Ahmadinejad Can Speak on a US Campus, But Netanyahu Cannot

By Edward Olshaker/American Thinker

Imagine it’s 1940, and picture Adolf Hitler speaking at a US university, receiving a polite reception, while Winston Churchill is barred from speaking because his safety cannot be guaranteed.


It’s unthinkable, yet the very same pro-fascist dynamic is a reality in 21st Century America.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu comes to America knowing he is a second-class citizen who is denied the free-speech rights enjoyed even by prominent jihadists, having been violently prevented from speaking on campuses in the US and Canada in recent years.  
Protestors at Berkeley, the campus once synonymous with the term “free speech,” forced the cancellation of Netanyahu’s speech there, as well as two subsequent speeches, in November 2000. The Jewish Bulletin of Northern California reported:

Hundreds of protesters shouting “Support the Palestinians, choose a side” and “No free speech for war criminals” blocked the gate leading to the Berkeley Community Theatre Tuesday evening, forcing the cancellation of a scheduled speech by former Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu.   

Additional talks by Netanyahu that were scheduled Wednesday and Thursday in San Mateo and San Rafael were subsequently cancelled.

Waving banners reading “Zionism=Nazism” and “End U.S. aid to Israel,” the crowd was estimated at more than 500 by the Berkeley Police Department and at 200 to 250 by observers…


The vitriol that greeted Netanyahu at Berkeley only worsened in the ensuing years. Anneli Rufus of the East Bay Express recalled that in 2001:


…Students for Justice in Palestine had become large enough to stage a high-profile sit-in at UC’s Wheeler Hall. The group had demanded that the regents divest from companies with significant holdings in Israel. When the regents failed to respond, dozens of group members chained shut nine of the building’s twelve doors. They formed human chains to block two of the remaining doors and ushered students out of the building through the last door. Professor Gordon, who had an important class scheduled that day in Wheeler, burst through the chain of students only to be showered with spit and hit by a student…
Later that year, 23-year-old Aaron Schwartz was walking toward the Hillel building as part of an obviously Jewish group celebrating the annual holiday Simchas Torah. According to accounts in The Daily Californian and the Jewish Bulletin of Northern California, one onlooker mocked the procession by goose-stepping in place, chanting “Heil Hitler,” and performing the Nazi salute. After punching Schwartz in the face and knocking him to the ground, the man and his two companions strolled away.
But many remember spring 2002 as the season the screaming really started. On spring break, someone hurled the cinderblock through the front door of Berkeley’s Hillel Center, scrawling the words F— JEWS nearby…


The same mentality was on display in spring 2002 at San Francisco State University, where pro-Israel students and elderly Holocaust survivors trying to hold a rally were stopped by violent protestors screaming “F– the Jews,” “Jews, go back to Russia,” “Too bad Hitler didn’t finish the job,” and “Get out or we’ll kill you.”


Threats of “we’ll kill you” appear to have led to the logical next step in the recent violent death of 38-year-old pro-Israel activist Daniel J. Kliman in San Francisco.  


It appears that present-day northern California is to Jews what Mississippi in the early 20th Century was to African-Americans-the epicenter of explosive hate-although the same bigotry permeates much of the academic world.


That would include Concordia University in Montreal, where Netanyahu was prevented from speaking about the war against terrorism. Daniel Pipes, writing in the New York Post on September 17, 2002, described the violent scene:


… he never made it onto the campus – because a thousand anti-Israel demonstrators staged a mini-riot with the intent of preventing him from speaking…   

The anti-Israel forces physically assaulted the would-be audience…
They smashed a plate-glass window and threw objects at the police inside.
They hurled furniture at police from a mezzanine. As Toronto’s Globe & Mail
put it, “By lunchtime, the vestibule of Concordia’s main downtown building was
littered with paper, upturned chairs, broken furniture and the choking
aftereffects of pepper spray.”

The police, saying they couldn’t assure Netanyahu’s safety, canceled the event…

Pipes noted a revealing contrast involving another speaker the same week:

On Thursday, Hanan Ashrawi, the former spokeswoman and colleague of Yasser Arafat, went to Colorado College in Colorado Springs to give a keynote speech at a symposium on “September 11: One Year Later.”   

