web analytics
December 28, 2014 / 6 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

ACLU Needs To Clarify Stance On Censoring Israeli Speakers


The international campaign to prevent speakers from delivering pro-Israel talks at universities has been assisted by leaders of the American Civil Liberties Union – an organization that is supposed to protect freedom of speech for all. The method used to silence these speakers and preclude their audiences from hearing their message is exemplified by a now infamous event at the University of California at Irvine.

Michael Oren – a distinguished scholar and writer, a moderate supporter of the two-state solution, and now Israel’s ambassador to the United States – was invited to speak. The Muslim Student Union set out to prevent him from delivering his talk. Here is the way Erwin Chemerinksy, dean of the law school, described what the students did:

“The Muslim Student Union orchestrated a concerted effort to disrupt the speech. One student after another stood and shouted so that the ambassador could not be heard. Each student was taken away only to be replaced by another doing the same thing.”

Chemerinsky understates what happened; as anyone can see by watching a video of the event available online, it was more than a “concerted effort to disrupt the speech.” It was a concerted effort to stop it completely – to censor Oren’s right to speak and his audience’s right to hear him. Advertisement

The efforts to disrupt succeeded; the effort to stop ultimately failed. Moreover, Chemerinsky fails to mention what happened both before and after the concerted effort. There is undisputed evidence that there was a well-planned conspiracy to censor Oren’s talk, and then to lie about it, which the students did after the event.

The students were disciplined by the university for their actions, though the nature and degree of the discipline has been kept confidential. Campus sources have characterized it as a “slap on the wrist.” Since the students were arrested, the district attorney, quite understandably, commenced a criminal investigation. After learning of the careful planning that went into the concerted effort to prevent Oren from speaking and the subsequent cover-up, the DA filed misdemeanor charges against those who were involved.

This decision resulted in an outcry by radicals, many of whom favor censorship of pro-Israel speakers. In a letter to the DA signed by many well-known anti-Israel zealots, the incident was described as merely a protest: “The students nonviolently and verbally protested ”

Then, in an effort to blame the victims, the letter pointed the finger at pro-Israel students who wanted to listen to Oren speak claiming – quite falsely – that the Muslim Student Union censors “conducted themselves in less of a disruptive manner than some of the counter-protestors ” This is simply a lie, as anyone can see by viewing the video.

Moreover, the intent of the so-called counter-protestors was simply to hear the speaker, whereas the intent of the Muslim Student Union was to censor the speaker.

The fact that radical anti-Israel zealots would support censorship of a pro-Israel speaker comes as no surprise. But the fact that the letter of support was signed by two ACLU leaders should shock all civil libertarians and supporters of the ACLU. I have been a supporter of the ACLU for half a century and was a national board member. I supported the right of Nazis to march through Skokie and I defend the right of the most virulent anti-Israel speakers to participate in the marketplace of ideas.

The ACLU policy has always been to oppose concerted efforts to prevent speakers from delivering their remarks. While supporting sporadic heckling and jeering that merely demonstrates opposition to the content of the remarks, the ACLU has always condemned concerted efforts to silence invited speakers.

Yet signatories of the letter – which never once criticizes the censoring Muslim Union students while condemning those who wanted to hear the speaker – include “Chuck Anderson,” who identifies himself as “President ACLU Chapter, Orange County and Chair, The Peace and Freedom Party, Orange County” (a hard left anti-Israel group), and “Hector Villagro,” who identifies himself as “Incoming Executive Director, ACLU of Southern California.”

Dean Chemerinsky, while also opposing criminal prosecution, made a point to condemn the censoring students:

“The students’ behavior was wrong and deserves punishment. There is no basis for the claim that the disruptive students were just exercising their First Amendment rights. There is no constitutional right to disrupt an event and keep a speaker from being heard. Otherwise, any speaker could be silenced by a heckler’s veto. The Muslim students could have expressed their message in many other ways: picketing or handing out leaflets outside the auditorium where Ambassador Oren was speaking, making statements during the question and answer period, holding their own events on campus.”

The ACLU leaders, on the other hand, seem to be justifying the actions of the censoring students while limiting their condemnation to the pro-Israel students who wanted to hear the speaker.

