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No Free Speech for Exposers of Campus Anti-Semitism
by Richard Cravatts
In her controversial book, From Time Immemorial, which examined the false narrative concerning the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, Joan Peters referred to something she identified as "turnspeak," "twisted rhetoric artfully aimed at the hearts and minds of the West, originated by the Arabs, and rivaling the Soviets, who are veterans of 'semantic infiltration' and the word war. Just as, in their lexicon, totalitarianism translates into 'democracy,' and degradation becomes 'freedom,' so has the flawed but democratic Israel been branded 'Zionist imperialist' and 'racist.'" First used in 1939 to describe German propaganda after its invasion of Czechoslovakia, "turnspeak" in that instance was used to invert truth, enabling Germany to blame the Czechs for the aggression and belligerency they themselves were perpetrating.
On campuses today, turnspeak is still alive and well, the latest instance of its use being the case of Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, a lecturer at UC Santa Cruz and co-founder of the AMCHA Initiative, an organization that investigates, documents, educates about, and combats anti-Semitism at institutions of higher education in the U.S.
Rossman-Benjamin has been tirelessly campaigning for years against what she describes as "an advanced anti- Israel and pro-Palestinian discourse [that] has really dominated the campus square for over a decade, negatively affecting perceptions of literally hundreds of thousands of California university students," and, more specific to this discussion, creating a hostile environment on California campuses for Jewish students and others who support Israel, or are assumed to, based on their Jewishness.
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