Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America

JWV Decries Heckling of Iraq War Veteran at Columbia University

March 2011

The Jewish War Veterans of the United States (JWV) decries the malicious heckling of Iraq War veteran and Columbia University student Anthony Maschek when he spoke recently at the university regarding the reinstatement of ROTC on campus. His speech was interrupted several times, and he was even called a "racist" by some in the audience. It was a remembrance of the slander of our Nation's children who served in Viet Nam.

The JWV wholeheartedly supports Maschek, who has been shot nine times during three deployments when he said that, "It doesn't matter how you feel about war. It doesn't matter how you feel about fighting." It does matter that we discuss and debate all aspects of thought.

It is unconscionable, especially when the United States is fighting a war against terrorism on multiple fronts where the part-time citizen-soldier often bears the brunt of the defense of this combat, that a wounded and disabled veteran is not allowed to speak unhindered by heckling and catcalls. The exception, if any, would relate to vile racism, violence, bigotry, or matter which internationally seeks to divide or propose hate.

The rights that we enjoy in this country, including the right of free speech, are defended on the front lines every day by soldiers, such as Anthony Maschek. The veterans who defend us should be honored for their service, not heckled because of it, and listened to even when we disagree with them.

Columbia University and all educational institutions must ensure that all are insured the rights of free speech and that the views of all are greeted with courtesy in any discussions concerning the reinstatement of ROTC on campus.


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