Radhika Sainath of Palestine Legal: “There’s a lot of writing these days about the Left being oversensitive crybabies that can’t handle free speech. Students shutting down racists like Milo Yiannopoulos and Charles Murray at the University of California Berkeley and Middlebury in Vermont made headlines in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CNN, and Fox News.” But Sainath argues the real forces with the most successes in shutting down free speech do not come from the Left, but far-right Zionist organizations that have pressured universities into firing employees and changing curriculums.
On December 1, the Wall Street Journal published an oped titled, “Those Israel Boycotts Are Illegal” after members of the American Anthropological Association overwhelmingly voted in favor of endorsing a resolution calling for the academic boycott of Israeli institutions. In response, Palestine Legal staff attorney Radhika Sainath submitted the following letter to the editor, which the Journal refused to run.
It is a well-established principle that public universities are bound by the First Amendment. You might not know this from talking to students who are speaking out for Palestinian rights. In the past eight months, Radhika Sainath has given 15 know-your-rights workshops to students from nearly 70 different universities. Despite her extensive conversations with SJPers, she continues to be surprised at the level of repression these students face from their administrations.
Palestine Solidarity Legal Support offers a roundup of summer incidents in which people lost their job, were investigated or otherwise sanctioned because they were critical of Israel’s policies, or merely expressed support for Palestinian rights. These incidents share much in common including that Israel advocacy groups frequently demand that individuals supporting Palestinian rights be investigated and punished relying on false accusations of anti-Semitism.