“Deja vu all over again”

Wendy Jones’ article “Deja vu all over again” (Jan. 29) quotes a member of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, Laith Marouf, as threatening to “shut down [a speech by Israeli Housing Minister Natan] Sharansky like we shut down [a speech by former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu.”

That Marouf plans to use further violence as a means of ending free speech on campus is more than outrageous and unethical. Even if Marouf’s violent intentions are thwarted, the threat itself is nothing less than an assault on free speech and intellectual freedom, something that even a place like Concordia University might occasionally consider valuable.

The fact that Jones is not “equal” to Netanyahu is entirely irrelevant. If Concordia wants to retain its single remaining shred of respect, administrators and security officials must ensure that thugs like Marouf are kept far away from the venue for Sharansky’s speech.

Civilized, respectful protest against Sharansky is perfectly acceptable–however misguided it may be. Allowing the conference to be shut down by another mob would be a new mark on Concordia’s reputation, a reputation that has already been severely tarnished.

Nathan Burstein
Harvard College ’04
Cambridge, MA

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