73 thoughts on “Oren Heckled at UC Irvine Talk – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. “Cries of “murderer” are certainly unwarranted.”

    Cries of murderer were not only justified. They were too small a response. The guy should be put in leg-irons alongside all the other war criminals
    – and war criminals include those who let it happen –
    and tried in a world court.
    A true world court, not a sham one convened by the US and Israel.

    1. I don’t believe in drama for drama’s sake. He was a PR flack for the Gaza war. At best he’s complicit in murder, but still that’s not the same as being a murderer. There’s more than enough to attack him for & I have, w/o adding overblown rhetoric into the mix.

  2. He was roundly booed and interrupted with cries of “murderer” as he attempted to complete his speech. The only reason he did was that the protestors left the hall to continue their protest outside.

    No, the eleven (11) protesters were arrested.

    Liberals are fascists who always believe that dissent must be stifled due to “exigent” circumstances, those circumstances being that competing ideas threaten leftist cant.

    1. You didn’t read the newspaper. YOu should try that before you spouted yr idiocy.

      You’re abuse of the term “fascist” violates the comment rules & you will lose comment privileges if you break the rules again. Read them before publishing another comment here.

      And actually it’s not Oren’s competing ideas that bother me. It’s the brute force of the IDF destroying the lives of Palestinians w impunity. Does an IDF tank or helicopter gunship listen to the competing ideas of the Palestinians they mow down?? When they do then I’ll be happy to allow Oren his day in the court of public opinion or UC Irvine.

  3. Of course the protesters think they have won.

    But think about it. Do you think Americans love to see angry, screaming Arabs?

    When an American woman puts her children on a plane to go see her ex-husband, do you think she is thinking about Gaza, or “International law”?

    She is worried about some “Freedom fighter” with exploding underwear.

    Let them scream and protest all they want. Tell them to wear hijabs and keffiyahs. Americans just love that.

    1. Again, the pt is not whether the Arabs are angry or not. Of course they are. Do you not think that Blacks were angry in the 1960s? Do you remember the Black Panthers with guns? Do you think they were trying to get America to love them or feel affection for them? This is a grievance. They want the audience & nation to know they are aggrieved. And they succeeded admirably. There is a time for moral suasion & a time for demonstrative action. This was the latter.

      Tell them to wear hijabs and keffiyahs. Americans just love that.

      This is anti Muslim racism & not permitted at this blog. Do not engage in this fraudulent rhetoric again here.

    2. The truth hurts, everything I said is true and you all know it.

      Most of your movement, are over-educated, angry dysfunctional, childless people who live alone in tall buildings.

      1. over-educated, angry dysfunctional, childless people who live alone in tall buildings.

        This sounds like it could’ve been written by Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert. Unfortunately for Rachel, I have 3 lovely children & don’t live alone & live in a nice house, not a tall building. As for angry & dysfunctional that sounds a lot more like her than me.

  4. I’m curious to know what the topic of Oren’s talk was, and why he comes so often to the US to deliver these nuggets of hasbara when he knows most of what he says is nothing but propaganda and lies. I am glad to see a good crowd of hecklers turn out to spoil his efforts; he should be sent packing and told not to come back until the siege of Gaza is lifted and there is a complete cessation of settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

    Oren is a diplomat whose job is to run his mouth; he is not a policymaker and so he cannot be charged with war crimes.

  5. UC Irvine is hardly what one would call a prestigious US University. It is in fact a hot bed of anti-Zionist activity that often borders on the flat out anti-Semitic. But that’s not really the point here. Regardless of one’s political orientation, people ought to have the right to make up their own minds. Hecklers take that right away from me and it doesn’t matter if they are heckling an Israeli Ambassador or an Environmentalist or anyone attempting to express an opinion. They’re not just shutting that person down and depriving them of the right to express themselves, but they are also preventing me from listening. I know I get pretty peeved when others appoint themselves my thought police. The hecklers at UC Irvine could simply have protested outside, instead they chose to act like thugs. I am kind of surprised that you’d countenance that sort of behavior but then again, I’m not really that surprised.

    1. There’s the “thug” remark again. Oh boy. You make such a big deal out of thought police, but you forget the right of free speech within public forums. Protesting outside doesn’t fit that definition, unless you’re George W. Bush advocating “free speech zones” away from the actual place where the free speech should be heard.

