OPINION: Pro-Palestinian groups don’t respect free speech on campus

College is meant to be a place where free speech comes alive. Different viewpoints are supposed to be welcome and intellectual diversity celebrated.

For at least one loud minority on college campuses, however, the rights and the privileges afforded by the First Amendment only extend to those who share their exact beliefs.  

Let me give you one recent example.

The College Republicans of Portland State University, hosted a viewing of the 2005 documentary film “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West” only to leave after the pro-Palestinian group attempt a hostile takeover of the event.

Before the event began, pro-Palestinian activists attempted to route the event by storming the stage making loud announcements about a competing event in the hallway outside where students could “meet real Muslims.”

When the documentary ended things got worse. The “activists” yelled, shouted and attempted to pick fights with the organizers. The scene was reminiscent of feeding time at the zoo.

Rather than sparking dialogue these students chose to bully and intimidate their fellow students.

If this shameful scene were isolated it would hardly be worth mentioning, much less highlighting in a Campus Reform column.

The sad fact is, however, this is a recurring scene on campus across the country almost every day.

Another such instance occurred in February 2010, at UC-Irvine when Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, attempted to give a talk on campus.

During his speech, the Muslim Student Union and Students for Justice in Palestine groups repeatedly interrupted Oren and shouted him down. Eleven students were helpfully removed from the event by police and later found guilty of charges of conspiracy to disrupt —and later disrupting – Oren’s speech.   

Free speech is a two-way street, yet you could never tell from these all too common episodes.

In the name of justice they trample the rights the claim to defend. They dismiss the fruits of dialogue for the drunken pleasure they receive from the sound of their own stupid voices braying forth on matters of which they know very little, or nothing. These student activists ought to be ashamed of their behavior and leave such a serious and complex issue for the adults to solve.

Gabriella Hoffman is a Regional Field Coordinator at The Leadership Institute where she is tasked with identifying, recruiting, and training young conservatives on college campuses. Follow her on Twitter: @Gabby_Hoffman

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