In the wake of the disruption of the Israeli Ambassador's Speech at UC-Irvine Monday night, it appears that the total number of arrestees stands at eleven, 8 from UCI and 3 from UC-Riverside. The case has been referred to the Orange County DA for possible prosecution. Already, their supporters have dubbed them the "Irvine 11" and are calling for donations to help in their legal defense as well as urging people to write to the university chancellor on their behalf.
After all, it was only an exercise in "free speech".
"American as apple pie", proclaims Mahdi Bray, spokesman for the Muslim American Society of Alexandria, Virgina, who have now emerged and announced they are supporting "The Irvine 11". Here's the full quote:
WASHINGTON, DC (MASNET) Feb. 11, 2010 - MAS Freedom Executive Director Mahdi Bray has been contacted by a family member of the Irvine Eleven (see article below) and is offering its services to the UC Irvine Muslim students. Mahdi Bray of MASF said of the arrests: "Non-violent direct action is part and parcel of the American protest culture, think where this nation would be if students didn't disrupt the segregated lunch counters in the south, or if Dr. King didn't disrupt the status quo of Jim Crow and discrimination in our nation. The Irvine Eleven are not criminals but students of conscience who have taken a principled stand on human rights and the sanctity of all life, non violent protest is as American as apple pie."
Of course, Bray reportedly has a history of defending Muslims charged with far more serious offenses than the "Irvine 11". He has been quoted as calling the war on terror a war on Islam. If you look at some of his past quoted statements, you might conclude he has a strange idea of what apple pie is.
In the meantime, Chancellor Michael Drake is also hearing from folks with a different point of view-those who are calling for his resignation. No doubt, some are writing to University President Mark Yudoff to demand Drake be forced out. Good luck with that too. Personally, I have no dog in that hunt because changing chancellors doesn't solve the problem, which is institutional. It is the very culture of American universities that has to change.
It was during the tenure of the previous chancellor, Ralph Cicerone, that UCI witnessed a similar incident when former Bush Justice Department attorney John Yoo came to speak-at the chancellor's invitation a few years back. Of course, Yoo was one of the DOJ lawyers who wrote memos outlining permissible interrogation techniques on captured terrorists in the wake of 9-11 (Good man, Mr Yoo). When he showed up to speak at UCI, loutish students and loutish professors turned out to turn the event in something resembling an English soccer match while Cicerone reportedly sat silently in the back of the room like a potted plant.
But a bigger problem as I see it is the weakness of some of the local Orange County Jewish organizations. While some of us have been trying for years to bring public awareness to what is happening on the UCI campus, our efforts have been thwarted by certain Jewish groups who have either denied the problem or have tried to work within the university structure-without success, in my view. Now they have egg on their faces. Now they are going around to the news media making statements decrying what happened Monday night.
Where have they been the past several years?
Where have you been Orange County Jewish Federation?
Where have you been UCI-Hillel?
Where have you been Orange County American Jewish Committee?
Missing in action, that's where.
"Problem? What problem?"