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Kuentzel In Leeds

Matthias Kuentzel is an eminent German scholar whose work has appeared in The New Republic. He is a specialist in Islamic studies, and has now been riveted on Muslim-Jewish relations, a riveting topic.

For four months, Kuentzel had been scheduled to deliver on March 14 a lecture at the University of Leeds. His topic was "Hitler's Legacy: Islamic Anti-Semitism and the Middle East." Yes, a provocative title but not an outlandish one. In any case, there is the right to freedom of speech. Especially in universities. And especially in England where a century and a half ago J.S. Mill wrote On Liberty. Kuentzel arrived in Leeds on schedule, and was promptly told that his talk had been cancelled.

This is by now an epidemic, and not just in the British Isles. The Times Higher Education Supplement (March 23) asked him to reflect on this occurrence. Melanie Phillips, the author of the bestselling Londonistan, also published a piece about the Leeds debacle in the Jewish Chronicle. Kuentzel also gave talks about how to deal with Iran in Berlin, Brussels, Vienna and London.