The Anti-Free Speech Movement

UC Berkeley, birthplace of the Free Speech Movement, has stabbed free speech in the back once again.

Last week it effectively canceled a long planned speech by David Horowitz.  Today it canceled a long planned speech by Ann Coulter scheduled for April 27.

As they did with Horowitz, UC officials, citing safety concerns, first tried to bureaucratically shrink the Coulter speech out of existence by informing Young Americans for Freedom, sponsors of the event, that Coulter could speak only in the afternoon when students were in classes; that only students could attend; and, in a Kafkaesque twist, that the location of the speech would be distant from the center of campus and not be announced until just before it occurred.

Coulter agreed to these conditions.  But she added two stipulations that called the bureaucrats’ bluff that this was about public safety rather than the suppression of the free speech of conservatives. She asked that the Chancellor not require police to stand down in the face of anticipated violence by thugs, as he has in the past; and she asked that the UC administration make it clear than any student trying violently to disrupt the speech would be expelled.

The University replied by cancelling Coulter’s speech outright.

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Belgium DROPS terror charges against Muslim ‘who drove a car loaded with an assault rifle and knives into a crowd’ in Antwerp

Belgium has dropped terrorism charges against Mohamed R., 39, the driver who sped into a crowded shopping area in Antwerp last month (file photo)

‘The court considers that there is insufficient evidence of violations of the legislation on terrorism,’ the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

‘The extension of the detention of the person concerned is only based on violations of the arms legislation,’ it added.

The man was arrested March 23 for driving at high speed into the crowded Meir shopping area in Antwerp, forcing people to jump out of the way but causing no injuries.

The authorities said they found a rifle and bladed weapons in the car following his arrest.

The incident came a day after a similar attack in London that killed five people plus the attacker. It also came a day after the first anniversary of the Brussels suicide bombings in which 32 people died.

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European Parliament Censors Its Own Free Speech

The European Parliament has introduced a new procedural rule, which allows for the chair of a debate to interrupt the live broadcasting of a speaking MEP “in the case of defamatory, racist or xenophobic language or behavior by a Member”. Furthermore, the President of the European Parliament may even “decide to delete from the audiovisual record of the proceedings those parts of a speech by a Member that contain defamatory, racist or xenophobic language”.

No one, however, has bothered to define what constitutes “defamatory, racist or xenophobic language or behavior”. This omission means that the chair of any debate in the European Parliament is free to decide, without any guidelines or objective criteria, whether the statements of MEPs are “defamatory, racist or xenophobic”. The penalty for offenders can apparently reach up to around 9,000 euros.

“There have been a growing number of cases of politicians saying things that are beyond the pale of normal parliamentary discussion and debate,” said British EU parliamentarian Richard Corbett, who has defended the new rule. Mr. Corbett, however, does not specify what he considers “beyond the pale”.

In June 2016, Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, addressed the European Parliament in a speech, which drew on old anti-Semitic blood libels, such as falsely accusing Israeli rabbis of calling on the Israeli government to poison the water used by Palestinian Arabs. Such a clearly incendiary and anti-Semitic speech was not only allowed in parliament by the sensitive and “anti-racist” parliamentarians; it received a standing ovation. Evidently, wild anti-Semitic blood libels pronounced by Arabs do not constitute “things that are beyond the pale of normal parliamentary discussion and debate”.

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A Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in Britain

February 1. Jim Walker, a 71-year-old volunteer at Carnforth Station, was banned from the premises after someone complained about an alleged racist comment. Walker, who, for more than a decade, has been winding a famous clock at the station, was overheard discussing a newspaper article about young migrants entering Britain from the French port of Calais. Walker said:

“Carnforth Station Trust received a complaint from a visitor who was not happy about me speaking to somebody about the issue…. What they are doing is outrageous. It is absolutely unbelievable, it is a violation of free speech….

“I must be the only man in Carnforth who has a document saying where he can and can’t walk and all for expressing a point of view and quoting an editorial from a newspaper. Now [winding the clock] is no longer possible.”

February 1. Prime Minister Theresa May told the House of Commons that women should feel free to wear the hijab, a traditional Islamic headscarf. Several European countries have imposed bans on parts of Muslim religious dress. “What a woman wears is a woman’s choice,” May said after she was asked — on world hijab day — if she supported the right of women to wear the garment

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British politician on London Muslim terrorist: “The fact that the man is a Muslim is utterly and completely irrelevant”

Digby Jones is the former Minister of State for Trade and Investment in the UK. Here he is denying the ancient adage that one must know one’s enemy in order to defeat that enemy. The fact that Khalid Masood was a Muslim is only irrelevant if his Muslim identity had nothing to do with his motive for mounting the attack. But Jones doesn’t know whether it did or not; he is just assuming that it didn’t because to say otherwise would be politically inconvenient. If the London attacker had been a white supremacist, would Jones be saying that his motive was irrelevant? Of course not. If there were an organized group of international white supremacists calling for terror attacks in Britain and elsewhere, and vowing to destroy the British government and replace it with a white supremacist regime, and there were numerous white supremacists in Britain publicly avowing that they were on board with this program, and one of them drove into a crowd of pedestrians and then stabbed a police officer, would Digby Jones be saying that the attacker’s white supremacism was irrelevant?

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Thoughts on Making Universities Safe for Free Speech

Universities and colleges in the United States need to be safe places where students of all backgrounds and beliefs can live and study, free from intimidation by other students, faculty, and administrators.

Protests are fine, and they are our right as Americans, but there needs to be zero tolerance for violence and intimidation. If a speaker or group is committing or inciting battery, assault or vandalism, the situation should be a police and judicial matter — as well as valid grounds for mandatory expulsion. There is no place for vigilantism by students, faculty or administers on campus to enforce political conformity. There is no place for any kind of intimidation and violence anywhere in the US. We should never let rioters have a hecklers veto over who gets to speak. The following are some ideas to rein in the current terror on campuses:

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