King hearings come to Flatbush: David Horowitz stokes anti-Muslim sentiment at Brooklyn College

Israel/PalestineMiddle East
on 37 Comments

Brooklyn College had its own Peter King hearing last night when right-wing commentator David Horowitz spoke to a feisty crowd of students and faculty.

At first I debated whether or not to even give voice to what David Horowitz said. After all, it is pretty well known that Horowitz is the Glenn Beck of Zionists—a rambler of hate who continually contradicts himself and history.

But given the current political climate and the audience filled with faculty and students who eagerly echoed Horowitz’s calls of anti-Muslim sentiment, I feel it is important to document.

Outside the library where the lecture was held, security guards insisted that ten or so peaceful protesters huddled in the rain stand behind steel gates they had brought out for the occasion. Inside, security guards searched bags before running a handheld metal detector over everyone entering the lecture hall—security measures I have never before experienced in my four years of attending guest speaker events at the college. In his opening comments, Horowitz remarked, “How does it feel to go through a check point? I’ll tell you one thing, I feel safer and that’s what check points are about—making people feel safe when they’re under attack by terrorists and Middle East Jew haters. “ Later, Horowitz added, “check points are there to protect the innocent from the guilty.”

Perhaps it was no coincidence that Horowitz was brought on campus with the help of two faculty members only a month following the controversy over the school administration’s decision to reinstate Political Science adjunct Professor Kristofer Petersen-Overton, who was fired following outside political motivation due in part to his scholarly work on Palestinian national identity. Horowitz was sure to make reference to the apparent “hostile environment” that “liberal professors” create and to which students are subjected. Apparently, “Jewish organizations across the country have been intimidated from presenting their case.”

But it became all the more clear last night that this so-called “hostile environment” is something being created by the very people pointing to its existence.

Just last week the Brooklyn College administration placed restrictions on the ability of the Palestine Club to participate in a series of direct action events organized in conjunction with other student organization across New York City as part of Israeli Apartheid Week. The club proposed to have a 6 ft x 8 ft mock wall out of paper to symbolize the separation wall in the West Bank, but according to the co-founder of the Palestine Club, Eeman Abuasi, the administration claimed—amongst many other things—that the wall would fuel more tension on campus and could be insulting to some students. Instead, the administration said the Palestine Club could only have the event if they agreed to construct a smaller model that could be placed on a table for display, like a diagram at an elementary school science fair.

Given this context, it was all the more disturbing last night when I looked across the crowd and saw tears run down the face of a member of the Palestine Club as Horowitz said to the group of mostly nodding heads, “All through history people have been oppressed but no people has done what the Palestinians have done—no people has shown itself so morally sick as the Palestinians have.”

Horowitz, who admitted he had actually never even been to Israel, proceeded to give everyone a lesson in Middle East politics: according to him, Muslims in the Middle East are “Islamic Nazi’s” who “want to kill Jews, that’s their agenda.” He added later, “all Muslim associations are fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Horowitz appeared to be too delusional to even be quoted, or taken seriously if it weren’t for the audience members who so fervently agreed with what he was saying.

The most revealing moment came when a young Arab-American woman directed a question to Horowitz and the audience: “You talk about Muslims as if you know them—We have a Muslim American Society, we have a Palestine Club [on campus]. I want to raise the question to any of the Jews in this room, and students, have you guys ever been threatened by a Muslim on campus or an Arab?” To this, the crowd almost unanimously spun around in their seats to face the young woman and replied “yes.” Someone shouted, “and we’re scared when we see Muslims on buses and airplanes too.”

Horowitz encouraged anti-Muslim hate by telling the crowd, “no other people have sunk so low as the Palestinians have and yet everybody is afraid to say this,” claiming that Muslims are a “protected species in this country” and that he’s “wait[ing] for the day when the good Muslims step forward.”

The scary thing is that people listen to such hateful rhetoric and nod along. What would they say if someone said the same about Jewish people? Alas—hate speech is indeed the downside of First Amendment rights. Nevertheless, if the Brooklyn College administration justifies its decision to hinder the ability of the Palestine Club to partake in a cross-city peaceful demonstration because it’s offensive, it is a wonder why they would agree to give voice to a person who encourages hysterical fear of Muslims.

Zoe Zenowich is a Senior in the Scholars Program at Brooklyn College, where she is the managing editor of the Excelsior, a student newspaper.  Follow her on Twitter @zoezenowich.

