Barak: The visit of Ehud Barak, who sill speak at Dartmouth’s Spaulding Auditorium in a little over an hour, brings recent campus events to a head.

Back and forth editorials and discussion on the Daily Dartmouth’s editorial page and on this web site gave way to direct confrontation two weeks ago, when leftist students at Dartmouth–many involved with a laundry list of other fashionable causes–staged a “Rally for the human rights of Palestinian refugees”. The protest’s organizers used the event as a platform for attacking Israel’s policy of occupation and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Several groups, including the College Republicans, DIPAC, Hillel, and members of the Dartmouth Review protested the event with signs and vocally before being silenced by campus police at the request of the rally’s organizers. The event’s organizers also declined an offer to debate the conflict with members of DIPAC.

Now the same group of people who staged the rally are gearing up to protest Barak, a supporter of the Israeli state’s efforts. They plan a rally outside of the Hopkins Center, and organizers have not said whether or not they will attempt to disrupt Barak’s speech, though campus rumors point to interest in this.

Security at the Hop is tight. All event attendees have had to give their names, Social Security numbers, and birth dates to College personnel when picking up tickets–a procedure normally reserved for Secret Service lookups at events featuring the President or Vice President. Security staff are already on hand in the Hopkins Center and are on the lookout for unattended belongings, like backpacks and packages.

The pro-Palestinian factions on campus have already demanded that the College invite a speaker representing “the Palestinian point of view” in the near future–presumably by the end of this term in early June.

Look here later in the day for a post-speech wrap-up.