Censorship at the Boston University Daily Free Press

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The battle for free speech is the front line battle in the defense of the West against the totalitarian jihad being waged by political Islam. This was manifest in the rejection by the ironically named Daily Free Press of a pro-Israel ad from the David Horowitz Freedom Center. The Daily Free Press is the “student” newspaper at Boston University and the rejected ad featured the Freedom Center’s “Palestinian Wall of Lies,” a document that refutes the audacious falsehoods that form the jihadists’ case against the Jewish state.

The “Palestinian Wall of Lies” ad was timed to coincide with Boston University’s Israel Apartheid Week, an event organized by Students for Justice in Palestine which is a front group for the Muslim Students Association and the Muslim Brotherhood. Among the planned events are the erection of an “Apartheid Wall” featuring the standard lie that Palestine (there has never been such an entity since Roman times) is “occupied” by the Jewish state. In fact, the Jewish state occupies the ruins of the former Turkish empire (the Turks are neither Arabs nor Palestinians). The Boston University hate week also features a speech by Diana Buttu, a former legal adviser to the terrorist Palestine Liberation Organization, and an event with Noam Lekach and Elinor Amit from a group called “Anarchists Against the Wall” which regularly holds protests against the border fence in the West Bank of Israel which was erected to keep suicide bombers out. It has reduced Palestinian terrorist attacks against Jews by over 90% which leftists at Boston U and other schools evidently want to see resumed. The group also protests what they term “land theft, violence, separation and occupation” – all favored propaganda terms of the left to support the claims of the genocidal terrorists of Hezbollah and Hamas.

The Freedom Center’s ad was designed to counter this outrage – no better than having the Hitler Youth parade on the university quad – by confronting these lies with facts. It was submitted to the Daily Free Press on February 24 and was quickly returned with a terse email stating, “Due to the controversial nature of the ad, the Daily Free Press has decided not to run your ad next week.”  When pressed for a specific cause for the rejection, the Daily Free Press advertising editor Kathryn Palkovics claimed that “it is not a specific phrase or word that violated our policy, but that the general content may be offensive to our readers belonging to certain religious or ethnic groups.” When the Freedom Center asked whether this rule applied to material offensive to Jews (and therefore to the hate week organized by the left), Palkovics failed to answer.

We have submitted a letter to the Daily Free Press protesting this censorship of pro-Israel viewpoints in its pages. The text of the letter and the correspondence with the editors are reproduced below:

Open Letter to the Boston University Daily Free Press:

On February 25th, we submitted an ad to your paper based on our “Palestinian Wall of Lies,” a campaign designed to address and refute frequently-told lies about the state of Israel. The same ad has been submitted to and accepted by other campus papers including the UCLA Daily Bruin.

The Daily Free Press rejected our ad on the spurious ground that it offends the religious and ethnic sensibilities of some of its readers. We know it is spurious because the editors refused to specify any particular phrase or claim in our ad which was offensive, even after we offered to modify the ad.

The “lies” addressed in the ad are factual and should be considered offensive to no one. For instance, the lie that “Israel Occupies Arab Palestine” explains, “There never was an Arab country called ‘Palestine’ or inhabited by ‘Palestinians’” and “The land on which Israel was created…was land that had belonged to Turkey for 400 years.”

Advertising editor Kathryn Palkovics stated in an email, “Our board discussed your new ad last night and we cannot accept your ‘Wall of Lies’ ad for print as it still violates our advertising policy.”  This policy is astonishingly vague and gives the editors leave to reject ads that in their view (however distorted)   “promote discrimination against any gender, ethnicity, nationality, religious group or sexual orientation” or “any content deemed patently offensive to the readership.”

David Horowitz, chairman of the Freedom Center, then wrote to Palkovics stating, “As reported by you, the position of your board appears to be a policy to censor any comment critical of policies and/or positions taken by the terrorist organization Hamas, the government of Gaza, or the Palestinian Authority under a general rule that if you have readers who belong to terrorist organizations that happen to be Muslim or Palestinian your paper will not publish anything objectionable to them. Is this the position of your board?”

