Liel Leibowitz's article "Weiner: Disband Columbia Bias Panel" (March 10) leaves everything to be desired. His article in no way conveyed how grave and dignified the conference was, and how thoughtful and soulful the speakers were. They mounted a serious intellectual and moral challenge to the Palestinization of the academy.
Scholars for Peace in The Middle East recorded 783 registrants who were not all able to sit together. Leibowitz describes a "man" who "rose to ask a question." He did no such thing. This man interrupted the speaker (it happened to be me), and he did so continually, as did others from his group. When I returned to my seat, he also cursed me. This man (I am not sure whether he represented Jews Against the Occupation or the Palestine Solidarity Movement) came to disrupt, not to listen or to dialogue respectfully. He and his group kept hissing and booing; they raised the tension in the room considerably. In response, the very attentive and respectful audience finally had had enough.
Indeed, this is precisely the kind of audience that has been forced to be quiet (in the interests of "free speech") for the last five years as pro-PLO academics and operatives described Israel as a "Nazi" and "apartheid" state. For the first time they felt safe enough to respond verbally to the taunts and defamation. Their self-defense, like Israel's, was seen by your reporter as surly, ugly aggression. The man and his group left, not because they were silenced, but because they could not disrupt the conference, and because this was their planned visual-action for the media.
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