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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Oren to be commencement speaker at Brandeis

Michael Oren is to be the keynote speaker at Brandeis University's commencement exercises.

Some of you may recall a 'student activist' named Jonathan Sussman who attempted to organize the disruption of the Goldstone - Gold debate last November, much as Oren was disrupted three months later at the University of California at Irvine.

Sussman and his friends failed thanks to the vigilance of the Brandeis campus police and the university's determination not to let the event deteriorate into a three-ring circus. Sussman has written a piece on the far Left Mondoweiss blog in which he states his objections to having Oren be the commencement speaker. His attacks on Brandeis tell us a lot about the obtuse notions of freedom of speech that he - and presumably those whom he represents - have adopted (Hat Tip: David G).
  • In 2007, former President Carter's address to students was nearly canceled because of his calls for an end to apartheid in the occupied territories. While he was allowed to speak, President Reinharz refused to meet with him, and after the speech infamous hasbara-monger Alan Dershowitz came on stage to belittle and defame Carter.
  • In fall 2009, Justice Richard Goldstone chose Brandeis as the first place to present his views on the historic Goldstone Report. The University chose to repay him for this honor by forcing him to share the stage with bullying, porn-mustachioed Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador who spent his time proclaiming his ignorance of international law and making wild, derailing claims about Palestinians in order to justify the massacre of thousands of Gazan civilians.

I was involved in organizing around the last incident, and it taught me the total intransigence of our university administration on any topic surrounding Israel. Along with several students, I presented our grievances to the event's sponsor, the Brandeis Ethics Center, pointing out that Gold's presence belittled the seriousness of the report, and made the issue of war crimes a matter of armchair debate. The format of the debate forced Goldstone into the role of the 'anti-Israel' position, when in fact he was a third party trying to determine the facts in the context of international law. We humbly requested that Gold not be invited, or that they also include a Palestinian speaker who could speak to her community's concerns. This was summarily rejected.

At the event itself, several students (including myself) silently stood up during Gold's speech, wearing sheets of paper with the names of Gazan and Israeli citizens killed in the conflict. The idea was to ask the forum participants to face the reality of what they were discussing, to point out that the outcome of this discussion would be measured in real lives, not political points. Gold vociferously denounced us from the stage, whining that his freedom of speech (as the representative of a nuclear state) was threatened by a dozen silent teenagers. Although none of the protestors were arrested, several were physically assaulted by members of the crowd: they were kicked, had their hair pulled, and had chairs thrust into the backs of their knees.
Interesting that both the Carter incident and another incident cited by Sussman (which I omitted) occurred before he ever arrived at Brandeis (if he is a Junior, he presumably arrived in the fall of 2007). If he so objected to the university's policies, maybe he should have gone elsewhere.

Be that as it may, the university invited Carter to debate Alan Dershowitz in January 2007. Carter said he wanted to speak, but refused to debate Dershowitz. The Left backed Carter, which shows just how willing they are to hear opposing views. Eventually, after an outcry that apparently included the vast majority of the Brandeis community, Dershowitz was allowed to speak after Carter left.

The Left attempted to adopt the same tactics by seeking to have Gold barred from Brandeis. But this time, Goldstone was actually happy to debate someone he deemed to be a representative of the Israeli government (a mistake he will not make again after Gold demolished him in the debate). For the record, Gold was not representing the Israeli government, and for the record Goldstone did say at the debate that he wished there had been a 'Palestinian' on stage with him. But Goldstone did a much better job of holding up the 'Palestinian' side than any 'Palestinian' would have done. He is anything but unbiased. And Gold crushed him like a bedbug.

As to Sussman's 'group' standing up, I was in the press area in the balcony during the debate. I saw exactly what happened. When the students stood up (and there were only a handful of them), security went over to them and told them quickly that either they sit down quietly or they will be asked to leave. The whole incident was over in 30 seconds. No one was kicked and no one had their hair pulled. If chairs were shoved at them, they were probably shoved by audience members who wanted them to end their disruption and sit down. Given that people were there to hear speakers and not these moronic students, the request was not unreasonable. If someone thinks they were physically assaulted, let them go to the police and file a complaint. That no one did in the last six months speaks volumes about what really happened. These students were just trying to intimidate those who hold a viewpoint other than theirs. Unfortunately, that's how the Left operates these days.


At 8:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


not sure if you saw this, but apparently goldstone was never placed in cherem and a deal was made that will allow him to attend his grandson's bar mitzvah

so goes the backbone of the south african jewish community

At 8:55 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

That shows the Stupid Jews are weak on the destroyers within who are given a free pass to undermine and discredit the Jewish State.

Btw, that's just not South Africa.

At 8:57 PM, Blogger Chrysler 300M said...

it is irrelevant if he joins the Bar Mizvah or not, This megalomanic liar has been refuted anf history moves on

At 4:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to show your support of Michael Oren, visit:



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