Palkovic responded that “The Daily Free Press believes the depiction of a Muslim carrying a gun in the background, as well as the text regarding Arabs as rejecting peace, may be offensive not only to Muslim and Arab students, but to our readership as a whole. Jews and Israelis are not excluded from our policy.”

So apparently the editors of the Free Press object to us stating the fact that the Palestinians have rejected peace—not only once but many, many times. The current position of the Palestinian Authority and the government of Gaza is total rejection of the existence of a Jewish state. How can the Israelis make peace with Palestinians who refuse to recognize their right to exist?

To clarify the issues, we removed the graphic of terrorists holding guns in one hand and Korans in the other in a second version of the ad we submitted, which was also rejected. Despite their claims to the contrary, it is clear that the main impetus behind the editors’ rejection of our ad is that they don’t like our point of view and want to suppress it.  Such censorship is in direct conflict with the openness and free discourse which should exist on a university campus and particularly at Boston University, which is located in the city where the American Revolution began. It shows just how aggressively the left is conducting its war against our founding principles in its zeal to support the Islamic jihad.

Sincerely,

Sara Dogan
National Campus Director
Students for Academic Freedom
David Horowitz Freedom Center

Record of correspondence:

On Fri, Feb 25, 2011 at 1:53 PM, Elizabeth Ruiz wrote:

Hi Kathryn,

Here is the PDF. We had to send it as a YouSendIt file because it’s too big to attach.

We can either put it on a American Express Card, a Mastercard or you can send the bill to:

David Horowitz Freedom Center
14148 Magnolia Blvd.
#103
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

Please let me know which one is the most convenient for you.

Best,
Elizabeth

From: dfpads@gmail.com On Behalf Of Daily Free Press Adv. Dept.
Sent: Friday, February 25, 2011 3:06 PM
To: Elizabeth Ruiz
Subject: Re: PDF of ad

Hi Elizabeth,

Due to the controversial nature of the ad, the Daily Free Press has decided not to run your ad next week. I have attached our media kit, which includes our advertising policy. Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions about our decision.

Thank you,
Kathryn

On Fri, Feb 25, 2011 at 6:37 PM, Elizabeth Ruiz wrote:

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  • Maggie

    BU has plenty of jewish and non-jewish alumnae who should stop donating,

  • Gamaliel Isaac

    Letter I sent to the "Free Press"

    Frontpage Magazine reported that you rejected their advertisement "The Wall of Lies" with the excuse that it was controversial and offensive. If that is your policy than you should be fair and apply it across the board. You should remove your article about VP Mercurio in which you quoted him as saying that as a leader at BU your time is not your own. That could offend a lot of students who feel that leaders at BU are not doing enough for them. You write that the BU hockey team stumbled in the Beanpot tournament. That's offensive to the dedicated players of the BU hockey team and considering the quality of their competitors it's an unfair and controversial statement….

  • Gamaliel Isaac

    letter cont'd
    You wrote how the special educators club wants to ban the use of the word retarded. Banning of words in the English language is an offensive attack on free speech. Many men find the Vagina monologues to be biased anti-male propaganda yet you write about it as if its a good thing. You write how Students for Justice In Palestine are educating people when many think they are inciting people to hate Israel. The right way to deal with speech that you find offensive or controversial is not to ban it but to answer it.

  • tagalog

    Their advertising policy justifies refusal to publish an ad in part because of “any content deemed patently offensive to the readership.”

    How does that policy justify prior restraint, when the readership has to have found it patently offensive? Oh wait, I see: it's deemed offensive TO the readership by the paper. Sorry. Doesn't that call for a conclusion about what their readers will find offensive? Does that kind of decision-making pass constitutional muster under the First Amendment?

    What is the distinction between content that is "deemed patently offensive" and content that is deemed to be NOT patently offensive?

    • Carl Sesar

      The BU Daily Press knows full well its readership's views and sensibilities, its likes and dislikes, because, for one thing, the editorial board shares in them, but also, it is after all their business to know in advance what is or may be offensive to its readers, and in this case the members of the board are absolutely correct in their assessment. Hatred for Israel is endemic at BU, among its students, faculty, and administrators. Were it not the case, there would have been a strong reaction against the board's decision, and the ad would have been published after all, right? What are BU's faculty and students and administrators doing about it? Nothing, as far as I can see, except for giving the board their tacit approval. It's the same at many other universities all over the country, Academia was the first to capitulate to such prejudices in Germany in the 1930's, too.

  • L P

    Maybe they are afraid a crowd of angry Moslem students will burn the paper's offices.

  • trickyblain

    Once Horowitz chimed in with his awful grammar, It's really too bad the response from BU wasn't merely:

    Dear David,

    F' off! We are a respected university. You are a laughable old hack. We don't need your Discover card and won't publish your corny, amateurishly designed propaganda. Have you ever considered hiring a graphic designer instead of assigning such tasks to a blind homeless man? And please remember that we are a private entity, so don't start with the "free speech" crap. We don't need to show you our ad policy. On the other hand — here's our policy in regards to the "Freedom Center:" F' off!

    Best,
    Tricky

    • MixMChess

      Hmmm… so let me get this straight, the Students for Justice in Palestine should be allowed to erect an “Apartheid Wall” and bring in hate-mongers to campus (like Diana Buttu, Noam Lekach and Elinor Amit), but the Freedom Center isn't allowed to offer a counter position. Yup, that all seems fair to me.

      • trickyblain

        Hmmm….I don't recall saying anything like that.

        It is possible to despise Islamic extermists and, at the same, ridicule Horowitz's patheitc over-the-top adventures. They are not mutually exclusive…

    • CanadConserv

      What specifically in the Wall Of Lies can only be the writings of "a laughable old hack?"

      And since the university is privately owned, apparently that's not a reason to expect freedom of speech to prevail on campus. What a sad – no, tragic actually – revelation about the left.

      • trickyblain

        Well, for starters, it is anti-intellectual. It's novice level propaganda by-design (Bold, all-caps in red? Please.) By using the term "lies," it is not academic — it declares that these assertions are demonstrably false, when real historians know that it's not as black and white. For example: 'Lie 1" (or LIE 1) leaves out the fact that the area was in fact called "Palestine" from 1918 until the creation of Israel. LIE 5 tries to split hairs b/t a "wall" and a massive reinforced "fence." LIE 2 glosses over the fact that Palestinians are completely restricted in their movement (albeit for debatable cause). LIE 4 tells us that Palestinians had a role in the Holocaust (without showing an active role), even though LIE 1 tells us that there were no Palestinians until 1964(!). And on and on and on. Laughable old hack.

        Trust me, Steve. Israel is much better off without this crap. It's comical and crazy. I'd be fine with the students seeing just how comical and crazy, but the university apparently thought it a bit over-the-top.

        • CanadConserv

          The lies about Israel are pure propoganda, anything but factual and academic. But they're winning the day. The completely false “apartheid state” lie has traction gloobally. Nice polite refuation is going nowhere. The Wall of Lies is strategically not meant to be a studious piece. It's meant to get a message across in very little time, because seconds is all it takes to walk by. I'm greatly relieved to see someone fighting back, using whatever means necessary.And I disagree with your arguments – which are incidental and not terribly relevant in any event. Lie 1 is accurate and factual. That the British referred to the area as Palestine is irrelevant. What is relevant are the other points, about Jewish history there, Jews as the indigenous people and Arab invasions.Lie 5 is accurate, important and factual: Israel is anything but an apartheid state. That's the point. With respect to the far less salient mention of the wall…The propagandists do not coincidentally use that word. They consider it purposeful. Lie 2 is accurate. Jerusalem is the one and only essentially religious Jewish city. That is not true for Muslims. Mecca and Medina are Islam's principle religious cities. (BTW, Jerusalem was almost entirely ignored as a religious site when Muslims controlled the city. It took on far more Islamic import once Jews were awarded the city by the League of Nations.). Your point about the “fact” that Palestinians are “completely restricted” is both irrelevant to the lie Horowitz decries and innacurate. West Bank Palestinians freely go to countries other than Israel, and many go there too. (http://www.palairlines.com/) ISrael certainly maintains control over military activity. But that is another matter. Gazans were equally restricted by Egypt, but no one mentions that. And to whatever degree they're restricted, as you suggest, it's with bloody (literally) good reason. people need to know that, rather than only hear the propogandists provide their spin on the explanation.Lie 4 is also accurate and factual. But, I will agree it almost implies that those Arabs we now call Palestinians hadn't ever lived there until the Jews arrived…again. However, that's not the point intended. it's that those in Gaza were principally recognized as Egyptians (Arafat was born in Cairo) and those on the west Bank as Jordanians. It is also true that the majority of those Arabs only settled in large numbers in the area once the Jews brought agriculture, industry, services and an economy, making the place habitable and desirable.Lie 7 about the Palestinians and the Holocaust is accurate, in that they did support Hitler and their principle leader even plotted a role for the mass murder of Jews in what is now Israel.

