Maybe you should have called out some people with rifles and shot a few people.... Netanyahu supporters of course. That would be true free speech as practiced in Israel..... best, Don >Infringing on Free Speech > ><http://www.sfgate.com:80/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2000/12/1 >0/MNL117679.DTL> > > >Debate rages on canceled talk in Berkeley > >Charles Burress, Chronicle Staff >Writer >Sunday, December 10, 2000 >Berkeley > >A hullabaloo over free speech has again cast an embarrassing cloud over >Berkeley and challenged what many see as a core part of the city's soul. >Most of the almost daily letters and columns in the news last week said >leftist protesters, who forced the cancellation of a speech by former >Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have stained the city's famous >badge of honor as birthplace of the Free Speech Movement. >The uproar was sparked Nov. 28 when about 200 demonstrators, outraged by >the recent killing of Palestinians by Israeli troops, broke through a >police barricade and blocked the entrance to the Berkeley Community >Theatre, where the hawkish Netanyahu was to speak. Some also taunted the >2,000 waiting ticket- holders who were trapped outside. >A columnist for the New York Daily News chastised the "mob of demonstrators >waving signs and screaming into bullhorns," and singled out a quote from >protester Lori Berlin of Berkeley, who said, "I don't believe in free >speech for war criminals." >Berkeley Mayor Shirley Dean declared in a column: "We must never, ever >forget that Free Speech is for everyone, not just the politically correct." >A letter in the Chronicle from Berkeley resident Dan Spitzer called the >protesters "Berkeley brown shirts," a reference to Nazis. Even some members >of the original Free Speech Movement joined the fray in a joint letter, >calling infringement of speech "a serious violation of the principles for >which thousands of students struggled in 1964." >The uproar is fueled by a cumulative frustration over several years of >leftist demonstrators, particularly at the UC campus, disrupting the >speeches of those they view as criminal in one form or another. Targets >have included Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Supreme Court Justice >Sandra Day O'Connor, former United Nations Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick and >several others. Berkeley is not the only city to see such disruptions, but >it stands out because of the frequency of the disruptions and the pride it >takes in its free speech heritage. >The city could end up losing the chance to see a range of speakers "as >prominent figures who visit Berkeley continue to be shouted down or >intimidated by disruptive Berkeleyans," said an editorial in the Daily >Californian, campus newspaper at the University of California. >The organizer of the Netanyahu talk, Bruce Vogel, said he was considering >pulling the acclaimed Marin-Peninsula-Berkeley Lecture Series out of >Berkeley. The 11-year-old series, which added Berkeley as a venue only this >year, has featured world leaders and other prominent figures. >Another reason the debate is so heated is that the protest leaders are >prominent members of the Berkeley community and the national left. A chief >organizer was Barbara Lubin, former school board president and head of the >Middle East Children's Alliance. >A co-sponsor of the protest was the International Action Center, founded by >former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark. The other co-sponsors were the >Coalition of Jews for Justice in Israel and Palestine, the Arab American >Anti- Discrimination Committee and A Jewish Voice for Peace. >Many liberal Berkeley residents who criticize the protesters say they also >disagree with, if not abhor, Netanyahubut that the right to protest does >not include infringing on free speech. >Lubin claimed an equal right to engage in "civil disobedience": "He >(Netanyahu) has a right to free speech, but we have a right to try and stop >him." >The Free Speech Movement also used civil disobedience when students >surrounded a police car in Sproul Plaza for 30 hours and staged a sit-in at >Sproul Hall, but Michael Rossman, a Berkeley >writer and member of the movement, called the Netanyahu protesters' >definition of civil disobedience "illegitimate." >"That's like saying any time you do anything against the law for principle, >it's civil disobedience," he said. "That's too broad." >And some who tried to get into the Netanyahu lecture said the protesters' >tactics were more like uncivil disobedience. >"Never in America have I waited, and been turned away from a paid lecture >that was unofficially canceled by a mob shouting accusations at me," wrote >ticket-holder Judy Norris. "Harassed, hassled, with accusations shouted at >me and my friend, as though we were Uzi-carrying slayers of children, we, >two quiet ladies from Moraga . . . wanted to hear both sides of the issue." >Lubin said Netanyahu's views are easily heard: "If people are really >interested in what Mr. Netanyahu has to say, they can open up the New York >Times." >Mayor Dean countered: "I