Sunday, May 01, 2016
Muslim hate speech at Harvard
If there is any person or group of people that should understand the difference between free speech and hate speech, it is a Harvard Law student. Three years of legal classes at an elite institution along with basic human decency should be enough to not broadcast discriminatory views in public.
But that’s not the America we live in now. The false notion that everyone’s ideas are equally valuable—even if they’re chock-full of anti-Semitic conspiracy theory nonsense—now pervades higher education, hate speech, and it appears to be becoming more permissible. Perhaps it’s the fashionable white guilt or the faux self-awareness, but hate speech is creeping into (gulp) “safe spaces”.
Thus at Harvard Law School’s panel on Israeli-Palestinian relations last week, a third-year law student [Husam El-Qoulaq] asked veteran Israeli politician Tzipi Livni about her body odor.
“OK, my question is for Tzipi Livni,” the student asked. “Um, how is it that you are so smelly?” When the moderator of the panel asked for clarification, the student pressed on: “I’m [asking about] Tzipi Livni, very smelly.” The reaction seemed to turn from confusion to consternation. The implication of the question was painfully obvious: the student was indirectly calling her a smelly Jew. There’s no other conclusion that can be derived. Publicly asking about someone’s odor is obviously not a passing curiosity about hygiene. It’s an ethnic slur.
Fortunately the campus reaction was swift. Harvard Law’s dean Martha Minow released a statement that the question “violated the sense of trust and respect we expect in our community.” The student is a leader of the Justice for Palestine chapter at Harvard Law and made a public apology during which he said that he would “never, ever, call anyone, under any circumstances, a ‘smelly Jew’.” Of course, the apology does not explain why he felt compelled to ask about Livni’s alleged smelliness in the first place.
What’s disturbing about this whole scandal is that the student felt safe enough to ask such a ridiculous and personal question. Countless blogs and videos and articles about checking your privilege and hours of required diversity training didn’t stop him.
Harvard was pro-Nazi in the'30s so plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose