Prosecutor Dan Wagner told jurors the students acted as censors to block the free flow of ideas and infringed upon the rights of 700 people who had gone to the Irvine campus to hear Oren.
"In this country, you get to protest. That's a vital component of our society," said Dan Stormer, the defendants' civil rights attorney.
"We can't allow a group of people to shut down the free speech of our society. We can't allow them to use the 'heckler's veto,'" said Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.Rabbi David Eliezrie wrote in Orange County Jewish Life October 2011:
This is why the trial is so crucial. It's not just UCI, but campuses nationwide. The strategy of radical Muslim students using intimidation and threats is a part of a broader conspiracy to inhibit Jews from standing up for Israel. It's working: during the recent conflict in Gaza, I suggested to community leaders that Jewish centers and synagogues put signs out in front saying, "We support Israel." None did except at our center in Yorba Linda. Most were worried about attacks from radical Muslims. One leader asked me, "What about the safety of congregants?"Rabbi Eliezrie credits Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, a non-Jew, for realizing the scope of the danger, and states, because if the DA's courage, hopefully radical muslims will learn what democracy is all about.
I am proud of Rabbi Eliezrie and his courageous congregants. The Orthodox Jewish community of Chabad stood up to Muslim threats in Mumbai, India and around the world. We can learn a lesson from their bravery and loyalty to Israel.