Goucher College’s free speech expert puts kibosh on “pro-Palestinian” Jews

More and more ridiculosity. Phil Weiss has the story on this latest dumb act of McCarthyism, aka Deploying Israeli-Exceptionalism While Claiming That It’s Everyone Else Who is Singling Out Israel.

After arrangements had already been made and approval granted, at the last minute, Goucher College president Sanford Ungar blocked the invitation made by Goucher Peace Studies students to two Jews: the US Campaign to End the Occupation’s Josh Reubner, and the Fast for Gaza’s Rabbi Brian Walt (photo to left), who is also the former head of Rabbis for Human Rights North America. Ungar reportedly had no problem with the invitation to the third panelist, Zahi Kahmis, originally from Nazareth. (Kahmis is a Goucher professor.) The students at Goucher are in an uproar and have filed official grievances regarding the violation of their rights.

In an interview with The Quindecim, Goucher President Sanford J. Ungar defended his decision, citing a history of anti-Israel speakers on campus, several of which have resulted in complaints from students, alumni, and parents. “We don’t want Goucher to end up on a list of schools with a reputation of bringing vehemently pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli speakers to campus,” said Ungar. “I don’t think it would be good for enrollment.”

What makes this more notable than usual is that Sanford Ungar, Goucher’s president, and a former journalist and All Things Considered host, actually teaches a course this semester called, natch, Free Speech, in which Ungar promises to “examine constraints on free speech in our daily lives, and the debate in this country over what it means to be patriotic and whether patriotism requires us to, or prohibits us from, saying certain things.”

It will be really interesting to see exactly what conclusions Ungar plans on drawing from this sequence of events and his role in them.

-Cecilie Surasky

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