Censorship and Libel at USC

A university shows tolerance for Muslim student radicals – but not for their critics.

Editor’s note: In September 2009, David Horowitz was invited by the University of Southern California College Republicans to come on campus and protest an Islamic Hadith calling for the genocide of the Jews that appeared on an official USC website. His speech was attacked in advance by Students for Justice in Palestine and the USC Progressive Alliance, who made up quotes and attributed them to Horowitz in order to paint him as an Islamophobe and a racist. Undeterred by this slander, Horowitz spoke on the USC campus on November 4 to a packed house.

On December 3, the USC Vice President of Student Affairs, Michael Jackson, published “an open letter to the USC community” in the Daily Trojan, the USC campus newspaper, attacking the College Republicans for bringing Horowitz to campus. Jackson claimed that Horowitz’s presence “led members of our community, our Muslim students, to feel threatened, unsafe, and betrayed.” This letter was also sent to every official USC student, faculty, and staff email address and was published as an ad in the Daily Trojan.

Horowitz wrote a response to Jackson’s letter and submitted it as an ad to the Daily Trojan, which Jackson controls and which initially rejected it. The David Horowitz Freedom Center responded by notifying USC officials of its intent to pursue relief under California’s Unruh Act, which requires student papers to observe rules of basic fairness. After reflection, the Trojan agreed to print Horowitz’s response and it ran in Tuesday’s edition of the paper. It appears below. Tomorrow, FrontPage will run the speech Horowitz gave at USC, which aroused the ire of the campus left.

An Open Letter to the USC Community: Response to VP Student Affairs Michael L. Jackson:

Vice President Jackson’s “Open Letter to the USC Community” denigrating student leaders of College Republicans for inviting me to speak is ill-informed and provides unfortunate support for campus hate speech, specifically for the attacks on Jewish students that have become increasingly prevalent on college campuses these days. I was invited to USC to speak about this problem and specifically about an incitement to kill Jews posted on an official USC website and attributed to the prophet Mohammed. The incitement was originally posted by the USC Muslim Student Union. It was removed last spring by Provost Nicias, who called it “disgusting,” over protests from the Muslim Student Union. It was recently restored to a USC website by another campus group. When this re-posting came to my attention, I contacted USC students and said I would like to come to campus to address this and related issues. This led to my invitation from College Republicans.

My speech and my hosts were attacked, however, before I even appeared at USC. We were subjected to a series of vicious slanders which should have no place on a university campus. A flyer put out by the USC Progressive Alliance maliciously and falsely claimed that College Republicans hate Muslims and then invented an entire quote attributed to me claiming that Muslim believers are “soulless beasts.” I have never said or written anything that could be construed this way, nor do I believe it. In the millions of words I have published I have never used the phrase “soulless beast” to describe anyone, let alone pious Muslims.

Nor was this the only attack on us. The president of Students for Justice in Palestine sent out a campus email making a series of false claims about what I have written in the past, including the malicious lie that I said that African Americans should be grateful for slavery. A version of this slander endorsed by half a dozen recognized USC student groups and five USC professors was published in the Daily Trojan, which is under Michael Jackson’s jurisdiction and which refused to print my rebuttal.

In his “Open Letter” Vice President Jackson not only ignores these assaults on campus tolerance but singles out the victims of these attacks for disapprobation. He justifies this moral blindness by claiming that I described the USC Muslim Student Union as “a terrorist organization with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.” I never made such a statement – not before my speech nor during the course of it.

What I did point out in my speech was the USC Muslim Student Union’s decision to post the alleged saying of the prophet Mohammed that in order for the Day of Judgment to come, Muslims must “fight the Jews and kill them,” and its defense of the posting after Provost Nicias ordered its removal.

It is true that on other occasions I have said that the national Muslim Students Association is part of the Muslim Brotherhood network with ties to Hamas. I have also said that the national Muslim Students Association sponsors anti-gay, anti-woman and anti-Semitic speakers on many campuses, and is behind an event on every anniversary of the creation of the state Israel that calls for its destruction – a genocidal incitement. These claims are documented here in this Investigative Project report on the Muslim Student Association. In any case, they should be a legitimate part of any dialogue on a university campus concerned with the current conflict between radical elements in Islam and the democracies of the West. The fact that a vice president in charge of student affairs should want to de-legitimize and thereby suppress these opinions in the name of “tolerance” is positively Orwellian and does not speak well for the intellectual climate at this great university.


David Horowitz