For those concerned about the "Israel Lobby" stifling freedom of expression on campus, here's a brief and informal letter I recieved from Gene Stark in California.
On Wednesday evening, Jan. 31, 2007, I attended a lecture given by Daniel Pipes at University of California Irvine. The lecture was organized by Hillel and it was about the reasons for the renewed threat against Israel’s existence. It was attended by about two hundred people at most, and included approximately fifty Muslims (their dress was indicative of their religion – males in Arabic garb and Arafat Kefiyas; females wearing head covering, etc).
About 15 minutes into Mr. Pipes’ lecture, after he made some comments about how Oslo had failed after Israel’s many attempts to make peace and that how Israel needed to get back on the offensive with the Palestinians, a man in a dress and hat, whom I assumed was the President of the Muslim Students Association, got up from his seat and prompted all of the Muslims to get up from their seats. The man (who bore an astonishing resemblance to Haman), started yelling that on behalf the Muslim student association, he was demanding that Mr. Pipes leave the campus immediately.
I was a few rows in front of “Haman” and started booing him thereby drowning him out; I had come to hear Pipes speak and not some guy with an anti-Israeli agenda. Some Jewish attendees (students) started singing "Am Israel Chai", another effective way to drown out his protests. Then the Muslim group promptly exited the auditorium, probably at the Deputy Sheriffs’ behest. After their exit Mr. Pipes finished his speech and answered questions. Too bad the Muslims exited early, since he urged everyone to reach out to moderate Muslims who are not against Israel and who don’t necessarily want to live in a country where Islamic law is the norm.
Upon exiting the lecture hall, everyone was treated to the Muslim students’ jeers and screams of “racists”, among other things. I felt inclined to challenge their jeers but decided to ignore them and leave. I was informed that our Jewish college students have to put up with this kind of protest every time they put an Israel or Jewish awareness event.
Diversity of opinion and tolerance are supposed to work for everyone, aren't they?
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