Marty Peretz, class of ’59, is kind of a big deal.

He’s the owner and editor-in-chief of The New Republic, a prominent magazine with a proud legacy. Brandeis certainly thinks highly of him: he keeps popping up on the website, and we just gave him the Alumni Achievement Award in 2009.

Problem is, he just wrote this:

But, frankly, Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims. And among those Muslims led by the Imam Rauf there is hardly one who has raised a fuss about the routine and random bloodshed that defines their brotherhood. So, yes, I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse.

Shame! What a horrible, cruel, ignorant thing to say.


4 responses to “Shame!”

  1. alex

    @ CL

    Interesting–I think the ADL’s statement is shameful in a way too, but I don’t think we can blame Lawrence for his ties to the ADL, given that he wasn’t there and likely had nothing to do with the decision. If we play the guilt by association game, we’re no better than Glenn Beck and his type, who play 6 degrees of kevin bacon to match up people they dislike with other shady characters.

  2. C.L.

    Since this is the first post on IP about the community center in lower Manhattan… What’s the campus sentiment on the ADL coming out against the institution and incoming Pres. Lawrence’s ties to that organization?

  3. alex

    well, I for one am glad that Madison appointed Marty Peretz as the arbiter of what is and isn’t an abuse of the First Amendment.

  4. Camille

    I actually read this article a few days ago without realizing the author was a Brandeis alumni. In all fairness, he did provide some form of argument meant to justify his statement that “Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims” – so I feel like he at least deserves some credit for utilizing his Brandeis education to at least weigh an issue before making such a provocative statement. And he does raise some interesting questions in his rationale. Like, does growing up in a culture of constant and random violence automatically desensitize and paralyze the individuals ability to pursue a non-violent life? Does this make a person too damaged, too morally unstable, to be trusted with the privileges of the First Amendment? Perhaps we should look to the communities in our own beloved nation that are besot by high rates of violent crime – examine the ethnic make-up of the community – and rescind rights accordingly. Bottom line here, the most disturbing part of this article is that the author suggests that fundamental American rights could – should? – be doled out as a meritocracy under which those who are simply born into a violent environment are automatically scrutinized for disqualification from the protection of the First Amendment.