamas’ lethal antisemitism and violent jihadi ideology into the spotlight. Landa said, “Mahallati endorsed the terrorist group that was responsible for the worst massacre of the Jewish people since the Holocaust. For this reason alone, Oberlin should terminate his employment.”
Landa, who graduated from the college in 1986, said “Oberlin College is happy to see Jewish students attending Shabbat dinners and baking challah on Friday afternoons. But there is intolerance for Jewish students and faculty who wish to express their Jewishness by supporting Israel. There is a fundamental lack of understanding that for most Jews, a connection to Israel is central to their Jewish identity and an expectation that to be accepted on Oberlin’s campus, all expression of that Zionist expression must be forfeited.”
Andrea Simakis, director of media relations for Oberlin College, told Fox News Digital, “On September 29, the United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) notified Oberlin of a 2019 complaint pertaining to alleged harassment of Jewish students on campus. This complaint was filed by a 1986 Oberlin graduate. Oberlin is cooperating with the OCR and working to respond to the request.
Then-Iranian Ambassador to the UN Mohammad Mahallati. Mahallati, now a professor at Oberlin college in Ohio, is under fire for his radical anti-Israel views. (Photo by Bill Foley/Time & Life Pictures) (Getty Images)
She continued that Professor Mahallati is on sabbatical this semester. Professor Mahallati has stated that he believes in the right of all people to exist in peace and endorses a two-state solution that would allow the people of Israel and Palestine to peacefully coexist.”
Landa submitted a dossier to the OCR of the alleged anti-Jewish and anti-Israel incidents from 2014 to 2017, including student comments about Judeophobia on campus.
According to Landa’s complaint, in the Autumn of 2016, “Oberlin students enrolled in Religion 270 with Professor Jafar Mahallati of Islamic and Peace Studies post anti-Israel blogs online that reflect the professor’s lectures and assigned readings.”
The complaint asserts that Mahallati’s course teaching involved claims that “Israel is a colonialist state” and “Israel is an apartheid state.” The complaint cites him in connection with “support for Hamas and terrorism.”
Numerous Fox News Digital press queries to Mahallati were not returned.
Supporters of Palestinians gather at Harvard University to show their support for Palestinians in Gaza at a rally in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on October 14, 2023. (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)
Simakis said, “Oberlin abhors antisemitism and all forms of hate, discrimination and harassment. The college works every day to ensure that our campus is safe for all students, faculty, and staff, including those who identify as Jewish. Antisemitism has no place on our campus.”
Landa fired back that “To correct this oppression, harassment, and ostracization of Jewish students, Oberlin should adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. Alumni made this request to President Ambar a few years ago, but she ignored our communication.”
Oberlin College’s highly controversial President, Carmen Twillie Ambar, has refused over the years to meet with the family of members of murdered Iranian dissidents whose killings were reportedly covered up by Mahallati, according to two Amnesty International reports.
Fox News Digital has been told by critics that Ambar’s chief of staff, David Hertz, is said to vehemently oppose the college’s adoption of the IHRA definition. Hertz declined to respond to a Fox News Digital press query.
In a fact sheet supplied by the college Mahallati has denied that he was complicit in the clerical regime’s mass murder of 5,000 Iranian political prisoners in 1988.
The federal investigation into alleged Jew-hatred at Oberlin College is unfolding at a time when the U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona announced on Tuesday that he would pull the plug on federal funding for colleges if they fail to combat antisemitism. In 2023, Oberlin College received over $5 million in federal grants.
Students gather in the Dertouzos Amphitheater at the Stata Center of M.I.T. to show support for the Palestinian people. (Fox News Digital/Kassy Dillon)
Andrew Patinkin, Oberlin class of 2019, told the Jewish Press that the bashing of Israel is “pervasive” at the college. The 2016 Jewish Press titled its article about pro-Israel students at Oberlin: “At ‘Liberal’ Oberlin No Speech Rights for Non-Haters of Israel.”
