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Campus Free Speech, But Only for Preferred Victims

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Malik-Ali used a February 2005 event to proclaim that "Zionism is a mixture, a fusion of the concept of white supremacy and the chosen people . . . You will have to hear more about the Holocaust when you accuse them of their Nazi behavior," he warned, after railing against Zionist control of the press, media, and political decisions of the American government.

Speaking from a podium with a banner reading "Israel, the 4th Reich" in May 2006, Malik-Ali referred to Jews as "new Nazis" and "a bunch of straight-up punks." "The truth of the matter is your days are numbered," he admonished Jews everywhere. At other of Malik-Ali's incendiary lectures, displays and posters regularly depict the Israeli flag splattered in blood and the Star of David shown to be equating a swastika, punctuated with numerous hysterical references to a "Holocaust in the Holy Land," "genocide," "ethnic cleansing," "Zionism = racism," and the oft-repeated blood libel against Jews that "Israelis murder children."

But tellingly, no officials in the UC system have tripped over themselves to denounce Malik-Ali's venomous speech and shut down those organizations which sponsored it and those publications that reported about it. They did not set up counseling sessions for Jewish students who might have been "intimidated," "harassed," or made to feel "unsafe" on campus as a result of hearing that they were the new Nazis, that the Jewish state was the chief impediment to world peace, that Jews control the media and Washington, and that Jews, who are committing genocide on the innocent, long-oppressed Palestinians, deserve to be murdered. Campus leaders did not reach out to civic leaders and other external stakeholders to help heal the wounds that this hate speech may have caused within the Jewish student body, nor did they bring in high-profile experts who could moderate between Muslim student groups and Jewish students made to bear these oppressive attacks on their religion and people. Mandatory "sensitivity" classes were not set up so that non-Jewish students could be forced to have positive attitudes towards Israel and Jews. And Jewish students did not submit a list of demands for on-campus Jewish art galleries, Israel studies programs, more Jewish faculty, special accommodations in recruiting and applications, or campus-apologies and repentance for spewing forth hateful, insulting, and odious speech.

None of this took place precisely because campuses today have a startling double standard when it comes to who may say what about whom. Either because they are feckless or want to coddle perceived protected student minority groups in the name of diversity, university administrations are morally inconsistent when taking a stand against what they consider "hate speech," believing, mistakenly, that only harsh expression against victim groups needs to be moderated. When other groups"•whites, Christians, Republicans, heterosexuals, Jews, for example"•are the object of offensive speech, no protection is deemed to be necessary.

So while campus free speech is enshrined as one of the university's chief principles, experience shows us that it rarely occurs as free speech for everyone, only for a few. But if we want speech to be truly free, to paraphrase Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., then we have to embrace not only speech with which we agree, but also that speech with which we disagree, that speech that we hate.

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Richard L. Cravatts, Ph.D., is the author of Genocidal Liberalism: The University's Jihad Against Israel.

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Campus Free Speech, But Only for Preferred Victims