      Ambassador Oren does not have “the right to express himself.” He is a political figure acting on an agenda of bias and untruth, which includes shilling for a country responsible for the deaths of many thousands of innocent people. If you think such a person deserves courtesy, I have to question just what reason you would have for that opinion.

      You’re also muddying the waters here by connecting anti-Zionism to anti-Semitism. Objecting to Israeli’s policies, or even going so far as to say one does not believe Israel has the right to exist, is not the same thing as anti-Semitism. “Hotbed of anti-Zionism” is actually music to my ears. I hope there will be more such hotbeds springing up all over the world.

    2. UC Irvine might not be as “prestigious” as, say, Harvard or Yale. (BTW, a strong case can be made that generally there is an inverse relationship between the “prestige” of a university and the quality of the education received thereat.) But if you are implying that UC Irvine is not a high-quality university, then you are quite wrong about that.

  6. Mary, heckling a speaker in mid speech hardly seems like a right. How would civilized people ever be able to discuss any contentious issue if such behavior was deemed not only acceptable, but a right? Those who had issue with Oren’s presence on Campus were able to protest his speech immediately outside the venue. They chose to do so in the venue and waste lots of people’s time in the process. I’d be similarly annoyed if frequent UCI speaker Malik Ali’s speeches were similarly disrupted.

    Your opinions regarding Ambassador Oren are your opinions. Clearly they are not universally shared by the entire world but you came about them on your own without undue interference. I’d simply like the same privilege.

    As for the linkage between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, please allow me to be clear – one may be critical of the State of Israel without being anti-Semitic. That does not mean that sometimes anti-Zionist activity borders on the anti-Semitic. It happens. That’s not a massive new revelation! And again, it’s not really relevant here.

    What is relevant is the question of whether or not this is how we want discourse to happen on our campuses and in our communities. I would say that such behavior is probably not a good idea. But if you want to justify thuggery, well that’s your right.

    1. I repeat: Oren was not speaking as an individual but as a politician selling the agenda and spewing the propaganda of a foreign government. It is the right of the American people to speak against anything he says, and to do so within the same forum, and not outside for the sake of politeness. You ask how civilized people can ever be able to discuss anything – a speech is not a discussion. We are talking about a speech here.

      I’m curious as to whether you were among those at Columbia University in 2007 who defended the right of Mahmoud Ahmadinejhad to speak without being heckled by the audience.

      As for Oren, his employers murdered 1,400 people last year and are maintaining an illegal occupation. I see no reason whatsoever to be polite to him.

      1. I wanted to add something, but my copy and paste didn’t pick it up –

        The right to free speech in a public forum is not thuggery. I suggest you may want to look up the definition of the word. Rudeness may be the more applicable word. But people who express their dissent loudly and vociferously are not, and should not be called thugs.

  7. I wonder if Mary can explain why Oren has less of “the right to express himself” than Obama. The US after all is responsible for killing 1000 fold more innocent people than Israel. If we add up the people killed in the sanctions on Iraq, in the bombings in Serbia, in the Iraq war, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, not to mention the 2 million Vietnamese killed in that war.

    1. The US after all is responsible for killing 1000 fold more innocent people than Israel.

      That’s a stupid lie. Not that the U.S. is lily white. It’s own military actions in Afghanistan & Iraq have been reprehensible. But to use such a stupid, ludicrous number betrays yr partisanship. Besides, what you’re doing is the lamest form of hasbara: Israel is no worse than the worst country in the world, therefore everything is honky dory.

      And hey, if you want to go back to the Vietnamese war why don’t we go back a bit farther & say Israel has done no worse than homo sapiens who wiped out the Neanderthals about 40 or 50,000 yrs ago or so (give or take a few thousand here or there).

      1. I still haven’t gotten used to this new tactic. It used to be people like Chomsky who’d point out the similarities between, say, US war crimes or US treatment of the Native Americans with Israeli crimes. Nowadays it’s often the Israel defenders. It’s an immoral argument, but there’s a certain political logic to it. The US is never going to favor war crimes trials for Israeli war criminals because US officials don’t want that sort of precedent set–right now war crimes trials are mainly for defeated dictators, not Westerners.

