I am a big proponent of free speech. I believe in the marketplace of ideas and that it is important to be exposed to different thoughts and philosophies. But hate speech couched in gold finery is still hate speech.
In the last week or so there have been a number of examples of this centered around the Palestine Solidarity Conference held at Duke. There were a number of issues with this conference that have already been addressed in a number of places, so I don’t want to completely rehash it.
Part of the hubub surrounds an editorial that ran in the Duke University newspaper the Chronicle. It was written by Philip Kurian and is titled “The Jews.”
Kurian is being skewered for what is clearly a piece that crosses the line from “constructive criticism” into antisemitic remarks. I am quite curious to know if this is sheer ignorance or blatant antisemitism. Bloghead provides a link to an excellent rebuttal at Israellycool.
The president of Duke Richard Brodhead has issued a letter in which he states:
“At this season, itâ€™s important to remember that all prejudice is one and must be resisted as one. The habits of mind that allow people to stereotype Jews are the same ones that allow them to denigrate blacks, gays and other objects of prejudice. These have no place at a great university. Part of the education Duke affords should be an education in the danger of prejudice and in the full humanity of others. We all need this education, and we are all capable of learning.”
I was very pleased to read this and would like to see how he follows up on this. Unlike some others, I don’t recommend any punishment for the writer of the initial editorial. He has to live with himself and I suspect that it might be punishment enough.