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David Horowitz threatens to sue student for op-ed condemning ‘hate’ posters

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The Southern Poverty Law Center labeled David Horowitz the “godfather of the modern anti-Muslim movement” two years ago and last month called him the “premier financier of radical anti-Muslim extremism” in its Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists. So did David Horowitz threaten to sue the SPLC? Nope. But he’s threatening to sue Robert Gardner, a UCLA senior and member of Students for Justice in Palestine over an op-ed he wrote in The Daily Bruin, UCLA’s student newspaper.

Gardner said Horowitz was leading a “hate organization” because of posters his Freedom Center had put out targeting Palestinian solidarity activists.

the Freedom Center escalated its campaign of intimidation by naming students individually, implicating them as anti-Semitic terrorists and murderers. As a result, students have reported feeling unsafe on campus. And now the Freedom Center, with its most recent campaign, shows no signs of stopping.

For Palestinian students and allies like myself, the experience [of being targeted for our activism] has been all too surreal. Because of my activism for Palestinian human rights, I have been placed on an online blacklist – an anonymous website ran by students and “concerned citizens” – that is trying to prevent me from being employed, and that blacklist provides the Freedom Center with the information needed to launch its hateful campaign of intimidation. Ever since my name was listed on the posters, I have been followed, bullied and harassed on social media. Like other students, this has caused me to worry for my safety. This experience has also caused me a great deal of psychological trauma, and I worry about my well-being. …”

Gardner wrote his op-ed as a response to Horowitz’s latest campaign, plastering posters on university campuses targeting Palestinian activists by name.

Gardner was featured in an L.A.Times exclusive last August describing Sheldon Adelson’s multi million dollar efforts to combat the “exploding pro-Palestinian movement on campuses” — those who support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).

Robert Gardner, a senior at UCLA, stands in the Students for Justice in Palestine office. (Photo: Ringo H.W. Chiu / LA Times)

Robert Gardner, a senior at UCLA, stands in the Students for Justice in Palestine office. (Photo: Ringo H.W. Chiu/LA Times)

The Times referenced Horowitz’s earlier campus attack ads against Palestinians and quoted Gardner:

The African American senior likened Israeli crackdowns on Palestinian protesters to police violence against black Americans. So he joined  Students for Justice in Palestine and an international movement known as BDS, which advocates boycotts, divestment and sanctions against companies deemed players in Israeli human rights violations.

Earlier this year, though, he was shocked to see — on a poster outside a Westwood market — his name listed as one  of 16 UCLA  “Jew haters” and terrorist allies.

Since then, he says, “I’ve received death threats online, and people have followed me.”……

Gardner called the poster’s accusations false, saying he does not support terrorists or hate Jews. His group, he said, explicitly condemns unlawful violence by anyone.

But the 25-year-old says that he’s “worried about people coming to campus to attack me.”

That was last summer. Then came Horowitz’s October 2016 hate campaign of posters, which named pro-Palestinian activists (in the white space below) and called them anti-Semites.

Poster distributed by the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Named target on poster was whited out by Hudson Valley BDS, which published this image

Poster distributed by the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Named target on poster was whited out by Hudson Valley BDS, which published this image

Gardner responded defiantly with his Daily Bruin op-ed, “SJP unfazed by hate posters, will continue to educate students“.

And that was the op-ed that drove the bully Horowitz over the top.

Palestine Legal lays it out on their blog, here’s the bulk of it, read their full scathing coverage here:

Horowitz has now escalated his threats against Robert:

“You falsely describe David Horowitz as a racist,” wrote Horowitz’s attorney, Paul A. Hoffman, in a letter to Robert on October 17. “You should have checked the facts more carefully before printing your Op-Ed.” The letter calls Robert’s article “defamatory” and threatens that, “Further publication or republication [of your Op-Ed] will also demonstrate your malicious intent and will support the imposition of punitive damages against you personally.”

Horowitz sent a similar threat letter last spring to UCLA’s Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Jerry Kang, after Kang denounced the Horowitz poster campaign as “thuggish intimidation” and “demagoguery.” As retribution, Horowitz also featured Kang himself on one of the posters plastered on UCLA’s campus last month.

