FREE SPEECH GONE AWRY
Strange isn’t it, that the very same institutions that have adopted a zero tolerance towards hate speech seem to have no problem whatsoever when that hate speech hides behind boycott banners? Am I missing something? Why is it completely verboten to say nasty things about Jews on campus, but totally acceptable to call the Jewish State an apartheid state (I challenge anyone to question those same students whose consciences are so disturbed by the way Israel is mistreating the “poor Palestinians” to define the word apartheid. Chances are that a good many of those students have no idea whatsoever what apartheid means, but protest they must – after all isn’t that what higher education is all about?)
The University of Missouri is asking individuals who witness incidents of hateful and/or hurtful speech or actions to immediately contact the police and provide the police all the pertinent information. Why is it that no student is asked to contact the police after witnessing a group of students – some Jewish, calling for boycotting, divesting from and sanctioning Israel, because Israel is a racist country? Isn’t that hateful or hurtful speech as well?
G-d help any student or group of students on campus carrying placards saying that Lakeisha Brown (a student enrolled at the University) should neither be trusted nor befriended, because of the deplorable way that Lakeisha Brown treats others. Such students may very well have just put an end to their college education, in that they have suddenly become pariahs, however truthful the statements printed on the placards they are carrying may be. Yet, had those very same students been carrying placards saying that Israel should never be trusted nor befriended, because of the deplorable way Israel treats others, such students would at the very least have been defended under the rubric of free speech and quite likely even applauded for championing a cause, regardless of how patently false the statements printed on the placard they are carrying may be.
Perhaps I’m wrong, but I was always under the impression that because colleges are institutions of higher learning, students are encouraged to think for themselves and are expected to have done proper research for whatever paper or project they turn in. If a college professor has every right to grant a failing grade to a student who turns in a paper showing how the first immigrants to the modern State of Israel originated from the Hebrides, then why should that same student be permitted to spew similar hogwash regarding Israel, just because he is doing so outside the classroom, yet still very much on campus? Where are the facts to bolster that student’s claim? Aside from politicians seeking this nation’s highest office, does freedom of speech grant the right to make preposterous claims? Having mentioned presidential aspirants, why shouldn’t the same disdain we have for those supporting a certain presidential aspirant because they are following the masses like sheep in that they are either unable to or refuse to think for themselves, apply to impressionable college students as well. So much for independent thinking!
As Jews, we should be the first to call for free speech; as Jews we should be the first to decry free speech gone awry.