Wednesday, July 18th | 6 Av 5778

May 5, 2011 9:28 am

Tony Kushner, an Extremist, Can’t Represent CUNY

avatar by Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld

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Playwright Tony Kushner.

Following our consensus decision to table the honorary degree nomination of Mr. Tony Kushner it is worthy to note that Mr. Kushner repeats the ugly charges against Israel for which he is known in a letter to the City University Board of Trustees and the media, in which he attempts to defend himself. He is disingenuous and dissembling.

If his libelous statements against Israel were made by anyone outside the Jewish community, that person would be correctly labeled an anti-Semite. When you hold the State of Israel – a nation in a struggle for its survival from the beginning, a target for the misogynist, racist, anti-western, dictatorial regimes which surround it – to a standard you would hold no other nation under normal circumstances, let alone under such exigencies – and when you spew libel against our sole regional democratic ally for “crimes” concocted by delegitimizers, you are an anti-Semite.

I would no differently oppose a racist for an honorary degree who personifies himself by calumny against a people. If Mr. Kushner were a  CUNY student degree candidate,  or even more extremely, if he were David Duke or Lynne Stewart or Sonny Carson or any other detestable individual, no trustee or administrator would have the right to deny him or her a degree if requisite requirements were fulfilled .

To the contrary, an honorary degree is wholly within the absolute discretion of the board to grant. It identifies the University with accomplished, generous citizens or public figures. It is also a tool which highlights the University and enhances its image in the educational marketplace. Every year, there are candidates that some trustees may not particularly favor. We can all express dissent where we warrant it – it is our right.  However, every nominee that has been brought before the board, during my 12 years at least, has been approved by the full board. Mr. Kushner, however, was opposed because he is an extremist. No extremist from any quarter is a good face for any University – from far left or far right. Honorary degrees are public declarations of esteem by the university community conveyed to the honoree; for the university, they are image-building, advertising and publicity as well.

The denial of the honorary degree to Mr. Kushner, despite his protestations was a reflection of his long-held radical sentiments. CUNY should remain a place of comfort and welcome for all of our students, faculty and administrators   – including supporters of the Jewish State.

Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld is a trustee of City University New York.

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  • Gordon Ashworth

    It is important for each of us to know what Never Again means. Mine is a Holocaust family. We have death camp survivors, and children of survivors like Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld. While I respect the person, I know where the words of hate come from and understand. At the same time, such people do not belong in the public eye as if they were healthy.
    Words used by anyone in the debate about Palestine and Israel will lead us to a solution that is acceptable. For those who believe that the words need to be controlled or stifled, they travel down a dangerous path. The orthodox who teach that Palestinians are not human are racist. I have lived for six years in a kibbutz in an Arab neighborhood. I like the Arabs. I trust them alot more than I trust the christians.

  • Hershel Daniels Junior

    Does not anyone remember facts here.

    I take the position that the disinvestment movement and fellow travelers like Kushner are based on the erroneous claim by proponents that the Palestinians have changed their constitution so as not to call for the destruction of Israel and killing its Jewish people and allies.

    My Reasoning on the Issue:

    First this land was controlled by a variety of people in recorded history but came to be called Palestine because of the destruction of Israel by Rome and in its place named after their enemies.

    Second and foremost the Palestinian people like most of the Arab leadership during WWII sided with and in many cases worked actively with the Nazi’s and other fascists.

    They lost, but did not want to cede this and by 1948 did not accept a UN proposed two state solution, they wanted it all, went back to war and lost, again [48], again [56], again [67], again [73], and once again lost [82].

    Now they have people like Kushner as fellow traveler, we had a word for them when I was growing up in Shaker Heights.

    Their Word tell the Truth About What a Future History would look like:

    Following a 1963 Draft Constitution the first version of the Charter was written by Ahmad Shukeiri, the first chairman of the PLO, using the slightly different name al-Mithaq al-Qawmi al-Filastini, meant to reflect its origins in Nasser’s Pan-Arabism. This important because of the Nazi connections can be traced.

    The first official English translation rendered al-Mithaq as “covenant”, while later versions have tended to use “charter.”

