Guest post by American Zionism
On November 14, Hen Mazzig gave a speech at Vassar College. He was interrupted by members of the local chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine with chants of “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”. They were intimidating and disrespectful to the people who went to hear him speak.
I know that Hen is open to dialogue with anyone and welcomes all questions, no matter how hard they may be. But the group was not there to hear him or engage with him, they were there to silence and humiliate him. They went to deny him his inalienable right to express his views regardless of what they may be. It also happens to be that his message was one of inclusiveness and reconciliation, and the protesters’ message was one of bigotry and division. In following Hen for a number of years on Twitter and having seen him speak in person, I can tell you that he advocates for the national aspirations for the Palestinians. He has never once said that he denies them their rights. On the other hand, the chant “from the river to the sea” is a call to remove all the Jews from the Holy Land, dismantle the State of Israel, and replace it with a Palestinian state that will span from the Jordan river to the Mediterranean Sea. Make no mistake, this is a casus belli to push the Jews into the sea. They are no advocates of peace. They aren’t even advocates of justice. And, they are certainly no advocates of a two-state solution. This is nationalism at its most extreme.
While Hen was being interrupted, he videotaped the disturbance and posted it on Twitter. Hen can be seen sitting silently waiting for it to end, and Jewish students in the audience can be seen sitting uncomfortably not knowing what to do, all the while SJP continued their harassment and their racist chant. As you can imagine, many Jews who were watching this unfold on Twitter were shaken and upset, myself included. Here Jews are once again are being denied the right to speak, and this denial is supported by many people who should know better. Where was the security? Where was the administration? This is not a free expression of speech. This is denying others their free expression of speech. Everyone, whether you agree with Hen or not and whether you like Hen or not, should have supported his right to share his story with those that had invited him to speak and who attended the event. But that is not what happened. In fact, the opposite happened. Having already faced abuse at the event, people chose this opportunity to attack him even further. That is where the Tweet by Abe Silberstein enters, which you can read below.