web analytics
July 24, 2014 / 26 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



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
U.S. President Barack Obama
FAA Ban on Flights to Israel ‘Worse than BDS’
Latest Indepth Stories
Rabbi Meir Kahane at the National Press Club ~ 1985

Rabbi Kahane spoke of transfer, because it was what the Torah spoke of.

Hamas terrorists in Gaza have been using human shields to protect them from the IDF as they launch rocket attacks against Israel.

There is much I can write you about what is going here, but I am wondering what I should not write. I will start by imagining that I am you, sitting at home in the Los Angeles area and flipping back and forth between the weather, traffic reports, the Ukraine, Mexican illegals and Gaza. No […]

Jews inside Paris synagogue surrounded by protesters throwing rocks, holding bats and chairs.

Should Jews in Europe take more responsibility in self-defense of community and property?

Map_of_the_Continent_of_Europe

Germany’s The Jewish Faith newspaper ominously noted, “We Jews are in for a war after the war.”

The truth is we seldom explore with kids what prayer is supposed to be about.

Almost as one, Jews around the world are acknowledging the day-to-day peril facing ordinary Jews in Israel and the extraordinary service of the IDF in protecting them.

So on the one hand Secretary Kerry makes no bones about who is at fault for the current hostilities: he clearly blames Hamas.

King Solomon said it long ago: “Cast your bread upon the waters” because you don’t know when you’ll hit something. Our job is to do.

The anti-Israel camp does not need to win America fully to its side. Merely to neutralize it would radically alter the balance of power and put Israel in great jeopardy.

We mourn the dead, wish a speedy recovery to the wounded, and pray that God guides the government.

Charges from the court of world public opinion and their refutations.

It is up to our government to ensure that their sacrifices were not made for short-term gains.

Supporting Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, has become dangerous in Malmo.

Proportionality Doctrine:The greater the military gain the greater the justifiable collateral damage

More Articles from Alan M. Dershowitz
diplomats

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

iran strong and hungry

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.

If the media and the international community continue to enable these tyrannical regimes, the cynical dead baby strategy will expand in scope.

The very word “hero” was used by the Jordanian justice minister in joining the chorus calling for the release of a convicted terrorist.

Hamas wants Palestinians civilians, especially babies, to be killed precisely so that they can display the kind of photographs that were shown around the world.

A ‘pinkwashing’ conference – focused on how Israel allegedly uses its protection of gay rights to cover up its treatment of Arabs – is being sponsored by the Gay and Lesbian Studies Center at CUNY’s Graduate Center this April.

If Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga were to be elected pope, much of the good work done by recent popes in building bridges between the Catholic Church and the Jews would be endangered.

What happened at Brooklyn College demonstrates the wisdom of keeping academic departments from sponsoring non-academic hate fests, such as the BDS event.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

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: