Cancelled speaker at Friends Central the latest in a spate of on-campus free speech controversies

by Dana DiFilippo


There are few festering political debates as polarizing as the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

That’s probably why speakers from Breitbart editor Milo Yiannapoulos to activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali to scholar Norman Finkelstein repeatedly draw protests when they are invited to speak somewhere. In fact, FIRE found that nearly a quarter of all speaker challenges on college campuses since 2000 stemmed from the speaker’s views on Islam or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

To Jacob Bender, that’s because some Jews regard any repudiation of Israel’s actions in the Middle East as hate speech.

“Even before this new [Trump] administration took over, there was a long history by supporters of Israel to equate criticism of Israeli policies with anti-Semitism. That’s unfortunate and wrong-headed, because many Palestinian speakers have been silenced,” said Bender, who heads the Council on American-Islamic Relations of Philadelphia. Read more…