Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Calling him a "free-speech activist," the California Aggie notes Ward Churchill's scheduled appearance at UC-Davis tonight to speak on "Zionism, Manifest Destiny, and Nazi Lebensraumpolitik: Three Variations on a Common Theme":
Churchill's visit is sponsored by the Students for Peace & Justice and co-sponsored by Students for Justice in Palestine, the Muslim Student Association and Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztlan.

"We decided to invite Professor Churchill due to the fact that he is a prolific scholar and award-winning professor in demand around the country and internationally. Also, his case is widely recognized as a test case for Academic Freedom around the country - and given the current repressive atmosphere at UC Davis in that arena, it seems especially appropriate," said Amir Ali, an event organizer and junior neurobiology, physiology and behavior major. . . .

When asked about the title of the lecture, Ali said he was unaware of the specifics of what Churchill will discuss.

"I cannot speak for Ward Churchill, as I'm not his spokesman. But what I can tell you from the title is that he will be paralleling these ideas and providing the audience with the common, generally overlooked, similarities - and more importantly, consequences," he said.
Consequences. What evil smugness.

Khalida Fazel, president of the [Muslim Student Association], said the organization believes Churchill has a right to share his views. "The MSA does not necessarily condemn or condone everything Churchill says, but we stand by his right to express his opinions on issues we feel are extremely relevant to the current domestic and international state of affairs," said Fazel, a senior civil engineering major, in an e-mail interview.
They always say they don't "necessarily" agree with everything Churchill says, but they do.
"Granted, [Churchill] is indeed a controversial figure, but his perspective is one that has been suppressed in public and private discourse, and what better setting to engage with these issues than on a university campus," Fazel said.
Suppressed? Sane people are also quoted:

Several student groups, including Aggies for Israel, have criticized SPJ's decision to invite Churchill to campus.

"Aggies for Israel and the Davis community are appalled that Ward Churchill will be speaking at UC Davis," said Yoni Sassoon, vice president of Aggies for Israel in an e-mail interview.

Sassoon, a sophomore economics major, said Churchill's lecture title alone is offensive and incendiary.

"Zionism does not share a 'common theme' with Nazism and saying that it does is clearly false and openly inflammatory," he said. "Ward Churchill and the extreme groups that are hosting him are dangerously using false comparisons between Jews and Nazis to defame Israel."

"Ward Churchill coming to speak… is a disgrace and an embarrassment to UC Davis. . . .

Ali said he believed Churchill's opinions have been twisted by popular media.

"Ward Churchill's views on the 9/11 attacks have been grossly misrepresented by the mass media," Ali said.

"The issue he raises is looking at why people might be motivated to engage in such attacks, and that's something everyone should discuss. [Republican presidential candidate] Ron Paul proposed a similar [argument] in the discussion of etiology on a national platform, and no one other than Rudy Giuliani questioned him and/or asked him to apologize," Ali said.

Update: Unsurprisingly, and not unlike Ward Churchill himself, the Muslim Student Association is somewhat selective in the free speech they choose to support.

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