As argued by an attorney working on the case
of the Muslim students at UC Irvine who antagonized Michael Oren:
Ten Muslim students broke the law by shouting down a speech by an Israeli diplomat at the University of California, Irvine, in a carefully drafted and executed plan that flouted repeated warnings by campus officials, a prosecutor said Monday.
In closing arguments at the trial that stoked fierce debate about free speech, prosecutor Dan Wagner told jurors that emails among the students revealed they knew they could be arrested when they got up, one by one, and shouted pre-scripted statements to interrupt Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren's talk on U.S.-Israel relations in February 2010.
"The right to free speech is not absolute," Wagner said before a packed courtroom of more than 180 people in Orange County, with more observers waiting outside. "If hecklers' vetoes were allowed, then nobody, nobody, none of us would have the right to free speech."
Defense attorneys were expected to argue later in the day on behalf of the students, who face misdemeanor charges of conspiring to disrupt a meeting and disrupting a meeting. If convicted, the students—many who have now graduated from UC Irvine and nearby University of California, Riverside—could face sentences ranging from probation with community service and fines to a year in jail. [...]
Wagner said students acted as censors to block the free flow of ideas and infringed on the rights of 700 people who had gone to the suburban campus that evening to hear Oren.
The interruptions—combined with cheering from supporters, admonishments from university officials trying to regain control, and a forced break in the meeting—absorbed more than half the event, he said. A question and answer period where dissenters could have challenged Oren was cancelled because of limited time, Wagner said. [...]
The students were initially cited, released and disciplined at UC Irvine, which revoked the Muslim Student Union's charter for a quarter and placed it on two years of probation.
Nearly a year later, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas filed criminal charges against 11 students. [...]
On Monday, Wagner showed video clips of university officials pleading with demonstrators to behave and respect academic freedom. He also showed numerous emails among members of the Muslim Student Union planning the disruption and calculating who was willing to get arrested.
The correspondence, Wagner said, reveals students knew the risk of their actions and later tried to cover up that the organization was involved in the protest.
"It was always a plan to break the rules," he said.
Interesting info. In other words, they were willing to become "martyrs" and risk trashing their futures over political issues, and that mattered to them far more than shaping their own futures. Just one more reason why they're practically begging to be convicted for being so offensive at the university grounds.
Labels: anti-semitism, islam, Israel, United States