New York Times
by Dima Khalidi, Director of Palestine Solidarity Legal Support
To the Editor:
You should be commended for exposing Hillel’s censorship of criticism of Israel within its ranks. The bigger picture on American college campuses has gone largely unreported, however.
Diverse proponents of Palestinian rights have long been targeted by university administrations, right-wing pro-Israel groups and the United States government. They are increasingly subjected to smear campaigns, disciplinary actions, lawsuits and criminal prosecution for airing their views.
Palestine Solidarity Legal Support, in partnership with the Center for Constitutional Rights, responded to more than 100 such incidents in 2013. Legal and physical threats against the American Studies Association and its members for their academic boycott resolution are the latest example.
Silencing criticism of Israeli policies and equating it with anti-Semitism infringe on First Amendment rights, and work to chill speech. As long as advocates for Israel stifle discussion on campus — the arena most apt for rigorous debate on this vital issue — there is little chance for lasting peace based on freedom, equality and human rights for all.
Palestine Solidarity Legal Support
Chicago, Dec. 30, 2013