Dr. Frieda Fuchs, an Oberlin-based academic who has previously taught at the college, told Fox News Digital that “Oberlin College has taken limited steps to ensure a balanced approach to the Israel question. Presently, pro-Palestinian students dominate the discourse surrounding the ongoing conflict. While it is commendable that Jewish students receive counseling, support, and comforting meals from organizations like Chabad, there is room for a more proactive engagement from all students.”
Fuchs, a veteran campaigner against antisemitism in Oberlin, noted, “As long as Oberlin College maintains a culture of passivity on the Israel issue, the challenges related to anti-Israel sentiments will persist. Empowering students to take a more proactive stance and address the issues surrounding the Israel narrative is crucial. Overcoming the fear of potential social or academic repercussions, along with the support of campus leadership, is essential for students to express their perspectives and contribute to a constructive dialogue.”
The owners of Gibson’s Food Mart and Bakery sued Oberlin College in 2017, claiming that the school had libeled them and said that their business was harmed by their actions. (AP)
In 2016, after a high-intensity campaign to oust an Oberlin professor, Joy Karega, who wrote a series of antisemitic Facebook posts blaming Israel and Jews for 9/11, the college grudgingly fired the non-tenured academic.
The prominent Iranian-American human rights activist Lawdan Bazargan has campaigned to compel Oberlin to fire Mahallati’s from his college position since 2020.
Landa and Bazargan spoke at a protest against Mahallati on the campus of Oberlin in November 2021. Bazarga’s brother Bijan was murdered by the regime for his left-wing views in 1988. Bazargan told Fox News Digital, “Oberlin College maintains that Professor Mahallati ‘believes in the right of all people to exist in peace.’ Mahallati’s silence on the October 7, 2023, attack by Hamas terrorists against Israel raises questions about his stated beliefs.”
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei attends a meeting with a group of students in Tehran, Iran, on Wednesday, November 1. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)
Iranian dissidents from Bazargan’s organization have accused Mahallati of being loyal to the Islamic Republic of Iran. The U.S. government has classified Iran’s regime as the world’s worst international state-sponsor of terrorism.
Bazargan said “Mahallati has not publicly condemned the atrocities committed by the gender-apartheid Islamic regime of Iran against women, children, and youth. Despite the regime’s well-documented human rights abuses, there is a conspicuous absence of critique from Mahallati on these issues. Furthermore, documents suggest that Mahallati glorifies Hamas terrorists and labels Israel as an apartheid state, yet he has never articulated his perspective on the two-state solution or acknowledged the rights of Jewish people to a sovereign state.”
She added, “Oberlin College’s continued support for Mahallati is a shameful endorsement of Mahallati’s views and a disregard for justice, accountability and human rights.”
Oberlin College has a long tradition of radical activism. In 2019, the owners of a local bakery were awarded $44 million after being falsely accused of racism by students and members of the school administration.
Former Trump administration aide Kash Patel on Wednesday denied claims that President Trump chose not to call up the National Guard during the Jan. 6 attacks or delayed efforts to approve their deployments in testimony he provided in the former president’s 14th Amendment case in Colorado.
Patel, who was the chief of staff to acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller during the Jan. 6 attacks, argued that it was instead D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser who delayed calls for the National Guard in the days before the riot.
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The hardest place to be a Jew is on an American college campus. Just look at UC Davis. A post from a Jewish Rabbi.
During my 25-year tenure as senior rabbi at the Mosaic Law Congregation in Sacramento, I told my congregants that the hardest place to be a Jew today is on an American college campus. While Israel is confronted with responding to the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, college campuses are now the local front in this far-away conflict, and UC Davis is no exception. Two weeks ago, Jemma Decristo, an assistant professor of American studies at UC Davis, posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, a message threatening “zionist” journalists and their families with violence. The words she posted were hateful enough, but the emojis she included — images of drops of blood, a knife and a hatchet — are clearly an incitement to violence. “One group of (people) we have easy access to in the US is all these zionist journalists who spread propaganda and misinformation,” Decristo posted on X, just three days after the massacre in Israel. “They have houses (with) addresses, kids in school. They can fear their bosses, but they should fear us more.”
