John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


A Lesson in the Protest Against Condi Rice Speaking at Rutgers

Posted on May 8, 2014
Originally Published in the WSJ

“My only plan is to continue fighting for freedom of speech and marginalized narratives in our country.”

That’s what Amani Al-Khatahtbeh wrote in Huffington Post earlier this year in a piece in which she described how she was forced to publish pro-Israel opinion pieces in the student newspaper at Rutgers University.

I note this because Ms. Al-Khatahtbeh, who blogs at and likes to think of herself as a leader in trying to bring together different faiths, led the protest against former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice speaking at the Rutgers commencement ceremony.

There weren’t many who protested against the Rice commencement address, but what they lacked in numbers (because, really, who in their right mind would protest against Condi Rice?), they made up in ideological passion.

Most people who are lucky enough to graduate from college don’t remember their commencement speakers. I don’t remember the speaker at my undergraduate ceremony, but I do remember who spoke at the ceremony when I got my graduate degree.

It was Chief Justice William Rehnquist, and his speech wasn’t about politics. It was about time, and how time is fleeting, and how we shouldn’t waste too much of it on trivial matters.

Good advice. Listening to Ms. Rice wouldn’t have been wasted time. But this protest against her sure was.

(I wrote about this issue in greater detail here.)

Subscribe to the Feehery Theory Newsletter, exclusively on Substack.
Learn More