Berkeley Intifada 

As students embrace the Palestinian cause, UC Berkeley has lost whatever reputation it may once have had for tolerance.

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"Death to Zionism!" proclaimed a voice.

"I thought this was an institution of higher learning," Pipes said, baiting his hecklers.

"You racist Jew!" cried the protester who had been hoisting the Gandhi sign.

"Ra-cist! Ra-cist!"

Pipes asked what race had to do with anything: "I haven't mentioned race."

He reserved the evening's harshest criticism for "my colleagues in Middle Eastern studies," among whom he decried "a significant element of incompetence. The field is adversarial, intolerant, and my colleagues consistently get the facts wrong." This met with laughter from the crowd, half in gleeful accord and half in derision. By exercising what he called "abusive power over students," Pipes said Middle Eastern studies instructors "too often coerce students into taking a party line, at the same time intimidating and penalizing those who don't."

"End, end the occupation! Free, free Palestine!"

Another sign waved in the air and another protester was escorted out. "Go blow yourself up," someone yelled at the protester's departing figure.

"I don't think my colleagues are doing a good job," Pipes continued. "If I think my colleagues in Middle Eastern studies aren't doing a good job, why don't I have the right to say so? Why do I get called names?"

"Because you're a racist Jew!"

"These scholars know better," Pipes continued, "but they're hiding what they know."

"Racist Jew!"

"My, my," he said, looking up with a wry smile from the microphone. "Don't we have elevated discourse at this university."

After the lecture, attendees filed out of the hall to discover that the protesters had massed so as to allow only a narrow passage between themselves and a retaining wall. In effect, all those leaving the lecture were forced to walk a gauntlet. Some ducked their heads, others set their jaws in anger, squeezing past the dozens of assembled faces chanting "Shame! Shame! Shame!" as fists pumped the air in unison.

A young woman in a kaffiyeh screamed up at a Jewish student significantly larger than herself. Her lips were wet with fury. "If I don't agree with you, then you call it anti-Semitism!" she shouted, as friends arrived to support her. The young man was surrounded. "You call it anti-Semitismmm!" she raged. "Why can't you tolerate anti-Semitismmm?"

"I can tolerate it," the student replied, his voice a low, tired rumble. "I have to. It exists. I just don't have to like it."

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