What’s shocking is that this person is still teaching.
Jewish college students across the U.S. have been subjected to antisemitism — and the incidents are only increasing. National Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has been at the forefront of demonstrations on campuses. They often use the chant “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” in their demonstrations, which is a rallying cry used by terrorist groups, including Hamas, the organization responsible for the recent slaughter of more than 1,400 and the wounding of 3,500 men, women and children. Hamas’ Charter unapologetically calls for not just the destruction of Israel, but for the annihilation of the Jewish people. SJP, meanwhile, is routinely permitted by college administrators to spew its hatred toward Jews and Israel. Is it any wonder that Jewish students are increasingly feeling attacked?
On September 7, 2021, the U.S. Department of Defense gave an award of $749,387 to Newsguard Technologies, a private service that scores media outlets on “reliability” and “trust.” According to the suit, roughly 40,000 subscribers buy Newsguard subscriptions, getting in return a system of “Nutrition Labels” supposedly emphasizing “safe” content. Importantly, Newsguard’s customers include universities and libraries, whose users are presented with labels warning you that CBS is great and Tucker Carlson is dangerous:
Consortium News was labeled a purveyor of “disinformation,” “misinformation,” and “false content,” and, worst of all, “anti-U.S.” This is despite the fact that, according to the suit, Newsguard only flagged six articles out of the tens of thousands Consortium News has published since the late award-winning reporter Robert Parry founded it in 1995. As Consortium News points out, Newsguard downgrades its entire 20,000+ library of available online articles with these flags based on the handful of edge cases, all of which involve criticism of U.S. foreign policy.
A particular irony is that Parry, a decorated AP and Newsweek reporter, founded Consortium News specifically to address topics suppressed by mainstream editors. Now Parry’s old site is being downgraded for dissenting reports on subjects like the 2014 Ukrainian coup and neo-Nazism in Ukraine, coincidentally topics that are “the subject of NewsGuard’s ‘Misinformation Fingerprints’ project that is under contract with the Cyber Command,” as the suit reads.
Newsguard denies it’s influenced by the government. In fact, its denials are part of the reason for the suit. When Michael Shellenberger and I testified before Congress in March, we mentioned Newsguard as a “government-funded” ratings service. I was quickly contacted by email by co-CEO Gordon Crovitz, who hastened to correct me: Newsguard isn’t government-funded, but merely an organization that receives government funds. He wrote:
As is public, our work for the Pentagon’s Cyber Command is focused on the identification and analysis of information operations targeting the US and its allies conducted by hostile governments, including Russia and China.
Our analysts alert officials in the US and in other democracies, including Ukraine, about new false narratives targeting America and its allies, and we provide an understanding of how this disinformation spreads online. We are proud of our work countering Russian and Chinese disinformation on behalf of Western democracies.
Crovitz added that “contrary to claims made in the hearings, we oppose any government involvement in rating news sources,” saying Newsguard “is entirely independent and free of any outside influence, including from the U.S. or any other government.”
The letter, CC’ed to co-CEO and editor Stephen Brill, was subject lined “Inaccuracies relating to NewsGuard.” I immediately wrote back:
Crovitz didn’t answer at the time, but Newsguard did simultaneously release the letter to the UK-based Press-Gazette. When I reached out for comment again after the filing of this litigation this week, asking once again how “government-funded” could be inaccurate, Crovitz finally answered, writing:
“We are ‘government funded’ in the same way that Verizon is ‘government funded: We have licensed data to the government for a fee, just as Verizon has provided telco services for a fee.”
The government pays us both for our commercial offerings. Our Pentagon contract is a single-digit percent of our revenues.
So, they are government-funded, just not wholly government-funded. These are the people rating others on accuracy, remember.
