Editor’s Note: The following letter to the editor of USC's Daily Trojan was printed in response to the column “David Horowitz does not belong on campus,” which ran in the March 23 edition of the school paper. That article, written by a junior majoring in international relations who writes a regular column, "That’s So Racist!,” for the paper, declared that Freedom Center founder Horowitz's "fundamentalist views degrade black Americans, immigrants and Arabs." She asserted that his "incendiary rhetoric breeds intolerance against certain groups" and therefore "it is irresponsible for a student organization to bring in a speaker who foments religious and ethnic hostilities."
Horowitz was given equal space for the following response:
On the day I was scheduled to speak at USC this week, a column appeared in the Daily Trojan, titled “David Horowitz Does Not Belong On Campus.” The author, an Iranian student named Lida Dianti, justified her desire to ban me from speaking by claiming that I was a racist and anti-Muslim, and that I “vilified Palestinians.”
In fact, I have been a lifelong defender of minorities and particularly African Americans, having been in my first civil rights march 68 years ago, during the Truman administration, almost half a century before Lida Dianti was born. Dianti justifies her claim that I am an anti-black racist with these words: “He has refuted the prevalence of institutionalized racism,” and “[dismissed] the systems that actively oppress black Americans.” Well, if I’ve “refuted” the claim that there is institutional racism then what is the complaint? Apparently, the complaint is that the truth is racist. This actually captures my view of the protests against conservative speakers on this and other campuses: The protesters can’t handle the truth.
I do believe that institutionalized racism is a myth. Despite protests at the University of Missouri and Yale about “racism,” for example, these institutions spend millions of dollars to recruit minority students and rig admissions requirements to benefit those that can’t meet their standards. Those are facts, not opinions, which leftists can’t refute and therefore want to suppress.
The claim that I am anti-Muslim was lifted by Dianti from a left-wing smear site where I am described as “the godfather of the anti-Muslim movement.” Despite the fact that I have written more than a million published words and there are hours of video recordings of my campus speeches and TV appearances on YouTube, neither the left-wing smear site nor Lida Dianti were able to find even one sentence that could honestly be described as “anti-Muslim.” I am not against Muslims. I am against Islamic terror and the Islamic jihad. My detractors convert this into an attack on all Muslims by ignoring that crucial distinction.
I have never described Muslim students as “Wahhabi Islamicists who basically support our enemies,” as Dianti falsely claims. I have said that specific organizations, like Students for Justice in Palestine, were created by the Muslim Brotherhood and support the Hamas terrorists who are our enemies. Students for Justice in Palestine and the Muslim Students Association, which is also a creature of the Muslim Brotherhood, have conducted national campaigns to demonize Israel and its Jews, and support the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement whose goal is to strangle the Jewish state — which is the real reason why I am regularly attacked by the left on campuses like this.
Finally, in a speech at Brooklyn College, I did say that the Palestinians are “morally sick” — one of the few statements in Dianti’s column that is true — but she left out the context. I had first pointed out that Hamas and the Palestinian leadership explicitly call for the extermination of the Jews. I described this as “Nazi.” I pointed out that 100 percent of Palestinians who vote, vote for terrorist parties with these Nazi agendas. I said leftists will nonetheless defend the support of Nazi agendas as the regrettable effect of being oppressed. Then I said this: “But even if they were oppressed, that is no excuse for embracing Nazism. People have been oppressed for thousands of years, yet there has never before been a people that has strapped bombs to its own children, told them to blow themselves up along with other children who are Jews, and if they do so they will go to heaven. Moreover, if they are lucky enough to be male, they will be rewarded with 72 virgins. That is sick.” You may disagree with my conclusion but it is hardly an attack on Palestinians as such. It is an attack on their behavior.
Lida Dianti concludes her plea that I should be silenced by saying that hers “is not an attack on freedom of speech but rather on hate speech.” This is a very dangerous misunderstanding of freedom of speech, which either protects all speech or is meaningless. One woman’s hate speech is another man’s truth. Learn to live with that, Lida, and since you are a college student, learn to deal with arguments you don’t like by finding ways to refute them, rather than by conducting protests to suppress them.