Letter to the Editor
A tactic on a number of campuses in the United States where Israel is the subject of critical debate is to infiltrate classes and meetings, create a disturbance, then cite these disturbances as evidence of the inflammatory nature of the events. Together with Daniel Pipes? Campus Watch, in which students are encouraged to report on the content of their teachers? classes, the clear intention is to limit the freedom of academic discourse.
Responding to the appointment of a committee to review CMU?s controversial speaker policy, Aaron Weil, according to The Tartan Online (September 25, 2005), citing last semester?s events on campus, charged, ?The speakers brought messages of hate.? No one who attended the talks given by Ali Abunimah and Norman Finkelstein could consider that charge honorably sustained, nor that their talks ?included anti-Semitic material.? The only messages of hate were those delivered by the organized hecklers at both meetings whose purpose was to prevent debate rather than engage in civilized discussion.
The charge of anti-Semitism, increasingly trotted out in lieu of argument to defame any criticism of Israel, also is a form of hate speech that can prove damaging to its victim. Such an indiscriminate employment of the term is in danger of discrediting its legitimate use.