University lets mob censor speaker, because he's Israeli

 March 7, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

An American university has adopted the far-left, and probably unconstitutional, belief that the nation's freedom of speech includes the freedom to force someone else to not express their beliefs.

It is constitutional expert Jonathan Turley, who not only has testified before Congress as a constitutional expert but has represented members on constitutional issues in court, who described the issue that erupted.

It involves an Israeli physics professor who was scheduled to deliver a lecture on black holes at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

But it was shut down by "anti-Israel protesters."


"Campus police insisted that they had a free speech right to prevent him from speaking. It is a common claim made by anti-free speech faculty and students that is perfectly nonsensical. It is a rationalization to yield to the heckler’s veto," he explained.

It was Asaf Peer, a physics expert, who was on campus to lecture on black holes.

"However, he happens to be an Israeli, so his lecture became the target for anti-Israel protesters who stormed the event and began to shout him down. It is a common technique of 'deplatforming' used by radical groups like Antifa," Turley explained.

"The protesters accused him of studying and teaching on 'occupied territory' and 'spreading violent rhetoric' on his Facebook account. There is no question that these students and groups have a right to protest. What they do not have a right to do is to shut down events to prevent others from hearing from a speaker," Turley noted.

"Yet, the police intervened to end the lecture and escort Peer off campus. In other words, the protesters won."

He pointed out that those police weren't following the Constitution, and weren't even following their own campus rules, which provide: "[Free speech] activities must not, however, unreasonably interfere with the right of the University to conduct its affairs in an orderly manner and to maintain its property, nor may they interfere with the University’s obligation to protect rights of all to teach, study, and fully exchange ideas. Physical force, the threat of force, or other coercive actions used to subject anyone to a speech of any kind is expressly forbidden."

He explained it now is routine for protesters to demand silence from those with opposing views.

That also has developed in America on a broader perspective, an issue that now is pending before the Supreme Court, where social media companies, at the behest of Biden bureaucrats, have literally censored entire segments of the population that disagree with the White House ideologies.

Turley continued, "This has been an issue of contention with some academics who believe that free speech includes the right to silence others. Berkeley has been the focus of much concern over the use of a heckler’s veto on our campuses as violent protesters have succeeded in silencing speakers, including a speaker from the ACLU discussing free speech. Both students and some faculty have maintained the position that they have a right to silence those with whom they disagree and even student newspapers have declared opposing speech to be outside of the protections of free speech," he said.

The Jerusalem Post reported that "pro-Palestinian protesters" burst into a room where Peer was lecturing.

"Peer invited the activists to stay and learn about black holes and said that they could talk about unrelated issues after the lecture," the report said.

However, the "protesters" screamed at the speaker, and held signs with false allegations he supports "genocide."

The report said Peer related how police were summoned, and they told him they could not remove the disrupters because it was a public event, and "their expulsion would constitute an infringement of free speech rights," the report said.

Police then informed Peer that the event was "ended" and they took him to his vehicle.

A spokesperson for the school said the actions were a "safety precaution."

"I did not feel unsafe, and I was surprised that the police decided to end the event, instead of removing the protesters from the room," Peer told the publication.

Bar-Ilan University president Arie Zaban explained, "It seems that some of our colleagues have lost their moral compass. It’s disappointing and it’s infuriating, but we won’t be deterred."

Turley added, "A few years ago, I debated NYU Professor Jeremy Waldron who is a leading voice for speech codes. Waldron insisted that shutting down speakers through heckling is a form of free speech. I disagree. It is the antithesis of free speech and the failure of schools to protect the exercise of free speech is the antithesis of higher education. In most schools, people are not allowed to disrupt events. They are escorted out of such events and told that they can protest outside of the events since others have a right to listen to opposing views. These disruptions, however, are often planned to continually interrupt speakers until the school authorities step in to cancel the event."

He said UNLV must decide whether it will protect free discourse or give in "to the mob."

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