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37 Responses

  1. fuster
    March 11, 2011, 1:48 pm

    I believe that I was at a pro-Palestine rally at Brooklyn College some few months back. I also believe that a handful of people attempting to picket that rally were kept well away and were not allowed to disrupt the event.
    A bunch of NYPD, a big bunch, aided that effort.
    It was good that they did and I was glad to see that the demo was not disrupted.
    I can’t see that it would be good for this event to be disrupted either.

  2. fuster
    March 11, 2011, 1:55 pm

    THE PALESTINIAN CLUB OF BROOKLYN COLLEGE——

    from it’s website
    link to palestinianclubbc.wordpress.com

    ——–Since its formation, the Palestinian Club has held a half-dozen campus events, each attended by up to about 100 students.

    The club’s growing campus presence prompted pro-Israel student groups including Hillel and the Israel Club to ask for meetings with its leaders.

    Each time, the leadership of Palestinian Club refused, said Gene Sobol, 22, a senior from Bensonhurst who’s a member of both Hillel and the Israel Club.

    “They don’t want to have anything to do with us, but this is Brooklyn, not the West Bank,” said Sobol, a biology major.

    “I think we could have a constructive dialog with them,” Sobol said.

    Brooklyn College Hillel, which has about 1,000 members, asked Palestinian Club officers to discuss holding a joint cultural event in November, but Palestinian Club officers refused.

    “It would make people think that Palestinians and Israelis are getting along fine, and that’s not the case,” said Abuasi, whose father was principal of the Islamic Al-Noor School in Park Slope until 2009.

    The conflict in the Middle East is too intense for the Palestinian Club to consider a public meeting with pro-Israel students, Abuasi said.

    Instead, the club will hold a series of events this semester to draw attention to the conflict between Palestinians and Israel.——

    ====================w==========a==========l=========l==================================w======a====l=======l
    too intense ————————————————————————–

    • Ellen
      March 11, 2011, 4:49 pm

      Fus, there you go again. You made a completely dishonest representation. Once again discrediting yourself.

      That is not sourced from their web site. It is a re publishing of a report published in the NY Daily News.

      link to nydailynews.com

  3. Saleema
    March 11, 2011, 2:26 pm

    What a shame. I don’t know what to say. I’m glad I don’t live in Brooklyn. Seems full of hate. You should come down to Houston. One of the most diverse cities!

    • Potsherd2
      March 11, 2011, 2:42 pm

      King needs to hold hearings investigating Brooklyn.

    • fuster
      March 11, 2011, 4:18 pm

      Saleema, Houston is a small provincial town compared to NYC.

      EVERYBODY lives here. Six blocks from my house there’s a Pakistani bakery next door to a Mexican cheese maker’s shop next to a Chinese restaurant next to a Russian-owned appliance repair place.

      • Chu
        March 11, 2011, 4:44 pm

        Wow, Brooklyn is at the heart of diversity.
        You so very cool! Can I visit you one day?
        It would be great honour.

      • tree
        March 11, 2011, 5:12 pm

        Houston is a small provincial town compared to NYC.

        Houston is the 4th largest city in the US, and its population number is roughly equivalent to that of Brooklyn, about 2 and a half million people.
        Its demographics are similar to Brooklyn’s and it is quite multicultural.

        There is intelligent life outside of New York, shocking as that may sound. Too many NYC hicks don’t know about the world outside their city.

      • fuster
        March 11, 2011, 5:48 pm

        tree, Brooklyn is only one part of NYC, merely a quarter.
        It’s a big town.

      • tree
        March 12, 2011, 4:36 am

        tree, Brooklyn is only one part of NYC, merely a quarter.
        It’s a big town.

        Duh, I’m well aware, fuster. But Saleema was comparing Houston to Brooklyn and the two are comparable in size, and in demographics, something that you were apparently ignorant of.

      • Saleema
        March 11, 2011, 5:29 pm

        I’ve been to NYC, to visit my sister…who is actually over in CT but spends quite a lot of time down at NYC. I’m sorry, but nothing beats Houston as far as the openess, friendliness and diversity of the people. :)

      • fuster
        March 11, 2011, 5:52 pm

        Saleema,
        I’m happy that you’ve found a happy home in Houston and hope your heart long lives there in open light and love and friendship.

