Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Campus Shout-Downs Are Not Unique To America

We Americans should not feel that we have the only western universities that allow unpopular speakers (at least unpopular with the students) to be shouted-down for saying things that don't fit into the academic two-step. A recent example just occurred in the shadow of Big Ben, at the venerable and normally peaceful London School of Economics.

In a fit of nonpartisanship, the faculty of the school had invited Israeli Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Danny Ayalon to speak on economic relations between Israel and the United Kingdom. But it almost immediately had second thoughts. Too embarrassed to withdraw the invitation, it let the speech, with question and answer sessions, go forward, but not without some healthy editorialization by the faculty member who introduced the Minister.

The original explanation for the invitation was that "the school invites such guests to critically engage and debate the perspectives of the speaker. And as a university in a democratic society, the London School of EconomicsLSE) must uphold the principles of free speech, tolerance, and pluralism." Gee, you'd almost think the Brits have a First Amendment. But that didn't stop Professor Michael Cox from first making a couple of highly derogatory remarks about Israel and its Minister before introducing Ayalon to a chorus of boos from the unruly students (and faculty).

LSE had already established its left wing credentials by uninviting conservative author Douglas Murray from chairing a debate at the school out of "security concerns." Yes, those conservatives are a pretty dangerous lot. But who exactly was "in danger?" The answer came in its invitation to another speaker who is a member of Al-Muhajiroun. That organization was later banned under the British Terrorism Act, but it didn't seem important enough for LSW to uninvite him. Jihadist propagandizers are far less dangerous than conservative authors.

Meanwhile, back to the subject at hand. Ayalon got two or three sentences into his remarks when the booing started. Students began shouting obscenities and calling him a racist, baby killer and fascist, before he could even get to the meat of his lecture. Encouraged by their own cleverness and openness, the students started delivering ad lib lectures of their own on their views of Israel. The anti-Semitism became palpable. Ayalon's words were drowned out by the ever-louder hate-fest.

Professor Cox attempted to quell the worst of the shouting, but wasn't exactly neutral in his attempts at restoring civility. He encouraged the students to boo, but to wait until the end of Ayalon's allotted time. When the actual time for debate came, following the "lecture" portion, Cox rushed to hand over the microphone to the leader of the earlier disruptions. The student had nothing to say about the actual issues, but was a top-notch agitator for ad hominem attacks. He demanded to know for whom Ayalon spoke (since he is a Minister of Israel, one would think that answer is obvious). Then he shouted "where was your father born?" Ah, very issue-oriented. He then stated the jihadist lie that Jews are a minority in Israel, and that the Jews had never been in the Holy Land prior to 1947. This is all of a fabric with Hamas's claim that Israel has no right to exist.

The school newspaper, the LSE Beaver, later reported the lecture as a "racist speech" with no evidence to support that claim. It ignored the near-squelching of Ayalon's right to speak, while concentrating on the horror of the hushing of disrupter Mira Hammad, who repeatedly interrupted Ayalon's speech with shouts of "racist," and "f--k off, Ayalon." One of the attendees tried to get Hammad to shut up, and ended up being loudly denounced as a lousy Jew. The man is actually a gentile, but why let that get in the way of a good anti-Semitic rant?

Two questions about the newspaper report occurred to me. The first is "are all British University Newspapers as viciously partisan as American University Publications?" And second, why is the LSW newspaper called The Beaver? Are there a lot of beaver in London, or in England for that matter?

So the next time you feel that American University thugs and anti-semites are unique in the West, consider the case of the London School of Economics. Apparently the modern British attitude toward views which disagree with theirs is the stiff upper lip, and a lot of shouted obscenities.

18 comments:

Joel Farnham said...

LawHawk,

I don't know if this report makes me feel better, or worse.

It does shut down the notion that British politics are more reserved than ours.

Tennessee Jed said...

Always the leftists when it comes to "freedom of speech" hypocracy. As for why the "beavers," I think we both know why Hawk, don't we?

Tennessee Jed said...

p.s. - come to think of it, the London School of Economics boast that noted conservative Mick Jagger among it's students. Talk about a guy who is one of the biggest capitalist pigs in the universe (not necessarily a bad thing) as he becomes more and more over the hill, he has steadily added more and more liberal butter to his bread.

BevfromNYC said...

They all can be very brave when they know they risk nothing by being Anti-Semitic.

As for the beavers, they have been extinct in the British Isles since the 17th Century.

LawHawkSF said...

Joel: I'm with you. I'm not sure if it's comforting or frightening. But remember this when people say "why can't we be more civilized--like the British?" As if their soccer hooligans hadn't already disproved that notion.

LawHawkSF said...

Tennessee: The liberals are true experts at hypocritical indignation. And yes, you got me. It was a rhetorical question.

LawHawkSF said...

Bev: It's so damned sad. I really thought I had watched the death of anti-semitism back in the 70s. Now, with the assistance of the Islamo-fascists, it turns out it was only sleeping. It's almost impossible for me to comprehend how every problem in the world can possibly be traced backed to the Jews. Yet entire segments of society actually believe it, with conviction, and a complete lack of any reasoning.

I guess conservatives and beavers died off in England about the time America preempted the field.

patti said...

i was a total grown-up until you gave us the publication name: the beaver. then the fits of giggles were upon me and i started walking backwards all over again. dadgum it, lawh...

LawHawkSF said...

Patti: I know. I couldn't stop giggling either. It was very unseemly, but at least I live alone.

HamiltonsGhost said...

Lawhawk--Thank God we still have beavers (the kind with long flat tails, buck teeth and an inordinate need to chew on trees). They're the only ones left in American who have the know-how and the ability to fix the infrastructure of crumbling dams. One beaver=1200 FEMA employees and government "workers."

LawHawkSF said...

HamiltonsGhost: Thank you for sticking to the high road, unlike the rest of us. LOL They also make great coats, but PETA won't let us have them.

Writer X said...

So much for good manners. Sounds like the perfect breeding ground for Code Pink.

LawHawkSF said...

WriterX: Well, one good thing. Nobody will ever accuse us of high-tone prissiness.

StanH said...

Higher education, simply takes the indoctrination to a new level. Coulter does it right, she takes her own security. These people are mouthy wussies school kids, (beavers) if you will, take a little kick ass with you, and the babies STFU.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, There's been a really shocking amount of open anti-Semitism in Europe over the past decade, and most of it seems to be coming from their universities. It's very strange for a people who claim to worship tolerance.

Frankly, I don't understand where this is coming from. I'm assuming it's coming from their Muslim population, and from their viewing the Israeli's as the bad guys in Palestine. But that still doesn't explain why they would become so virulent about it.

Interesting article.

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: I don't have an answer either. I'm sure it has something to do with European submissiveness and fear of their large, violent Muslim enclaves. But it probably is also partially attributable to political correctness and fake "tolerance" creating an atmosphere of pro-Muslim, anti-Israel propaganda. That allows many of the anti-Semites who were formerly and properly hiding in the closet to come out in loud support of ending oppression of the poor, picked-upon Muslims (particularly the "Palestinians"). It's all a monstrous denial of basic human rights and the destruction of genuine tolerance of divergent beliefs.

LawHawkSF said...

StanH: "Higher Education" is one of those euphemisms that conveniently stands for something quite different form its apparent meaning. The only thing "higher" about higher education is the availability of mind-altering drugs.

BevfromNYC said...

Sadly, European Anti-Semitism never went away. Hence the founding of the State of Israel and not re-integration of the remaining Jewish population after WWII. Embarrassment kept it politically incorrect for a generation, but, like I said before, there is no real threat to hating Jews these days as long as you're not in or around Israel.

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