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Irvine 11: Muslim students vs. Israeli Ambassador

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14 replies to this topic

#1
Batgirl

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Hey everyone! :) I was trying to find this topic on the forum, but I don't think its been posted yet :/ so here it goes :)

On February 8th, 2010, Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren was invited to UC Irvine to give a speech. As he began talking, 11 Muslim students started disrupting him one by one. For 30 minutes Oren was constantly interrupted, and finally he left without finishing his speech. The University faculty called the local authorities and the students, who claim freedom of speech, are currently on trial.
here's an actual video of the event:

I personally think this isn't freedom of speech, I think this is preventing it. I'm not saying whose right or wrong. My point is, its ok if you don't share the same ideas, but I don't see how being disrespectful and disruptive is freedom of speech. There are other ways to express your ideas without preventing others from sharing their views.

What do you guys think? Is this really freedom of speech or not?

please don't hate, just be respectful with everyones opinion, let's have a peaceful discussion :)

#2
Dylan.

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This is a complicated issue, and a sensitive one at that. Let's face it: The real debate that is concealed behind this one boils down to, "Are you more sensitive to the Muslims or the Jews?" I think, keeping that premise in mind, and knowing that this forum has both people of the Islamic faith and the Jewish faith on here, it would be safe to throw all that aside for now. This video beautifully reflects two things about the situation in the Middle East.

1. The Muslims and Jews do not like each other, and trying to resolve their conflict amicably is a pipe dream.
2. The freedom of speech really only applies to speech with which you agree.

If we are holding true to the ideals of humanity, many of us would agree that the "freedom of speech" really only works when it is applied indiscriminately to all cases. There are some out there that feel the freedom of speech needs to be limited when it comes to matters of national security. I, for one, disagree, but I can only assess this situation. This case isn't to debate the rights and wrongs of free speech. The question here is: In this situation only, was free speech abused, or was it justified? The likely answer one would give is based in relation to their side of the Islam/Jewish argument. I, however, am as impartial as I can foresee anyone being in this debate. I am an atheist, with no further prejudice to those of the Jewish faith, than I am to those of the Islamic faith.

If we are discussing whether it was right of the 11 Muslim students to interrupt the Ambassador to Israel, then my answer is yes. I believe that it is the duty of American citizens to protest the issues they feel do not agree with their politics. When Americans stop protesting, democracy fails. It doesn't matter if we disagree with the protest. There has to be a respect for people to voice their opinions. Do I think it was handled with grace? No, absolutely not. It could have been an organized protest, and their message might have been taken more seriously. They are in a place of learning, and so undergraduates probably did not look at their rant with much more than grains of salt. If the message had been delivered in a proper way, they might have received a more warming reception.

However, in reality, this outburst probably garnered more attention for their protest than it ever possibly could have, had they played by the rules. So, in closing:

Could they have handled the protest better? Absolutely. Do I defend their right to say whatever they want, even at the expense of the Ambassador? Yes. Completely.

#3
pasalaska

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I will let Tim do the talking (well, singing)

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#4
Dylan.

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:lol: Aska. I'm sharing this on Facebook.

#5
Velocity

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I'm not going to lie, I don't know much (or anything at all, really) about this whole issue. But I read an editorial about it in my school's newspaper today, and I agree with what they wrote. Basically, they were saying that the 11 students were abusing their right to free speech because in expressing their views, they were taking away Oren's right to free speech. It seems like it would be hypocritical of them to use free speech in defense of what they did given the circumstances.
  • Batgirl likes this

#6
norcalgreendayfan

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I think the actions of those who interrupted the Israeli ambassador is protected under free speech. The individuals who happened to be Muslim choose to speak out during the Israeli Ambassadors speech because of policies that is in place by the Israeli government which they do not agree with and that is the basis of free speech.
If you are being forcibly silenced of your opinions because of legal action against you because it is unpopular or does not fall with the governmental norms then the whole concept of free speech is being trampled on.
Yes the Ambassador does have his right to free speech but the same applies to those protesting his speech bu interrupting him

I free Very strongly that it was inappropriate of the university to involve the authorities which is resulting in these individuals to have to go to court over what I feel are some bullshit circumstances caused by them speaking out their beliefs against a representative of Israel.

Now my last point may make me seem to be somewhat of a racist but it is what I believe and I do have strong feelings about this whole situation between Israel and the Palestinians, irregardless of whether someone of the Palestinian side is either a Christian or a Muslim and that is lets say a Palestinian Official was making a speech at the university and he is constantly being interrupted by students who are opposed to his ideas and were supporters of Israel would those students have the authorities called on them and face legal consequences, I tend to think they would not at all.

#7
pasalaska

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While I'm not a fan of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, it has to be said that those students aren't doing anything to help their own image by interrupting the speech. Unfortunately, the muslim community already has a bad rep with society, and stunts like this (regardless of the fact that I support their cause) doesn't do that image any good - they are stopping the Ambassador's right to free speech too.
On the other hand though, and I think this is probably one of the main problems, the Israelis certainly get a lot more 'western-friendly' press and opportunities to argue their case in the whole Israel vs Palestine debate (I wonder if they would ever invite a Palestinian ambassador to a university for a speech...), so the students' frustration has to be taken into account. If the only stage you have to make your case is the opposition's stage, what else are you going to do?

And wow, the guy at the end - 'you are failing your exams'. He's a pleasant fellow.

#8
Trotsky

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Radical Islamists and radical Zionists are both extremist bigots, but the west has a double standard where radical Zionists aren't seen as such.

#9
Dylan.

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Radical Islamists and radical Zionists are both extremist bigots, but the west has a double standard where radical Zionists aren't seen as such.

Not to sound like a racist, but it all has to do with the fact that there is a huge Jewish influence on our economy. You don't want to piss off your economic interests.

#10
norcalgreendayfan

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Radical Islamists and radical Zionists are both extremist bigots, but the west has a double standard where radical Zionists aren't seen as such.

The other issue is the moderate Christians as well as other moderates seem to get squeezed out of this debate by the radicals which is another issue to this complex mess.

#11
Trotsky

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On the other hand though, and I think this is probably one of the main problems, the Israelis certainly get a lot more 'western-friendly' press and opportunities to argue their case in the whole Israel vs Palestine debate (I wonder if they would ever invite a Palestinian ambassador to a university for a speech...)


That is absolutely true. I don't have any personal attachment to the whole 'liberate Palestine' movement, their cause for independence is just as valid is South Ossetia's, Kurdistan's, the Tamils', I think if a group of people wants sovereignty and can run a civilized government that can provide for the welfare of their people, they should be allowed to. That being said, I don't lose sleep over it either. I have a thousand better things to care about than whether Palestine becomes a recognized country or not.

Not to mention, groups like Hamas are dangerous and really don't help the cause of legitimate Palestinian movements, and all Islamic extremists threaten peace.

That being said, as an American, I am getting offended and annoyed by the Israeli government thinking we owe them something. Obama makes a recommendation about what Israel can do for their borders as part of the peace process, and suddenly Netenyahu acts like he deserves an apology, for Obama daring to make a suggestion.

You know what? The USA has given Israel hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign aid, and let's be honest, a few of our nuclear bombs. I think Netenyahu can shut his fucking mouth and stop acting like we owe him, he owes us.

Still, I have nothing against the Israeli people. One of my best friends my first year of college was an Israeli student who had immigrated here, and I learned a lot of interesting things from him. The simple fact is that Israel's current government is just really, really bad for them. Their prime minister is a shithead and he has done nothing positive for peace. The vast majority of Israelis are good people and they deserve better than that. And the USA deserves being better than being insulted by a man whose political career exists on our good graces.

#12
AwesomeAsFudge

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" you're failing your exam" and no one is giving a shit xD

#13
Dylan.

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A thought: What is this school thinking hiring the Jewish Ambassador to speak at their school? I mean, there is already huge controversy surrounding that country and him. You must be mad thinking you can have him speak at an event without protest. Just saying.

#14
Trotsky

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Well typically college students are supposed to be able to accept hearing from controversial figures, that's what, ideally, the whole college environment promotes, critical thinking.

#15
Dylan.

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Well typically college students are supposed to be able to accept hearing from controversial figures, that's what, ideally, the whole college environment promotes, critical thinking.

Absolutely. And I agree with this. However, it seems like even if that, ideally, is what your college promotes (critical thinking), then you would have critically thought of the possibility that not all of your students are going to abide by the same rules. It just seems like the Dean is taken aback that his students would ever behave that way in front of the Ambassador. They're college students, and they knew exactly what they were doing. If the Dean wanted the students to think critically, he would have allowed the students to protest him, and have the Ambassador answer for the charges. What he is doing, is diluting the voice of the students, in an attempt to have the voice of the Ambassador elevated.



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