For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Recently Michael Oren, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, who is an academic historian and a political moderate, was invited to speak at the University of California at Irvine. I know Michael well and have heard him speak many times. He is one of Israel’s most effective advocates, particularly on university campuses. He speaks about peace, about the two-state solution and he brings a historical perspective to his analysis. Because he is so effective, anti-Israel zealots try to prevent him from speaking and his audience from hearing his views.
That’s exactly what happened at the University of California at Irvine when Oren began to speak. This tactic of censorship will be tried at other universities as well, if it is permitted to succeed.
Let there be no doubt about it, these radical anti-Israel zealots are trying to censor Michael Oren. After repeatedly disrupting his speech and making it impossible for him to continue, eleven of them were arrested and now face possible disciplinary action from the University of California, a public institution.
They and their supporters now claim that is the eleven disruptors whose right of free speech is being violated. They are threatening legal action to defend their right to prevent a speaker from expressing his views and an audience from hearing those views. This is a topsy turvy view of the First Amendment.
It is true that an individual heckler may have the right to shout in opposition to a speaker, so long as his shouted words are brief and non-recurrent. But any fair viewing of the videotape, available on YouTube, proves beyond any doubt that this was a concerted effort to silence Michael Oren and to prevent his audience from hearing his point of view. The university was correctly embarrassed at this attempt at censorship.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"