Letter to the Editor: Horowitz ad part of First Amendment

Isaac Amon | Staff Columnist

Dear Editor,

Last week, Studlife elected to run an ad by the David Horowitz Freedom Center on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Several editorials opined on the subject, and stated that they believed the paper erred in doing such. They questioned the rationale for allowing the ad to appear in Studlife, and they admitted that even though the center paid for the ad, opinions of this type should not be permitted to be run, as some people may consider it “offensive.”

As a writer for Studlife, albeit on hiatus, I would like to opine myself. As previous articles have said, if the First Amendment means anything, it means the right of individuals to espouse beliefs which people dislike or even condemn as bigoted. One editorial furthermore said that they doubted whether Studlife would publish an ad if certain comments were directed at “other historically marginalized groups, such as homosexuals, African Americans, or Jews?” They asked would the paper sanction an advertisement that openly dehumanized any of the aforementioned groups.

The fact of the matter is that nearly 20 years ago, in 1992, Studlife was faced with a similar situation. Holocaust revisionist Bradley Smith wanted to run a Holocaust denial ad, which openly declared that the Nazi regime did not actively engage in the attempted genocide of European Jewry. After much debate, Studlife decided to run it in the name of free speech. This made national news, especially because other universities such as Yale, Berkeley and Harvard declined to publish it.

In the end, if you disagree with David Horowitz’s views, explain why, but the answer is not censorship, or a condemnation of Studlife’s policy, but a simple debate on the merits, which everyone can see, read and reason out for themselves. As justice Louis Brandeis declared 85 years ago, in words which still ring true today, “To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning…if there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies…the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”

Isaac Amon
Class of 2012

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