Freedom of speech an ironic joke at Auckland University


Huwaida Arraf

Oh,?the sick irony of this…

Limiting freedom of expression
Friday, 16 March 2018, 4:20 pm
Press Release:?University of Auckland

Limiting freedom of expression

A panel of academics and students will be joined by an international human rights lawyer to discuss the implications for society of placing limits on freedom of expression.

Lorde help us! Palestine, Politics, Performance and BDS, being held at the University of Auckland next week, will feature guest speaker Huwaida Arrat, renowned Palestinian-American human rights lawyer and founding member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM).

She was the chair of the Free Gaza Movement the organization behind the Gaza Freedom Flotillas organized to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. She was aboard the 2008 Free Gaza boats as well as the 2010 flotilla that was raided by Israeli commandos.[…]

This is a woman who thinks freedom of expression is about breaking a legal blockade put in place to prevent weapons being smuggled into Gaza and used to commit terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens. Her actions had nothing to do with freedom of expression. She was always free to express her criticism and her opposition to Israel. She can write about it and she can talk freely about it without fear of imprisonment or violence.

Huwaida will critically reflect on the role of artists and their audiences within contentious political environments.

She is not an artist; she is a militant activist who is prepared to break the law when protesting.

She will be joined by Jewish student activist Justine Sachs who, with Palestinian-Kiwi Nadia Abu-Shanab, wrote an open letter appealing to Kiwi musician Lorde, to join the artistic boycott of Israel.

Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab have enjoyed complete freedom of expression in New Zealand. Unlike conservative activists, they have not been kicked off Twitter and Justine, in particular, continues to share her socialist pearls of wisdom with the Twitterati completely unimpeded.

[…] Following the emergence of the Palestine Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACB), and the subsequent global Boycott Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, the panel will consider the implications for artists and audiences in New Zealand of legislation attempting to suppress these campaigns.[…]

These are panellists who didn’t want the Auckland European University Student Association club and the Auckland University Pro-Life club to be officially recognised on campus and who are adamantly?opposed to any Israelis ‘advocating’ free speech on campus. They didn’t care at all about those clubs’ or Israeli students’ right to freedom of expression and wanted the clubs’ legitimacy suppressed and their access to funding and facilities removed because they disagreed with their opinions.

Now that the boot is on the other foot, and activists Nadia and Justine?are being sued, all of a sudden they care about a person’s right to convince others to financially hurt those who live in a country with policies that they disagree with freedom of expression.

Now that they are the ones experiencing lawfare and financial?pushback they have become concerned about the BDS organisation having its legitimacy threatened and its freedom to wage economic terrorism on its targets suppressed.

This situation illustrates how many university students (and activists) do not truly understand what freedom of speech actually means and why so many are hypocritical?and deny it to others while claiming it for themselves.

Free speech may not mean what most college students think it means.

The majority of college students surveyed in a Gallup/Knight Foundation study said they support free speech and believe it is vital to the health of democracy.

Yet droves of students also said they favor policies that restrict free speech such as safe spaces, free speech zones, speech codes and bans on offensive Halloween costumes.

Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, said ?the discrepancy between what undergraduate students say they believe and what actions they are willing to take is really breathtaking.?

?Students like the ring of the phrase ?free speech,? but when it comes down to the question of what sorts of speech should be allowed, they have a Swiss cheese of exception clauses,??Mr. Wood?said. ??We like free speech, but not free speech that contradicts our personal opinions, our likes and dislikes.? This isn?t free speech at all.?

?-The Washington Times