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Concordia will allow Barak to speak

Concordia University has had a change of heart. Reversing its initial decision to disallow the speech due to “security concerns”, now Barak will be allowed to speak on campus:

Backtracking on a decision that fuelled a furor over free speech, Concordia University in Montreal has agreed to invite former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak to speak on its campus.

The university reached the decision after “extensive discussions” with Jewish community leaders, according to a press release yesterday. Concordia says it will welcome Mr. Barak once it can upgrade security in one of its buildings.

Federation CJA has applauded this decision, and I hope that the support that the university receives from the public will convince them that they are doing the right thing by allowing the former PM to speak.

Many students will be upset by this decision, and I can understand why. They don’t want more tensions, more headlines, or the risk of another riot. They just want the situation to calm down and go away.

But ultimately I believe that this is the right decision. I hope that the average student can understand the importance of defending free speech – not just for rioters, but for everyone.

If the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh had any kind of lesson, it’s that certain kinds of speech are very dangerous, because certain groups have ensured that this is so. Upon hearing that news, Damian had this reflection:

It’s worth remembering a scene in Martin Himel’s Global TV documentary, Jenin: Massacring Truth, in which a cartoonist for The Independent is asked about his cartoon showing Ariel Sharon eating a baby, and why he wouldn’t draw Arafat in such a manner. He responds, glibly, that “Jews don’t issue fatwas.”

Martin Himel, you will recall, was also behind the controversial documentary Confrontation at Concordia, about the 2002 Netanyahu riots.

The point here is that certain people are willing to resort to violence in order to shut down speech they disagree with. They cannot be allowed to succeed. Otherwise, they will grow bolder and bolder, until eventually the only speech permitted will be their point of view.

Concordia made the wrong decision at first. I believe that strongly. And their change of heart is a case of better late than never.

To all of you out there who may have written leaders or participated in the awareness campaign about this event, I believe you had an effect. Thank you.

To the students and alumni who will be upset or angered by this decision – including some members of a divided Hillel – please try to understand the larger implications of this decision, and realize that defence of free speech – while not always smooth – ultimately benefits us all.

And to anyone considering rioting: you may have thought you were victorious. This new decision proves you were wrong. If you disagree with Barak’s message, feel free to mount a peaceful protest. That’s what freedom of speech is all about. But I hope you think long and hard before resorting to violence again. That has absolutely no place in a free society.

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • x 11.05.04, 9:11 PM

    “To the students and alumni who will be upset or angered by this decision – including some members of a divided Hillel – please try to understand the larger implications of this decision, and realize that defense of free speech – while not always smooth – ultimately benefits us all.”

    Right. Because you don’t give a shit about Concordia, you’re just trying to teach the Arabs a lesson. Why don’t we invite the B’nai Brith guy from Toronto who said Israel should kill Palestinians and destroy their home to speak at Concordia.

  • Anonymous 11.05.04, 9:14 PM

    Congrats, it’s those like you who allow free speech to continue in fine (if delayed) form.

    To the first comment: I think he’d be more appropriate for the next JDL convention than a university.

  • cliff from montreal 11.05.04, 10:36 PM

    Hey X.. from your enlightened answer, it’s clear that you don’t give a hoot about anyone except yourself.You said “teach the Arabs a lesson”..Humm, the lesson I get from mindless bots like you is that we have to Dhimmi to the so called ‘Arabs’, or shall we employ the real word for these bastions of free speech, ‘violent disgusting thugs’ Is that you want?
    My guess is you envy the style of government enjoyed by head chopping Islamists the world over.Time to take a stand, eh?

  • Hanthala 11.06.04, 3:59 AM

    There you go x, that’s the kind of blindness we’re dealing with. Media saavy too. Take heed and learn from it. B’nai Brith and company have been around for a long time. They have the PR down pat and they have been established (for good cause) for a long time. Learn from it. Quick! But don’t become as antisemitic as they are anti-arab.

  • cliff from montreal 11.06.04, 5:09 AM

    There you go again Hanthala,
    You really are a hateful little rat aren’t you?
    You said “They have the PR down pat” Ah, Hanthala the victim speaks once more.I see your point, the Pali media machine “have the PR down pat”! They are hard at work always finding the impossible story and then repeating the same impossible lie over and over again,duping the media that doesn’t question the crap the Pali media machine shovels at them.From what we are led to understand, your hero, arafat, lies poisoned with aids, most likely caused by the Jews, in a hospital he wouldn’t have needed to go to if the darn pesky Jews didn’t keep him from getting all that first rate care available from your great buddies the French.The French on the other hand, we are led to believe have morals second to none,except Allah, and stand for all that is good and right! Provided that they Dhimmi to the powers that be, of course.Yep, now that’s a great PR machine if I’ve ever seen one.
    Gee Hanthala,I pity you!You really are a victim, a victim consumed by so much hate that any love,compassion or logic is now destitute.

  • DaninVan 11.06.04, 6:04 AM

    You’re wastin’ your time, Cliff; she just doesn’t get it. To Hanthala, there’s no objectivity required. She can support the pals but we’re not permitted the same empathy for our families in Israel (and here, for that matter).
    My late Cousin spoke to me of Arab atrocities he witnessed while working in what is now Israel, during the ’30s. What was the Arab rational then? They certainly weren’t refugees. Their hatred for anything and everything Jewish is simply mindless and all encompassing.
    Hell, they hate themselves! Wait for the internecine squabbling to really get rolling in Gaza.

  • cliff from montreal 11.06.04, 7:07 AM

    We know Hanthala is a lost cause, but Hanthala does a great job of being a fake and a fraud, and I for one will call Hanthala to task.The more Hanthala writes, the more Hanthala exposes to all of us just how pathetic Hanthala’s arguments are.Ain’t free speech great?

  • Tali 11.06.04, 5:22 PM

    This is good news, but it, by itself, won’t save Concordia’s reputation.

    The event has to come off well, with nothing but peaceful protest, for Concordia to benefit. Unfortunately, that’s not likely – there are so many extremist groups at Condcordia that another pre-organized riot is likely.

  • x 11.06.04, 6:38 PM

    “there are so many extremist groups at Condcordia that another pre-organized riot is likely.”

    ya.. name them. its funny how nobody knows what their talking about.

  • cliff from montreal 11.06.04, 8:28 PM

    You said ” its funny how nobody knows what their talking about.”
    Well X, what a timely comment.I agree with you, you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about! Alas,the burden of proof is once again on peace loving folks like yourself and Hanthala.Here’s a challenge.Maybe you anti-free speech (unless you happen agree with it) guys, can prove to the world that different views can be accepted at Concordia, by reaching out, instead of the usual fearmongering and threats you LLL’s love to employ! Ever think of that option.Herr X?

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