      2. So killing 2-3 million Vietnamese roughly 40 years ago doesn’t count but evicting 800,000 or so Palestinians 60 years ago counts. Ok, I am starting to understand the rules on this blog.

        Occupying territory 100 times larger than the West Bank (Iraq) does not count, only the West Bank counts. The millions of Iraqis displaced do not count, but the 3000 of Palestinians that lose their Jerusalem permit do. Flattening Fallujah does not count but demolishing Palestinian houses does?

        Am I getting the hang of it? Were we the Big Satan and you the Small Satan or is it the other way around?

        Why are you more angry at Israel than at your own government? I am many times very angry with mine but I don’t devote my energy to fix other countries. You have every right to do so, but why are you picking on Israel?

    2. jjj, the cheap switcheroo tactic, from Oren to Obama, doesn’t work and neither does the Israel to the US thing. Two wrongs don’t make a right. And we’re not talking about Obama in this thread. Do I have to choose which killling machine I prefer, is that it? I don’t prefer either one, but the US machine is not the subject of this thread.

      1. Two wrongs of course do not make a right. I am asking for consistency not making a moral judgement. I am asking if it is right to heckle Obama just as much as Oren? If you say yes, I am fine with that. But if you say no, I would like to understand why. It seems both stand and fall together.

        1. That has already been discussed ad nauseam, jjj.

          The question is not whether it is right to heckle, but instead, what is the reason for the heckling? By the way, these were young Muslim students who spoke their piece, allowed themselves to be escorted out peacefully, and then were later arrested even though there was no reason for it. In the history of similar incidents at UC Irvine and elsewhere, other students in identical protests (heckling a speaker) were escorted out, but not arrested.

          Why is everyone so worried about allowing Michael Oren to speak uninterrupted, but so few are so worried about these arrests? And so few people are willing to discuss the reasons WHY these young Muslim students heckled Oren. Why?

  8. Richard,
    This:
    ” Does an IDF tank or helicopter gunship listen to the competing ideas of the Palestinians they mow down??”

    is libel. It implies that IDF tanks or helicopters mowed down Palestinian civilians. That is patently false.

    Furthermore, the Palestinian point of view is reported in the Israeli Hebrew press, especially Ha’aretz and there are several independent Arab newspapers published in Israel that reflect the Palestinian point of view. There are many blogs that support the Palestinians. Thus your position that the Palestinians are not heard is just plain wrong. Oren should not be heckled, especially as he was invited by the university and did not force himself upon it.

    1. This…is libel

      You don’t have a clue what libel is. But if you think you do, e mail me and I’ll send you my attorney’s name and you can file a claim. That’s the best way for us to prove whether or not you’re blowin’ smoke.

      Would you care to venture a guess how many Palestinian civilians have been murdered by Israeli planes & helicopter gunships?? It’s quite high. As for tanks, I’ve got a nice photo of a Gaza journalist who was decapitated by a flechette from an Israeli tank. So you still think that I’m libelling yr beloved IDF??

      the Palestinian point of view is reported in the Israeli Hebrew press

      How can the Israeli press report the Gazan pt of view when the country prohibits its own journalists fr. reporting fr. there? And the idea that Israelis hear the Pal. pt of view in their media is ludicrous. Israelis know as much about Pal. & what they think or feel as I know about Martians (well, perhaps they know a bit more).

      1. I have yet to see a Palestinian point of view expressed in ANY Israeli news media. There is no interest in the Palestinian point of view, just as there is no interest in Palestinians either as people or as the subjects of Israel’s belligerent occupation.

        Opinion is not libel, by the way. Nor is it slander. I would really like to know just how you think all those Palestinians died during Operation Cast Lead, since you have convinced yourself that the IDF had nothing to do with it.

        Oren ought to keep his sorry behind in Israel and stop coming over here to spread his hasbara. If he insists on giving these propaganda speeches, he’s going to be heckled. If he comes to my area, I’ll be heckling him to the rafters.

      2. I’m a bit late to the discussion, but let me guess, Amira Hass (Haaretz) and Khaled Abu Toameh (Jpost) are figments of right-wing imagination??

        1. They are not Palestinians. They are Israelis. Tell me, do any Israeli newspapers publish pieces written by Palestinians?

