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Protestors cannot be faulted for their legitimate right to protest

Reader comment on item: Speaker Shouted Down at U.C.-Irvine

Submitted by Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai (India), Feb 9, 2007 at 06:21

Dear Mr. Pipes,

When you said, 'crush Palestinians'; you yourself are in a territory, that can be construed as bordering on inciting criminal action against a group of people. You talk of constitution and campus propriety, while you yourself have taken liberty with both. You cannot go out and publicly call for 'elimination' of a whole people. Does that not look like calling for genocide of Palestinians?

Even in a legally declared war, US cannot resort to genocide. So how an ordinary citizen, be that Pipes or Bush or anybody for that matter could publicly call for total genocide of a group of world citizenry. I have watched your speech and the disruption by the protesters. I would say, they had been more restrained, or they should have raised objection to your open invitation to 'crush' Palestinians. Would you tolerate any US citizen to go out and say ---'crush Jews' ----'crush Israelis'. The law has to work both ways. You cannot get away with such aggressive message while taking offense over even normal campus boisterous response to a controversial figure like you. Compared to the boys who just walked out and vent their feelings among themselves, you have been clearly proved to be more intolerant and vindictive. You could turn the whole discussion on an academic note, rather than playing politics of the street kind.

It is time that you should come to realize that Muslim Americans have as many civil rights as Jewish Americans, who sympathize with Zionism. At the moment, Jewish political influence is more pronounced, but that has to gradually change and Muslims too will be given their right to register their concerns, their aspirations, their protests and their value judgments on American affairs, internal as well as external.

You better be prepared for such changes, as in any democracy, you cannot keep any group long suppressed and under some kind of collective guilt for supposed crimes that may or may not have committed by their very existence.

By the way, I completely sympathize with your logic about feeling of insecurity for Israel's very existence, as Israel as a state is too dependent on world suffrage. To legitimize its existence, it will have to abide by commonly understood rules of democracy, non-racial polity, legal rights of the residence, that had been legal residents of the space occupied by the new State.

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai


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Daniel Pipes replies:

I spoke of "crushing their will" not crushing them as people. Big difference. Every war involves the crushing of will.

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