          • trickyblain

            I never said that accusations against Israel were 100% (or even 51%) truth. But it doesn't make crazy propaganda from the other side less absurd. And if not studious, why does it belong in a university paper?

            The points above stand despite your dismissing essential omissions/distortions/fabrications as irrelevant inconveniences.

            "They" are not winning the day. What does that even mean? Are you still under the influence that "THE LEFT" wants us all to live under Sharia law?

            Christ…

            I'm not asking for polite. I'm asking for citations, backing, logic, reality.
            This offers none of the above — it's an emotional tirade with not a whim of citable authority (you know, scholarship? The stuff U folks are looking for when publishing?)
            You whitewash key faults with this propaganda crap — saying "does not matter," "incidental" etc. In fact, Horowitz is exposed as an insane clown. Again.

          • CanadConserv

            Needless to say I disagree on what is fact or not. Regardless, the key point is this: The Arab and pro-Palestinian propagandists are winning. More and more people believe what they say. More and more even American media buys it (seen Time Magazine's latest stories on the conflict?). Reams and reams of scholarly refutations have done little good. The honest and fair message is not getting through for whatever reasons. What then is the answer to Israeli Apartheid Week on Campus? Polite dissertations? Academic presentations? An Alan Dershowitz speech? It's all been tried. It has all failed. Not that those should not be maintained, even bolstered. But they're insufficient. Direct, short, easily and quickly read counter messages are urgently needed. That's what Horowitz is providing. Good.

          • trickyblain

            I am a stanch proponent of conciseness and directness.
            But Horowitz's message is not effective. Watch the reaction from UCLA's Daily Bruin. I'll bet good money it will consist almost entirely of ridicule of Horowitz. Then he'll blame THE LEFT — and the FPM crew will nod — but the problem is his delivery and his erraticism. He's comedically easy to counter. Again, he does your side (and mine, for the most part) no favors.
            You actually do much better, old friend.

          • CanadConserv

            Thanks for the exchange. Nice to have one with you again. And all the best.

          • CanadConserv

            BTW, why is it you think non studious anti-Israel advertisements, info and propaganda can be published in university papers but not non studious pro-Israel refutations (that you disagree with the points notwithstanding)?And never would I have said that the left wants to see Sharia law here. However, in a kind of the enemy of my enemy is my friend kind of alliance, the far and somewhat far left are playing footsies with the Islamists, as they once did with the Soviet Communists. It's a marriage of convenience. The Iranian left once did that, until the Islamists devoured them after they jointly defeated their common enemy, the Shah. SteveOn Thu, Mar 3, 2011 at 9:39 PM, Steve Blumer <steve.blumer@gmail.com> wrote: Needless to say I disagree on what is fact or not. Regardless, the key point is this: The Arab and pro-Palestinian propagandists are winning. More and more people believe what they say. More and more even American media buys it (seen Time Magazine's latest stories on the conflict?). Reams and reams of scholarly refutations have done little good. The honest and fair message is not getting through for whatever reasons. What then is the answer to Israeli Apartheid Week on Campus? Polite dissertations? Academic presentations? An Alan Dershowitz speech? It's all been tried. It has all failed. Not that those should not be maintained, even bolstered. But they're insufficient. Direct, short, easily and quickly read counter messages are urgently needed. That's what Horowitz is providing. Good.

