Is Scott Brown guilty of using the heckler’s veto?

Apparently, there is a conference going on at Harvard that discusses a subject matter many people don’t like.


An upcoming conference at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government on the “one-state solution” to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is drawing ire from organizations who believe it promotes the elimination of Israel.

The “One-State Conference,” which will take place this weekend at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, is meant to investigate the feasibility of a creating a unified Israeli-Palestinian political state as a potential solution to war in the region.

Scott Brown has strongly condemned the conference and wants Harvard to cancel it.

“I want to condemn in the strongest possible terms Harvard’s sponsorship of a conference exploring a ‘one-state solution’ to the Israel-Palestinian conflict,” he said in a statement. “This is dangerous thinking that gives comfort to Israel’s enemies who view the ‘one-state solution’ as a euphemism for eliminating Israel as a Jewish state. Harvard may have a right to do this, but that doesn’t make it right to do it. The University should cancel this conference.”

I vaguely recall the heckler’s veto being discussed on RMG before.  Even more vaguely, I thought that this prior discussion had to do with Andrew Breitbart at a conference being shouted down by detractors in an effort to prevent him from speaking.  They did not succeed as I remember it.

Everyone seemed to agree that a speaker should be allowed to speak. The excuse that “hate speech is not free speech” or however one chooses to say such a thing, is not reason enough to act in such a way as to prevent such speech from being heard.

I’m curious if anyone else sees a similarity between Scott Brown’s call for Harvard to cancel this conference and the heckler’s veto?

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About Patrick

Sometime political guy.

  • geo999

    The so-called “heckler’s veto” is a form of offensive, disruptive behavior which purposefully and physically prevents another from being heard.

    Scott Brown knows full well that Harvard will not cancel this supposed intellectual exercise, which has been organized by useful idiots naïve students.

    But he also knows that he, and others who recognize the danger of the “one state solution”, will not be given voice in the local media unless he condemns the concept in the strongest possible terms.

    He is taking a pragmatic approach to letting the public know that he strongly disagrees with the subject matter of a conference that would otherwise be de facto legitimized by Harvard and the Boston press.

    So no, Scott Brown is not using a “heckler’s veto”.

    The conference will go on, without interruption.