Speaker David Horowitz Causes Controversy… UCSB Students Fear “Islamophobia

May 26, 2011

That’s the headline in one of the many stories in the UC Santa Barbara campus papers attacking my appearance at the college tonight. Ponder that headline for a second. Someone is coming to a university to disagree with the reigning orthodoxy, and fear strikes the student body. And these are members of an elite university community!  The topic of my talk tonight, appropriately, is “Infantile Disorders at UCSB: Why the Muslim Students Association and Students for Justice in Palestine are Afraid of David Horowitz.”

When the very brave College Republicans at UCSB went to their student Legislative Council to appeal for funds for my speech they were confronted with a five-hour frenzied effort to intimidate them into dis-inviting me. The anti-Horowitz barrage included numerous lies about what I had said in a speech the year before in a speech on campus — this despite the fact that all my remarks can seen on readily accessible video. The council members were also shown a doctored video of a speech I gave earlier this year at Brooklyn College, which was edited to make me look like an irrational bigot. The full video of my speech can be viewed here.

Naturally, the Council members who opposed my free speech  said they were all for free speech but my appearance would make students feel “unsafe.” In other words, if speech unsettles your assumptions, stamp it out. Of course the reality is quite the opposite: the only real threat to student safety surrounding my event comes from my opponents and their political allies. That’s the why the university is providing security for the event. Conservative students do not threaten the events of leftists. Yet, in one  Alice-in-Wonderland moment,” a Muslim student at the Council meeting,  supported by the majority of legislators present as well as a campus coalition representing “60-80 diverse…student groups,” which is planning to boycott my event, nonetheless claimed to belong to a “marginalized” group and said my presence on a campus  would make him feel unsafe. Really. The only students on the UCSB campus who can reasonably feel unsafe are the College Republicans who have been attacked as Islamophobes and racists for inviting me.

In the end the Council couldn’t deny even a minimal funding for the event, since it is against the law for them to discriminate on the basis of political viewpoint. However, their on-the-record statements prove their true intent and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education  has put them on notice that they will face a legal challenge unless they repair the damage they have done to free speech.

Having failed to suppress my speech, the Council now turned to funding an event to be held at exactly the same time as my speech, and whose sole purpose is to stigmatize me and the students who have invited me in classic witch-hunt fashion. The event was to be called a  “Workshop Against Hate” but after receiving their funding the organizers  decided on the more deceptive title “Respect Coalition.” Two of the organizing members of this coalition are the Muslim Students Association and Students for Justice in Palestine. These two organizations are sponsors of “Israel Apartheid Walls” on campuses across the country. The Walls are themselves lies since Israel is not an apartheid state, and feature other lies — e.g., that Israel “occupies” Palestine — as well as praise for mass murderers like Sheik Yassin. It is for pointing out such uncomfortable truths as this that I and the students who invite me are the targets of such hate campaigns.

Schools: University of California, Santa Barbara Cases: University of California, Santa Barbara: Viewpoint Discrimination in Student Activity Funding