PJ Media

Freedom to Screech

Do you remember the Dixie Chicks?  This female group was the nation’s hottest country band back in 2003, when they went to Great Britain on an international tour and wound up destroying their career one night on a stage in London.

The “Chicks” were in London just days before U.S. ground forces invaded Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Pandering to European anti-war sensibilities, the group’s lead singer, Natalie Maines, said to a packed audience: “We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas.”

The Brits responded as I’m sure she expected them to. Even in 2003, President Bush was a despised figure by the elitist international left — depicted as a war-mongering, ignorant cowboy from Texas.

Back home in the U.S., things were a little different. The American public generally viewed the Dixie Chicks’ comments not only as rude and disrespectful, but unpatriotic as well. However, among the nation’s country music fans, the “Chicks” quickly became pariahs. These music fans were, if nothing else, flag-waving patriotic folks.

The Dixie Chicks’ music career slid almost immediately into the toilet. American concert dates were canceled and people refused to buy their CDs. After giving the big middle finger to their fans back in the U.S., the group argued that they had been silenced — censored, if you will — by supposedly intolerant, war-loving country music fans.

But there’s a point to my little walk back down musical history lane.

The Dixie Chicks have become just another musical asterisk, but the larger point is the inability of liberals and leftists to accept responsibility for their actions.

The Dixie Chicks had every right to make unpatriotic fools of themselves that night in London, but the American public also had the right to judge their comments and reject them and every note they played. Natalie Maines had insulted America and trashed an American president … while on a foreign stage!

But let’s fast forward the tape a few years.

Earlier this year, Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren was invited to speak on U.S.-Israel relations at the University of California, Irvine. But Muslim activists from the university’s Muslim Student Union were also there and tried to prevent the ambassador from speaking.

In succession, the Muslim activists stood up and repeatedly shouted down the ambassador, saying that he was “propagating murder.” To loud cheers from other activists, one by one they were removed from the auditorium and led away by security guards.

You can guess what happened next.

The eleven Muslim students, who were removed from the meeting, did not take responsibility for their disruptive actions and stand up to accept any punishment. Instead, they claimed that they were the victims. After all, it was their First Amendment rights that had been violated.

Excuse me, but there is no constitutional right to prevent others from speaking and to act in a disorderly manner. The courts have long held that you can’t use the “free speech” ruse to justify such action. They have ruled that preventing others from exercising their free-speech rights is not constitutionally protected.

But in this era of misplaced sensitivity to Islam, something unusual took place. UC Irvine actually reached down and found the cojones to rule against the Muslim campus group that had organized the protest.

The university suspended the Muslim Student Union, finding that the group had “planned, orchestrated and coordinated in advance” an effort to disrupt the Israeli ambassador’s speech. In addition to a one-year suspension, the Muslim student organization will also face a one-year probationary period.

As expected, the attorney for the eleven Muslim students argues that the suspension amounts to an attempt to “silence dissent.”

But wait. UC Irvine has the largest Muslim student population in California, and over recent years this campus has been a hotbed of radical Muslim activity.

Here is a brief sample platter of their joy-filled activities. In 2001, the Muslim Student Union invited Imam Muhammad al-Asi  to campus. He told his audience: “You can take a Jew out of the ghetto, but you can’t take the ghetto out of the Jew.”

They invited black Islamic convert Imam Abdel Malik-Ali to campus in 2004. He said the Mossad would have assassinated Al Gore if he had been elected president in 2000 just to bring Joe Lieberman (his Jewish vice-presidential running mate) to power.

Then in June 2004, the university’s Muslim Student Union asked graduating Muslim students to wear green sashes with the word “shahada,” which in Arabic means the “martyrdom” of a suicide bomber, to the graduation ceremonies.

In 2006, while protesting the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, over 1,000 Muslim students wore pro-Hamas armbands and chanted: “Hey, hey, ho, ho! The Prophet’s cartoons have got to go!”

Most revealing, in 2007 the Muslim Student Union again invited their old mentor back to speak. Abdel Malik-Ali delivered a speech to Muslim students in which he declared a martyr’s death to be the most honorable form of death.

This is the organization that is now piously claiming that its free-speech rights have been trampled on.

With this level of hostility to Jews and Israel coming from UC Irvine’s Muslim student organization, it’s no surprise that this campus has been the site of ugly incidents.

An Israeli flag was defaced in a dorm room; a poster was displayed that equated the Star of David with a swastika; a Holocaust memorial was defaced; and in 2006, the Muslim Student Union sponsored a program titled “Holocaust in the Holy Land.”

So everybody’s a victim. It’s the Muslim student’s version of “going Dixie Chick.” If you do something stupid, there’s no reason to own up to it and accept the responsibility for your actions — you deflect responsibility and blame others. I think that can be found on page 183 of the leftist’s manual — Activism for Dummies.