When Israel’s Ambassador Michael Oren took the stage to speak at the University of California, Irvine, on Monday night, the audience was salted with apparent students who were determined not to let him speak. According to the Jerusalem Post report, eleven people were arrested as Oren was repeatedly interrupted while trying to deliver an address on campus.
A young man began the outbursts with the slogan “Michael Oren! Propagating murder is not an expression of free speech!” As the Post’s report indicates, the man’s words echoed a statement released by the university’s Muslim Student Union prior to Oren’s appearance. The statement said: “As people of conscience, we oppose Michael Oren’s invitation to our campus. Propagating murder is not a responsible expression of free speech.” I rashly conclude that the agitators who disrupted Oren’s address were taking their cues from the Muslim Student Union.
Roger Simon comments that UCI has a severe free speech problem of long standing. I think that is an unduly narrow assessment of the problem. In any event, take a look yourself via the video below.
JOHN adds: Actually, the UCI students were relatively moderate. Mark Steyn points out that when Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister tried to speak at Oxford yesterday, he was met with shouts of “slaughter the Jews.” Which, no doubt, is what the UCI “protesters” had in mind but weren’t quite honest enough to say.
UPDATE: At StandWithUs, Roz Rothstein reports: “The organizers of the protest were seen coordinating the screams from their seats by text messaging on their cell phones, and the Muslim Student Union president may have been among the eleven arrested for disrupting the event. The UCI administration will need to consider sanctions for the MSU since it was clear to everyone in the audience that the MSU had orchestrated the raucous effort to prevent free speech.” Rothstein adds: “Just a few hours before Professor Oren’s event, Israel’s Senior Legal Advisor, Daniel Taub, had spoken at the UCLA Law School, and also faced a disruptive demonstration. Like Ambassador Oren, Mr. Taub responded with calm, dignity, and a sincere invitation to the demonstrators that they ask questions during the Q and A. Instead, they, too, refused to cooperate, and marched out, escorted by the police.” More on the disruption of the Taub event at UCLA Law School is available here.
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