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Next week, York University will once again open its halls and classrooms to "Israel Apartheid Week," so-called. This year as every year, militants and activists will use the taxpayer-funded facilities of York to vilify the Jewish state.
Well, that's free speech, isn't? Everybody gets to express his or her point of view, no matter how obnoxious, right?
No, not right. Not at York. At York, speech is free -- better than free, subsidized-- for anti-Israel haters. But for those who would defend Israel, York sets very different rules.
In advance of York's annual hate-Israel week, the campus group Christians United for Israel applied to use university space to host a program of pro-Israel speakers.
The university replied that this program could only proceed on certain conditions.
It insisted on heavy security, including both campus and Toronto police -- all of those costs to be paid by the program organizers. The organizers would also have to provide an advance list of all program attendees and advance summaries of all the speeches. No advertising for the program would be permitted -- not on the York campus, not on any of the other campuses participating by remote video.
These are radically different and much harsher terms than anything required from the hate-Israel program. The hate-Israel program is not required to pay for its own security. It is free to advertise. Its speakers are not pre-screened by the university.
The pro-Israel event, scheduled for this past Monday, Feb. 22, was cancelled when the organizers declined to comply with the terms. A university spokesman told the Jewish Tribune that it insisted on the more stringent requirements on pro-Israel groups "due to the participation of individuals who they claim invite the animus of anti-Israel campus agitators."
The logic is impressively brazen: Since the anti-Israel people might use violence, the speech of the pro-Israel people must be limited. On the other hand, since the pro-Israel people do not use violence, the speech of the anti-Israel people can proceed without restraint.
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