Christopher Hitchens delivers 8th Daniel Pearl Memorial Lecture: "Antisemitism is the common enemy of humanity, and has to be fought against tenaciously - most especially in its current, most virulent form of Islamic jihad"

Christopher Hitchens decries anti-Semitism in lecture at UCLA  
by Cynthia Lee March 04, 2010 in UCLA Newsroom

Christopher Hitchens appeared Wednesday, March 3rd, before a packed audience at UCLA to portray anti-Semitism as "the godfather of (all other forms of) racism" and "the gateway to tyranny and fascism and war."

Alternating between black humor, biting sarcasm and insightful analysis, Hitchens assumed the podium at Korn Convocation Hall to deliver the eighth annual Daniel Pearl Memorial Lecture at UCLA to an audience of more than 400 people, including Pearl's father, Prof. Judea Pearl, an emeritus professor of computer science at UCLA and president of a foundation formed to continue his son's mission of promoting cross-cultural understanding through journalism and music.

Daniel Pearl, a prominent Wall Street Journal reporter and the paper's South Asia bureau chief, was kidnapped and murdered by terrorists in Pakistan in 2002. ...

Before Hitchens began his remarks, Judea Pearl explained that in the initial years following his son's death, the family had not wanted to dwell on the "negative, deranged mindset behind the ideology of his murderers," but instead had concentrated on the positive aspects of Daniel's legacy.

"But recently, we came to recognize that if we want to be true to our mission of rolling back the tsunami of hatred that is currently sweeping our planet, we must first map its undercurrents, analyze its anatomy and understand its circuitry in full scientific detail," Prof. Pearl said.
Prof. Pearl's Op/Ed at the time of last year's memorial was published in the Wall Street Journal:
This week marks the seventh anniversary of the murder of our son, former Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. My wife Ruth and I wonder: Would Danny have believed that today's world emerged after his tragedy? ...

The media have played a major role in handing terrorism this victory of acceptability. Qatari-based Al Jazeera television, for example, is still providing Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi hours of free air time each week to spew his hateful interpretation of the Koran, authorize suicide bombing, and call for jihad against Jews and Americans.

Then came the August 2008 birthday of Samir Kuntar, the unrepentant killer who, in 1979, smashed the head of a four-year-old Israeli girl with his rifle after killing her father before her eyes. Al Jazeera elevated Kuntar to heroic heights with orchestras, fireworks and sword dances, presenting him to 50 million viewers as Arab society's role model. No mainstream Western media outlet dared to expose Al Jazeera efforts to warp its young viewers into the likes of Kuntar. Al Jazeera's management continues to receive royal treatment in all major press clubs. ...

Danny's picture is hanging just in front of me, his warm smile as reassuring as ever. But I find it hard to look him straight in the eyes and say: "You did not die in vain."