Protestors noted that Ashrawi is smack on the side of America’s enemies in the War on Terrorism. For example, while the U.S. government formally designates Hamas a terrorist group, Ashrawi states she doesn’t “think of Hamas as a terrorist group.” Also, she considers Israeli civilians living on the West Bank to be “legitimate . . . targets of Palestinian resistance” — that is, legitimate targets for deadly violence.


Yet the protestors did not block the terrorist spokeswoman from expressing her opinions (a mere year after the 9/11 attacks), and she is just one of countless pro-terror speakers who are welcome on US campuses. Sheikh Khalid Yasin, a convert to Islam, has been invited to numerous colleges to preach that terrorism is justified, homosexuals should be murdered, and Christian missionaries in Africa are injecting people with AIDS. Terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, of course, have never had to worry about efforts to shut them down at the universities where they teach.


Little wonder that when the genocide-espousing Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke at Columbia University on September 24, 2007, the event did not seem out of the ordinary. His politely received speech was hailed by many observers as a fine display of one of the noblest ideals of institutions of higher learning -the free exchange of ideas.   

Hardly anyone in the media noted that, the day before he departed for America, Ahmadinejad re-emphasized the two most heartfelt ideas to which he and his regime are dedicated–“Death to America” and “Death to Israel,” emblazoned on signs in a military parade over which he presided.

Were the deaths of America and Israel debatable propositions? For many in the academic world, the answer apparently is yes. After all, they would tell us, that’s what universities are for. Let all views be heard.

All views, that is, with certain exceptions, including the anti-terror message of the prime 
minister of Israel.


Edward Olshaker is a longtime journalist whose work has appeared in History News Network, The Jewish Press, FrontPage Magazine, and other publication

6 thoughts on “Ahmadinejad Can Speak on a US Campus, But Netanyahu Cannot”

  1. Absolute madness what a shame! Sickening to say the least but with the liberals running our schools and universities is it reallly a surprise to those of us who are awake?

  2. For many years there has been a gradual dumbing down of the intellectual calibre of students who qualify for entry to universities in the West.

    These incidents just confirm what is already known.

  3. Reijo has stated the facts correctly however there is a little more to consider. Our universities have been under attack for the last 40 years by the left. Futhermore, the creation of arbitrary universities from polytechnics, etc, both in the UK and Australia, has drawn people away from essential blue collar work into areas for which they are not fully capable. This, combined with the reduction of government financial support per institution has placed severe strains on the University systems in the west.

  4. Three comments, all with the same thread – “que sera sera”.
    Where is the spirit of “stand up, sit down – fight, fight fight”?
    Or were those just words used during high school basketball games?
    What happened to courage instead of politically correct garbage?
    I speak as an old woman, survived the Holocaust, escaped Communism, and know too well what life under Socialism or Fascist regime is like. People today are more interested in getting the same $540 sneakers that Mrs.Obozo wore at a homeless shelter, where the homeless man is taking a picture with his cell phone. Wake up! The infiltration of those who want to control our lives, institute Sharia law, indoctrinate college students, demand immigration, “change America AND the world” are just some of the battles you should be fighting. If not you, if not now, we old folks will be long gone and YOU will not be able to enjoy the wonder of life as we knew it. Given all we have experiences and suffered, Life is Beautiful. Living in the United States of America, as we KNEW it, has been an honor which too many seem to be taking for granted. If you don’t start defending NOW, you will suffer the consequences as expressed by Pastor Niemollier.

  5. I had the pleasure of speaking with a young American lad studying here in Australia. He is a republican, and the blight of leftists and radicals in schools and universities he had attended or which were available was one of the first topics about America to enter the conversation (The first was Obama). He was obviously disillusioned by it all and was taken aback a little when I joined his disdain and I actually proffered information which enlightened him further as to the cause. He did know it was the lecturers (academics) mainly and that like Obama they were pretty much to the left. I asked him had he heard of David Horowitz and as he had not, I gave him his website.

    When we discussed Australian Prime Ministers he noted that all the students where he was studying rated Kevin Rudd as a better Prime Minister than Howard.

    I could only say “This is an obvious sign of the decline in our education system”. And added “John Howard $25 billion surplus, Kevin Rudd $57 billion dollar deficit, Ahh Doh”!

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