Posted in: Culture Wars & Censorship
Published on Sep 24, 2007 by Phyllis Chesler
Free Speech May Be Free But It is Not Without Consequences
Family Security Matters|Sept. 24, 2007
Terrorists do not terrify me--but the passivity of their potential victims does as does their glazed-over glamorization of fascist and totalitarian leaders. That Columbia has again invited Mr. Amadinejad to lecture does not surprise me; that so many "good" people have not grasped the inevitability of such an invitation deeply saddens me.
I have been writing about the Stalinization and Islamification of the western academic world and its betrayal of the truth, the Jews, America, and women since 2002. I discussed it in my books The New Anti-Semitism and inThe Death of Feminism as well as in approximately one hundred articles between 2003-2007. For my views, which I proudly stand by, I have been slandered as a "racist neo-conservative." (Yes, even Orwell would weep).
Academic freedom, free speech, and the First Amendment have all been used to justify and explain why hate speech against Israel, Jews, and America must be protected on American campuses. Other views are not welcome and lead to non-invitations, dis-invitations, or at best, to exceedingly hostile workplace environments on campus in which the minority-view speaker is jeered, booed, blamed for the heavy security their views seem to require, and often hustled out early for their own safety.
This happened to me at Barnard in 2003 and I have written about it here. It happened to me again at Columbia when I spoke at a very large conference in 2004. Palestinian activists rose up to interrupt and denounce me as I spoke and Jewish left activists picketed the conference outside. If my memory serves me correctly, they were allowed to hand out their leaflets right on Broadway and 116th Street.
Perhaps my saddest moment at Columbia concerns a graduate student conference at School for International and Public Affairs (where Amadinejad is speaking today) which took place in 2004. Only fifteen people came to hear four to five heavy-duty speakers who had been invited to discuss the demonized stench that the word "Jew" and "Israel" now evoked on Ivy League American campuses. The boycott of our speeches by Columbia graduate students was absolutely stunning.
Well--there was one more sad event for me connected with Barnard. My own group, of which I am a founding member: The Veteran Feminists of America, hosted a plenary panel about the future of women, world-wide, at Barnard last year. They refused to allow me to speak about Islamic gender Apartheid. When I asked to do so, I was told that several women of color had already been invited and that no doubt, they would cover all the relevant issues that affected Third World women. Of course, they did not do so. One woman of color, a woman I rather like, instead railed against the host feminist organization because most of its members were "white." Otherwise, the august panelists did not stray from their politically correct concerns about racism which trumped all and any concerns they might have had about gender.
No amount of dispassionate (and passionate) arguments have been able to sway the politically correct western faculties and administrators who believe that hate speech deserves all the trappings and protection of both free speech and distinguished university platforms and presses. The most heinous recent titles have all been published by once prestigious presses.
The University of California Press publishes Norman Finkelstein's Big Lies; Oxford University Press publishes Tariq Ramada's glorified, subtle disinformation campaign, also known as his "taqquia; Farrar, Strauss, Giroux has just published the Walt-Mearsheimer diatribe. In fact, in a curious coincidence, FSG has taken a full page ad in the New York Times (and based on all the reportage about what Moveon.Org paid for their traitorous full page ad in the NY Times to defame the honorable General Petraeus) we all now know that FSG might have paid anywhere from $67,000.00-$167,000.00 for this ad. But maybe they paid a lot less.
One very small, bright sign: Yesterday's New York Times Book Review actually published a sober and negative review of the Walt-Mearsheimer tract by a long-time Times insider, Leslie H. Gelb, who reviewed the book on the issues. He found it seriously flawed. He noted that the Arab oil lobby is even more powerful than the Israel lobby--in my view, on campuses, and in the media even more so; that American military aid to Egypt, a country which is not an American ally in the same way that Israel is, is almost as great; and that American foreign policy supports Saudi Arabia far more than it supports Israel.
Perhaps this review explains the full-page ad. Nevertheless, the Walt-Mearsheimer book has already landed on the New York Times Bestseller lists. I wonder whether the Saudi lobby, which might have accounted for all the sales of Jimmy "Apartheid" Carter's most recent book might not be funding this as well.
This is a season of Big Lies, doctored photography and fake documentary footage, of brainwashed professors and arrogant, thin-skinned western leftists and Islamists both of whom either slander or sue you when you expose their lies.
Let me paraphrase the late, great Winston Churchill who once said: "A lie can travel all around the world before the truth has a chance to get up and put its pants on."
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