In response to the English department’s invitation to Mohammed El-Kurd to speak on campus notwithstanding El-Kurd’s history of antisemitic rants, Center for Jewish Life Rabbi Gil Steinlauf ’91 asked the department “whether such rhetoric would be tolerated if it targeted other groups.” In the President’s Page, President Eisgruber ’83, like the department presumably, either had no answer to Rabbi Steinlauf’s question or chose not to provide one. The answer obviously is “no.” It simply is unimaginable that any academic department at Princeton would invite a speaker with a history of comments and writings about others even slightly comparable to those of El-Kurd about Jews and Israel. Said otherwise, however reprehensible and untrue, anything goes under the rubric of free speech on campus when it comes to Jews and Israel. But free speech on campus has distinct limits when it comes to other groups.
In Response to: A Case Study in Civil Discourse