African-American Hall of Famer: “Where is the outrage over antisemitism in sports?”; Pushback against JewishPrivilege lie; a resignation from the NY Times

July 15, 2020

* AFRICAN-AMERICAN HALL OF FAMER: “WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE OVER ANTISEMITISM IN SPORTS?”
* PUSHBACK AGAINST JEWISHPRIVILEGE LIE
* A RESIGNATION FROM THE NY TIMES

[Notes by Tom Gross]

I attack five pieces concerning the ongoing culture wars.

In the first, legendary African-American basketball player Kareem Abdul Jabbar, now aged 73, and an NBA Hall of Famer, asks yesterday in his column in The Hollywood Reporter: “Where Is the Outrage Over Anti-Semitism in Sports and Hollywood?”

He calls out the recent hateful outbursts against Jews by (Black Lives Matter supporters) Ice Cube, Chelsea Handler, DeSean Jackson and others and explains how the muted response “perpetuates racism”.

He concludes: “The lesson never changes, so why is it so hard for some people to learn: No one is free until everyone is free. As Martin Luther King Jr. explained: ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.’ So, let’s act like it. If we’re going to be outraged by injustice, let’s be outraged by injustice against anyone.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kareem_Abdul-Jabbar

(Tom Gross adds: Jackson’s post he shared with his 1.4 million twitter followers was not just some vague comment. It promoted centuries-old antisemitic conspiracy theories and encouraged his followers to study Nazi ideology to confirm that Hitler was right about his policies towards the Jews.)

 

The second item below is Bari Weiss’ resignation letter from the editorial page of the New York Times yesterday. The letter speaks for itself, and is worth spending the time to read. (Bari Weiss is a longtime subscriber to this Mideast email list.)

 

PRINCETON CAVES?

In an editorial today, the Wall Street Journal writes:

“When Princeton classics professor Joshua Katz wrote an article taking issue with recent faculty demands over race, a storm of criticism descended. This was an opening for President Christopher Eisgruber and other university leaders to remind people that Princeton is a place where speech and debate are cherished. Instead, Princeton is demonstrating how a lack of leadership enables the cancel culture.”

Professor Katz had dared to question a petition sent to President Eisgruber signed by more than 350 faculty members which started “Anti-Blackness is foundational to America” and included demands ranging from an extra semester of sabbatical for faculty of color to removing the statue of John Witherspoon, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

The Journal says, in response to the vicious campaign being waged against Katz: “It’s a shame to see Eisgruber wilt under pressure now, when liberal values of speech and tolerance most need defending.”

 

PUSH BACK AGAINST #JEWISHPRIVILEGE LIE

The fourth piece below, from Haaretz, talks about White Supremacists (and also some far leftists) sending the antisemitic #JewishPrivilege hashtag to the top of twitter’s U.S. trending topics.

The tweets contained utter lies, some by people falsely claiming to be Jews. One wrote that he felt “guilty that our people’s role in slavery dwarfed Whites, but it’s important we pay for that dominant role that hurt so many millions of blacks. We jews are 1/3 of billionaires and MUST give much more to blacks.”

Various Jewish celebrities, including Sarah Silverman, Josh Gad and David Simon, are among those pushing back on twitter by sharing their own experiences of antisemitism.

Simon, best known as the creator of “The Wire,” wrote: “My #JewishPrivilege? Eleven dead relatives at Auschwitz and in the Russian woods and a father who was a hostage and suffered PTSD years after the Jewish non-profit where he worked was stormed by angry dudes with guns & scimitars who threatened to behead him.”

Silverman tweeted: “My dad getting the shit kicked out of him everyday at school 4 being a kike to kids in NH throwing pennies at me on the bus to pastors in Florida calling for my death and telling their congregation that knocking my teeth out and killing me would be God’s work. #JewishPrivilege.”

Rabbi Elchanan Poupko wrote: “#JewishPrivilege is my cousin Reb Nochum Moshe Twersky of the Chernobyl Hassidic dynasty being asked to come and bless Ukrainian soldiers just for them to shoot him dead later.”

