Earlier this month, conservative speaker and pro-Israel activist David Horowitz was disrupted as he was giving a speech at the University of Houston. As usual, his topic was the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, anti-semitism, and the anti-Israel agitation on university campuses. That he was disrupted is not news. He is often disrupted when he speaks at universities. Nor is it news who the disruptors were. It was the brown shirt organization called Students for Justine in Palestine (SJP).
SJP was co-founded by UC Berkeley professor Hatem Bazian, himself a Palestinian and Muslim activist. He also runs something at UCB called the “Islamophobia Research and Documentation Center”, an impressive-sounding enterprise that actually occupies a broom closet in room 638 at Barrows Hall. Bazian has two agendas: First is the advancement of Islam and the silencing of anyone who criticizes Islam as evidenced by the very name of his center at Berkeley. Second is the demonization of Israel.
As part of the latter agenda, Bazian co-founded SJP, which in practice works with various chapters of campus Muslim Student Associations in their never-ending propaganda campaign against Israel. While the MSA chapters have only Muslim members, SJP is open to non-Muslims as well. They get much of their funding from another group co-founded by Bazian, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP).
The tactics of SJP are simple: They not only organize events and speakers dedicated to the condemnation of Israel; they also engage in disruptive actions when pro-Israel events or speakers come to campus. They have no interest in dialogue with those whom they disagree with. Their aim is to shut down any support of Israel on campus. Indeed, when an SJP chapter was formed at State University of New York at Binghamton in 2014, a document surfaced in which they stated explicitly that one of their tactics would be the “non-violent” disruption of pro-Zionist events. In recent years, SJP has engaged in disruptive behavior on campuses across the country.
As a part-time teacher at UC Irvine from 1998-2016, I personally observed the disruptive tactics of SJP and the Muslim Student Union over the past several years on the UCI campus. (The UC Irvine SJP chapter was formed after the MSU chapter was suspended from UCI for one quarter following their disruption of a speech given at UCI by the Israeli ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, in 2010.) I have personally observed SJP/MSU disrupt the annual I(srael) Fest on campus on two occasions. In May 2016, SJP and other student groups disrupted a pro-Israel Defense Forces film, terrifying the mostly female audience and causing campus police to be called. For that, SJP received a warning letter. Then on May 10, 2017, they disrupted a similar pro-Israel meeting again causing campus police to be called. On that occasion, I was present and videotaped the whole thing. It seems UCI’s patience for that sort of thing is unlimited. Now SJP has received a two-year-probationary period.
Of course, SJP and MSA are not the only groups on campus that engage in disruption. Black Lives Matter and their leftist allies (including SJP) also shut down any speech they disagree with. Conservative pundits like Milo Yiannopoulos and Ben Shapiro routinely face hostile crowds that often go beyond being disruptive. When Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak at Berkeley on February 1, 2017, the result was a full scale riot. People were beaten, fires were set, and windows broken. Incredibly, campus police, held in check by weak administrators, only made one arrest during the melee.
And with the emergence of the leftist, anarchistic Antifa, who have already began linking up with campus radicals, the situation on our campuses promises to get worse.
University campuses are full of young people who have yet to make up their minds on a whole plethora of issues let alone their world view. They are searching for answers. Thus, they might attend several events on both sides of a particular issue. As a conservative, my message to them would be simple: Take note of which side engages in disruption rather than legitimate dialogue. Take note of which side tries to shut down an event and interfere with the right of free speech of others. Take note of which side engages in violence, destruction and intimidation. Then you will have gone a long way in discovering which side is right and which side is wrong.
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