Dec. 21, 2015
- When Truth Is Prohibited: Why Western Leaders Refuse to CallJihadist Terror by Name – Gadi Taub
The Women’s Studies Association in the U.S. recently voted to join the academic boycott of Israel on grounds of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. It didn’t occur to the association to boycott, say, Saudi Arabia, whose human-rights record is incomparably worse, not to mention its treatment of women.
The last half century has seen a revolution in academia nothing short of astounding. Whole disciplines have replaced their original vocation, the quest for truth, with the diametric opposite: an explicit prohibition on telling the truth. Once, we are told, we believed in objective truth. But now that we have matured and learned that there is no objective truth, only points of view, we have become more modest and tolerant. We would simply extend equality from people to values, thus becoming sensitive not just to the political rights of Others and minorities but also to their cultures, self-esteem and moral views.
Giving equal standing to the values of those who believe women are property does not promote equality. Moreover, this ostensibly pluralistic worldview has been built on the imperative to deny what our eyes see. We shouldn’t ask “Is it true?” For fear of Islamophobia we should not criticize the self-segregation of Muslim communities in the West. For fear of being labeled racist we should not consider restrictions on immigration. For fear of being suspected of supporting the settlements we should not mention the flagrant anti-Semitism of Palestinian schoolbooks.
Above all, we should never say that upholding Western values like universal human rights, even by force in some cases, is sometimes desperately needed by those many Others who suffer oppression, violence, terror and genocide. The writer is a senior lecturer in the School of Public Policy and the Department of Communications at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. (Ha’aretz)