          • trickyblain

            "BTW, why is it you think non studious anti-Israel advertisements, info and propaganda can be published in university papers but not non studious pro-Israel refutations (that you disagree with the points notwithstanding)?"

            I don't think that at all. I'm not a fan of unsupported propaganda on any level. This is not a zero-sum game.

          • penni

            Where are you from? Are you an American? Are you a Muslium Radical? Are you in a Radical Palestinian Students hate Israel, Jews propaganda hate group? VERBATUM, you rant the EXACT hate speech as [them] I wish students at BU, if you really go there, would find out who you really are?

          • trickyblain

            I am a Muslim American radical living in Somalia, while attending BU. My hobbies include making bombs, stoning adulterous women, and surfing.

            I am also half-Jewish, it's really confusing. One of my wives is Catholic and another is Mormon. So much for weekends, I'll tell you!

          • IndyIsDave

            So you're just a moron that no reasonable person should ever take seriously. Thanks for clearing that up bland.

          • trickyblain

            If you take Horowitz and his absurd "ad" seriously, that's quite a compliement Dave. So, thanks!

            I do find it pretty hilarious that not one person can explain Horowitz's contention that there were no Palestinians until the 1964, but the Palestinians had a role in the Holocaust, even though they did not exist at the time — according to the same ad. Sure. That's a reasonable assertion.

            Faith-based debate: Horowitz is right because folks here "know" that he is; I'm and "anti-semite" because they "want" me to be. Now I'm a "moron" because I mocked a hysterical loon demanding to know who and where I am.

            Glad I'm not you, bro.

          • IndyIsDave

            Glad I'm not you, bro.

            Oh my, what a witty response from bland. Trolls are morons and that is why I referred to you as such. You troll around a website that you obviously, neither like nor respect, apparently in some juvenile attempt to be heard. You can split hairs all you want with Horowitz's semantics in regards to the term "Palestinians", but Hassan al-Banna, founder of The Muslim Brotherhood was a huge admirer of Hitler. This is not debatable, so if you would like to debate that, feel free. The Muslim Brotherhood did give rise to Hamas and Hezbollah, along with the PLO. This is also incontrovertible fact. You, rather than frame your argument as you later did, played the good little leftist by immediately launching into name-calling and character assaults revealing quite a bit about your maturity and your agenda. No one is offended by you, you are merely a troll and I enjoy troll-hunting and, thus have absolutely no problem in referring to a troll as a "moron". Sorry your life is so empty and dull that trolling is something that you enjoy doing, but seriously bro, it's a big world outside of Mom's basement, go out and get some fresh air.
            So very glad I'm not YOU, bland.

          • trickyblain

            I would never debate that point about al-Banna/Hitler because it's true. Same could be said about many prominent Americans (admiration for Hitler). But what "role" did his people play in the Holocaust? Is it really a "lie" to argue that the Palestinians had no active role in the Holocaust?

            The problem with your "troll" description, Dave, is that I've been posting here since around 2002. I've developed numerous friendships with people who can argue with a level of creative — if playfully hostile — discourse. I don't take myself all that seriously, but I do enjoy reading and responding to extremists on both sides of the aisle. In most cases, it's out of a sincere desire to understand why/how they think what they do (and I think most who know me here would agree), but do admit in some cases it's fun to poke particularly self-important ideologues with a stick, just to see them froth.

            You're an excellent case study.

          • Witness

            Really you're linking to Palestinian Airlines? My what fine Google skills you have. Did you also find out that PalAir started in Egypt because the Israelis woudn't allow them to operate from Palestine. And then it briefly allowed them to until PalAir had to move back to Egypt after the Israeli forces destroyed the airport in Gaza.

            Crappy example. Try again. And you talk of propaganda.

          • CanadConserv

            Did you not notice that floights leave from Gaza?Do you not know that if hamas would just agree to let israel live in peace gaza would be fully independent. Are you not familiar with cause and effect?Do you not realize that Hamas is a proxy of Iran's mullahs?Do you not realize that Hamas adheres to the islamist, “One man; one vote; one time”? Or are you either a naive leftist (Obama's very slowly learning – take your cue from him) or closet Islamist?

