The article begins with an introductory joke I told when I said that I hoped the students had checked their pies at the door. This was a reference to a recent incident in which New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman had so assaulted at Brown. The Herald article then pointedly described me as “a Jewish writer and activist who holds adamantly pro-Israel views,” and opened its account of my remarks with the following sentence: “‘You have one of the worst faculties in the United States,’ [Horowitz] said, ‘These people are communists – they are totalitarians.’” This was the last point in the article that any Brown reader would still be interested in anything I said or would regard me as anything but a foaming-at-the-mouth ideologue.
The alleged quotation, of course,was a travesty, a gross distortion of the statement I actually made. I did not and would never say that the entire faculty of any school north of Havana was made up of communists and totalitarians (and I wouldn’t even make such a blanket statement about Castro’s school, which might have many silent dissenters in its ranks). But mangling my statement was only part of the problem. The reporter also deliberately left out the context of my remark. As is my custom if I have been to a school before, I generally reference a previous visit. In this case, since my relationship to Brown has a greater significance than is the case with most schools, I went over the details of incident with my reparations ad and the trashing of the Herald by student leftists, and the support for this attack on a free press by the 60 Brown faculty members who signed the letter defending the destruction of the newspaper. I then said that these professors had the mentality of communists and totalitarians. Since there were sixty of them supporting the attack on a free press I did say that I thought Brown had the worst faculty – the most overtly political and anti-democratic – in the country.
There is little point in reviewing the other distortions in the Herald story, which included misquoting the genocidal hadith to make it look as though I were exaggerating its implications, and claiming that I said “the Koran left little room for interpretation when compared to the Hebrew and Christian bibles.” In fact, I said that Islam was a fundamentalist religion whose traditions historically did not allow for an interpretive distance from its texts – a point made by many scholars of Islam.
My speech at Brown is over, but I am now left to deal with the caricature in the Brown Daily Herald, which will resurface in innumerable attacks on me by equally unscrupulous leftists on the web. I cannot repair the damage to my relationship with Brown or my reputation with untold Brown alumni and other friends of the Brown community who will read the Herald account. When I ask myself why the Herald which, despite its liberal bent, has been pretty respectful of my views in the past, would send such a dishonest and hostile reporter to cover my event, the answer I come up with is this: He probably was the only one willing to volunteer for the job while the others went to watch the Red Sox.