Monday’s edition of The Daily Pennsylvanian featured a full-page advertisement from the David Horowitz Freedom Center about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
On Wednesday, we printed letters we received condemning the ad. Printed below are letters responding to the ones published yesterday, including one from David Horowitz himself.
On Wednesday, the DP printed a response to our “Wall of Lies” advertisement signed by a coalition of Jewish and Muslim campus leaders. In several rhetoric-heavy paragraphs, they called our ad “dehumanizing hate speech” and “hateful and inflammatory.” It would have been nice to see one citation from the ad that was alleged to be hate speech or one argument that the claims made in our ad were not true. There was no such citation and no such argument, only hate speech against us for writing the ad.
It seems reasonable to conclude that this resort to emotion is because there is no argument to be made for the slanders that Israel is an apartheid state or that Israel occupies Arab land. Or perhaps these students were not up to the task. Shame on those who signed the article, and shame on their teachers for not providing them with the ability and good manners to actually answer arguments they disagree with instead of demonizing those who make them.
David Horowitz, Founder and CEO of the David Horowitz Freedom Center
Over the past few days, the DP has been brought into the center of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The publication of a particularly controversial paid advertisement called “Wall of Lies” has generated many thoughtful responses. However, we were troubled by one letter to the editor, co-signed by many student leaders, that questioned the newspaper’s decision to publish the ad. The authors essentially demand that the DP censor any ads that they consider hateful.
We could not disagree more with this approach. Any journalistic organization must draw red lines and establish editorial standards. Advocating murder, violence or genocide would certainly cross a red line. But any decision to refuse publication requires discretion and careful thought. The DP cannot and should not refuse ads simply because the content is disagreeable. The “Wall of Lies” advertisement was certainly provocative, hurtful and intentionally inflammatory. It added little to reasoned debate on campus. But it did not incite violence or discrimination.
We can challenge the ideas presented in an open and free forum. Of course, that’s exactly what has happened. We should not be willing to allow the DP’s editorial board to be the arbiter of acceptable speech. This would be detrimental to the intellectual vibrancy of our campus. Students should be allowed to decide for themselves the ads they agree with and those they don’t.
Barry Rosenberg, Wharton sophomore
Isaac Setton, College junior
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.