Editor’s note: The University of Chicago joins nine campuses on the list of “Top Ten College Administrations Most Friendly to Terrorists and Hostile to the First Amendment.” The University of Chicago provides financial and institutional support to terrorist-linked campus organizations such as the Hamas-funded hate-group Students for Justice in Palestine while actively suppressing speech exposing the truth about Israel’s terrorist adversaries and their allies in the United States.
Last night, the Freedom Center placed posters exposing the links between the terrorist group Hamas and SJP on the University of Chicago campus. When the Freedom Center placed similar posters on the campus last fall, a university spokeswoman called them “defamatory and inconsistent with our values and policies.” This latest round of posters serves to inform students about SJP’s true motives and allegiances and challenges the Chicago administration to uphold their stated commitment to free expression.
University of Chicago: Campus administration
The University of Chicago has long prided itself on producing independent thinkers and encouraging a certain iconoclasm among its students and faculty. In the fall of 2016, the university’s dean of students, John Ellison, engendered a national controversy by making an explicit statement in support of free speech in a letter to incoming students: “Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called trigger warnings, we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial and we do not condone the creation of intellectual safe spaces where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.”
It seemed that Ellison was bravely sailing against the winds of political correctness, but recent events at the University of Chicago suggest that this cherished commitment to free speech applies to students and campus organizations that seek Israel’s destruction, but not to those who defend the Jewish state and expose the terrorist connections of its enemies.
In the past few years, Chicago has witnessed the development of a highly active BDS campus movement, U of C Divest, which is currently supported by more than 20 student organizations on campus. In the spring of 2016, U of C Divest succeeded in passing a resolution endorsing BDS in Chicago’s student government. During the debate over the resolution, an amendment supporting the continued self-determination of the Jewish people and the existence of Israel was rejected, indicating that the coalition’s goals align with Hamas’s aims of destroying the Jewish state.
The University of Chicago has brought numerous pro-Hamas speakers to campus. In October 2015, UC-SJP hosted BDS movement founder Omar Barghouti for a speech on “BDS and the Ethical Obligation to End Complicity in Oppression.” During his address, Barghouti labeled Israel a “savage unrepairable society” that conducts “ethnic cleansing.” He praised terrorism against Israel’s Jews, stating that “resistance” is a legitimate response to “the violence of an oppressive system.” Several UC organizations and departments co-sponsored Barghouti’s address including the Global Voices Program – University of Chicago International House, the Pozen Center for Human Rights, the Department of Political Science, and the Department of International Studies.
Later that same month, UC-SJP held a panel titled “Jerusalem in Crisis: Insider Perspectives on the Violence in Palestine-Israel” as part of the “UChicago Israeli Apartheid Week.” One speaker at the event, a graduate student member of SJP, stated: “Palestinian violent resistance against the violent Israeli military is always justified; it is the equivalent of biting the hand that is trying to choke you to death.”
In February 2016, a throng of angry protestors interrupted and threatened a Palestinian human rights activist, Bassam Eid, who came to speak on U. Chicago’s campus about the oppression of Palestinians by the theocratic terrorist regimes in the West Bank and Gaza. SJP members and supporters on campus were upset that Eid’s remarks were critical of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and failed to condemn Israel’s “occupation” of Palestine. In the video of Eid’s speech a young man can be seen screaming in Arabic: “I’m going to destroy this place!” and “I’m going to kill this motherf*****!” and “Wait until you go to your car!” Eid later declared himself to be “terrified” by the ordeal.
The University of Chicago has put forth a “Statement on Principles of Free Expression” which states that it “is an institution fully committed to the creation of knowledge across the spectrum of disciplines and professions, firm in its belief that a culture of intense inquiry and informed argument generates lasting ideas, and that the members of its community have a responsibility both to challenge and to listen.”
An examination of recent events on campus reveals that these principles are not applied without bias. SJP continues to function as a student organization in good standing at the University of Chicago, despite inviting speakers to campus that have engaged in anti-Semitic attacks and expressed Hamas propaganda which threatens the existence of the Jewish state. Yet, when the David Horowitz Freedom Center worked with activists to hang posters on campus which proposed a more truthful narrative revealing the financial and organizational connections between Hamas and Students for Justice in Palestine through a Hamas-front calling itself American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), University spokesperson Marielle Sainvilus said: “While the University of Chicago encourages the free exchange of diverse ideas and perspectives concerning a wide range of issues, these flyers are defamatory and inconsistent with our values and policies.”
For their blatant hypocrisy in allowing and defending speech supporting Hamas while vilifying speech critical of that anti-Israel terror group, the University of Chicago administration makes our list of Administrations Most Friendly to Terrorists and Hostile to the First Amendment.