        • penni

          Tricky, Go back 4,000 years. There were NO Palestinians. You are no intellect. But, you anti semite, it will take me too long to go into the history of Israel and the "Palestinians." Why don't you educate yourself? Look up Israeli Artifacts going back centuries. See the dates of the artifacts! Look up archeological digs in the Middle East. Investigate the history before your nasty rants. You only go back to 1918? You are all talk, "anti-intellectual" it's not academic" quoting from you. You are stuck on your , in your own mind INTELLEGENCE!

          • trickyblain

            What did I say that makes me an anti-semite, penni?

            Did I ever say anything about 4,000 years ago? Where do you get the idea that I deny Jewish history in Israel? Did I ever say there were Palestinians 4,000 years ago???

            I only went back to 1918 to illustrate that every map in the civilized world called it "Palestine." So, Horowitz's omission of that fact, and his claim that there never was such a place is, at best, geographically ignorant.

    • penni

      Hey Trickyblain,

      Your parents must have been from the sixties and never left? You seem to be a very sheltered little girl and a follower at BU, with no idea about the faces of reality! You should register at Berkley? The REAL WORLD IS NOT MADE OF ROSES, FLOWER CHILDREN and OH! No one is trying to Kill Americans!! No one is trying to push Sharea law here,oh no.Gosh did I spell Sharea wrong? I'm so sorry Tricky! You are more intellegent than the rest of us! Ask the family and friends who were killed by terrorists on 911. Ask the people around the world who live in fear every day because of TERRORISM! You are arrogant, vulger and rude! Horowitz was an activist in the 60's and guess what reality set in and he grew up! You my dear are one of the big problems we are having in this county! FREE SPEACH is not "crap!" You were free to write your "CRAP" Try it in a Commie., Socialist, Marxist Country!

    • fmobler

      I mostly agree with your complaint about Horowitz's clumsy rhetoric making it easier to dismiss sound, principled conservative arguments. But then, once a radical, always a radical, I suppose.

      I have to call you out on one thing you keep repeating. You say in various replies that citations, etc. are the "stuff U folks are looking for when publishing." Have you looked at a student-run newspaper in the last 30 years? Their connection to scholarship, let alone mere good journalism, is vaporous. You may be right that the BU people did us defenders of Israel a favor, but don't kid yourself that the newspaper is run by a bunch of budding scholars. Their rejection of one piece of (badly written and designed) propaganda out of all others was ideological.

  • http://www.fxexchangerate.com/ fxgeorges

    Really BU '09? Do you truly think I would have put that in there if it wasn't completely relevant? And that I'm motivated by page views? Muckraker was a joke – noted. Thought I mentioned that. But the discrepancy I identified back then was certainly not.

  • michiganruth

    note to commenters: don't waste your time trying to talk sense to trolls like tricky. they're not here to learn, they're here to broadcast their hate to an audience they know will be offended by it. don't pay them any mind.

    anyway, their moms are going to make them get off the computer pretty soon, it's a school night.

    • penni

      You are so right!! It, has no life!

  • joel

    Oh trickyblain, you say"I am a stanch proponent of conciseness and directness". Maybe "stanch" is concise and direct in the loose lips language,but it is not in ours:English. Anyone for "staunch"? Thanks.

  • ze-ev ben jehudah

    Kol od balewav p'nima Nefesh Jehoedi homija. Oel fa-ate mizrach kadima
    Ajin le Tzion tsofia.—-Erets Tzion w.roesjalajim.
    Now I know,where to go,where my folks proudly stand. Let me go to that precious
    promised land.No more left,no more right, lift your head and see the light I'm
    proud can't you see,for at last I'm free.No more wandering for me.
    Am Jisroel chai.

  • ydroustan

    I am neutral. I see a problem however with the censorship at the Boston University Daily Free Press. I don't know the causes of this censorship but it strikes me as a strong mentality of hate to the Jewish position and a total disregard of the facts. ydroustan

  • tanstaafl

    Is anyone else amused by the student newspaper's name? Daily Free Press. I'm dying here.