Thursday, May 17, 2012

2012 UC Irvine Hate Week Post Mortem

Gary Fouse

"One man's hate speech is another man's education."

Another UC Irvine week of hate against the Jewish state of Israel has wrapped up, and I would like to add a few post-mortem thoughts.

First of all, the return appearance of Amir Abdel Malik Ali and the "triumphant return" of the so-called Irvine 11 (4 of them anyway) pretty much refute the claims that the Olive Tree Initiative at UCI has improved the situation on campus between Jewish and Muslim students.

On the other hand, some of my friends have remarked that the steam seems to have gone out of the Muslim Student Union's Israel Apartheid week. Perhaps, it was the suspension over their disruption of the Oren event in 2010; perhaps, it was the fact that they seem to be bringing back pretty much the same list of speakers with the same tired old message. Attendance appeared to be down, usually 30-50 MSU students, a few curious on-lookers, or other students getting extra credit from their liberal professors to go and listen to the propaganda, as well as some from the community showing support for Israel and provide some sort of intellectual challenges to the lies and exaggerations. Hopefully, the MSU is catching on to the fact that the student body pays hardly any attention to them as they pass by the flagpoles on their way to and from lunch/class. For most students at UCI, the week of events is more an annoyance than anything else. I am not ready to judge this annual event dead yet since another flareup in the Middle East involving Israel will undoubtedly spur the activists back into what they do best-congregate at the flagpoles.

Of course, the campus paper, the New University, maintains its political correctness by this week's coverage, which is on the front page instead of the editorial section, where it belongs.


"Near the end of Ali’s speech, a Zionist Jew from the crowd yelled out, “We’re not allowed to live in our own country?” Ali’s answer of, “It [Israel] is not your country. " (Emphasis mine)

To summarize the week of events, it was almost the same lineup of speakers we have seen regularly in the past. Boring Ben White, the ever-annoying Berkeley professor Hatem Bazian, the misguided Hedy Epstein (who doesn't realize whom she is lending support to), always radical imam Amir Abdel Malik Ali ( who belies the claims of the MSU that they are really a mainstream religious organization that rejects anti-Semitism), and this time, veterans of the Oren disruption, 4 unrepentant young men, who swear if the Israeli ambassador ever returns to UCI, they will be there to disrupt again. To this day, they refuse to acknowledge that Ambassador Oren has a right to speak.

They also do a fair job of limiting opposition comments. First, they set up the old "ask your question, make it pertinent to the speech, be respectful, and return to your seat before your question will be answered." rule for q and a. Then they interrupt to tell you to get to your question. Then they ask you to cease and return to your seat  as soon as they detect you are making a statement. It is, of course, a skillful way of limiting the "dialogue".

I heard a lot of talk last week about suffering, victims, and justice, but of course, it was all on one side. Did anybody mention the slaughter of the Fogel family including 3 children, one a couple of months old? Oh yeah. I did. Nobody was impressed.

Actually, the MSU started off the previous week hosting a lecture by a UCI professor whose name I will leave out because it was almost incomprehensible. The title was "Beyond Speaking Truth to Power" and (I think) had something to do with whether the oppressed should answer their oppressors with words or force. That's pretty much where I got lost. I think the rest of the audience did as well. It was obvious that as the speaker delved deeper and deeper into theory nobody was paying much attention. She referred to some guy named Foucault, who I assume was Michel Foucault, a French philosopher who had a curious hobby of getting tuned up by local gendarmes . I had come hoping to ask a hardball question, but when it was over, I couldn't think of anything to ask. Only a couple of students managed to ask questions. It was painful.

Returning to Hate Week, another low point was after the Epstein speech, in which a white-haired man (probably a professor) with a very strong accent got up and after thanking Epstein, proceeded to make an incoherent attack on the US political (two-party) system. "Nothing is going to change as long as (America) keeps this two-party system." (I am paraphrasing.) Now allow me to repeat for the hundredth time on this blog that I love immigration. I think it does great things for our country, so great that I married an immigrant myself. Yet, when I hear this kind of trash talking about my country from one who is an immigrant (and probably a recent one judging by his English), or just happens to be here, it gets my nationalisttic juices flowing. Flowing as in I wanted to invite the gentleman to return to his own country. Know what I mean?

I was thinking of doing just that, but at the moment, I and couple of others were approached by some crazy white guy in his 30s-40s, who reminded us of  Popeye looking for Bluto. He was clearly not normal and itching for a fight with anyone who happened to be handy. He came up to where we were seated on the steps and showed us one of those maps showing the demographics of Israel at various times and actually put it in front of the face of the young man sitting next to me. At this point, the campus police moved in and told him to get out of our space. We moved away as this nut job engaged in a 5-minute tirade against the cops before he left. At that point, there was no sense in making the campus cops' job harder by telling someone else off.

Ali, for his part, put a new title on his standard stump speech (The Struggle has no Borders). The only new items were a reference to Trayvon Martin and another name added to his ever-growing list of Zionist Jews (UC President Mark Yudof). When I took him to task for the latter, he pointed out that there was a difference between referring to Zionist Jews and simply Jews. After his speech, a questioner pointed out to him his infamous quote from the 2010 appearance at UCI when he told a Jewish questioner, "You Jews. Y'all the new Nazis." That is a direct quote. Yet, Ali denied it saying he always says "Zionist" Jews. Music maestro, please.

At least, Ali has stopped bringing his goons to flank him for "security" as he did in 2006 when he called Rupert Murdoch a "straight up Zionist Jew."


(Pretty intimidating, wouldn't you agree?)

Which brings to mind another thought: What are the rest of the students on campus supposed to think when they see these MSU folks standing around in olive-green t-shirts, Palestinian scarves with the black and white doo-dads (hat tip D. Horowitz), and red bandannas? I mean who are they trying to intimidate?

But back to the speakers because they are the ones who really ought to be ashamed since they cannot use their youthful age as an excuse. Not only did several of them  repeat the same presentations and talking points (Bazian, Omar Shakir, and White) ad nausea, they succeeded many times in losing their own audience including the MSU-the poor kids who dutifully have to attend all these events and listen to the same propaganda every year, plus put up and dismantle that silly apartheid wall every day. It must be exhausting for them, poor lads. Sooner or later, they will wake up to the fact that they are only appealing to the fringe-both students and faculty. Most people in this country are sick and tired of hearing about the so-called "suffering" of the Palestinians. After decades of skyjackings, kidnappings, the Olympics massacre in Munich, the Achille Lauro, Leon Klinghoffer, suicide bombings, massacres, and other assorted murders, as well as dancing in the streets on 9-11, please excuse some of us if we don't care.

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