Sunday, March 21, 2010

Does free speech cut both ways?

Much has been written about the anti-Israel fervor at the University of California-Irvine, fueled by its Muslim Student Association. MSA-UCI proudly participates in "Israel Apartheid Week" every year (just ended earlier this month). Last month, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren gave a speech on the UCI campus. MSU-UCI organized a protest. MSU members attended the speech and attempted to disrupt the speech by shouting down Ambassador Oren. They were ejected and arrested by campus police. That video is here:

With the help of a member of MSU who is also on the student council, Associated Students of UCI, MSU managed to pass an ASUCI resolution condemning the police action and praising the actions of the MSU students who disrupted Oren's speech. The Jewish students' reaction is detailed here: The YouTube video of their appearance before ASUCI is here:

In a post on MSA's own blog, MSA strongly objects to being investigated by the FBI (really?) for possible fundraising efforts on behalf of Hamas, which is illegal in the U.S. MSA alleges the FBI investigation was at the behest of the Zionist Organization of America. Perhaps this is just an opportunity for MSA to play the victim. In any case, the group's blog, at, had this to say about free speech: "This is only the most recent attempt to silence the MSU and restrict its constitutional right to freedom of speech, religion and association." And, "If anyone is acting illegally, it is the ZOA, by seeking to discard the very principles of the First Amendment in trying to shut us up and shut us down."

Apparently only one group on campus is entitled to free speech at UCI, and that would be the Muslim Student Association. It enforces its First Amendment smackdown with the aid and abetting of the student council, ASUCI.

What if MSU acted this way toward another group it philosophically opposes? Say, a group that advocates for gay rights? How would that play at a liberal campus in California?

I checked for Clubs and Associations at There is not just a club for gay students, but a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center, funded by student fees (and most likely taxpayer dollars). Its website is:

For the destroy-Israel movement, Amir Abdel Malik Ali is a great speaker. You can see him here: The MSU website has a link for his speeches at UCI, but it didn't work when I tried it: He is a great speaker and a great representative for his movement despite being a racist, a bigot and a demagogue. This is because he is African-American and does not have a Middle Eastern accent or appearance that characterizes so many men in the movement. This makes him much more appealing. I wonder how appealing he would be if he turned his attention to gay rights, which, as a devout Muslim, I'm sure he vehemently opposes. What if he spoke out against gay rights on campus? Would he be roundly booed? Shouted down? What if MSU organized a group attendance effort for a gay-rights speaker and shouted him down? Would the group receive widespread condemnation? Would it risk being kicked off campus by the dean of students?

It's worth a thought: to turn political correctness upside down. When it comes to Israel, the Muslim Student Association is the darling of the campus liberal extreme Left. When it comes to gay rights, though, MSA members better keep their damn mouths shut. Because they know what would happen if they picked that fight. Students just might exercise their First Amendment right to send MSA packing.

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