 

In the fifth piece below, William McGurn in the Wall Street Journal, writes “It’s come to this: They want to cancel black beans.” He criticizes Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) for leading the a campaign to target and smear Goya Foods, America’s largest Hispanic-owned food company.


CONTENTS

1. “Where is the outrage over antisemitism in sports and Hollywood?” (By Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hollywood Reporter, July 14, 2020)
2. Bari Weiss resignation letter from the editorial page of the NY Times (July 14, 2020)
3. “The Speech Police at Princeton: The cancel culture targets a respected classics professor” (Wall St. Journal editorial, July 15, 2020)
4. “White supremacists trigger twitterstorm by using #JewishPrivilege hashtag to bait Jews” (By Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz, July 13, 2020)
5. “AOC’s Hill of Beans” (By William McGurn, Wall St. Journal, July 14, 2020)

 

ARTICLES

WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE OVER ANTI-SEMITISM IN SPORTS AND HOLLYWOOD?

Where Is the Outrage Over Anti-Semitism in Sports and Hollywood?
By Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
The Hollywood Reporter
July 14, 2020

(THR columnist Kareem Abdul Jabbar is an NBA Hall of Famer)

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/kareem-abdul-jabbar-is-outrage-anti-semitism-sports-hollywood-1303210

The Hollywood Reporter columnist calls out the hateful outbursts against Jews by Ice Cube, DeSean Jackson and others and explains how the muted response “perpetuates racism” and contributes to an overall “Apatholypse.”

Recent incidents of anti-Semitic tweets and posts from sports and entertainment celebrities are a very troubling omen for the future of the Black Lives Matter movement, but so too is the shocking lack of massive indignation. Given the New Woke-fulness in Hollywood and the sports world, we expected more passionate public outrage. What we got was a shrug of meh-rage.

When reading the dark squishy entrails of popular culture, meh-rage in the face of sustained prejudice is an indisputable sign of the coming Apatholypse: apathy to all forms of social justice. After all, if it’s OK to discriminate against one group of people by hauling out cultural stereotypes without much pushback, it must be OK to do the same to others. Illogic begets illogic.

Ice Cube’s June 10 daylong series of tweets, which involved some creepy symbols and images, in general implied that Jews were responsible for the oppression of blacks. NFL player DeSean Jackson tweeted out several anti-Semitic messages, including a quote he incorrectly thought was from Hitler (not your go-to guy for why-can’t-we-all-get-along quotes) stating that Jews had a plan to “extort America” and achieve “world domination.” Isn’t that SPECTRE’s job in James Bond movies?

These statements would be laughed at by anyone with a middle-school grasp of reason, but then former NBA player Stephen Jackson, a self-proclaimed activist, undid whatever progress his previous advocacy may have achieved by agreeing with DeSean Jackson on social media. Then he went on to talk about the Rothschilds owning all the banks and his support for the notorious homophobe and anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan. That is the kind of dehumanizing characterization of a people that causes the police abuses that killed his friend, George Floyd.

June continued to bust out all over with anti-Semitism when performer Chelsea Handler, herself Jewish, posted videos of Farrakhan to her 3.9 million followers. That means almost 4 million people received a subliminal message that even some Jews think being anti-Jewish is justified.

That same month, President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign also has been criticized for exploiting anti-Jewish biases, even though Trump’s son-in-law and campaign honcho Jared Kushner is Jewish and his daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism before they married. Playing on the same Rothschild’s trope, they issued a letter accusing three billionaires of Jewish descent of using their fortunes to “rig the November election.” This is the kind of “very fine people on both sides” Trump has employed throughout his political career — pandering to hate groups that has emboldened racists who feel like they’ve gotten the presidential OK to attack people they don’t like.

These famous, outspoken people share the same scapegoat logic as all oppressive groups from Nazis to the KKK: all our troubles are because of bad-apple groups that worship wrong, have the wrong complexion, come from the wrong country, are the wrong gender or love the wrong gender. It’s so disheartening to see people from groups that have been violently marginalized do the same thing to others without realizing that perpetuating this kind of bad logic is what perpetuates racism.