The conceit about funding isn’t complicated, but it works. Because Newsguard has other customers, it can claim to be an “independent” news service that just happens to downgrade news reports that contradict and/or criticize the policy of its major client, the Department of Defense. It’s censorship, but through a silencer. As the Consortium News suit reads:
NewsGuard and the United States in violation of the First Amendment are carrying out a governmental program under the “Misinformation Fingerprints” contract to publicly label, target and stigmatize news organizations as disfavored, unreliable, as journalistically not responsible… where said organizations differ or dissent from U.S. policy.
The suitalso details what I think is the more insidious part of the system. In the guise of an independent news service, Newsguard contacts outlets and interrogates them about disputed content, not-so-subtly pressing for retractions. Again, from the suit:
In the course of the government contract, NewsGuard and the United States have acted to retaliate against those news entities and media organizations that refuse to retract or correct their articles; such retaliation consists of the “false content” warnings, the red flag and associated content described in this Amended Complaint…
Racket received one of these irritating queries this year. Call it what you want, but it comes down to Pentagon Cyber Command giving a big check to “analysts” who happen to slap red revenue-sapping warning tags on outlets that report on controversial topics like war or government censorship.
As I wrote to Newsguard when they contacted me, “media outlets should gain and lose trust based on how they are evaluated by audiences, not paid services.” This system allows institutions like the Department of Defense that have no legal remit to meddle in the domestic news landscape to pressure private media outlets.
That’s over and above the DoD’s already hugest-on-earth-by-far public relations budget. Think of the scale of petty determination one must have to spend over $500 million a year on messaging and be so dissatisfied with the results that you feel the need to spend more on private services that downgrade independent news critics. It’s particularly grating that your tax dollars are spent hiring private services that label news outlets using terms like “anti-US.” State-sponsored impugning of patriotism is a bold stroke, even by the low moral standards of the anti-disinformation era.
“When media groups are condemned by the government as ‘anti-U.S.’,” said Bruce Afran, attorney for Consortium News, “the result is self-censorship and a destruction of the public debate intended by the First Amendment.”
I was remiss in not getting this story up before but will have more as the case goes on.
Consortium News is seeking “a permanent injunction… barring the government and NewsGuard from continuing such practices” and “more than $13 million in damages for defamation and civil rights violations.” You can read their coverage here.
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Recently a moderator on one of the new disqus house channels has decided to join fellow cultist in going after me and several other Conservatives. Disqus has been made aware of it’s personal hatred and name calling towards those who disagree with it.
It has a new group of friends ( being an all star has nothing to do with it.) Speaking of all stars, his feelings towards Conservative all stars.
People need to stop calling everyone my “friends” – It’s annoying and presumptive. Having a legacy All Star star doesn’t mean we’re friends – there are some super conservative people with Stars that I wouldn’t give the time of day, socially. http://disq.us/p/2waxs6p
And what do his new found friends think of the disqus house channel it mods on? Here’s a little snippet.
Editor’s Note: Periodically, Jaye and I pop into the Disqus 2.0 shitholes Channels so you don’t have to.
Now this moderator even uses the cultists phrase of us vs, them. Meaning that Conservative articles (mainly mine) is Conservative VS. Cultist Progressive. It gets upset claiming that I only give one side. When do Progressives give the other side?
I will even use Liberal websites and I give the links so you can see the whole story. Do progressives do the same? This moderator has a hard on against the right. Maybe he’ll come here and explain why it has such hatred.
I use it because I don’t know if the Moderator is male or female.
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California’s Democratic leaders have an opportunity to do more than pay lip service to their rhetoric around diversity. It wouldn’t hurt to remind them that Harris gave up one of California’s seats to serve the country. They need to know, and show, that forcing genuine equality isn’t easy or comfortable. It requires hard decisions, especially for White people who might have to disappoint their friends or sacrifice their egos and ambitions for the sake of the larger cause.