At 8th annual Daniel Pearl Memorial Lecture, parents enable Christopher Hitchens to confront anti-Semitism

Daniel Pearl's father, Judea Pearl gave these remarks introducing Christopher Hitchens - 8th Daniel Pearl Memorial Lecture, Wednesday, March 3, UCLA

"Thank you, Kal, Rabbi Seidler-Feller, our distinguished speaker, President of Los Angeles City Councilman Eric Garcetti, Friends of the Daniel Pearl Foundation, colleagues, students, ladies and gentlemen.

Fifteen years ago, this city sent one of its sons as an emissary of goodwill to the Middle East and South East Asia.

Eight years and 10 days ago, on February 21 2002, the world was shocked to witness the brutal murder of that emissary, our son Danny -- a writer, a musician, and a champion of humanity.

Today we came to pay tribute to Danny's legacy by listening to one of the greatest minds of our generation, Christopher Hitchens, who has graciously agreed to deliver the Eighth Daniel Pearl Memorial Lecture and to discuss a key element in the hatred that took Danny's life.

In the past eight years our family has played down the antisemitic component of Danny's tragedy, and we have had good reasons for doing so.

First, we felt that the intensity of the cosmic shock that emanated from Danny's murder, and its universal significance as a warning call for the entire human race would somehow get attenuated, or diverted, if associated with parochial issues such as antisemitism.

Second, we felt that Danny's legacy has such an enormous potential to mobilize people toward
positive action and positive self awareness that it would be counter productive to dwell on the negative, deranged mindset behind the ideology of his murderers.

Finally,we felt that the choreographers of that ideology do not deserve the benefits of a hereditary disease such as classical anti-semitism.

The choreographers of modern day anti-semitism are not victims of a poisonous culture -- as was the case with Richard Wagner -- nor are they victims of alcoholic weakness -- as is the case with Mel Gibson. Their plan to dehumanize Israel out of existence is cold and calculated and we felt that the distinct immoral and dangerous character of this plan would be obscured, or diverted, if framed in terms of classical antisemitism.

More recently, however, we came to recognize that, if we want to be true to our mission of rolling back the tsunami of hate that is currently sweeping our planet, we must first map its undercurrents, analyze its anatomy, and understand its circuitry in full scientific details.

We are happy therefore that Christopher has chosen to address this subject in his lecture.

Thank you Councilman Garcetti for offering to introduce the speaker. Thank you Christopher for honoring Daniel with your lecture tonight, and thank you all for being with us today and honoring a legacy that mirrors everything that this university, this city and this community stands for."