      • Saleema
        March 11, 2011, 7:42 pm

        lol. ok, thanks.

      • pineywoodslim
        March 11, 2011, 6:48 pm

        Fuster,

        As the commenters imply, you do indeed need to get out more.

        I spent a great deal of time in Houston 20 something years ago, and trust me, the neighborhood you describe in Brooklyn exists in spades in Houston, if not most American cities nowadays. Don’t be so parochial.

        And that was 20 years ago.

    • iamuglow
      March 11, 2011, 6:21 pm

      “I’m glad I don’t live in Brooklyn. Seems full of hate.”

      Thats harsh.

      • Saleema
        March 11, 2011, 7:45 pm

        sorry. I just don’t see this kind of stuff described about in the post at my campus, or even Rice university. Or, even North Harris College. When I was at NHC, and 9/11 happened, the dean of the college called me to his office and asked if I and other Muslim students felt safe. That speaks a lot about his character, the integrity of the college, and of Houston, too.

      • fuster
        March 11, 2011, 7:46 pm

        we eat the weak

      • Potsherd2
        March 11, 2011, 8:12 pm

        Seems to me, everytime I read about teenaged Zionist thugs running around Jerusalem and Hebron, assaulting Palestinians, they seem to have Brooklyn accents. Likewise the denizens of the settlements, in large part.

        Brooklyn seems to breed these and export them to Israel.

      • annie
        March 11, 2011, 10:11 pm

        770 is there . chabad headquarters. the numero uno settler messiah freaks.

      • fuster
        March 11, 2011, 10:21 pm

        yup, they’re too weak to survive here so they have to go where there are no people that can fight back.

        take the rifles out of their hot little hands and they’re no better than the other backstabbers.

  4. annie
    March 11, 2011, 2:52 pm

    “All through history people have been oppressed but no people has done what the Palestinians have done—no people has shown itself so morally sick as the Palestinians have.”

    Muslims in the Middle East are “Islamic Nazi’s” who “want to kill Jews, that’s their agenda.” He added later, “all Muslim associations are fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood.”

    “no other people have sunk so low as the Palestinians have and yet everybody is afraid to say this,” claiming that Muslims are a “protected species in this country”

    did anyone record this speech? it is almost unfathomable a college would allow this kind of racist discourse.

    i also find it disturbing the moderators here would allow comments supporting the college to present this kind of speech. i’m flabbergasted frankly. i know people think these thoughts but to present them at a college?

  5. David Samel
    March 11, 2011, 3:20 pm

    Zoe, you may have had your doubts about whether to publicize Horowitz’s speech, but you made the right decision. If racists like him were isolated and shunned, he’d be no more dangerous than a teenager collecting Nazi memoribilia in an Idaho basement. But as you note, Horowitz has his followers, as difficult as it is for any person of decency and commons sense to believe. His lunacy should be publicized and criticized, and so should the considerable support he enjoys. As you suggest, someone should collect his quotes, substitute “Jews” for “Palestinians,” and demonstrate what a racist asshole this guy is.

  6. Lester Blaine
    March 11, 2011, 4:41 pm

    I love the fact that a woman got a roomful of Muslim haters to openly admit they’re scared pussies. “And we’re scared when we see Muslims on buses and airplanes too.” What a pathetic bunch of losers.
    But who says there’s no payback for racism. A few decades from now, historians will look back on this fear-stricken, insular country and remark, incredulously, how it bankrupted itself fighting enemies that its own uncontrolled paranoia engendered.

    • Saleema
      March 11, 2011, 5:30 pm

      She should have said “Boo!” and laughed as they scampered out of there seats and out the door.

    • Potsherd2
      March 11, 2011, 5:54 pm

      I’ll bet they’re also scared when they see black guys in dreadlocks walking down the street. Of course in neither case do they correctly attribute their fear to their own bigotry.

    • ToivoS
      March 11, 2011, 8:42 pm

      Lester you bring up a good point. Immediately after 911 for that brief period when this country was united in grief, shock and a desire for revenge, I reacted with terrible disappointment at my fellow Americans incredible cowardice. I hadn’t attributed it to any political leanings then, but just felt that it was a symptom of this country had lost its courage.

      However, today I realize that I overgeneralized in my reaction — those were just the Zionists and Republicans showing us their character. The rest of America does still possess some of the old time virtues and deserving the moniker ‘home of the brave’ .

