September 17, 2002

DANIEL PIPES CONTRASTS Concordia University and Colorado College, and their respective speakers’ reception. Excerpt:

These two parallel yet contrasting episodes point to several conclusions:

* Both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict are seeking to shift the terms of the debate. The pro-Israel side wants to delegitimize speakers who effectively call for the destruction of the Jewish state. The anti-Israel side wants to block speakers sympathetic to Israel.

* Both incidents point to profound problems in the university, and why Abigail Thernstrom calls it “an island of repression in a sea of freedom.” In Colorado, the administration made the morally idiotic choice of honoring an apologist for terrorism. At Concordia, a weak-kneed response let thugs inhibit free speech.

* The incidents also point to the differing faces of pro- and anti-Israel activism, with the former acceptably political and the latter crudely violent. The first resembles the restrained actions of the Israeli armed forces. The second represents a North American face of the suicide bombings.

Or, in the most elemental terms, we see here the contrast between the civilized nature of Israel and its friends versus the raw barbarism of Israel’s enemies.

Indeed. We’ve seen the same thing demonstrated at San Francisco State University. Where, it appears, a victim is being made a scapegoat.

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