The Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights and the Massachusetts Chapter of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee have jointly invited Professor Adam Habib to be the keynote speaker at an event on August 5, 2008, because of his internationally recognized scholarship on the role social movements play in conflict situations, such as the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But if the federal government continues to deny Professor Habib a visa, he will not be able to attend.
In order to fight for a robust dialogue that is consistent with the First Amendment, our organizations are plaintiffs in an ACLU lawsuit seeking to lift the unconstitutional ban on Adam Habib. We will be in federal court tomorrow arguing this case.
We believe that at a time when the Middle East is such a critical focus of U.S. foreign policy, it is vitally important that public discussions take place about peaceful ways to resolve conflicts there. And we believe that Professor Habib’s involvement in the effort to transform South Africa into a democracy is directly applicable to the stated policy of the U.S. to spread democracy in the Middle East.
To deny an entry visa to Professor Adam Habib is to deny the public access to important approaches which have succeeded in resolving similar issues in other countries; approaches which deserve to be considered in resolving the problems in the Middle East. Presenting no legitimate reason to deny Dr. Habib an entry visa, the State Department clearly intends to deny the American public access to views which may not conform exactly to the Administration’s views. Besides violating the rights granted by our Constitution, what does that say about our country when we cannot tolerate differences of opinion?
Please join us in the fight for the right of every American to enjoy the vigorous protection of speech that is guaranteed by the Constitution.