Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Palestine Solidarity Movement Conference

To the editor:
Duke University president Brodhead has made a bad decision in allowing the "Palestine Solidarity Movement" to hold a convention on campus. Some have defended this organization, which has strong ties to Islamic Jihad, in the name of free speech.

The article titled “Jewish group plans conference protests” by Michael Petrocelli on October 11 notes “Some PSM critics have charged that those earlier events were hotbeds of anti-Semitism, with some attendees shouting, "Kill the Jews," but Duke administrators say they found no evidence of anything like that.” I can supply the evidence. I was there.
On May 7, 2002, I was among two dozen people who were physically assaulted at a pro-Israel rally at San Francisco State University by a group of several hundred PSM activists screaming "Kill the Jews!" Is this the free speech the Duke community supports?

One speaker at the 2002 conference was Sami Al-Arian, a terrorist convicted of funding suicide bombers responsible for the death of over one hundred civilians. His Feb. 19th, 2003 indictment stated he was responsible for fifty counts of "conspiracy within the United States to kill and maim persons abroad.”

In a 1988 speech, Al-Arian talked of a Koranic "curse" against "those who are the sons of Israel through David and Jesus, the Son of Mary... The Koran is our constitution. Jihad is our path...We assemble today to pay respects to the march of the martyrs and to the river of blood that gushes forth and does not extinguish, from butchery to butchery, and from martyrdom to martyrdom, from Jihad to Jihad." Subsequent to this speech, Mr. Al-Arian was invited to be keynote speaker at a Duke sponsored conference. Several Chronicle columns in 2002 and 2003 lauded him as a symbol of academic freedom.

Personally, I feel it is questionable whether inciting the murder of Jews and Christians in a holy war qualifies as the sort of free speech the university should support. Duke would never allow the Klu Klux Klan to hold a national convention on campus. The University should not allow PSM, an equally reprehensible hate group, on campus.

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