“The backlash to anti-Israel protests threatens free speech.” Really?

Michelle Goldberg of The New York Times recently wrote about The Backlash to Anti-Israel Protests Threatens Free Speech. I am sorry to say that she has it backwards. She quotes, but doesn’t address, the dean of Berkeley’s comments that “students across the country, including mine, immediately celebrated the Hamas terrorist attack in Israel on Oct. 7.”

All pro-Palestine and/or Hamas demonstrations in US cities and campuses are illegal and criminal. Before you cry “free speech!” and “first amendment” rights, there is a big difference between free speech and the incitement to commit violence.

Signs that reads “Jihad now!”, “From the river to the sea Palestine will be free,” “Death to Israel,” and persuasive speakers from podiums supporting the violent and barbaric tactics of Hamas and other Iran-backed terrorist groups, fit the legal definition of ‘incitement to violence’ under United States Government law. A stark comparison to pro-Israel events.

Demonstrations for a cause (i.e.: free the hostages, democratic new elections for Palestine Authority and Gaza, stop the oppression of Iranian women/LGBTQ+ members, etc.), which do not incite and promote violence, or influence some fringe people to become violent, are perfectly legal and are a vital part of a democratic society.

The youth in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, loudly and forcibly demonstrated for civil rights, anti-war, and to free Soviet Jews. They did not demonstrate for, or support, killing/ raping/ beheading of anybody.

The only threat to free speech is the pro-Palestinian call for incitement to violence. For more, see my blog post Free Speech Isn’t Free.

About the Author
David is a former NYC advertising agency, corporate-side marketing executive, and consultant. Prior to his career in advertising David spent 5 years in the financial arena. David holds a BS and MBA (both in Marketing & Finance) from New York University. He has been an officer/board member/speaker of industry, educational, and community organizations, as well as several new business startups. David is a US Patent Holder and published author (Hey Israel – You’re Perfect. Now Change (free) and How to Run the Business of YOU). See his website for more information and other writings. David is a retired instructor from Rutgers University School of Communication & Information. He lives in Ashkelon, Israel with his wife and is an active volunteer with the Ashkelon Search and Rescue.
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