Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Friday, 29 February 2008

Blah, Blah, Blah

A common sight on Canadian university campuses these days is "Israel Apartheid Week", a week-long hatefest meant to create the impression in the eyes of non-involved students that Israel is a bubbling cauldron of racist evil as well as to intimidate any pro-Israel Jewish students into hiding their true allegiances.

Now, I'm not against free speech. If one wishes to speak one's mind, one must be prepared to allow people with different viewpoints to speak openly as well. (This is something politically correct types still haven't figured that one out yet). The problem is that not everyone feels that way. Even more irritating, it is just those who scream loudest about freedom of speech that are the first to clamp down on points of view they oppose.

Recently this came to the fore at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario (that's up in Canada, eh?). During the event, a senior university official demanded that the anti-Israel group remove a large, public banner proclaimed their event. Apparently she felt that the banner might intimidate Jewish students who were pro-Israeli. And that's all that happened.

Naturally, things immediately blew out of control and the professional victims committee of the anti-Israel group was ready with their usual pathetic howls of "supression of freedom of speech!" Yes, the hated peddlers were denied a single forum of many. How horribly fascist.

This morning the university held a public meeting to explain why they had limited the freedom of speech for the anti-Israel group. Being an open forum, there were calls across the Jewish community for people to attend and show support for Israel. I myself was opposed to this for various reasons.

One is that these forums end up being crowded by professional Jew-haters. While I went to university to learn, it seems there are a significant number of people on campus who are there to attend rallies and spread hatred. These people love to come to forums. I think it must be included in their tuition. As a result, however, any opponents they run into are immediately screamed at and driven away with either verbal or physical abuse.

Secondly, the biggest problem with calling for Jews to attend these meetings is... that Jews will attend them and feel an urge, in their never-ending need to prove to the gentile world how politically correct they are, to join in the condemnations of Israel and those who would limit open hatred against our brethren on campus.

Finally, if anyone is allowed to speak in opposition to these hate mongers, he is usually an "official Jew", definitely not religious or passionately Zionist but one who is known to be moderate and "firm" in his support both for Israel and human rights. Such a man also spoke this morning.

And really, after all the speeches and anti-Jewish tirades, all the Jewish community had to do was send up one person to ask one question: "Hey, I'm going to be organizing a conference on Islamofascism. You guys have a problem with that?"


concernedjewgirl said...

Nicely put!

I too was tired of the constant battles with the terrorist groups on campus. Granted I went to a different campus (in the U.S) even though I am Canadian. It’s the same battle no matter which campus you are on. We once did a silent anti rally. Basically they had megaphones and signs protesting their love for Islam and all that jazz. We came with a HUGE Israeli flag and stood underneath it handing out ‘informational’ flyers. We said NOTHING. We only talked to people who approached us and to each other. We didn’t shout back, we didn’t do as much as point into their direction.
Naturally people loved us. There was a huge gathering over by us and we were discussing Israeli culture and how women are just as free as men because it is a Democracy. The police that were out there to protect the student body circled in on us because they were afraid of the back fire, so we felt completely safe. Around lunch time we got hungry so we got a whole bunch of pita’s with falafel, Israeli style…we were sharing with people that came by if they wanted some ;-) all the while the terrorists stood in the middle of the student square yelling into megaphones being COMPLETELY ignored. It made them quite mad.
What did this teach me as a student and what did I take away from this? You don’t need to yell back in order to be heard. It also taught me that people that have strong beliefs whether for one side or the other you will not change their beliefs. However, you do stand a chance to reach out to the general student body or the general public that is completely apathetic and you can make them care, or at least listen and make an educated decision.
The other really funny thing is that everyone kept pointing out. Is most of the terrorists protesting had never even been to Palestine, most if not all of them were born in America. The other funny thing is that the girls that were protesting on behalf of the Terrorists were all wearing short sleeves with hair coverings and were definitely out of ‘line’. When thinking about the consequences that they would face in the country that they were so feverishly protesting, for they would be stoned to death for desecrating their family name.

Garnel Ironheart said...

The other thing you learned is that a good campus police force guarantees freedom of speech.

Kol hakavod. It brings to mind the old adage: "Never argue with a fool. People won't see any difference between the two of you." Your point was made loud and clear, and without anything the other side could shriek about. As in the verse from Koheles: The words of the wise are heard when spoken softly.