  7. southernobserver
    March 11, 2011, 6:10 pm

    “All through history people have been oppressed but no people has done what the Palestinians have done—no people has shown itself so morally sick as the Palestinians have.”
    I am struggling to understand what this person is trying to say. His intent is clearly hateful unpleasant, and yet does he mean: The palestinians are the only people to have been attacked unexpectedly, terrorised, driven in to the sea or desert, brutally occupied for over 60 years and then agreed to make peace in exchange for a fraction of their original land?

    This seems on the face of it to be rather positive to me.

    or does he just mean “Cet animal est tres mechant; quand on l’attaque, il se defend” ?

    • fuster
      March 11, 2011, 8:16 pm

      you can’t make sense from that statement there is none. the person who said it is an ass.

      • ToivoS
        March 11, 2011, 9:51 pm

        fuster I can see why you want to distance yourself from these statements by a fellow Zionist. But calling him an “ass” is not enough. Horowitz is an out and out racist from the same mold as those Southern senators Eastland and Thurmond (plus legions of other like-minded folk).

        Horowitz may be an ass for exposing the Zionist movement for the outright racism he represents (and presumably embarrassing you while doing so) , but if you really want to distance yourself perhaps you should come out and tell us why Horowitz does not represent Zionism and, if he does, you will denounce his racism.

  8. DICKERSON3870
    March 11, 2011, 7:58 pm

    RE: “Muslims are a ‘protected species in this country’” – David Horowitz

    MY COMMENT: WOW!!! So, Muslims are not humans!!! So if a Hindu converts to a Muslim, their species changes and they are no longer a human! Because I know that all humans are part of the same species, genus and family. Am I missing something, or am I stark, raving meshugge?
    OMG! OMG! OMG! It has finally happened! My worst fear realized! What did I do to deserve this? I can only pray that G-d plucks me from this earthly existence and clutches me tightly ever after to her magnificent bosom. The sooner the better! Lord, I beseech you! Lord? Lord? Your humble servant awaits, Lord.

    FROM WIKIPEDIA: Humans, known taxonomically as Homo sapiens[3][4] (Latin for “wise man” or “knowing man”),[5] are the only living species in the Homo genus of bipedal primates in Hominidae, the great ape family. Anatomically modern-appearing humans originated in Africa about 200,000 years ago, reaching full behavioral modernity around 50,000 years ago…
    SOURCE – link to en.wikipedia.org

    • fuster
      March 11, 2011, 9:33 pm

      it’s a rhetorical point, Dick, from an idiot. try not to get overheated.

      • Cliff
        March 16, 2011, 6:49 am

        That you casually dismiss these types of comments speaks enough about your politics on the matter. Don’t act like your concerned with whether he’s truly a hater or not. Your making a political judgment because this nutjob is still on YOUR side technically.

        Who gives a damn what the metaphor was? It’s a disgusting metaphor.

        The fact that someone can say that about Muslims and get away with it is the problem.

        What if someone said JEWS ARE PROTECTED SPECIES?

        People have been flayed for far less, frog.

  9. ToivoS
    March 11, 2011, 9:54 pm

    It is representative of a fellow Zionist fustur, if you do not approve of that language you should work harder to distance yourself from your comrade’s rhetoric.

    • fuster
      March 12, 2011, 3:41 pm

      what the heck is a “fellow Zionist fustur”?

      are you attempting to describe my own self with any of those three words?

      if so, why?

  10. Citizen
    March 12, 2011, 5:33 am

    Why is David Duke banished to the fringe of society while Horowitz is constantly given air time by the MSM? It’s so easy to see what’s wrong with Horowitz’s public statements simply by substituting the word Jews for the word Muslims. What the f*** is wrong with our nation’s political and intellectual leaders and institutions that they don’t come down hard on Horowitz and make hm a laughing stock?

  11. Sonja
    March 16, 2011, 5:22 am

    I am disgusted. On the other hand, this is what we in the Netherlands are hearing and reading every day. Mosques are targeted with White Pride graffiti, or pigs heads. My daughter is growing up in a diseased racist environment. What to do? It makes me cry.

  12. laplandian
    March 19, 2013, 12:58 pm

    Incidentially, a few months after Horowitz’s speech someone went on shooting spray in Flatbush, trying to kill Muslims and killed two Middle Eastern Orthodox Jews in the process…

    link to nydailynews.com

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