While senator, he had plan to end free speech on college campuses
By Michael Collins Piper
In 2003, then-Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) cut a back-room deal with high-powered lobbyists to introduce legislation to limit freedom of speech on American college campuses.
Proposing to rewrite the federal funding formula under Title IX of the Higher Education Act to include what was called “ideological diversity” as a prerequisite, Santorum’s intent was to cut federal funding for American universities that allowed professors, students and student organizations to criticize Israel in class or in other open campus forums.
A major recipient of campaign money from pro-Israel sources, Santorum said criticizing Israel was “anti-Semitism.”
Initial details surrounding the senator’s Orwellian proposal came in an article of April 15, 2003 in a fanatically pro-Israel conservative daily, The New York Sun.
The website of the pro-Israel student group, Hillel, also favorably reported the origins of Santorum’s plan.
Hillel said Santorum invited Jewish organizations to a private meeting on Capitol Hill to discuss concerns about criticism of Israel on college campuses. Joining Hillel were the Anti-Defamation League, the Zionist Organization of America and the American Jewish Committee.
The Sun summarized Santorum’s conclave with the influential lobby groups: “By the end of the meeting yesterday, Mr. Santorum was talking about introducing legislation that could cut federal funding to colleges where anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiments are prevalent—or . . . where ‘ideological diversity’ is lacking.”
Hillel’s Wayne Firestone said: “Everywhere I go, this is the lead topic. This is drawing a lot of interest.” However, the truth is that—outside the Jewish community—few knew of Santorum’s initiative, until AMERICAN FREE PRESS reported the story, which concerned academics circulated widely on the Internet.
Forced into a defensive mode, the Jewish lobby claimed AFP’s story was a lie—a “rumor . . . sweeping Arab and left-wing media,” as New York’s Jewish Week reported on May 9, 2003.
In a story titled “Diversity Disinformation,” Jewish Week asserted that “to pro-Israel leaders and leading members of the Senate, it’s a dangerous urban legend at best, deliberate disinformation at worst,” adding falsely that “the story originated with . . . conspiracy theorists and Holocaust revisionists.” This was a lie to save Santorum from public opprobrium for his scheme to gut the First Amendment.
Today Santorum seems to be getting his reward. Pro-Israel billionaire Rupert Murdoch, head of the influential Fox News empire, has endorsed Santorum’s presidential ambitions.
Michael Collins Piper is an author, journalist, lecturer and radio show host. He has spoken in Russia, Malaysia, Iran, Abu Dhabi, Japan, Canada and the U.S. He is the author of Final Judgment, The New Jerusalem, The High Priests of War, Dirty Secrets, My First Days in the White House, The New Babylon, Share the Wealth, The Judas Goats, Target: Traficant and The Golem. You can order any of these books with a credit card by calling AFP/FAB toll free at 1-888-699-6397.