    The Palestinian National Charter was adopted on May 28, 1964, establishing the Palestine Liberation Organization, in (east) Jerusalem along with another document, variously known as the Basic Constitution, Basic Law or Fundamental Law of the PLO, based on an earlier Draft Constitution. The Charter is concerned mainly with the aims of the Palestine Liberation Organization, while the Fundamental Law is more concerned with the structure and procedures of the organization.

    The final article providing that it can only be amended by a vote of a two-thirds majority of the Palestinian National Council (PNC) at a special session convened for that purpose was left unchanged.

    The Fundamental Law was also amended, making it more democratic, electing the entire Executive Committee by the PNC, instead of just the Chairman, separating the post of the Speaker of the PNC from the Chairman of the Executive Committee and affirmed the authority of the Executive Committee over the army. Later, (Hirst, 2003, p. 427) a promised Charter amendment based on Fatah doctrine “that all Jews [without date restriction]…were to be entitled to Palestinian citizenship” failed due to doctrinal quarrels over the meaning of the precise nature of the proposed Democratic State.

    From the Palestinian Charter:

    Article (4) The Palestinian struggle is part and parcel of the world-wide struggle against Zionism, colonialism and international imperialism.

    Article (5) Liberating Palestine is a national obligation which necessities the materialistic and human support of the Arab Nation.

    Article (7) The Zionist Movement is racial, colonial and aggressive in ideology, goals, organisation and method.

    Article (8) The Israeli existence in Palestine is a Zionist invasion with a colonial expansive base, and it is a natural ally to colonialism and international imperialism.

    Article (9) Liberating Palestine and protecting its holy places is an Arab, religious and human obligation.

    Article (12) Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence.

    Article (13) Establishing an independent democratic state with complete sovereignty on all Palestinian lands, and Jerusalem is its capital city, and protecting the citizens’ legal and equal rights without any racial or religious discrimination.

    Article (17) Armed public revolution is the inevitable method to liberating Palestine.

    Article (19) Armed struggle is a strategy and not a tactic, and the Palestinian Arab People’s armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated.

    Article (22) Opposing any political solution offered as an alternative to demolishing the Zionist occupation in Palestine, as well as any project intended to liquidate the Palestinian case or impose any international mandate on its people.

    The PNC held a special session on April 24, 1996 and listened to the report made by the legal committee, reviewed the current political conditions, which the Palestinian people and the Arab nations encounter, and so the PNC decided: “Depending on the Independence Declaration and the political statement adopted by the PNC in its 19th session in Gaza on November 11, 1988 which stressed resolving conflicts by peaceful means and adopting the principle of two states, the PNC decides to:

    First: Amend the articles in the National charter that contradict with the letters exchanged between the PLO and the government of Israel on Sept. 9-10, 1993.

    Second: The PNC authorizes the Legal Committee to draft a new charter to be presented at the first meeting to be held by the Central Council.”

    A June 1999 report by the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Information on the status of the Charter made no mention of the 1998 events and leading Palestinians continue to state that the Charter has not yet been amended.

    The PLO Constitutional Committee first convened in 2005, but hasn’t met since 2006 and the provisions for the inclusion of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the PLO are not yet adopted.

    By the way in 1988 on Aug 18 Hamas published a manifesto calling for a holy war to create an Islamic state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, including Israel. It challenged the PLO’s claim as the sole representative of the Palestinian people. The Hamas charter declared that all Palestine is Islamic trust land, can never be surrendered to non-Muslims and is an integral part of Muslim world. The PLO and its fellow travelors have just reconciled with Hamas.

    Now I have asked Senator Mitchel’s office for the position of the United States Government ie what charter are we negotiating the life of Israel from, answer …. silence so far.

    Never Again.

  • Stacey Plichta Kellar

    Thank you Mr. Wiesenfeld for representing those of us at CUNY that don’t want CUNY honors to be given to anti-Israel extremists. I, for one, appreciate it that you spoke out.

    • Rachel

      Implying that Kushner is an “anti-Israel extremist” is itself an extreme position. Thankfully cooler heads at CUNY than yours and Wiesefeld’s realize this.

