Last week, the LA Times published this editorial
, praising the recommended one year suspension on the Muslim Students Union (MSU) by UC Irvine for the interruption of Michael Oren's speech there in February.
Oren had been invited to deliver an address on U.S.-Israeli relations.
But each time he tried to speak, he was interrupted by students who
stood up to shout anti- Israel slogans. Eleven students from UC Irvine
and UC Riverside were arrested and cited for disturbing a public event,
but not criminally charged. According to a university report released
Monday, e-mails intercepted from members of the Muslim Student Union
showed that it had not only planned the protest, but that its members
had also subsequently conspired to deny the group's involvement. It was
the group's alleged fabrications, along with its disruption of
university activities, that prompted the suspension recommendation.
The editorial is hardly a knee-jerk defense of Oren or Israel, nor was it a blanket condemnation of the MSU. To the contrary, it articulates a basic lesson in First Amendment dynamics.
The notion that UC Irvine is squelching students' 1st Amendment rights
is simple to dismiss. U.S. courts have long held that using speech to
prevent another person from speaking, as the Muslim students were
clearly doing, is not constitutionally protected. As long as UC Irvine
enforces its rules in an evenhanded way against protesters of all points
of view -- so that members of a pro-Zionist group would be similarly
punished for shouting down a Palestinian speaker -- it is well within its
rights to enforce decorum at campus events.
U.S. politicians in both parties tend to reflexively support Israeli
policies, so there is less public debate about them here than in most
countries, including Israel. Universities are among the few places where
a lively discussion of such politically taboo topics takes place, and
it would be a disservice to students and faculty members to chill that
debate or to permanently silence the Muslim Student Union. [belated comment re: "reflexively support," "less public debate" and "politically taboo": utter nonsense! Nonetheless ...]
All this seems to have been lost, however, on Omar Kurdi, a alumnus of UC Irvine and former MSU member. His response
is illustrative of the way Israel's enemies distort facts and fabricate false narratives in their effort to advance their singular agenda.
... the administration's draconian response will unquestionably have a
chilling effect on student activism at UC Irvine and across the country.
It may have a chilling effect on inappropriate and counterproductive disruption of the free speech of others. We should hope it does. Student activism, however, is in no peril.
... No student wants a Judenrein campus, but we also don't want one
in which Muslim student life is suffocated.
As chancellor Drake has stated, "the behavior of the protesters was 'antithetical to everything we stand
for and everything we are.' " Such behavior on the part of a student organization at any university is subject to disciplinary action such as suspension and does not "suffocate" student life. To the contrary.
... Three weeks ago the world watched in horror as Israeli commandos raided a
flotilla of aid ships trying to break Israel's illegal siege of Gaza.
Nine humanitarian workers were killed.
This version of events has been conclusively disproven and refuted. The siege was not illegal and the nine who were killed were not "humanitarian workers."
I would add that the notorious "smuggled, unedited video"
being splashed around the internet in no way contradicts the footage or the explanation released by the IDF but in any event let's bear in mind that it was filmed, selectively, by a participant in the (actually illegal) attempt to break the blockade. Hardly an objective source.
... The university's decision ...
conjures up images reminiscent of a military coup d'état and the
subsequent banning of the deposed party's top brass from politics.
Huh? Dude, put down that pipe.
... Even President Obama was briefly disrupted by anti-abortion activists
during his May 2009 commencement address at Notre Dame University, yet
no one was arrested or punished for associating with the offenders.
Well, yes, he was. Even
he (whose First Amendment rights, by the way, are no greater than those of Ambassador Oren or anyone else). One interruption, one time, by one person. Not a coordinated, orchestrated and covered-up attempt to prevent him from speaking at all. A protest. Although still extremely rude, this is how it's done. The MSU should pay attention.
... History will surely absolve the 11 UC Irvine students and condemn those
who legitimize war criminals.
No, it won't, Omar. Unless, of course (God forbid) that history is written by the MSU's founders, the Muslim Brotherhood, and their comrades in global jihad. All those who love freedom and liberty should strive mightily to assure that never happens.