After being criticized for supporting censorship, Villagro sought to justify his signing the letter by the following “logic”: “The district attorney’s action will undoubtedly intimidate students in Orange County and across the state and discourage them from engaging in any controversial speech or protest for fear of criminal charges.”

The opposite is true. If these students are let off with a slap on the wrist from the University, that will encourage other students around the nation and the world to continue with efforts to prevent pro-Israel speakers from delivering their speeches. The ACLU should be supporting a clear line between occasional heckling and outright censorship.

The ACLU leaders who signed the letter are on the wrong side of that line and should not be speaking for the ACLU.

Unless the ACLU explicitly renounces its leaders support for students who seek to censor pro-Israel speakers, the organization will lose the backing of many who believe that all speech should be protected – not only speech approved by its leaders.

Alan Dershowitz, a noted attorney and law professor, is the author, most recently, of the novel “The Trials of Zion.”

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “ACLU Needs To Clarify Stance On Censoring Israeli Speakers”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
IDF Paratroopers training at the IDF Tze'elim base.
2015 IDF Military Intelligence ‘Crystal Ball’ Report
Latest Indepth Stories
Middle-East-map

Is not Israel’s policy of “territory for peace” with Arab leaders criminally irresponsible?

Israel Palestine Flag

Israel must develop it’s truthful message to be as clear & simple to comprehend as the Arab’s lies

School of Athens by Raphael (Aristotle on right holding his work, "Ethics")

2 basic aspects of Aristotelian thought remarkably like Jewish thought: “Involvement” & “Purpose”

Ben-Tsvi-122614

“Farming still allows some unique opportunities for mitzvah fulfillment that a city dweller never meets.”

It shakes our sense of justice when allegations against a famed role model are covered up or ignored

Feiglin: Only true liberty will allow us to genuinely connect to our Jewish identity.

The silver lining with early elections is the chance to change the current dysfunctional government.

The Holocaust Educational Trust Ireland informed the host he could not say “Israel or Jewish state”

It’s fascinating how sources attain the status “traditional,” or its equivalent level of kashrus.

The West needs to ensure Russia understands that aggression comes at a significant cost.

What benefit is a learning experience that leaves kids confused,disillusioned&harms self confidence?

Girlfriend and double cop-killer Ismaaiyl Brinsley apparently was influenced by Islamic extremism.

We see pictures of mosques, monuments for terrorists, illegal schools, and hundreds of apartments being built on Jewish land without repercussions. We are losing Jewish property, so it is up to us to protect it.

Thus, despite the increasingly serious problems for the mayor arising out of the current anti-police protests, Mr. de Blasio apparently will be cut no slack by those who seem to be aiming for a significant role in running the city from the streets and who will do whatever they can to prevent their momentum from ebbing.

Also left unsaid was the fact that the menorah and its oil were in the Beit HaMikdash, which of course was located on Har HaBayit – the Temple Mount that present-day Muslims claim as their own.

More Articles from Alan M. Dershowitz
Netanyahu wants more room on the table for the military option to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Revealing intelligence assessments that suggest Netanyahu is bluffing only encourages the Iranians.

The Iron Dome was called on for the first time in 2013 to intercept a missile fired by terrorists in Sinai at Eilat.

National Lawyers Guild:Sworn enemy of Israel & the legal arm of Palestinian terrorism since the ’70s

Just as we would never grant legitimacy to ISIS, we should not grant legitimacy to Hamas.

“Continuum of Civilianality:” Who is a civilian and who is a combatant is often a matter of degree.

Re-posted with permission from The Gatestone Institute How many times have you heard on television or read in the media that the Gaza Strip is “the most densely populated area in the world”? Repeating this statement, however, does not make it true. There are dense parts of Gaza, especially Gaza City, Beit Hanoun and Khan […]

Qatar’s wealth and Turkey’s size should not preclude us from telling it as it is: Qatar and Turkey are among the worst villains in the Gaza tragedy.

Many American experts—diplomatic, nuclear, political, economic—believe that even the risks to the United States exceed the benefits.

The immediate choice for the world today is not between diplomacy and preventive war. We have a third option: to maintain or even increase the sanctions.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/aclu-needs-to-clarify-stance-on-censoring-israeli-speakers/2011/03/02/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: