Daily Israel Report

Jewish Students Cancel Event for Being 'Too Controversial'

UK Jewish students withdrew invitation to attorney Brooke Goldstein, 48 hours prior to her arrival, believing her to be “too controversial.”
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 3/18/2012, 10:09 AM

Palestinian Authority children taught to shoot
Palestinian Authority children taught to shoot
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Leeds University Jewish Society (JSoc) withdrew an invitation to American attorney Brooke Goldstein, 48 hours prior to her arrival, on the grounds that she may be considered “too controversial,” reported the Jewish Chronicle Online (JC.com).

Goldstein, who specializes in defending counterterrorist scholars who are at risk of getting sued for their work by Islamic organizations, expressed dismay at the group for falling to uphold the basic principle of freedom of speech.

She has been touring Britain with UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI), an organization that “employs advocacy, legal research and campaigning in order to combat attempts to undermine, attack or delegitimise Israel, Israeli organisations, Israelis, and / or supporters of Israel,” says the group’s website.  

They have been speaking about the ways Arab dictatorships and Islamist leaders use "lawfare" to sue those who publish articles against radical Islam.

She has probed top terrorists, compiling video clips that would become the 2006 award winning documentary “Making the Martyr,” which exposes how Islamic society coerces children to become suicide bombers. She also established The Children’s Rights Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to exposing the same phenomenon.

Students expressed concerned over her association with right-wing Dutch politician Geert Wilders, to whom she gave legal advice after he was sued for anti-Muslim remarks, noted JC.com.

Goldstein said the students were "trying to prevent me from speaking about how we defend their rights, as someone who advocates on their behalf. I think it's disgraceful; it's Orwellian."

JSoc president Ilana Manuel claimed that the group had "researched some of Ms Goldstein's past projects, her associates and views that she has expressed in various media outlets and decided that this is not appropriate for our campus. Our priority is the welfare of our students, and we did not want to put anyone in a situation where this could be jeopardised."

Ms Goldstein stated, "It's disappointing that they would shy away from debating the most pertinent issues of our time, for example what limits should be put on free speech and what is acceptable dialogue, critical of religion, in free societies." 

UKLFI's Jonathan Turner said it was "absurd to deny a platform to a speaker on the grounds that she has supported freedom of speech for Wilders and others, especially when she was not even intending to talk about Wilders. On the same basis, one would deny a platform to Alan Dershowitz, who has supported freedom of speech for the Ku Klux Klan."

"Just as Benny Morris was cancelled by Cambridge Israel Society in Feb 2010, we witness spineless Jewish students crumbling in the face of false charges of Islamophobia, said Zionist Federation co-vice-chair Jonathan Hoffman. “Meanwhile, in the Alice In Wonderland topsy-turvy world of British academia, Palestinian societies are free to host the most outrageous antisemitic extremists. Thus Brooke Goldstein gets labelled as an extremist while Ken O'Keefe is given legitimacy."