Yes, some of the above have apologized — DeSean Jackson, Stephen Jackson, Chelsea Handler — while others continue to defiantly marinate in their own prejudice. Their arrogant and irrational response to accusations of anti-Semitism, rather than dissuade us, actually confirmed people’s worst opinions. Ice Cube’s response was remorseless: “What if I was just pro-Black? This is the truth brother. I didn’t lie on anyone. I didn’t say I was anti anybody. DONT BELIEVE THE HYPE. I’ve been telling my truth.” His “truth” was clearly anti-Semitic but, like Trump, he believes his truth exists outside facts. As writer Roxane Gay summed it up: “It is impossible to take you seriously with regards to social justice or anything when you post anti-Semitic imagery. What the fuck are you doing?”

Even the apologies floundered, more attempts at spin than true contrition. In a CNN interview, Stephen Jackson was angry and belligerent at being called out: “I stated I could have changed my words. There’s nothing that I said that I support any of that. There’s nothing I said that I hate anybody. I apologize for my words and I could have switched up. That’s the end of it. I love everybody.” While it’s possible the words were wrong, celebrities have a responsibility to get the words right. It’s not enough to have good intentions, because it’s the actual deeds — and words — which have the real impact. In this case destructive impact. In 2013, there were 751 reported hate crimes against Jews, but by 2019 the number had nearly tripled to 2,107. That same year, a gunman in San Diego entered a synagogue and murdered one person while wounding three.

One of the most powerful songs in the struggle against racism is Billie Holiday’s melancholic “Strange Fruit,” which was first recorded in 1939. The song met strong resistance from radio stations afraid of its graphic lyrics about lynching:

Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the Southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees

Despite those who wanted to suppress the song, it went on to sell a million copies that year and became Holiday’s best-selling record ever. The song was written by a white, Jewish high school teacher, Abel Meeropol, who performed it with his wife around New York before it was given to Holiday.

The lesson never changes, so why is it so hard for some people to learn: No one is free until everyone is free. As Martin Luther King Jr. explained: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.” So, let’s act like it. If we’re going to be outraged by injustice, let’s be outraged by injustice against anyone.

 

BARI WEISS RESIGNATION LETTER FROM THE EDITORIAL PAGE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES

Dear A.G.,

It is with sadness that I write to tell you that I am resigning from The New York Times.

I joined the paper with gratitude and optimism three years ago. I was hired with the goal of bringing in voices that would not otherwise appear in your pages: first-time writers, centrists, conservatives and others who would not naturally think of The Times as their home. The reason for this effort was clear: The paper’s failure to anticipate the outcome of the 2016 election meant that it didn’t have a firm grasp of the country it covers. Dean Baquet and others have admitted as much on various occasions. The priority in Opinion was to help redress that critical shortcoming.

I was honored to be part of that effort, led by James Bennet. I am proud of my work as a writer and as an editor. Among those I helped bring to our pages: the Venezuelan dissident Wuilly Arteaga; the Iranian chess champion Dorsa Derakhshani; and the Hong Kong Christian democrat Derek Lam. Also: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Masih Alinejad, Zaina Arafat, Elna Baker, Rachael Denhollander, Matti Friedman, Nick Gillespie, Heather Heying, Randall Kennedy, Julius Krein, Monica Lewinsky, Glenn Loury, Jesse Singal, Ali Soufan, Chloe Valdary, Thomas Chatterton Williams, Wesley Yang, and many others.

But the lessons that ought to have followed the election—lessons about the importance of understanding other Americans, the necessity of resisting tribalism, and the centrality of the free exchange of ideas to a democratic society—have not been learned. Instead, a new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.

Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor. As the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper, the paper itself has increasingly become a kind of performance space. Stories are chosen and told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences, rather than to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions. I was always taught that journalists were charged with writing the first rough draft of history. Now, history itself is one more ephemeral thing molded to fit the needs of a predetermined narrative.

