Conservative writer David Horowitz visits campus

Author David Horowitz spoke at a meeting of the USC College Republicans Wednesday evening in Taper Hall. Students protested the event due to his rhetoric, which some students consider inflammatory.

Horowitz, who founded the David Horowitz Freedom Center think tank, presented a talk called “Stop the Jew Hatred,” which aimed to educate attendees on anti-Semitism in America and the right of Israel to exert its influence in the Middle East. He also discussed what he saw as the widespread goal of Muslims to wage war against Jews, claiming that a large percentage of Muslims support jihadist acts of terror against the United States.

“[Muslim hatred of Jews] is very open,” Horowitz said. “The difference between Islamic fanatics, or Jew haters, and Hitler is that Hitler hid the Final Solution, and the Iranians and Hezbollah shout it from the rooftops. And the whole Muslim world accepts it.”

Horowitz explained that he believes Palestine has no right to its territory and that the conflict between Israel and Palestine is mainly due to Arab aggression against Jews. He defended earlier statements he had made about the inferiority of Palestinians and claimed that a two-state solution is not possible due to the inherent violence of the Islamic religion.

“The terrorists that blew up the airport in Brussels came from a Muslim neighborhood,” Horowitz said. “You think they didn’t know what was going on? Same with San Bernardino. The mosque is notorious for sponsoring terrorism.”

Horowitz’s arrival on campus incited student protests outside Taper Hall before his speech. Kenneth Rodriguez-Clisham | Daily Trojan

Horowitz’s arrival on campus incited student protests outside Taper Hall before his speech. Kenneth Rodriguez-Clisham | Daily Trojan

Prior to the presentation, a group of students gathered outside of Taper Hall to protest Horowitz’s invitation to speak on campus. Protesters held signs declaring that “anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism” to state that Palestinians who are against Israel did not necessarily hate Jews. They also claimed that Horowitz’s rhetoric was inflammatory and racist, citing his statements that the keffiyeh kerchief worn as a headdress by many Palestinians was a symbol of terrorism as hate speech.

“I’m a Muslim living in America,” said Muhammad Yusuf Tarr, a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism who was protesting Horowitz’s talk. “I see how the people who are noticeably Muslim are treated. I know friends who are afraid of speaking Arabic.”

Horowitz responded to the protesters’ claims by defending his freedom of speech, stating that if students had any serious concerns, they would try to understand why. He also alleged that the attempt to shut down any speech seen as “conservative” reflected the growing global presence of jihadist movements, which silenced opposition in an attempt to grow their own power.

“[Terrorism] silences individual freedom to intimidate people,” Horowitz said. “This is a sinister movement. Why do they want to silence anyone who disagrees with them? That is the only way that they can sustain the lives that feed them.”

Tarr and others, however, believed that Horowitz went beyond exercising his First Amendment rights and actually harmed many of the students in attendance through inflammatory rhetoric.

“This is my University,” Tarr said. “He may have free speech, but I do too, and I don’t want him to come here to an educational institution and continue saying all of these things against many of the people who are here. There is a concept called hate speech, and I believe that he crosses the line when it comes to that.”

Several students in attendance agreed with Horowitz’s viewpoint on his right to speak on campus, although they may not see eye-to-eye with the way he presented his thoughts. Jordan Tygh, a graduate student studying liberal studies, explained that he thought labeling something “hate speech” could potentially be used as a way to silence people whose opinions were simply different from the majority.

“I didn’t agree with [Horowitz’s] tone, but I think that the idea of hate speech is dangerous,” Tygh said. “I can disagree with things that he says, and I have the highest respect for Muslim culture. But everyone should be allowed to speak because that way people can learn critical thinking.”

Horowitz previously spoke at USC in November 2009, an event that also drew criticism from student groups such as the Students for Justice in Palestine and the Muslim Student Union. In that event, protesters were escorted from the room by Department of Public Safety officers.

8 replies
  1. jon
    jon says:

    Horowitz is a blowhard fool. Who is inviting such poor, sub-par speakers? Couldn’t we have smarter, more informative conservative speakers on campus? USC is an educational institution and if we don’t provide smart, conservative voices on campus- and only invite clowns like Breitbart people, Horowitz, and Ann Coulter- then no one ever has to leave their liberal bubble. Shame on Ellenhorn and other of the Know-Nothing Republicans. Time for new leadership.

  2. garyfouse
    garyfouse says:

    Horowitz is speaking what is an inconvenient truth. Muslim students decry it as hate speech against them, yet the resurgence of anti-Semitism in the US is focused on our college campuses. The new anti-Semitism is not coming from neo-Nazis or skin heads, but the pro-Palestinian movement on campus.

    As a part-time teacher at UC Irvine (and a Gentile), I have seen it and heard it first hand for years now. Nobody is trying to stop legitimate criticism of Israeli policies. The problem is that all too often, it crosses the line into Jew hatred.

    In 2001, an imam from Washington DC named Mohamad al Asi told an audience at UCI that ” You can take the Jew out of the ghetto, but you can’t take the ghetto out of the Jew”. In 2008, the MSU at UCI put up a caricature of Ariel Sharon on their mock “Apartheid wall” that was drawn in the stereotypical style of the Nazi weekly Der Stuermer. Swastikas have appeared on several UC campuses over the tears, most recently twice in the past year at UC Davis. Jewish students on campuses all over the country have been subjected to taunts, bullying and intimidation. Guess where it comes from: The various Muslim Student Association chapters and Students for Justice in Palestine, a Brown Shirt organization founded by UC Berkeley professor Hatem Bazian.

    Horowitz’s “sin” is that he not only talks about the offenses, he names the perpetrators.

  3. Ziggy Stardust
    Ziggy Stardust says:

    One protestor said: “I see how the people who are noticeably Muslim are treated. I know friends who are afraid of speaking Arabic.”
    I’d like to meet those people who are so afraid. A Muslim colleague of mine told me how beautifully treated when he had to travel frequently to rural Kentucky after 9/11. If someone mistreats Muslims based upon appearance alone, I’m against it. However, the treatment of non-Muslims in the Islamic world is abhorrent. Go the Pew Research Survey of Attitudes of Muslims and see the percentage of Muslims (well over 50% in many places such as Egypt) that support the death penalty those who leave Islam.
    I suggest it is far more moral for these protesters to be upset by the defaming of the Muslim religion by Muslims that practice widespread hatred and violence and spend energy to change those attitudes rather than protesting the freedom of David Horowitz, a former leftist, to speak..

  4. barney59
    barney59 says:

    Seems the only real “intolerance” we see today is coming from those who shout “intolerance” the loudest…

    Is anyone teaching History in the universities?

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