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Backs Hillel Against Swarthmore

Backs Hillel Against Swarthmore

I strongly agree with The Jewish Week’s view that Hillel has every right, actually a duty, not to permit its Swarthmore chapter to invite anti-Zionists to speak in its name (“Chipping Away At Israel’s Legitimacy,” Editorial, Dec. 20). I would go one step further, however. 

Freedom of speech presupposes a free “marketplace of ideas” in which hateful speech is screened out and given its rightful place, which means that it is denigrated and eliminated. In such a marketplace, the proponents of such speech are not only effectively censored but censured as well. Thus, we often see community groups band together to block neo-Nazis and Klan members from using public media to disseminate their hateful message.

The message of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement is to single out Israel for elimination, a nation established by a vote of the United Nations whose legal existence is beyond question. The unhidden purpose behind the BDS movement is to single out the Jewish people among all peoples and nations of the world to deprive them of their right of self-determination. It is anti-Semitism carried to its extreme. Perhaps the message is a bit more subtle or, better put, hidden, but no less invidious, hateful and racist.

Individuals and groups, whether student or otherwise, who support such hateful speech should be properly censored in the marketplace of ideas and censured as well. They should be cut off from the community, with the same zero tolerance as if they supported a KKK representative speaking at their meetings. I’m sorry, but there is no unfettered right to explore hate.


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