Robert, an African American student majoring in political science, is active with Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at UCLA……

Robert is a first generation college student, originally from South Los Angeles, and a transfer to UCLA from community college.  He commutes over an hour by bus each day to the UCLA campus. His commitment to equality for Palestinians is rooted in his experience as a black youth facing police violence and structural inequalities.

Robert explained, “I’ve got a thick skin. Against all odds, I made it to UCLA, and I’m not backing off my demands for justice and equality for all people – Black, Palestinian, all of us. But I’ll be honest – it’s scary to see my name plastered on campus and labeled as a terrorist. I lost sleep the week the posters hit, I missed class, I missed important reading and as a result, I couldn’t answer questions on a midterm. And now he’s going to sue me because I answered back?”

Palestine Legal attorney Liz Jackson underscored that the legal threat is baseless.  “Students and journalists should continue to freely express and publish their opinions on Horowitz’s actions. The U.S. Constitution and California law protect Robert Gardner’s right to criticize Horowitz’s use of anti-Arab, anti-Muslim stereotypes,” explained Jackson.

Horowitz has repeatedly boasted about promoting his belief that supporters of Palestinian rights are terrorists as a strategy to intimidate SJP, similar to the way Trump has boasted about his misogynist views. “We have the same message for Horowitz that the New York Times sent to Trump after he threatened to sue the newspaper for reporting on Trump’s treatment of women,” said Jackson. “David Horowitz, if you believe that Robert Gardner has no right to share his views about your public anti-Muslim and anti-Black hate mongering, we would be delighted to see a court inform you otherwise.”

Although the Horowitz Center is widely perceived as an extremist hate group, its strategy bolsters the broader efforts of pro-Israel advocacy organizationsIsraeli officials, and U.S. government officials to suppress support for Palestinian rights by branding it antisemitic and pro-terrorist.

Read Horowitz’s legal threat letter to Robert Gardner here

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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15 Responses

  1. ckg
    November 4, 2016, 10:05 pm

    I have used the SPLC quote in the comment section of two student newspapers after Horowitz appeared on campus. Each time he responded directly to my comment with a very defensive reply. It’s hilarious he is so thin-skinned and is easy to provoke into a rage.

    • oneangrycomic
      November 5, 2016, 9:01 am

      Most radical Zionist Islamaphobes are in a constant state of rage. It’s merely a symptom of the mental disorders that so frequently plague them.

      Further, I believe that the Illegal Israeli Squatters represent the highest concentration of serious mental disorders on the planet. Thinking that their behavior is necessary and normal, combined with governmental approval and support, contributes to the pathology and strength of these tendencies. This doubly powerful nature-nurture Zionist cesspool of hate and delusion makes for a toxic environment and explains how and why the genocide of the Palestinian people is accepted as acceptable and necessary, without remorse!

      My “diagnosis” is that Horowitz is a very disturbed, dangerous Zionist. However, his hate and arrogance makes him vulnerable, and will eventually lead to his collapse and contribute to the failure of Zionism! The type of rage ckg provoked by simply commenting in student newspapers will lead Horowitz to make costly errors. Mr. Gardner has succeeded in making the snake come out of his hole. I hope Mr. Gardner can hold on while organizations like SJP and BDS can cut the head off this repulsive serpent!

  2. Citizen
    November 5, 2016, 9:24 am

    The (constitutionally unprotected) hate speech theory, which is what supports anti-BDS fans, depends on conflating all Jews with Israel. At some point the issue has to land in SCOTUS. As we all know, if Hillary becomes POTUS, the court will generally end up leaning left, and visa versa if Trump becomes POTUS. Unless Hillary appoints PEP judges. I think she would, so this issue, it won’t matter who becomes POTUS. But, what they hey, we all already have Hillary’s Haim Saban and Trump’s Sheldon Adelson partnering to kill BDS.

  3. Citizen
    November 5, 2016, 9:48 am

    Good article, Annie–love it that a working class American Black student pulled the rabid Zionist snake out of his hole.

    • Annie Robbins
      November 5, 2016, 10:30 am

      thanks citizen, but pal legal deserves the credit here. what i can’t figure out is why horowitz decided to target gardner w/a lawsuit given how many people have called him out on his racism before. is it because he plans to make the daily bruin or ucla liable ? hence making it less likely the daily bruin will allow op eds of this nature in the future? was it because gardner was featured in the LATimes article — which garnered lots of attention. why gardner? that’s what i can’t figure out.

      • oldgeezer
        November 5, 2016, 12:23 pm

        @annie

        Gardner is a small target. Uni campus is seen as the battleground for future leaders and support. It’s a bully move. Why sue someone who won’t be intimidated. It serves as a warning shot across the bows of other students as well which is a double win.

        I doubt he thinks he can win such a lawsuit. I doubt he cares. He just wants to spread a little fear.

      • Keith
        November 5, 2016, 5:07 pm

        OLDGEEZER- “He just wants to spread a little fear.”

        Yes, he is basically threatening a SLAPP lawsuit as a tactic of intimidation. It is a tactic used by those with resources to silence those without, and can be very effective. Unless you are a fat-cat yourself or have organizational support, you could find yourself in a world of hurt. That is why the anti-Zionists and BDS movement truly experience harassment and fear, whereas, these Jewish students claiming fear and intimidation are the instruments of Zionist intimidation. Below is a quote from an anti-SLAPP website.

        “SLAPPs are Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation. These damaging suits chill free speech and healthy debate by targeting those who communicate with their government or speak out on issues of public interest.

        SLAPPs are used to silence and harass critics by forcing them to spend money to defend these baseless suits. SLAPP filers don’t go to court to seek justice. Rather, SLAPPS are intended to intimidate those who disagree with them or their activities by draining the target’s financial resources.

        SLAPPs are effective because even a meritless lawsuit can take years and many thousands of dollars to defend. To end or prevent a SLAPP, those who speak out on issues of public interest frequently agree to muzzle themselves, apologize, or “correct” statements.” http://www.anti-slapp.org/slappdash-faqs-about-slapps/

      • DaBakr
        November 5, 2016, 5:28 pm

        @an
        surprised at your oversight annie as I am sure you know:

        your not supposed to be able to “figure” it out.

        the ways of the wise and wooly elders of zyion remain mysterious and cloaked in subterfuge until the time is ripe to strike at the heart of democracy which has been so destructive to the ancient protocols being enacted as prophetized by the dark lord on high.

      • Annie Robbins
        November 5, 2016, 5:59 pm

        the ways of the wise and wooly elders of zyion remain mysterious and cloaked in subterfuge

        of course, why didn’t i think of that.

        old geezer, yes i agree it’s a bully move. guess he didn’t think he’d be successful bullying southern poverty law center.

        palestine legal to the rescue!

      • Mooser
        November 6, 2016, 3:45 pm

        “the ways of the wise and wooly elders of zyion remain mysterious and cloaked in subterfuge until the time is ripe to strike at the heart of democracy which has been so destructive to the ancient protocols being enacted as prophetized (sic) by the dark lord on high.”

        “Dabakr”! Hey “Dabakr”, don’t let this opportunity pass! Just bring that quote from the Mondo comment section to Horowitz’s attention, and you and Freedom Center can sue Mondo for heavy damages in the name of the Jewish people! The Mods will be sorry they let that bit of AS go through!

      • CigarGod
        November 6, 2016, 3:47 pm

        Whatever the reason, students generally have few assets, which is why they are usually leading change. They have nothing to lose.

        However, I may be wrong as I am frequently a blind man.
        On the other hand, well-intentioned blind men have somehow managed to keep the human race going. And many more who are sighted simply shut their eyes.

      • Mooser
        November 6, 2016, 4:14 pm

        “Whatever the reason, students generally have few assets”

        Yes, but many students are not in a position to get in a battle of wills with their parents.

  4. Vera Gottlieb
    November 6, 2016, 3:30 am

    I never did care for this sub “human”.

  5. eljay
    November 7, 2016, 8:05 am

    … “You falsely describe David Horowitz as a racist,” wrote Horowitz’s attorney, Paul A. Hoffman …

    It may be false to describe Mr. Horowitz as a racist but it is completely accurate to describe him – and every other Zionist – as a supremacist.

  6. Mooser
    November 12, 2016, 1:09 pm

    Has David cried “Horowitz” and let slip the dogs of law yet?

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