A closer look at the ideas tossed about by some of the Muslim Student Union’s invited guests suggests both the moral incoherence and intellectual debasement that characterizes the human output of these events.
Amir-Abdel Malik-Ali, for instance, former Nation of Islam member and convert to Islam, has been a ubiquitous, poisonous presence on the Irvine campus who never hesitates to castigate Israel, Zionists, Jewish power, and Jews themselves as he weaves hallucinatory conspiracies about the Middle East and the West.
Speaking in May 2006 from a podium with an execrable banner reading “Israel, the 4th Reich,” Malik-Ali referred to Jews as “new Nazis” and “a bunch of straight-up punks.”
At a 2008 event, he claimed that “Groups like Hamas and Hizbullah” are not the real terrorists at all. No, the actual “terrorists are the United States; the terrorists are Israel!”
Another odious guest speaker who regularly makes appearances on the hate-fest circuit is Muhammad al-Asi, a Muslim activist from Washington, D.C., who has written that “The Israeli Zionist are [sic] the true and legitimate object of liquidation.”
Just months after 9/11, al-Asi hurled similar invective at Jews, in the context of Israeli oppression of Palestinians. “You can take a Jew out of the ghetto,” he said, “but you can’t take the ghetto out of the Jew, and this has been demonstrated time and time again in Occupied Palestine.”
The MSU is entitled to hear whatever opinions it desires. It is not, however, entitled to prevent other views from being heard on campus merely because pro-Palestinian students have decided they will not recognize the very existence or legitimacy of Israel or hear the ideas of individuals who are able to explain the Israeli side of the argument.
University officials need to make clear their campuses will allow many different views and perspectives and not countenance the exclusion of unpopular thought from the proverbial marketplace of ideas.
Concern for the Palestinians may be a commendable effort, but the exclusion and demonization of Israeli speakers and government officials as a tool for seeking social justice for that one group “represents a profound betrayal of the cardinal principle of intellectual endeavor,” observed commentator Melanie Phillips, “which is freedom of speech and debate,” something universities should never stop diligently defending. And they should certainly never abandon that pursuit to the baleful whining of ideological bullies intent on suppressing the views of others.