    2. It implies that IDF tanks or helicopters mowed down Palestinian civilians. That is patently false.

      What a brazenly mendacious comment. You know damned well that IDF tanks and helicopters have mowed down Palestinian civilians, and Lebanese civilians, as well as many other civilians of many other sorts. It is documented. Come on, whom do you think you are fooling?

  9. Clearly Mary, your definition of free speech means free speech only for those you agree with. As for me, I would be similarly appalled with anyone who heckled Mahmoud Ahmadiejad’s speech at Columbia. But I’ll just quote Noam Chomsky: If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.

    You won’t listen to me, maybe you’ll listen to him.

    1. I agree with this, though if Oren is to be invited then they should also invite someone with an opposing view to speak.

      A little heckling,though,isn’t thuggery, so long as the speaker is able to deliver his message. Personally, I wouldn’t be upset if there were a few shouts of “murderer” if he was then able to give his speech.

      Though I agree with Richard–he’s a PR flack complicit with murder, not really a murderer himself.

    2. I don’t know where you get that idea from, Pea. Free speech is free speech. Period. That is why I brought up the Ahmadinejhad speech. He had just as much right to speak, but the people who heckled him were indeed rude although they also had the right to speak.

      As I said, rudeness is not thuggery. The right to free speech should not be overruled by etiquette.

    3. Are you seriously arguing that Michael Oren has no freedom to express himself? With the entire arsenal of the MFA at his disposal, press attaches, consuls general in major American cities, invitations to speak throughout the American Jewish community, publish op eds in American newspapers? Besides, the man actually did complete his speech for anyone foolish enough to want to hear it.

  10. And if this is what it takes to remind the world that Israel’s war machine continues its Occupation, and its massacre in Gaza continues to go uninvestigated internally or externally, then so be it.

    I’m going to have to disagree with you on this one, Richard. Informal protests and heckling generally don’t shed light or create sympathy for the protesters among the greater population and news. They tend to create sympathy for the speaker, instead, or at least what sympathy can be created before the media simply forget about this incident.

    It’s much more effective to get after them in the Question-and-Answer period. If they don’t have one, then demand one at the end. Any controversial answers have a much greater chance of getting into the media.

    This is entirely justified guerilla political action.

    I am wary of this type of ends-justify-the-means, shout-them-down confrontation, for the reasons above, and because the people supporting the actions that Oren is defending on behalf of Israel use similar rationales.

    1. heckling generally don’t shed light or create sympathy for the protesters among the greater population and news

      That’s not the purpose. The purpose is to reveal the rage & suffering of Arabs against Israel’s acts of violence. That this protest did quite well. The only people who feel sympathy for Oren are the pro-Israel crowd.

      Oren is a superb, oily debater & no doubt could hold his own in Q&A. Plus the speaker has a decided advantage during Q&A.

      I’m sorry but Israel’s murderous policy must be confronted with all legal methods at the disposal of opponents.

    1. Pea, have you not been paying attention? Speeches are not considered discourse. They are presentations before an audience. Please knock off the Miss Manners routine and look at it for what it is. This was not a garden party speech. Michael Oren is a man who represents one of the most violent countries on earth, said country engaging in a brutal occupation and land theft against another people. Are we to be preoccupied with whether or not we should be quiet or should we seize the occasion to speak back on behalf of the people who could not be there in person to speak for themselves against their oppressor?? My God, woman, where is your humanity??

      1. Mary: Your assertions are contentious. Many people disagree with you. What you are suggesting would bring all discourse to a grinding halt. I’d like to be able to make up my own opinion and Oran’s speech was an opportunity for people to hear one side of the debate. No matter how much you’d like to frame your opinion as a universal truth, it isn’t. For instance, your contention that Israel is one of the most violent nations on earth doesn’t correspond to reality. Statistically, US, Russia, Brazil, South Africa, Burundi, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Colombia and Iraq are more violent.

        You’re denigrating my argument by calling me Miss Manners, but you haven’t remotely touched the substance of what I am saying. You flat out ignored the Chomsky quote and it seems to me that the lesson one can take from your statements is that in a civil society, it is ok to heckle anyone you disagree with. Applying that standard will make public lectures by anyone contentious pretty much impossible.

        Richard, you stated that “Israel’s murderous policy must be confronted with all legal methods at the disposal of opponents,” and yet it seems the hecklers were arrested. Hmmm.

        1. I am over my limit for the number of daily comments, but I will say that I think you are deliberately misinterpreting what I say simply for the sake of being argumentative. I said that Israel is one of the most violent countries on earth, which it is. I did not say it was THE most violent. I think your reading skills are sufficient enough not to have misunderstood what I said.

          I am not a fan of Chomsky, and his quote is not especially profound. That is why I did not respond to it.

          I did not say that it is OK to heckle whomever one disagrees with. But I do believe these people were utterly correct to heckle Oren, and if I had been there, I would have happily joined in. I would not stay silent out of some idea that I must preserve the atmosphere of civility for the likes of Michael Oren. He knows he is controversial and if he can’t stand the heat, he should stay out of the kitchen.

          I will not continue to pursue this pointless argument. If you don’t like my point of view, fine.

        2. it seems the hecklers were arrested

          Thanks for the legalisms. I meant that Oren should not be attacked or killed & that opposition to him should not violate criminal laws. I don’t consider disturbing the peace to violate my statement.

          I’d like to see yr evidence that the other countries are “more violent” than Israel. Frankly, I don’t believe you. But you of course ignored what Mary really meant which was that it was one of the most aggressive & hostile nations on earth engaged in constant & incessant wars w. its neighbors.

          Heckling Michael Oren would not bring discourse to a grinding halt. He has plenty of other avenues for discourse.

          1. Just look at Forbes Magazine list of The World’s Most Dangerous Countries printed last month. You can see the list here. 15 countries are mentioned, none of them are either Israel, the West Bank, or Gaza. Forbes combined the data from 2 studies and referred to the U.S. State Department’s watch list in compiling the data. If you have different statistics, by all means let’s see them. I notice you didn’t cast aspersions on Mary’s assertion that “Israel is one of the most violent countries on earth.”

          2. FORBES!!! You’ve got to be kidding. And by what criteria does it judge a country to be dangerous? Which countries are most likely to find billionaire businessmen kidnapped for ransom??

            YOu’ll have to find a CREDIBLE source. Forbes is not a credible arbiter for anything except the latest toy for rich folk.

          3. Pea, are you being deliberately disingenuous, or do you really not know the difference between a country being relentlessly violent and aggressive and being a dangerous place to hang out in?

  11. Mary: Yes, I definitely do not like your point of view. What you are saying is that anyone can heckle any speaker at a public lecture that they disagree with. That’s just ludicrous. I know you are particularly opposed to Oren and the country he represents, but by your “logic” right wing Zionists could go and heckle representatives of J Street, or Norman Finkelstein or even Noam Chomsky. Public lectures would become a free for all with hecklers shouting willy nilly. Unless of course what you’re really saying is that it’s ok to heckle people you disagree with and not ok to to heckle people you agree with. The determination of who is and is not heckle worthy is yours to make and your ideological opponents would not benefit from such a privilege because… because… you talk to God and have an inside track on the truth? Or… you are Queen of the world? Sorry, I couldn’t resist – I used to live next to “Mary Queen of the World Church.”

    The point is, it’s not for random hecklers to decide what people can or cannot hear. While Oren was able to complete his speech, those hecklers wasted the audience’s time and that’s just not ok.

    1. by your “logic” right wing Zionists could go and heckle representatives of J Street, or Norman Finkelstein or even Noam Chomsky.

      Lawdy, do you think anyone might want to prevent J St. or Finkelstein or Chomsky or Walt or Judt or Mearsheimer or Beinin or Tutu from speaking??? What cave have you been living in? Of course there are people who prevent these people & groups fr. speaking. It happens virtually every day here in the States & in Israel. Finkelstein was put in an Israeli jail so he couldn’t poison the minds of Israelis. Abe Foxman put the screws to the NY Polish consulate so Tony Judt would be prevented fr. speaking there. I could go on & on. Pls don’t be a bleeding heart for Michael Oren who, btw refused to set foot at the J St. conference & deliberately lied by calling the group anti-Israel. He doesn’t want J St. to speak either though he’s too smooth an operator to really put the screws to J St.

      because… you talk to God and have an inside track on the truth?

      Let’s leave God out of it. Mary and I and most of the other commenters here KNOW Michael Oren and his gov’t to be dead wrong. We don’t need omniscience or God to tell us this. Oren is wrong, dead wrong.

      those hecklers wasted the audience’s time and that’s just not ok.

