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Horowitz commented: "I have spoken at 400 universities. This is the first time my speech has been censored and stopped by an administration. And they are supposed to be the guardians of intellectual discourse." Cary Nelson, the president of the American Association of University Professors, said that with this cancellation, St. Louis University "joins the small group of campuses that are universities in name only…. The free exchange of ideas is not just a comforting offshoot of higher education; it defines the fundamental nature of the enterprise.
But the free exchange of ideas is something that is increasingly denied to conservative voices. Robert Spencer was set to speak at the American Library Association convention last summer but was canceled at the last minute after pressure from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Michael Savage was set to participate by means of a video link in a debate next Thursday at Britain’s Cambridge Union, but last Wednesday the debate was canceled. Julien Domercq and Jonathan Laurence of the Cambridge Union claimed that "there are numerous legal issues with Dr Savage speaking here."
Savage suggested that the debate was canceled because he had said he would reveal how British authorities added his name to a list of people banned from Britain so that it wouldn’t consist entirely of Islamists: "Did they fear my reading the secret e-mails which disclose how the entire British leadership colluded to destroy a man’s name and reputation?" He added: "What did the socialist Brown regime fear I might say during the debate? What are they hiding form the general public that would have been exposed? Why do they wish to hide what they did to an innocent broadcaster?"
It has happened to me also. Last Friday, I was scheduled to appear on The Eddie Burke Show on WBYR, "the best news and talk in Alaska," to debate the "freelance journalist" and anti-Semite Alison Weir.
Weir is the founder of the fiercely anti-Israel organization called "If Americans Knew." Daniel Okrent, the former Public Editor of the New York Times, says: "Representatives of If Americans Knew earnestly believe that the information they present to be true, and refuse to accept evidence that contradicts their beliefs." The Anti-Defamation League says: "Weir’s criticism of Israel has, at times, crossed the line into anti-Semitism."
That’s an understatement. She is a fierce racist and infamous trafficker in Jewish blood libels. Weir condemns U.S. aid to Israel (which is, in fact, mostly loans). Does Weir address the $900 million that Barack Obama has given to the Palestinians, i.e., to Hamas? No. Does she address the billions that the U.S. gives to Egypt? No way. Does she say anything about the ten thousand rockets that have been fired into southern Israel from Gaza? No, she has nothing to say about that, but she laments (with graphs!) the fact that more Jews were not killed during the conflict in Gaza last year. She laments the low casualty numbers of the Jews -- as if it’s the Jews’ fault that the jihadist rockets from Gaza have not been more accurate.
I was going to take her on. Until I got a call from Eddie Burke late Friday afternoon.
Apparently, Alison Weir would not appear on the show with me, so Burke had to cancel me. He had promised Alison Weir an appearance when she came up to Alaska, so no opposing voice would be allowed to be heard.
Burke is a good guy. And I said to him, "You, Eddie, you’re a decent fellow; one day, I hope you will step outside yourself and look at what happened here objectively. You have given in to a racist and a liar, provided an open platform for a Jew-hater to spread venom and bile, and capitulated to a demand for censorship. Why bow to those who traffic in lies and evil? Why strike at the heart of free speech?"
This is how we lose the war. Drip, drip, drip. Fifteen or twenty years ago, Alison Weir would not be heard in decent society. She would be relegated to the fringe, as all malevolent propagandists should be. Instead, decent folks like Eddie Burke are mainstreaming her fallacious message. Mainstreaming anti-semitism.
That is how evil advances. That is how the road is paved for incitement to violence and hatred.
And increasingly, the voices that would defend freedom are silenced.