The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
Recent events demonstrate that the Jewish community is fast losing the free speech wars. Those who wish to condemn Israel at public forums are seemingly immune to efforts at having an alternative view heard, while those who seek to talk tough about radical Islam are vulnerable to being blocked altogether.
In a widely reported incident in February, a symposium was scheduled at Brooklyn College by a campus group opposed to Israeli policies toward the Palestinians. It was to feature two leading figures in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Pleas from Jewish students that pro-Israel speakers be added for balance were rejected by the event organizers. As it turned out, four students identifiable as Jews and thought to be planning to sharply question the speakers were ejected from the room.
To make matters worse, an internal investigation as to whether the students’ free speech rights were violated concluded last week that while the students were wrongly ousted because there was no evidence that they created a disturbance – as organizers of the event originally claimed – there was also “no support for an inference of discrimination based on religion” because other Jewish students were allowed to remain at the event.
What nonsense. The issue here was not the students’ religion but their views on the Middle East conflict – which were suppressed. The investigative report did not comment on the fact that the Brooklyn College political science department co-sponsored the event and abdicated its responsibility to ensure freedom of access.
Similarly, efforts to block or at least add some balance in the wording to an award presentation last week to former president Jimmy Carter, a notoriously anti-Israel public figure, from an apparently independent student group at Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law, came to naught.
In contrast to this, a coalition of so-called interfaith leaders in Nassau County, including left-wing rabbis and liberal ministers led by a local imam – who used his official stationery, as a commissioner of the Nassau County Commission on Human Rights, in the effort – was able this past week to force the cancellation of a speech on the dangers of shariah law at the Great Neck Synagogue by blogger Pamela Geller, an outspoken critic of radical Islam. To be sure, synagogue officials resisted the pressure to cancel the speech until it became unbearable, but cancel it they did.
The solution to this problem is not readily apparent. But Brooklyn College is a publicly funded college and the imam is a Nassau County human rights commissioner. So while moral suasion may be appropriate in dealing with some benighted Cardozo students, perhaps official inquiries by New York City and Nassau County authorities to pursue the Brooklyn College cover-up and the imam’s use of his public position to intrude on the decision-making of a religious institution are in order.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Jewish Voices for Peace’s 2015 Haggadah is a blatant anti-Israel screed crying, “L’chayim to BDS!”
On his shloshim, I want to discuss a term I’ve heard countless times about Rav Aharon: Gedol HaDor
After obsequious claims of devotion to Israel, Obama took to criticizing Israel on peace process
Netanyahu so disdains Shaked’s appointment he completely ignored her after the swearing-in ceremony
Ronen Shamir’s just the latest tenured Leftist convicted of sexual misconduct with his own student
NY Times precious front page ink is only reserved for portrayals of Israel as the aggressor.
Although I loved law school, I doubted myself: Who would come to me, a chassidish woman lawyer?
American Jews who go gaga for Obama are first and foremost “Liberals of the Mosaic Persuasion”
“Illinois is the first state to take concrete, legally binding action against the BDS campaign”
Many books have supported the preferability- not to be confused with desirability- of the status quo
Consider the Pope’s desperation, reading daily reports of the slaughter of Christians by Muslims
The contrast between a Dem pretending to love Israel & a Dem who truly loves Israel is CRYSTAL CLEAR
Pentecost, derived from the Greek word for 50, is celebrated 50 days after Easter.
U.S and European demands for the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank is world hypocrisy.
“Let’s get something straight so we don’t kid each other…[the Iranians] already have paved a path to a bomb’s worth of material,” said Mr. Biden. “Iran could get there now if they walked away in two to three months without a deal.”
The president is unwilling to cede any of what he considers his exclusive powers in the area of foreign policy and has struggled mightily to keep the Senate away from any role in the kind of deal to be negotiated.
A committed Religious Zionist, he was a sought-after adviser on Zionist affairs around the world.
More important, Mr. Obama is simply acceding to Iran’s position on the timing of the lifting of sanctions.
For our community, Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy record will doubtless attract the most attention. And it is a most interesting one.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/the-free-speech-wars/2013/04/17/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: