Five students gathered outside the Ann Coulter lecture at USC on Sunday evening to protest her views. They were respectful, and made it clear they did not want to shut her out, but to challenge her opinions. (Points for that.) They waved signs with some of Coulter’s more infamous quotes. One was her 2007 statement that “we [Christians] just want Jews to be perfected.” (This proudly imperfect Jew is not offended.)
In the course of polite debate with passersby, one student explained why he believed that might be offensive to some Jews. Next to him stood a young woman wearing a kaffiyeh and holding a sign that read: “Trojans Against Hate.”
A kaffiyeh is not intrinsically offensive, but has been used to show solidarity with the Palestinian intifada against Israel, which has included the mass murder of Jews and a great deal of hate.
I asked her about the kaffiyeh. She said that she was wearing it in solidarity with Muslims, because Coulter is a critic of Islam. Did she understand that some Jews might take offense, and see her kaffiyeh as a symbol of hate? Well, they might “construe it that way,” but that’s not how she meant it.
Just like some of Coulter’s remarks might be construed as hateful, I suppose, without regard to her subjective intent or feelings.