Why are you sharing the ISIS/Israeli flag video from Berkeley?

You probably saw the video circulated heavily in recent days that purported to depict strikingly different reactions to one man waving two flags on Berkeley’s campus. To avoid calling out any specific friends — or linking to the video myself — I’ll let former Ambassador Michael Oren explain:

I’ll make this quick, but tl;dr, the video is preposterous and reinforces a narrative of victimhood unwarranted by its content, and you should probably stop sharing it. Here you go:

  1. Most damningly, the video is heavily edited. Until Ami releases his complete footage, the three-minute clip that has been widely shared tells us exactly nothing about anything that actually happened.
  2. Even with that footage, this would still be nothing resembling a controlled experiment. Ami says different things, he stands in different places — as my friend who attends Berkeley explained, “The first scene is in front of the Campanille – people run by there to get to classes. The second is on Sproul plaza where people hang out.” Unsurprisingly, much more interaction took place in the latter location.
  3. Would you shout down a person waving an ISIS flag? Or would you just assume he’s a crazy fucknut — liable to hack off your face — and steer clear? I thought so.

I’m sure there are more reasons this video should go away, but I don’t want to think about it anymore. There’s enough real anti-Semitism in the world — indeed, on Berkeley’s campus — that we don’t  need to manufacture any more.

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2 thoughts on “Why are you sharing the ISIS/Israeli flag video from Berkeley?”

  1. I do not believe that the video clip was done as a controlled experiment. Hardly any online videos are such experiments. Hardly any interviews done by any of the mainstream media organizations are particularly well controlled.

    To me it is shocking that a flag representing a group that blatantly commits brutal acts of barbarism would not elicit immediate outrage. Of course, On the other hand, I have to admit that I would probably put my head down and pass by it quietly myself because i would be afraid that the person waving the flag might attack me with a knife or a gun (or even try to chop my head off). So I guess the only thing I find disgusting and shocking is that anybody would express any type of positive feeling toward a person waving that flag. I have nothing but contempt for such individuals. If ISIS ever attempts to decapitate Americans on American soil, it would rightly serve those who expressed approval if they were the only ones captured by ISIS. I am sure that their solidity with ISIS would save them.

    It is also true that we have no idea how many passed by the Israeli flag with no comment at all and how many expressed positive feelinsg for Israel. Had I been walking by I may well have given the Israel flag a high five. On the other hand, I also might have feared that the guy waving the flag was crazy (because there seemed to be no context to his flag waving) and thus I might have simply walked on. Thus I have to admit that I, who supports Israel and who is disgusted by the inhumanity and brutality shown by Jihadist radicals, might have reacted identically to both flags (i.e. shown no reaction at all).

    But it is still interesting to see the reactions of those who did give a reaction. So I do not think that this was a completely worthless exercise.

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