My own forays into Wrongthink have made me the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views. They have called me a Nazi and a racist; I have learned to brush off comments about how I’m “writing about the Jews again.” Several colleagues perceived to be friendly with me were badgered by coworkers. My work and my character are openly demeaned on company-wide Slack channels where masthead editors regularly weigh in. There, some coworkers insist I need to be rooted out if this company is to be a truly “inclusive” one, while others post ax emojis next to my name. Still other New York Times employees publicly smear me as a liar and a bigot on Twitter with no fear that harassing me will be met with appropriate action. They never are.

There are terms for all of this: unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment, and constructive discharge. I’m no legal expert. But I know that this is wrong.

I do not understand how you have allowed this kind of behavior to go on inside your company in full view of the paper’s entire staff and the public. And I certainly can’t square how you and other Times leaders have stood by while simultaneously praising me in private for my courage. Showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery.

Part of me wishes I could say that my experience was unique. But the truth is that intellectual curiosity—let alone risk-taking—is now a liability at The Times. Why edit something challenging to our readers, or write something bold only to go through the numbing process of making it ideologically kosher, when we can assure ourselves of job security (and clicks) by publishing our 4000th op-ed arguing that Donald Trump is a unique danger to the country and the world? And so self-censorship has become the norm.

What rules that remain at The Times are applied with extreme selectivity. If a person’s ideology is in keeping with the new orthodoxy, they and their work remain unscrutinized. Everyone else lives in fear of the digital thunderdome. Online venom is excused so long as it is directed at the proper targets.

Op-eds that would have easily been published just two years ago would now get an editor or a writer in serious trouble, if not fired. If a piece is perceived as likely to inspire backlash internally or on social media, the editor or writer avoids pitching it. If she feels strongly enough to suggest it, she is quickly steered to safer ground. And if, every now and then, she succeeds in getting a piece published that does not explicitly promote progressive causes, it happens only after every line is carefully massaged, negotiated and caveated.

It took the paper two days and two jobs to say that the Tom Cotton op-ed “fell short of our standards.” We attached an editor’s note on a travel story about Jaffa shortly after it was published because it “failed to touch on important aspects of Jaffa’s makeup and its history.” But there is still none appended to Cheryl Strayed’s fawning interview with the writer Alice Walker, a proud anti-Semite who believes in lizard Illuminati.

The paper of record is, more and more, the record of those living in a distant galaxy, one whose concerns are profoundly removed from the lives of most people. This is a galaxy in which, to choose just a few recent examples, the Soviet space program is lauded for its “diversity”; the doxxing of teenagers in the name of justice is condoned; and the worst caste systems in human history includes the United States alongside Nazi Germany.

Even now, I am confident that most people at The Times do not hold these views. Yet they are cowed by those who do. Why? Perhaps because they believe the ultimate goal is righteous. Perhaps because they believe that they will be granted protection if they nod along as the coin of our realm—language—is degraded in service to an ever-shifting laundry list of right causes. Perhaps because there are millions of unemployed people in this country and they feel lucky to have a job in a contracting industry.

Or perhaps it is because they know that, nowadays, standing up for principle at the paper does not win plaudits. It puts a target on your back. Too wise to post on Slack, they write to me privately about the “new McCarthyism” that has taken root at the paper of record.

All this bodes ill, especially for independent-minded young writers and editors paying close attention to what they’ll have to do to advance in their careers. Rule One: Speak your mind at your own peril. Rule Two: Never risk commissioning a story that goes against the narrative. Rule Three: Never believe an editor or publisher who urges you to go against the grain. Eventually, the publisher will cave to the mob, the editor will get fired or reassigned, and you’ll be hung out to dry.

For these young writers and editors, there is one consolation. As places like The Times and other once-great journalistic institutions betray their standards and lose sight of their principles, Americans still hunger for news that is accurate, opinions that are vital, and debate that is sincere. I hear from these people every day. “An independent press is not a liberal ideal or a progressive ideal or a democratic ideal. It’s an American ideal,” you said a few years ago. I couldn’t agree more. America is a great country that deserves a great newspaper.