don't want to hear what Netanyahu says through >something else. I think people have a right to hear him directly, to see >him, to experience him." >A volunteer at the International Action Center headquarters in New York >quoted a poem, "Don't Let the Fascists Speak," by the late African American >lesbian writer Pat Parker of San Francisco: "What the Nazis say will cause >people to hurt ME." >But critics say the no-speech-for-fascists standard relies on the >protesters' perception to define a fascist or war criminal and can easily >lead to repression of the left or the right. >"You are only defeating yourselves," UC senior Andrew Massey told the >protesters in a Daily Cal column, "as one day you might find your contrary >position makes the mob turn on you." >Laurie Polster of Jews for Justice said the demonstration was "incredibly >nonviolent" and that she had not gone there to stop the speech. But she >added that freedom of speech is not absolute, noting that Germany, for >example, bans public denial of the Holocaust and that most newspapers will >not publish racist ads. >Asked if there is a principle or standard to determine when it's legitimate >for protesters to infringe on a public speech, Polster raised the Hitler test. >"If Adolf Hitler were alive and came here to speak and preach hatred, >should I not try to stop the event?" she asked. >Mayor Dean's response: "The Supreme Court settled that issue in Skokie, >Illinois." The court ruled that Nazis had a freedom-of-speech right to >march in a town that was home to many Holocaust survivors. >Sara Flounders, co-director of the International Action Center, said, >"Heckling is also a form of speech." >She said people like Netanyahu have generous funding and ready access to >the media to get their message out, while her organization does not have >adequate opportunity to tell what's happening to the Palestinians. >Asked if all groups who feel their message is not getting out, such as >white supremacists, should have license to disrupt speech, Polster said, >"It's a very, very tough issue, and I can only speak for this one event." >Alan Schlosser, managing attorney for the San Francisco office of the >American Civil Liberties Union, said, "It's not an easy question." The ACLU >swallowed a bitter pill to argue for the Nazi's right to march in Skokie. >"The right to protest includes the right to protest vigorously and loudly," >he said, but not "the right to break the law or interfere with other people >attending the speech." >In general, Schlosser said, "The burden is on the government, in this case >the Berkeley police, to take all steps necessary to allow free speech to >take place and to allow protesters to express themselves." >Some protesters said police shared responsibility for cancellation of the >speech because they retreated behind a fence and did not arrest those who >blocked the theater. >Police said they had not received early notification of Netanyahu's >appearance and that attempting arrests with their stretched resources could >have escalated crowd anger and led to injuries. >-- >HECKLED IN BERKELEY Here are some of the people whose speeches have been >disrupted or canceled by protesters in Berkeley. > >-Benjamin Nentanyahu, former Israeli Prime Minister. His Nov. 28 speech was >canceled when protesters opposed to his hard line in the conflict with >Palestinians blocked the Berkeley Community Theatre. >-Gen. Wesley Clark, former NATO commander. >His Oct. 19 speech at the Berkeley Community Theatre was disrupted by two >protesters chanting >""Wesley Clark, war criminal!" >-Dan Flynn, executive director of Accuracy in America, was disrupted by >hecklers on Sept. 27 during a University of California speech claiming >death row inmate Mumia Abu Jamal is guilty. >-Madeleine Albright, U.S. Secretary of State. Her May 10 commencement >address at UC's Greek Theatre was interrupted repeatedly by protesters >opposed to U.S. sanctions against Iraq. >-David Irving, author who claims Holocaust was exaggerated. His Feb. 1995 >talk at UC was cancelled by protesters who fought with his audience. >Protesters tossed rocks and bottles at his Oct. 1994 talk, injuring three >people. >-Vincent Sarich, emeritus Berkeley professor who said affirmative action >discriminated against whites. More than 50 protesters disrupted his >anthropology class in Nov. 1990. >-Sandra Day O'Connor, U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Protesters opposed to her >rulings restricting abortion and upholding an anti-sodomy law interrupted >her Jan. 1990 speech at UC. >-Clarence Pendleton, first black chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil >Rights. His April 1985 talk was interrupted by hecklers opposed to his >support of policies shunning racial quotas in employment and school >admissions. >-Jeane Kirkpatrick, former ambassador to the United Nations. She left the >stage during a Feb. 1983 UC lecture, shouted down by hecklers opposed to >U.S. policy in El Salvador. She resumed her talk but canceled a lecture the >next day. >---- >E-mail Charles Burress at <email@example.com>.
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