DA: “History requires us to draw a line in the sand against this sort of organized thuggery.”

Making Martyrs of the Irvine 11

IPT News
October 3, 2011

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas pushed backlast week against critics of his successful prosecution of 10 students who tried to shut down a speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren last year at the University of California, Irvine.

Since a jury convicted the 10 who stood trial on two misdemeanor counts Sept. 23, Islamist groups and their allies have decried the case as an assault on the First Amendment sure to chill political speech. The students were charged criminally solely because they are Muslims, the argument goes, and because they dared challenge an Israeli official.

Rackauckas’ response? Bunk. In a column published by the Orange County Register, he said the case stands in defense of free speech, no matter how hard critics spin.

“History tells us of the dire consequences when one group is allowed to shout down and intimidate another or a group of people so as to not allow them to have opinions or be heard. History requires us to draw a line in the sand against this sort of organized thuggery.” Continue reading

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ZOA Criticises UCI Faculty Members

ZOA Criticizes Some UCI Faculty For Bias, Hypocrisy, Falsehoods In Urging DA Dismiss Charges Against Anti-Israel Muslim Students For Free Speech Violations

February 15, 2011

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has criticized the 100 faculty members at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) for signing a letter to Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, urging him to drop the criminal charges against the 11 students who violated two California statutes by planning and then repeatedly disrupting a speech on the UCI campus by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren on February 8, 2010.  These students tried to deprive Ambassador Oren of his free speech rights, shouting him down with screams that he is a “mass murderer” and a “war criminal committing genocide.”  The screaming was so unrelenting that the Ambassador had to stop speaking twice and canceled the planned question-and-answer period.  The faculty members’ letter was sent in response to the District Attorney’s announcement on February 4, 2011, that 11 defendants – eight students from UCI and three students from UC Riverside – were charged with one count of conspiracy to disturb a meeting and one misdemeanor count of the disturbance of a meeting.  In a statement issued about the charges, District Attorney Rackauckas said, “This case is being filed because there was an organized attempt to squelch the speaker, who was invited to speak to a group at UCI.  These defendants meant to stop this speech and stop anyone else from hearing his ideas, and they did so by disrupting a lawful meeting.  This is a clear violation of the law and failing to bring charges against this conduct would amount to a failure to uphold the Constitution.” Continue reading

“…disciplinary action is “pending”. Obviously it can “pend” until the 11 have graduated from U of C, have Phds and are well on their way…”

Telegraph.co.uk

March 9th, 2010

“Stand with the Irvine 11!” blared the email in my inbox this morning. “OK,” I thought groggily, “but which one of the dozens of activists sending me email are you and why are you appropriating the jargon of Sixties activism?” Continue reading

Oren: “I would willingly return to your campus and meet with those individuals whose views may not agree with mine as long as we respect the decorum of dialogue and free speech.”

Ambassador Oren’s Letter

New University

Several weeks ago, I was invited to your university to provide my perspective on the Middle East peace process, the question of Iranian nuclearization and U.S.-Israel relations. Prior to assuming the role of ambassador I taught at several American universities – Harvard, Yale and Georgetown – and greatly enjoyed interacting with the students. For this reason, I chose to visit a number of campuses during my first diplomatic trip to California. I know that today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders and believe keenly in the need to provide these future statesmen with an Israeli perspective of Middle Eastern affairs. Continue reading