None of this means that some of the most talented journalists in the world don’t still labor for this newspaper. They do, which is what makes the illiberal environment especially heartbreaking. I will be, as ever, a dedicated reader of their work. But I can no longer do the work that you brought me here to do—the work that Adolph Ochs described in that famous 1896 statement: “to make of the columns of The New York Times a forum for the consideration of all questions of public importance, and to that end to invite intelligent discussion from all shades of opinion.”

Ochs’s idea is one of the best I’ve encountered. And I’ve always comforted myself with the notion that the best ideas win out. But ideas cannot win on their own. They need a voice. They need a hearing. Above all, they must be backed by people willing to live by them.

Sincerely,
Bari

 

THE SPEECH POLICE AT PRINCETON

The Speech Police at Princeton
The cancel culture targets a respected classics professor.
Wall Street Journal editorial
July 15, 2020

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-speech-police-at-princeton-11594769170

When a Princeton classics professor wrote an article for the Quillette website taking issue with recent faculty demands over race, a storm of criticism descended. This was an opening for President Christopher Eisgruber and other university leaders to remind people that Princeton is a place where speech and debate are cherished. Instead, Princeton is demonstrating how a lack of leadership enables the cancel culture.

The professor is Joshua Katz, and his offending piece was headlined “A Declaration of Independence by a Princeton Professor.” Mr. Katz took issue with a petition sent to President Eisgruber signed by more than 350 faculty members. The faculty letter began with the statement “Anti-Blackness is foundational to America” and included demands ranging from an extra semester of sabbatical for faculty of color to removing the statue of John Witherspoon, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and former Princeton president who owned slaves.

Mr. Katz’s capital offense was his description of the university’s Black Justice League as a “local terrorist organization.” This hyperbole has given critics an excuse to denounce Mr. Katz without addressing his argument. His own department accuses him of using language that has long been used to “incite racial and specifically anti-Black violence.”

In a statement to the Daily Princetonian, President Eisgruber piled on: “While free speech permits students and faculty to make arguments that are bold, provocative, or even offensive, we all have an obligation to exercise that right responsibly. Joshua Katz has failed to do so, and I object personally and strongly to his false description of a Princeton student group as a ‘local terrorist organization.’”

But Mr. Katz was not saying the Black Justice League is al Qaeda or the IRA. The rest of that sentence defined what he meant, calling it a group “that made life miserable for the many (including the many black students) who did not agree with its members’ demands.”

As for Mr. Eisgruber, in 2016 Princeton rejected demands to remove Woodrow Wilson’s name from a Princeton residential college and its School of Public and International Affairs. Wilson’s racism was not in doubt then or now. Mr. Eisgruber said Princeton had “rightly” concluded the best path to diversity “is not by tearing down names from the past but rather being more honest about our history.” But this June students again demanded that Wilson’s name be purged. A week later the board decided—on Mr. Eisgruber’s recommendation—to excise the former U.S. President.

Mr. Katz has tenure, but the cancel culture doesn’t need to get him fired to succeed. It succeeds by making him an outcast in his own university, and intimidating into silence others on campus who might agree.

This is happening across America and is especially disappointing at Princeton. The university has welcomed more conservative and independent voices than some of its peers, and under President Eisgruber it was one of only two Ivy League schools to sign the University of Chicago principles upholding free and open inquiry. It’s a shame to see Mr. Eisgruber wilt under pressure now, when liberal values of speech and tolerance most need defending.

 

WHITE SUPREMACISTS TRIGGER TWITTERSTORM BY USING #JEWISHPRIVILEGE HASHTAG TO BAIT JEWS

White Supremacists Trigger Twitterstorm by Using #JewishPrivilege Hashtag to Bait Jews
Sarah Silverman, Josh Gad and David Simon among those pushing back by sharing their experiences of antisemitism
By Allison Kaplan Sommer
Haaretz
July 13, 2020

https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-white-supremacists-trigger-twitterstorm-by-using-jewishprivilege-hashtag-1.8990556

A Twitterstorm erupted on the social media site Sunday night after antisemitic accounts began posting tweets bearing the hashtag #JewishPrivilege – causing the term to shoot to the top of the site’s U.S. trending topics.

The source of the tweets was far-right, white supremacist Twitter profiles and bots, which used the hashtag to post a mixture of classic conspiratorial theories involving Jewish domination and control of the media, Holocaust denial and accusations of underwriting social unrest movements so that Jews could displace whites with minority groups.

Some of the tweets revived the attempt to pass themselves off as being Jewish and “confessing” their sins of privilege.

One wrote that he felt “guilty that our people’s role in slavery dwarfed Whites, but it’s important we pay for that dominant role that hurt so many millions of blacks. We jews are 1/3 of billionaires and MUST give much more to blacks.”

Almost immediately, Jews across Twitter pushed back, using the same hashtag to share their experiences with antisemitism. By early Monday, the hashtag had been largely “flipped”: #JewishPrivilege was dominated by reminders of antisemitism over the years and stories of struggles with modern antisemitism.

The responses that drew the most attention came from celebrities, including actor Josh Gad, television producer David Simon, comedian-actress Sarah Silverman and former presidential contender Marianne Williamson.

“Guess we’re at the #JewishPrivilege part of 2020 because Neo-Nazis have a social platform. Where to start? Is it the privilege of my mom never getting to meet her grandparents because they were murdered or is it her parents being robbed of their childhoods by being put in camps?” Gad tweeted.

Simon, best known as the creator of “The Wire,” wrote: “My #JewishPrivilege? Garden-variety stuff. Eleven dead relatives at Auschwitz and in the Russian woods and a father who was a hostage and suffered PTSD years after the Jewish non-profit where he worked was stormed by angry dudes with guns & scimitars who threatened to behead him.”

After Silverman tweeted: “My dad getting the shit kicked out of him everyday at school 4 being a kike to kids in NH throwing pennies at me on the bus to pastors in Florida calling for my death and telling their congregation that knocking my teeth out and killing me would be God’s work. #JewishPrivilege,” Williamson responded with her own experiences: “It’s people emailing & tweeting to me that Jews need to be quiet now & that ‘that’s not just a suggestion’ or friends who don’t realize I’m Jewish making it clear how anti-Semitic they are or family members afraid to wear a Star of David in their own neighborhood.#JewishPrivilege.”

Many of the high-profile Jews tweeting experienced hostile backlash. Silverman in particular was called out for discussing racism against Jews, with many people tweeting out photographs from when she did an episode of her television show in blackface. She had apologized for that in 2018, saying she was “horrified” by the fact she had done it: “I don’t stand by the blackface sketch. I’m horrified by it, and I can’t erase it. I can only be changed by it and move on.”

Other tweets came from Jewish activists and representatives of Jewish advocacy organizations, as well as individual Jews sharing their experiences with antisemitism.

Rabbi Elchanan Poupko, for example, wrote: “#JewishPrivilege is my cousin Reb Nochum Moshe Twersky of the Chernobyl Hassidic dynasty being asked to come and bless Ukrainian soldiers just for them to shoot him dead later.”

The Jewish tweets triggered their own wave of reaction, both on Twitter itself and on Gab – the alternative platform infamous for its far-right users and tolerance for hate speech, with posters complaining that the Jews on the hashtag were engaging in “arrogant kvetching,” “whining” about discrimination, and “complaining about how persecuted they are for no reason.”

 

AOC’S HILL OF BEANS

AOC’s Hill of Beans
The #BoycottGoya radicals lack even the good sense to follow Saul Alinsky’s advice.
By William McGurn
Wall Street Journal
July 14, 2020

https://www.wsj.com/articles/aoc-is-full-of-beans-11594680470

It’s come to this: They want to cancel black beans.

The target is Goya Foods, America’s largest Hispanic-owned food company. Within hours after its CEO, Bob Unanue, said at a Rose Garden event that America was “blessed” to have “a leader like President Trump who is a builder,” #BoycottGoya started trending on Twitter. Naturally Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) jumped out in front.

