Thursday, March 01, 2012

The hypocrisy of an anti-Israel heckler at UC Davis (UPDATE - he was paid!)

On Monday, February 27, a program, sponsored by Chabad [and StandWithUs]  entitled “Israeli Soldier’s stories” was scheduled at UC Davis. Ran, a Israeli reservist, and Ranya, a Druze woman whose father and brother fought in the IDF maintained their dignity and composure in spite of a consortium of haters from Students for Justice in Palestine, the MSA and JVP who had planned to disrupt their presentation. This young man, claiming to be a Medieval Studies major at Davis repeatedly interrupted the proceedings in a coarse and vulgar manner, while UC Davis security and police stood on and did nothing.

The heckler writes in the comments page on YouTube:
Alright, so I'm gonna throw my two cents in. I'm the dude in the video. First of all I wanted to say that I am not part of MSA, JVP, I do not represent their views. Secondly, rape and prostitution have nothing to do with any of it that is very true. But consider this implication. I was there to piss people off, because I am pissed off. You don't piss people off by making intelligent remarks, you piss them off by accusing them of stuff the worst things possible however irrelevant they maybe.

Oh one more thing I should clear up. I'm not a Muslim, I'm an Atheist. So no I'm not some crazy fanatic. I am mad at the double standard of Israel and so I heckled. Was it meaningful:no, was it intelligent: absolutely not, Did I talk about actual issues: You gotta be kidding me, Did it work: oh yeah.
Free speech, to haters like this, is a one-way street. They can spout whatever they want - including absurd lies - as long as any pro-Israel voices are drowned out.

And the UC Davis security did nothing.

I wonder, if an audience member would blast an air-horn during the entire speech, would that also be considered "free speech" by these "progressive" colleges? Because that's pretty much what the many people who disrupt any vaguely Zionist speech on campus are.

They don't care if their words are heard: they only care that the others' words are not.

(h/t John Brooks)

UPDATE: A number of people in the YouTube comments and via email tell me that the heckler went up to the speakers afterwards, apologized and said he was paid $50 to disrupt the speeches.

Here is another write-up of the talk, by Gail Davis of StandWithUs:

Despite hostile hecklers, protestors, and angry students shouting "rapists" "child molesters" and "liars", the two Israeli reservists brought by StandWithUs as part of its Israeli Soldiers Stories told their stories and handled themselves with dignity. Ran, the 28 year-old IDF reservist, and Ranya, the 20-something Druze woman, spoke from the heart about their lives in Israel and how they wish for peace. While the protestors represented the true face of Israel-haters, Ran and Ranya represented the heart of Israel. This event was co-sponsored by the UC Davis Chabad student club "Chai.” What the group lacks in numbers is made up by their courage and convictions, that the story of the Jewish people and the mitzvah of defending Israel remain paramount.

As fear of physical altercations mounted, several "911" calls were made. The campus police appeared but refused to remove, reprimand or otherwise take any action against the disrupters. The police stated they were given "orders' not to take action against the disrupters, but instead, to close down the program if it got out of hand. What happened to our first amendment rights of freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, and the University of California's "principles of community" to ensure a "hate-free" campus?

The program continued, punctuated by slanderous and heinous bellowing from members of the audience. In all, at various times, there were approximately 150 in attendance. There were some 20 or so hecklers that would act as the cheerleaders who would cause the others to erupt with hoots and howls during the presentation. One protesting student was heard shouting out that the star of David worn by our StandWithUs Northern California, Oregon and Washington campus professional , Matthew White, was a Nazi symbol. At another juncture, the Chabad Rebbetzin, Sorele Brownstein, despite being very pregnant, got up to speak in front of this hostile audience to defend the Jewish people. Even she was jeered at. The behavior of the disrupters was quite despicable.

The ringleader was a self-identified Indian who was extremely hostile, shouting that he was there to shut down the event, and begging to be arrested. After the event, this Indian young man approached Ran and Ranya, our speakers, and apologized to them for his behavior, and said he was paid $50 to disrupt the event. Apparently, the same Indian heckler told others in the audience that he was paid $50 to disrupt and shut down the talk.

When the program ended, a few Arabic-speaking girls approached Ranya, and apologized to her for the bad behavior of the others. Ran also recounted that at the end one Muslim student thanked him for coming and that he felt he learned some things he had never heard before.
I am told that the two speakers have confirmed that the heckler told them he was paid; but he did not say who did it.

(h/t StandWithUs)