#27 Observer 2/12/2004 06:14PM PST
I was at the event. Many people could not get in because the auditorium was full with those whose main purpose was to disrupt the lecture and eventually leave.
Pipes handled himself beautifully, never lost his composure in the face of this uncivilized behavior and just mocked their hypocricy. When a speaker gets booed for criticizing militant Islam, you know there's something wrong. I expected this reaction going into the event, having spent a lot of time on campus, but the circus put on by these clowns exceeded my expectations. One 'liberal' began interupting before Pipes said one word, and this continued till the vast majority of them left the lecture hall.
#28 TempestMan 2/12/2004 06:16PM PST
Well, I was there, too, and here is an excerpt of some of a long essay I wrote to send to my friends and family about the affair who wanted to know what I had seen:
Without discussing Mr. Pipes' talk too much, I do feel a need to comment on the audience. As one might expect, the protestors could not control themselves and there were numerous outbursts and other such disruptions. Whenever the word "Islam" was spoken by Mr. Pipes for any reason, the protestors were set off to chant various cliched slogans or calling Mr. Pipes a racist. Slogans included such gems as, "Zionism is racism," "Death to Zionism," "Israel out of Palestine," and even one exclamation that Orthodox Judaism was the equivalent of Nazism. The last time I checked and as silly as I personally think Orthodox Judaism is, the sect is not violent nor does it seek to force its will on others by violent means. Supporters consistently tried to calm the disruptors down through mild admonishments such as, "Let him speak," or "Please be quiet." or "Please sit down." Usually and expectedly, this did not work and one of more protestors had to be escorted out.
As the talk progressed to the Arab-Israeli conflict, various audience members would rise up to denounce Mr. Pipes. Again, they chanted "Racist," "Zionist," etc. Mr. Pipes claimed (and I agree with him) that diplomacy in this situation has failed and should no longer even be attempted as it will only be counterproductive. He correctly placed the onus of the failure of The Oslo accords of 1993 completely on Arafat and the "Palestinans" (the protestors did not like hearing that). The documented facts show that Israel made concession after concession in accordance with the agreement while the "Palestinians" ignored their obligations (namely to recognize Israel's right to exist and to stop attacking it) and used the agreement to rearm themselves and begin an indoctrination of hate and suicide into their culture directed at destroying Israel. Again, many of the protestors could not handle these truths and once again took to disruptive chants, and many were escorted out.
Also, I observed that about 90% of the protestors were young adults probably between 21-25 years of age. What does this say about our young adult population I wonder? I particularly focused on one young man seated 2 rows in front of me. I am unsure of his origins...he appeared to be a mixed type, perhaps from an interracial marriage. He was wearing the typical "Palestinian" scarf and was quite vocal throughout the talk, although it was mainly a reactionary, automated response to anything that he perceived as inflammatory. He mainly screamed "Death to Zionism" and "Zionism is racism" many times as Mr. Pipes was speaking, and called Mr. Pipes a racist over and over again. What occurred to me as I watched him was that this is the sort of person who ensures that this conflict will continue. He is so consumed with hate, racism, and a sheer ignorance that he cannot be changed. The saddest part is that the very racism that he accuses Mr. Pipes (and others no doubt) of harboring describes his very own mindset, but he will never understand that simple truth. How he came to be this way, I cannot say having not known him or how he was raised, but it was quite evident that nothing and no one would ever be able to help him. He will continue to develop into a person who irrationally hates Jews, Israel, and all other ways of life that do not conform to his own narrow views until he mercifully expires. While there is no guarantee, it is certainly within reason to believe that he may one day take up arms against innocent people whose only "crime" is being Jewish or otherwise non-Muslim.
#86 quesnay 2/12/2004 07:35PM PST
My friend Jeff & I were actually at the lecture. We were not at all visibly shaken, as this sort of behaviour was to be expected. What the press did not report was the chanting of "Seig Heil" by the radicals. In fact, I don't think that any of the protesters had actually read Pipes. In fact most of the radicals do not even attend Berkeley. Pipes was great as he did not lose his cool and was very dignified in his responses. In fact, most of the students that we observed on campus seemed more worried about their course load and grades than small cadre of "Brownshirts" that gets more attention than they deserve.
#94 Brenda 2/12/2004 07:47PM PST
I went but couldn't get in because I had a backpack-that's how security was. My normal level of walking-around armaments includes a knife and some spray stuff, so I figured there was no way they would let me in, even though I had nothing even vaguely bomb-like.
Even so, the shreiking was pretty thick when I was just prowling around the entrance-Muz students with distinctly unpleasant attitudes, awful signs, idiotic giant puppet things lurking about. Just the nastiest vibes you can imagine.
I cannot imagine speaking to a group like that. What a warrior Pipes is.
He is fearless.
#107 jsstag 2/12/2004 08:08PM PST
I am the "Jeff" referenced in #86 and I agree with my friend that most of the attendees were not terribly shaken by the protestors either in or out of the auditorium (even though this included hostile shouts of "racist" to those of us who were peaceably departing the event). A couple of additional points:
1. The first protestor to be tossed was none other than Snehal Shingavi, the lecturer/Palestinan activist who notoriously discouraged students with a "conservative" perspective from attending his poetry seminar. He actually tried to speak out before Pipes even began his lecture. After refusing to hold his pearls of wisdom until the Q&A, he was escorted from the hall. But that pretty much set the tone for the evening.
2. The organizers, three Jewish student groups, really need to be commended here. They set the protocol for civility, even when it was obviously going to be transgressed, they showed patience with the hostile portions of the crowd (which were in the minority) and finally they were willing to take a stand and have people removed when that became the last resort. They were also fair to the other side; most of the questions at the Q&A were clearly meant to challenge Pipes, and were delivered dispassionately by a moderator. In the end, Pipes was able to give his speech and there was a good, albiet shortened (due to the interruptions) Q&A. Bravo to the organizers for what really was a terriifc event.
3. My friend accurately points out the "Seig Heil" incident, which really wins my vote for the low point of the evening. I found it interesting that until that point the pro-Pipes attendees were quite vocal in answering the interruptions. During the Nazi salute, however, delivered by the protestors, most of whom were dressed in middle eastern garb, with the knowledge that a large Jewish contingent filled the hall, there was relative stunned silence. It was as if the attendees understood that this vulgar gesture was best left to speak for itself in evincing the moral emptiness of its speakers.
#125 agit-prop 2/12/2004 09:26PM PST
#18 - i'm taking the CA bar exam in july; i'd love to hear what you have in mind.
#29 & 115 - who are FIRE?
i was at this lecture too and was impressed with dr. pipes' ability to retain his cool-and indeed respond to his critics with wit and aplomb. heck, i was so impressed i donated to campus watch today!
after the lecture, all i could think was "they may be louder, but we have the better ideas." so long as the marketplace of ideas remains free, there is no doubt in my mind that we will triumph over this most recent form of fascism, so-called "militant" islam. i just hope that we have the spine to continue down the right path.
#126 andreaSF 2/12/2004 09:30PM PST
The "seig heil" did happen, a dad of one of my son's kindergarten classmates went to the lecture and was stunned at the venom and vitriol of the vermin left in attendance.. hope to get more info from him and post it tomorrow..
#130 zombie 2/12/2004 10:07PM PST
Check it out! Here are 12 photos I took at the Pipes lecture: Daniel Pipes Berkeley lecture and protest photos.
Sorry they're all so high-resolution and big. I'm not a Web-meister so I just slapped 'em online as is. Download them if you need to see them more reasonably-sized on your screen.
Experience the love!
#135 MakeMyDay 2/12/2004 10:26PM PST
Thanks to everybody who posted about Daniel Pipes lecture. I actually wanted to ask how it went, because I was one of those who could not get in due to lack of space. Could somebody estimate which side constituted the majority of his audience -- supporters or detractors? I would say that people who did not manage to get in were genuinely interested in his lecture.
I saw some usual loonies outside. There was a middle-aged guy in the Uncle Sam outfit with a sign "Onward Christian soldiers, Uncle Sam wants you to die for Israel" ( he looked like a dirty old man more than anything else) distributing lists of hate literature, then there were four "masks" of black widows holding something like rag dolls -- my guess is they meant to represent babies personally eaten by Daniel Pipes. There was a sign "Shame to Hillel". However, the crowd of people lined up for attending the lecture was so much larger than that of the circus freaks, that I left in hope that the lecture would pass normally, without incidents. Looks like I was wrong.
