Toronto — Police, metal detectors, searches and demands for photo identification greeted those attending a talk at York University on Wednesday by American Middle East expert Daniel Pipes, whose speech was moved after the student-run centre at the university prevented him from speaking at its facility.
Mr. Pipes runs a Middle East think tank in Philadelphia and is the creator of Campus Watch, a controversial Web site that details what he calls pervasive anti-U.S. and anti-Israeli sentiment on U.S. college campuses. He was invited by York's Jewish Students Federation.
The heavy security was an effort to avoid a repeat of the the violence at Concordia University in Montreal last year that forced former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel his speech.
About 150 pro-Palestinian protesters stood outside York's Tait McKenzie Centre on Tuesday where Mr. Pipes's talk was held. There were shouting matches between them and people attending the speech. No violence was reported.
York spokesman Cim Nunn said the goal of the heavy security presence was to keep things from getting out of hand.
Mr. Pipes said he thought the tough security was necessary. "I could have experienced something more had precautions not been taken."
And he had little good to say about the protesters: ""Protesters? These are barbarians who would close down civilized discourse."
In his talk, Mr. Pipes said the source of the problems in the Middle East is that Arabs have not accepted Israel's right to exist.
"The key barrier to peace is ongoing Arab rejection of Israel," he said, adding that a "change of heart" is needed on the Arab side before there can be peace.