This video and subsequent blog post are disturbing on several levels. The fact that students are actively impeding a public speech is by definition a violation of free speech, because Olmert's opinions are just as valid as the students' and should be allowed to be heard. The idea that people who disagree with us should be forbidden from expressing their views is one that should be abhorrent to any democracy, but some of the students at the University of Chicago (and Ali Abunimah) have no problem with it.
I challenged Mr. Abunimah on his apparent support for these students and he responded:
"What does free speech have to do with it? The man is a mass killer! He bombed the Islamic University in Gaza destroying its (USAID funded) buildings. He killed dozens of university students and teachers during his career of crime. What about their rights? What about the rights of Palestinian universities in Jerusalem that can barely function because of the land confiscations and settlement building done by Olmert? If John Wayne Gacy came to give a speech at the University of Chicago, would you expect people to sit and listen to him politely? The difference is that Gacy killed far fewer people than Olmert. I do not object to what Olmert says or thinks. I object to what he has done. He must be held accountable, and until the appropriate institutions do so, it is right that civil society confronts him directly with his crimes whenever the opportunity arises."