  • Mike Murray MD

    The actions taken by Mr. Wiesenfeld and the CUNY board are not helpful to Israel in its time of increasing peril. Israel is a rational nation surrounded by increasingly unstable and potentially hostile neighbors. This shortsighted act is backfiring and may harm Israel in a wider sense.

  • Vincent Gordon

    Before I go any further allow me to establish my credentials.
    I am almost 70 years old, an active Christian, and have lived in South Africa all my life. While at university in Johannesburg I served on the student body that was instrumental in bringing Robert Kennedy to SA in the height of the apartheid years and spent a total of 18 months in detention for standing up for what I believed. During my incarceration a close friend died in custody after “slipping on a piece of wet soap” and falling out of a 10th story window of the notorious Johannesburg police headquarters. My background had established within the predictable reaction to identify with the underdog. Generally, I still do. However, life is never quite that simple and after wading through some of the comments registered on this blog I am even more convinced that I am still correct in that belief.

    About 4 years ago, the Pastor of our church organized a tour of the “Holy Land”. While the emphasis was directed at those aspects that were of specific interest to Christians, he, being a far-sighted man and decided to use the opportunity to also expose us to the “conflict” by teaming up with fellow Christians who lived and worked in Israel for an organization named “Bridges For Peace” and had intimate knowledge of what the issues behind this complicated conflict. It would be an understatement to say that, in general, our background vis-a-vis the essential elements behind the complexities was close to non-existent and depended on what we read in the media and saw on TV. Our time was well spent. We were taken to all parts of Israel and a group of us entered the West Bank, venturing to Ramalla, Jenin and Nablus. We met with Israelis from the Left to the Right and Palestinians, both militant and largely uninvolved who engaged with us but appeared to be careful of how they spoke, what they said and who might be around when they did so. Two highlights were an extended visit to the home of a family whose son had died during an action against Israeli soldiers and an hour-long discussion with the Palestinian journalist, Khalid Toamei (forgive the spelling) who’s family lives in Ramalla while he lives in East Jerusalem and writes for the Jerusalem Post. He is an outspoken critic of Hamas and what he regards as the negative stance of Palestinians who refuse to acknowledge the very existence of Israel. He fears that with so restricted an attitude there is little hope of finding any form of peaceful settlement. He also claimed that Mahmud Abbas, while talking of Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank knows full well that without the Israeli support he enjoys his future would be no more than a matter of hours. We also met with a journalist who writes for the Left-wing Israeli daily, Ha’artez, who’s level of criticism of the government have no bounds. The thought-stream could have stemmed from the pen of a Hamas extremist.It was hard to believe that such freedom of the press would be tolerated in many other countries considering the security threat that exists.

    I came back to South Africa realizing that I knew NOTHING about the conflict in the Middle East concerning Israelis and Palestinians and had, in fact automatically taken a stance based on nothing more than emotion. Fascinated by it all, I took the decision to embark on an extensive and intense reading spree that(being retired)filled my hours with much study, many questions and a thirst for answers, some of which, even now have proved to be illusive and almost impossible for an outsider to grasp. I have since returned to Israel and the occupied territories once again to gain further insight, and have read an endless number of books covering the entire spectrum of Far Left to Right. Books by doyens of the left like Uri Davis, Ilan Pappe, Norman Finkelstein, Noam Chomsky, David Hirst, Prof. Walt and Measheimer to the biography of Yasir Arafat, to Historian Bennie Morris, Tom Segev, Michael Oren, Yehuda Avner, Avram Burg, Robyn Shepherd, Dennis McShane, to name just a few, never mind countless articles on the internet. My reading also included an almost 1000 page study of International Law pertaining to this region by Howard Grief which I managed to summarize down to just over 200 pages.

    While in Jerusalem I spent 2 days at the Yad Vashem Holcaust Memorial where I began to have some inkling of understanding of why the survival of Israel is indelibly tied to the survival of the Jewish people and what they had endured over the centuries while being chased and hounded with nowhere to escape. Again, this aspect of Jewish history resulted in yet further reading and my library related to this subject has grown to an extensive level. Having said all this, one thing I can speak about with some authority, having spent 18 months locked up (over 3 months in solitary), interrogated and, on occasions tortured for standing up against it – is the matter of apartheid.

