In Mr. Melnick’s piece (“Forum Mocks Free Speech By Ignoring Opposing Views,” Daily Nexus, May 26), he asserts that this forum is “a two-hour polemical rant in support of William Robinson.” I fail to see any substance to his assertion. Two of the panelists involved, with the exception of professors Richard Falk and Lisa Hijjar, have direct knowledge pertaining to the issues revolving around professor Robinson. Professor Geoff Raymond disclosed that the process has not been followed as mandated by the UC governance, and professor Harold Marcuse explained how Mr. Abraham Foxman, the National Director of the ADL, explicitly made professor Robinson an issue. Mr. Melnick fails to mention this point. There is no ghost here; a real person from a real organization is behind this. Sorry, Mr. Richard Falk, “global studies major”! To further Mr. Melnick’s claim of politicizing this event, Professor Hijjar has written extensively on the topic of academic freedom, to which she provided a definition and history about this topic, and Mr. Melnick fails to mention this: Professor Falk, a U.N. reporter, explains how a veil hangs around the issue of critiquing the Israeli government’s policy toward Palestinians.
Briefly, the issue of time, it is true Dr. Walter Kohn may have had a time limit imposed on him, but this time constraint, a two-minute limit, not a minute as Mr. Melnick claims, has been imposed on everyone. The facility only allowed a certain amount of time for the event, so working within those constraints makes time an issue. I have a question for Mr. Melnick, in the spirit of free speech, as president of the Community Shul of Montecito and Santa Barbara: If they hold an event regarding issues of Israel, does this organization include the Palestinian side as well?