“Oh look, it’s the sound of me Googling ‘how to make your own adobo,’ “ the Queens congresswoman tweeted. That’s a popular Goya seasoning she wants people to go without. But Goya’s CEO isn’t backing down. When asked the next day on Fox News if he’d apologize, Mr. Unanue was succinct: “Hell no.”

It’s easy to point out how senseless and counterproductive this boycott is. Founded in 1936 by Mr. Unanue’s Spanish immigrant grandparents, the company is a living example of the American Dream. Mr. Unanue was at the Trump White House in the hope his company’s story will inspire other Latino entrepreneurs. He points out that he visited the White House for a similar celebration in 2011, when Barack Obama saluted him. He was also praised by Michelle Obama for Goya’s big role in her healthy-food initiative.

None of it matters to AOC and her comrades. In the same way it is futile to try to persuade mobs tearing down statues to distinguish between Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant, the progressives targeting Goya aren’t interested in facts or debate. They aren’t interested because they don’t build, they only tear down. Goya now has their attention not because a boycott will improve life for anyone but because it feeds their celebrity and self-righteousness.

Consider Ms. Ocasio-Cortez. Her defeat in 2018 of a longtime Democratic Rep. Joseph Crowley was a political upset. But her chief contribution to her constituents since then is that she was instrumental in killing a deal in which Amazon would have opened a second headquarters in her district. Her efforts cost her constituents 25,000 jobs, billions in lost tax revenue and the knock-on effects to the rest of the local economy. A successful Goya boycott would have similar destructive consequences.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s example speaks to the priorities of the modern progressive. She has 7.6 million followers on Twitter and has inspired an action figure, a comic-book anthology and a recurring role in Showtime’s animated comedy “Our Cartoon President.” When she deigns to talk policy, she favors multibillion-dollar pie-in-the-sky ideas, from the Green New Deal to Medicare for All and tuition-free college.

In this she has plenty of progressive company. In Seattle, a group of self-styled liberators, complete with their own armed security forces, occupied several blocks near the Capitol Hill district. Mayor Jenny Durkan said “we could have the summer of love.”

The reality was two murders in the so-called CHOP over 10 days, and several more people shot. A 19-year-old African-American man died when paramedics couldn’t get through because they were turned away by protesters. Ms. Durkan’s police chief complained that the cops were unable to respond to emergency calls reporting “rapes, robberies and all sorts of violent acts.” How did Mayor Durkan think this would turn out?

Or look at New York. Legend holds that Nero fiddled while Rome burned. He has nothing on Bill de Blasio. With shootings and murders rising to levels not seen in years, the mayor opted for performance art: Last Thursday, Mr. de Blasio’s answer to the city’s problems was to help paint BLACK LIVES MATTER in huge letters in front of Trump Tower’s Fifth Avenue entrance.

Never mind keeping citizens safe, ensuring the public schools provide a good education, making your city more attractive for jobs and investment. These kind of concrete concerns are deemed too pedestrian (or perhaps too hard) by today’s progressives.

They’re not even that good at radicalism. Remember, the subtitle for Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” was “A Practical Primer for Realistic Radicals.” He warned about overreaching, noting that unless targets are narrowly selected, boycotts will probably fail as people tire of them and drift back to their old ways of shopping. In particular, he warned boycott organizers to “carefully avoid essentials such as meat, milk, bread, or basic vegetables, since even selective buying weakens after a period of time as the opponent cuts his prices below his competitors.”

So what do AOC and her fellow progressives choose? To boycott all 2,500 products of a beloved food brand that reminds people of their grandmothers’ kitchens. As a result, for every #Goyaway or #BoycottGoya tweet there now appears to be a rival #BuyGoya tweet from those purchasing more Goya’s products.

Goya is lucky. Lucky that in Bob Unanue it has a CEO who understands what a paper tiger the cancel culture really is when leaders stand up to it. And lucky too that the woke politicians pushing this boycott are more obsessed with theater than a practical progressive agenda that might leave something good behind.

 

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