University of Sydney Staff Thinks Antisemitism Has a Place on Campus
University of Sydney staff argued that supporters of the Islamic State be given a platform to “express” antisemitism, News.com.au reported on Friday.
“I would say yes, we should ‘allow’ [individuals] to express their anti-Semitism — within bounds, of course,” wrote Philosophy Department lecturer Yarran Dylan Khang Hominh in an email chain among arts staff discussing freedom of speech.
His assertion was part of a larger debate over free speech on campus, after staff and student members of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions group faced disciplinary measures for disrupting a speech by retired British Army officer Richard Kemp.
One heckler, Professor Jake Lynch, was accused of antisemitism after he allegedly waved money in front of an elderly woman’s face, according to the report.
Following the protest, the BDS group continued to ruffle feathers on campus when it published an open letter on the freedom of expression on campus that criticized the university for canceling a speech by the spokesperson for an international Islamist group called Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is an outspoken backer of the Islamic State.
One of the authors of the open letter, Nick Riemer, insisted that banning Hizb ut-Tahrir’s Australian spokesman, who was scheduled to speak on September 11, may have been behind the heckling of speakers such as Kemp.
So when another professor, Dr. Wendy Lambourne of the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies argued that a distinction must be drawn between the right to free speech and the right to free hate speech, BDS supporter Hominh insisted that actually individuals harboring antisemitic beliefs should be allowed to express their opinions.
Lynch and 12 other protesters, including five students, still face disciplinary charges.
Interestingly, an article on Hizb ut-Tahrir’s international website discusses when it is appropriate to suppress the freedom of expression, namely when speaking out against Islam.