It seems too many people still have much to learn about allowing the bullies on the left to push their views on everyone else. A controversy over a speech at Brown University clearly illustrates how caving to these people does not bring about anything positive for anyone involved.
The incident involved a speech given by Christina Paxson, president of Brown University, during a vigil honoring Hisham Awartani, a Palestinian student who was among three who were recently shot in Burlington, Vermont. While addressing the crowd, she omitted references to Jewish students from her planned speech, possibly due to fears of repercussions from the pro-Palestinian students in attendance.
Students continually interrupted Paxson, calling on the university to divest from Israeli companies.
Paxson acknowledged that they could not “disentangle what happened to Hisham from the broader events in Israel and Palestine” and that they cannot “control what happens across the world and country.” The protesters continued yelling over her. She also said that “Every student, faculty and staff member should be able to proudly don a keffiyeh on the Brown campus or to cover their head with a hijab.”
However, an earlier version of Paxson’s speech that had been published on its website went differently:
“At a faculty meeting last month, I said that ‘Every student, faculty and staff member should be able to proudly wear a Star of David or don a keffiyeh on the Brown campus, or to cover their head with a hijab or yarmulke.’”
The university president omitted references to Jewish students, whose rights also deserve to be protected. As of this writing, she has not given an explanation for the omission, but it’s reasonable to assume that she did so to avoid escalating the situation, especially with the aggressive pro-Palestinian crowd.
However, censoring a speech due to fears of antisemitic students is not the way to handle these situations, as we have seen over and over again. Since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, anti-Israel protests have been taking place in major cities and on university campuses all across the country.
In many instances, the demonstrators have been threatening and even violent. These people, as awful as they are, are merely following the far-leftist Marxist playbook. They don’t want to have debates or discussions about issues like the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Instead, they would prefer to foist their views on the rest of us through the use of force, coercion, or any other method.
For this reason, it is silly to believe that trying to appease these people will somehow get them to come around. Many of those involved in these demonstrations are nothing more than feckless bullies who rely on the fear of their targets to allow them to continue pushing their agenda on others. The appropriate response is to boldly stand up to them instead of backing down.
Paxson should have unapologetically included Jewish students in her speech. Jews have also been the target of hate crimes, especially since the start of the war in Gaza. If she and others at the university wish to stand against bigotry, they should stand against all of it, not just the type that the left wants them to oppose.