      What a load of hooey!

      Let’s get off this subject. You’ve made yr views crystal clear. No more on this subject pls.

    2. You absolutely collapsed this time, Pea. Give up, please. You’re beginning to flounder badly.

      You simply do not like what I am saying and so you are persisting beyond all reason, hoping no doubt to wear me down. It’s not working.

      Did I say anything at all about who is “heckle worthy” and who is not, or that it is my determination to make? No.

      Am I Queen of the World? Have you run out of arguments to make?

      I find it interesting that you choose to focus solely upon the rudeness or inappropriateness of heckling public speakers, but have not made one single comment as to why these average American citizens saw fit to heckle Oren as they did. Nothing to say about the possibility that Oren’s presence and his speech possibly being offensive and an outrage to those with a moral conscience? Or is Oren just a poor hapless victim of mass rudeness?

      1. Oh Mary. I’m pretty keen on free speech no matter who is speaking, be it Michael Oren addressing UCI, Ahmadinejad addressing Columbia U., Tony Judt speaking at the Polish Consulate or even Nazis marching in full uniform in Skokie etc. etc. My argument here is a principled one that has nothing to do with the underlying value, ideology or origin of the speech.

        If you defend these hecklers, then you can’t say anything about Israel preventing Finkelstein from entering the country. You can’t say anything about Abe Foxman putting the screws on the Polish consulate wrt to Tony Judt. All those people on the other side of the ideological spectrum hold to their core beliefs as strongly as you do to yours. They feel just as justified as you in restricting or interfering in free speech. Both of you are wrong in my opinion and in that of people from John Stuart Mill, to Noam Chomsky who hold a principled stance regarding free speech – that it applies to all, especially to those you disagree with the most.

        I guess. I’m done. Thanks for hearing me out.

        1. My argument here is a principled one

          Balderdash. Could you pls show me where you have ever protested the suppression of speech by a critic of Israel outside of this blog where you conveniently have made such noises?

          If you defend these hecklers, then you can’t say anything about Israel preventing Finkelstein from entering the country.

          Stuff & nonsense. Are you claiming that Israel imprisoning journalist Jared Malsin for 7 days his reporting about Israel or imprisoning Norman Finkelstein for 3 days equals an ambassador hearing himself called “murderer???”

          You better be done. I asked you 2 comments ago to stop.

  12. Richard Silverstein asked: “Could you pls show me where you have ever protested the suppression of speech by a critic of Israel outside of this blog where you conveniently have made such noises?”

    I’m only responding because you asked me too. I think it’s enough that I have declared my unequivocal support of free speech on this blog. If you knew any of my friends, which you don’t, they’d tell you that this has always been my position. In any case, this assertion should be enough. It’s public and it’s unequivocal. I don’t know what you want from me. Links to other blogs that I have commented on? Supporting comments from people that know me? It’s rare that I comment on any blog, but my assertion is now part of the public record and I will always stand by it.

    As for Finkelstein and Malsin, sovereign countries are free to restrict entry to non-citizens for any reason they like. I don’t agree with Israel’s decisions in both these cases but Israel has the right to refuse them entry.

    My issue is really that using the rationale you and Mary have promoted, right wing Zionists ought to then be free to heckle the head of J Street, Finkelstein, Chomsky, any Arab Ambassador, Naomi Chazzan and anyone else they disagree with. I think that would be awful.

    Finally (I hope) the criteria used by Forbes include crime rates, police protection, civil unrest, terrorism risk, kidnapping threat and geopolitical stability. The data came from 2 risk assessment firms, iJet and Control Risks as well as the U.S. State Department’s watch list. That information is right there in the article. Again, if you (or Mary) have a better documented source, I’d be happy to consider it. I continue to note that you still haven’t asked Mary for her source.

    1. Actually, Pea, Finkelstein & Maslin were trying to enter the Occupied Palestinian territories (OPT), not Israel. So your comment that “sovereign countries are free to restrict entry to non-citizens for any reason they like” misses the point. As an occupier, Israel has obligations under international law to have transparent & clear procedures for entry to the OPT and not deny entry to foreign nationals for transparently political reasons.

    2. Israel has the right to refuse them entry.

      And the rest of the world has a right to cackle when Israel presents itself as a nation that values free speech and press freedom. But that’s besides the point because the Malsin case in particular was a direct intervention to prevent him from practicing as a journalist, which is a grievous violation of the very free speech you claim to support. Not only that, but he was imprisoned for a week & then deported due to a fraud perpetrated by the Shin Bet upon him.

      So I’ll tell you what, when the Israeli gov’t itself honors the values of free speech that’s the day when I’ll welcome Michael Oren w. open arms and sit in the front row & not make a peep. Until then, don’t bother trying to persuade me that a representative of a gov’t that tramples on this value every chance it gets deserves what it won’t provide to its internal & external criticis.

      right wing Zionists ought to then be free to heckle

      You’re going around in circles which is why I’ve asked you now 3 times to stop pontificating on this subject. Right wing Zionists have done FAR WORSE than heckle these people. They’ve actually prevented them from speaking at all in numerous cases. This would be the equivalent of getting Oren’s speaking engagement cancelled before it happened. Happens all the time to progressive Zionists & Israel critics. All the time.

      The data came from 2 risk assessment firms, iJet and Control Risks

      I’ve never heard of these firms, don’t know their reputation or political orientation. There ARE other NGOs who do this sort of thing (International Crisis Group for one) & are very well respected & they don’t appear to be included which raises my suspicions about the reliability of this data. And Forbes is just not a credible source for this, I’m sorry.

  13. Richard, I disagree with you completely on this. There’s a difference between protesting a speaker, on the one hand, and shouting down a speaker and preventing them from giving their speech. The latter is totally antithetical to the spirit of free speech. (It’s true that Oren was able to finish his speech, but that was only after the protesters were arrested, and he had to cancel the Q&A session).

    And as a practical matter, I agree with Andrew: these kinds of disruptions invariably create sympathy for the speaker and make the protesting movement look bad.

  14. One more time….

    Pea, will you answer my question as to whether you have anything to say about the reason WHY protestors heckled Oren in the first place? I am thinking your protestations about the ill mannered hoi polloi are nothing much more than obfuscations. Why will you not discuss this?

    Instead of attacking me for my point of view, why will you not look at the whys and wherefores of this protest? These people are not thugs – they are human beings speaking against a regime which is causing outrageous suffering and death as a part of an illegal occupation. Doesn’t this bother you at all? Why are you more bothered about “free speech” when you will not consider that the protestors have an equal right to speak against this occupation? Why so much more concern for Oren? He hasn’t lost his family in an air raid and isn’t living in a tent and eating UN handouts (when he can get them). When it comes to human suffering, we are to shut our mouths and be polite? Give me a break, please.

    1. Mary asked: “Pea, will you answer my question as to whether you have anything to say about the reason WHY protestors heckled Oren in the first place?”

      I thought it was abundantly clear that this line of argumentation is irrelevant to my principled approach. I am well aware of the whys and wherefores of the Mid-East conflict and I have noted that all sides of this debate are absolutely certain that their way is the only way. There is no undue concern for Oren. No more or less than I have concern for Norman Finkelstein, Walt and Mearsheimer, Tony Judt, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or anyone with a contentious but possibly enlightening opinion or idea to share.

      No one said that the hecklers should shut their mouths. Had they refrained from heckling, there might have been a question period. Had they behaved along the norms of our society, they could have protested immediately outside the doors of the lecture hall. They too could have tried to use this speech as an opportunity to promote their opinions in the campus paper, or by passing out fliers etc. etc.

      Instead they chose to act like bullies and express their opinion in a disruptive manner that demonstrated complete disrespect not just to Oren (who cares, right?), but to the assembled audience that wanted to make up their own minds.

      1. “I thought it was abundantly clear that this line of argumentation is irrelevant to my principled approach.”

        Still won’t answer the question. Then what are you doing on this thread?

      2. Pea, do really believe that no one here sees through this kind of brazen obfuscation? Do you think people here are fooled by your brazen attempt to conflate being a dangerous, crime-ridden place with being a hostile and aggressive country when they are clearly two entirely different things? And now you frantically – and pompously – blow smoke all over the place instead of giving an honest answer to the question you have been asked and repeatedly avoided answering.

        You are clearly not interested in honest discussion.

        1. My opinions on the situation in the Middle East are in a constant state of evolution. Yet Israel could very well be the worst country in the entire world and it wouldn’t change my opinions regarding unfettered freedom of speech one bit. The question here is whether or not the hecklers at UC Irvine deserve praise and if the type of behavior they demonstrated ought to be the norm for all contentious lectures. I doubt you’d be thrilled if a spokesperson for the peace movement was heckled by his or her opponents. Please refer to the Golden rule for the logic and morality behind that. As for it’s utility in civil society, once again, please refer to Chomsky (again) who said “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.”

          Shirin, you may use the word brazen all you like but you have yet to address my central concern relating to Richard Silverstein’s post, and I will repeat it again – Is this the norm we hope for with respect to all contentious lectures and speech? There’s no obfuscation here. It’s a clear question that has nothing at all to do with any underlying political orientation. I have yet to have an answer to that.

          1. Pea, you’re beating a dead horse. Richard already said, enough already. Either answer the question as it has been asked, for don’t answer it, but please stop repeating yourself ad nauseaum. This has been going on for 2 days now and it’s getting beyond boring.

          2. Pea, when asked a clear question you just keep on pontificating about your principled position on free speech without ever really saying anything, let alone answering the question. In the mean time, you pretend not to know the difference between a country that is dangerous to hang out in due to high crime and instability, and a country that is hostile and aggressive. And with nearly every comment you post you demonstrate that you do not understand the whole idea behind free speech, which is not that anyone is free to say anything they like without interference from anyone. The right of freedom of speech does not mean that everyone must politely shut up and let you say anything you want to say. The right of free speech means only that the government cannot curtail your right to speak your mind.

      3. Had they behaved along the norms of our society

        Do the “norms of your society” include murdering women & children & other civilians by their thousands w. impunity in 2 wars over the past 4 yrs. Which is worse? Heckling or armed savagery?

        Since you can’t seem to control yrself or respect my 4th request to stop commenting on this subject, you’ll be moderated till you move on to another thread here or move on entirely to another site.

  15. Israel has killed fewer Palestinian civilians than either Fatah or Hamas.

    Israeli Muslims enjoy far greater freedom than non-Israeli Muslims, and that is especially true of Muslim females.

    And yet, leftists with Jewish surnames express outrage only towards Israel.

    Gee…I wonder why.

    1. “Israel has killed fewer Palestinian civilians than either Fatah or Hamas.”

      I would absolutely love to see you back up that comment, Esther. Especially since it isn’t true. And no one here is even discussing whether Muslims enjoy more freedom in Israel or on Mars.

      Come on, I’m waiting. This is going to be interesting.

    2. Israel has killed fewer Palestinian civilians than either Fatah or Hamas.

      On what do you based that assertion, esther? Come on, what’s your source for that?

      As for the rest of your bigotted, ignorance-based, self-serving processed bull food – yeah, right. And you would know that exactly how? Spent much time with Israeli Muslims, let alone non-Israeli Muslims? No, I didn’t think so.

    3. PS I agree with Mary that your constant repetitive pontificating is beyond boring. It is also obfuscatory since you are repeating yourself over and over again in order to keep talking while avoiding answering questions or clarifying anything.

    4. Israel has killed fewer Palestinian civilians than either Fatah or Hamas.

      Esther, Esther. This is not Hasbara.com. Either you’re lying or you’re ignorant. Either way this will not do. The proportion of Israeli civilians to Palestinian civilians killed ranges from 1 to 6 to 1 to 10 (usually closer to the latter). So much for Lie #1.

      Israeli Muslims enjoy far greater freedom than non-Israeli Muslims

      You really don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. Where did you read this malarkey?? Israeli Muslims enjoy gornisht in relations to their fellow Jewish citizens. They are poorer, less well educated, live in worse housing, drink worse water, eat less, die younger. YOu name it & they suffer it.

      Read the comment rules. The next lie or unsupported claim you make will place your future comments in moderation.

  16. Hey Richard! Just wanted to commend you for your very well written post; it is greatly appreciated that you’re showing your support for those who stood up “face to face” with injustice. If you don’t mind, our website (www.irvine11.com, standwiththeeleven.wordpress.com) incorporated and linked your article in our In The News section. We truly appreciate your support and hope to keep you updated!

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