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The Daily Illini

Letter to the Editor: Don’t use free speech to silence those you disagree with

By Melech Lapson

On Nov. 13 Hen Mazzig was invited by the Illini Students Supporting Israel to give a speech about his experiences as an openly gay commander in the Israeli army working in the humanitarian division to help improve conditions for Palestinians.

During this speech, SJP (Students for Justice in Palestine) activists acted rudely on multiple occasions, insulting the speaker and trying to disrupt his speech. They laughed when the speaker would speak about sensitive memories such as when he came out as an LGBT to his best friend or the time he was almost killed in a terrorist attack.

They were asked multiple times by perturbed attendees to show respect and let the speaker finish his speech, but continued to giggle and let their phones go off multiple times. They then got up in the middle of his speech with inflammatory posters, screaming and trying to stop the speech. The campus police had to be called to end the disruption. Many students were taken aback by these attacks.

Several of the attendees were freshmen (like me) or students studying abroad, and were surprised that such a traumatizing event could happen on such an otherwise peaceful campus. Many of these attendees would go on to fill out bias reports, informing the administration of the situation. Such a breach of free speech and common courtesy must be addressed by the college administration to prevent further occurrences of people trying to silence those who disagree with them.

Such is the way only of fascists and those who wish to lie and not be caught. We beseech the chancellor and other University officials to work on the appropriate actions to take after such an event.

Melech is a freshman in ECE.

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8 Comments
  • m1867

    This is a very good letter. I applaud your courage to publish this. Thank you for shedding light on this incident. Too many people are unaware of what happened.

  • Elan Karoll

    Well said, Melech! Very powerful account of what happened! The question now: will uiuc administration take action? We must keep advocating for this. Thank you for sharing.

  • nate robinson

    Well said!!

  • Man with Axe

    A very good letter. I’m not sure who wrote the headline but it needs to be changed, as it is not an accurate portrayal of what the letter describes.

    This behavior was not the use of “free speech” to silence others. Rather, it was a form of disorderly conduct used to bully other people into silence. Our free speech rights do not extend to shouting down or otherwise interfering with other people’s speech. If it did, we would all have the right to shout down or shut down everyone else’s speeches. Then no one would have the right to speak. Protesters have the right to protest, but that protest must not be disruptive If it is to stay within the bounds of the law.

    • Melech Lapson

      I agree, my title when I handed in the paper was: “Free speech…for everyone?” to emphasize that they were taking away our free speech not that they were exercising theirs. The editor, however, changed the headline without telling me.

      • Richard Smith

        Typical Daily Illini crookery. They are just dumb kids, it is their “professors” who brainwash them, indoctrinate them, and teach them to become cult members of Fake News Dishonest Dying Media. The Media studies at U of I is an absolute disaster. North-Korean schools are less risible than them.

  • Richard Smith

    Let’s not forget that students for Injustice follow fanatically an avowed homophobe and dirty “baby-lover”, the horrid Moslem “prophet”, a professional abuser.

    In the primitive abodes of the “palestinian” territories, the way they deal with gay people is torturing and then massacring them in the most sadistic ways possible.

  • Arafat

    This is so typical of SJP. And, yes, like is seen commonly throughout the Muslim world gays are tortured and even killed. Iran holds mass hangings of homosexuals.

    And in today’s Leftist Orwellian world the LGTB embrace SJP. The Left has lost its collective mind: supporting those who would devour them alive if given half a chance.