#145 zombie 2/12/2004 11:17PM PST
A few comments on my photos and on the event itself:
The guy holding up the Gandhi-quote sign in the first photo (he appears in other photos as well) was spewing the most incredible anti-Semitism I have ever actually witnessed in person. Before the rally, while holding his Gandhi sign, he was screaming, "If you broke into someone's house and stole something, the owner would have the right to kill you. You'd deserve to die! The Jews broke into Palestine and stole the Palestinians' land. So they deserve to die! The Jews deserve to die!" When a couple of crazy-brave Israelis confronted him, he yelled back at one of them, "What's your address? What's your address? I'll come over one night and we'll see if you try to kill me. It's the reasonable response if someone tries to steal from you. What's your address? Are you afraid?" It was really, really creepy. The same guy was also one of the last ones kicked out of the lecture, and as he left he was screaming first at Pipes, "Racist Jew! Racist Jew!" and then at the remaining audience, "Racist Jews! Racist Jews!"
As Pipes correctly pointed out-what's race got to do with it? Pipes never mentioned race. And Muslims come in all colors (as Malcolm X was so proud to point out).
The "I want you to Die for IXrael" guy is a regular at all the "peace" rallies around the Bay Area.
The third picture shows a screaming fight going on in the background- unfortunately blocked out by a couple of smiling, more jocular combatants.
The fourth picture shows Pipes getting interrupted by yet another screaming protester; this happened about 40 times throughout the lecture.
Then we've got a selection of signs, duelling flags, Big-Head Palestinian moms with their rag-doll dead babies, and so forth. The final picture shows what I like to call "Palestinian chic"-Dude, we are so cool.
What no one has really pointed out here yet is that after the lecture, the Students for Justice in Palestine crowd had created a "hate tunnel" at the exit, so that everyone who came out afterwards had to run the gauntlet and face a line of screaming Israel-haters. Generally, they howled "Racist! Racist!" incessantly at every doddering old lady, every nerdy student, every grumpy old hippie who left the lecture. Whoever they were, they were definitely all racists.
As to the content of Pipes' lecture: to be frank, everything he said was eminently reasonable and totally self-evident to lgf readers. I didn't hear a single extremist or racist or hate-filled word come out of his mouth. He is, in fact, quite soft-spoken. I was expecting a pro-Israel firebrand, but instead we got a sensible Middle East analyst not afraid to tell it like it is. His calmness and his factual accuracy are what really drove the protestors into convulsions.
I'd say the crowd inside the lecture hall was actually about 50-50 evenly split pro- and anti-Pipes. It's just that only a certain segment of the anti-Pipes crowd were vocal enough to get kicked out. Many of the calm, silent listeners were anti-Pipes as well: I did my best to eavesdrop on everyone, and watch their body language. Generally, the screamers were SJP (Students for Justice in Palestine) and MSA (Muslim Students Association) members, as well as professional Muslim rabble-rousers, guilty self-loathing middle-class Jews, pathetic Berkeley Marxists, and schizophenic old lefties. The typical Berkeley crowd.
I've been to literally hundreds of protests in my day, but this one really left me feeling a sort of gut-level revulsion I'm not used to. Definitely a memorably unnerving experience. There was a lot of energy in the air, and it was the energy of pure irrational hate.
#173 California Observer 2/13/2004 08:29AM PST
The dude with Ghandi posters that yelled "Racist Jew! You should be ashamed of yourself!" and was escorted out at the end should not be talked to, as he's just crazy. Irrationally anti-Semitic and crazy. Speaking from experience.
The audience was nowhere close to 50/50 in terms of supporters vs. distractors. My bet as there were no more than a 100 clowns for a 600 lecture hall, but the noise they created was enough to make it seem like they dominated. Unfortunately, it is awlays like that in Berkeley.
#214 steve frederick 2/20/2004 02:34PM PST
My wife & I attended the lecture. Yes the PLO apologists were vocal & relentless, but I thougth Dr. Pipes courage & patience were the real beacons of inspiration.
I was fortunate to have had Dr. Pipes as a professor at the U. of Chicago 20 years ago. He has a real love & affection for his chosen course of study. He simply believes that institutional suicidal, radical, islamo-fascism harms the Islamic Civilization. Just as Nazism & Fascism harmed the German & Italian Peoples.
I was never more proud than to have witnessed real courage in watching someone stand up & speak against evil.