    I say the following with due respect to all you bloggers: anyone advocating that Israel is an apartheid state is either clueless about what apartheid means, how it was structured and how it functioned, or has a specific agenda wound around the emotive use of the word for merely political ends – and yes, “apartheid” is an emotive word. It conjures up an immediate reaction of horror, anger and hatred of a system that, without any doubt, should be outlawed wherever it raises its ugly head. It did untold damage to my country and its people and I carry the scars to prove it. However, to state the Israel is an apartheid state displays total ignorance and deliberate distortion of the truth – there is not a single comparable aspect of Israel’s policies, which are as democratic as any other country deserving of that mantel. I can find NO aspect of apartheid in Israeli life as I knew it and lived through it. Indeed, there is discrimination, as there is in any other country in Europe, the UK and America – and considering the challenges that Israel faces with an Arab population of 20% it would be beyond belief that it could be otherwise and amazing that it is not far worse. In fact, I find it difficult to understand how a country that adheres to the principles of true democracy can also follow a policy of apartheid ! They are a contradiction in kind.

    Having waded through the “debate” that lies listed above my submission I can only suggest that what we by and large have are some largely ignorant individuals who are simply engaged in the game of not-so-clever point-scoring without making any educated attempt to add anything sensible to an already complex debate. Until many of you have put in the work and studied the complexities of this conflict as well as its essential history, perhaps you should consider the damage you do by utterances and accusations that have absolutely no validity.
    No doubt some of these choice sound bites will now be directed at me.

    • Christopher


      Your long and thoughtful response is appreciated by all, I’m sure. Your proud experience standing up for what you believe is right is admirable. I do, however, question your opinion that the term apartheid does not apply in the Israeli/Palestinian context. By reading the text of either the Rome Statute of the ICC or the definition of the UNGA Convention, its pretty hard to dispute. Apartheid in your experience is the saddest and clearest example in modern history. That does not, however, mean that all apartheid is the same. I have to respectfully disagree – what is happening in Israel and Palestine is apartheid. Clear, simple, plain, and sad.

      I live in Jerusalem. I have also lived in Syria and Lebanon, and grew up on the very Jewish Upper East Side of Manhattan. I have worked in national security, and have an advanced degree in Middle Eastern history. I am in full support of Mr. Kushner and the ability for him to have an opinion. Which means that I will likely be labeled as an anti-semite on this blog. Many posters would do well to read a single chapter of Avi Shlaim’s most recent book – the title of that chapter is “Freedom of Speech? Not for Critics of Israel.” Mr. Shlaim, an IDF vet and proud Jewish Israeli, is probably the most respected Israeli historian in the world.

      So many posts on this blog are so, so, so factually and ideologically off base that it makes me sad. The statement that Palestine never existed until the PLO declared it – I am shocked and surprised that anyone with enough intellectual capacity to read and write still repeats Golda’s most infamous and imbecilic statement. 100% of 19th and 20th Century Zionists emigrated to a place THEY also referred to as Palestine (not Israel, or Judea and Samaria, or whatever), and debated how to deal with the local population of Arabs that they knew would be highly resistant to being pushed from the land they occupied for centuries and millennia. Google “the bride is beautiful but she is married to another man” – please stop repeating this nonsense. It takes the debate out of the realm of the informed; its as untrue as Arabs who still cite the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

      Everyone is comparing Israel to Syria and Iran and Libya. Is that REALLY the yardstick we should be using, people? I mean, who DOESN’T look good when compared to Assad and Ghaddafi these days? Israel must be compared to the host of nations it purports to be a party to – the US, Canada, the UK and the rest of democratic Europe. And not a single one of these nations would be any less criticized for doing what Israel is doing.

      As someone long associated with CUNY, I was appalled at the actions taken by Mr. Wisenfeld and encouraged by the actions taken by the overwhelming majority of staff, students, and faculty in response. Mr. Wisenfeld believes that it is okay to withhold an honor bestowed upon a Pulitzer prize winning playwright – an honor in recognition of his accomplishments in drama – because of completely unrelated political views that are (frankly) held by a great percentage of Israelis and international jewry. This is restriction of academic freedoms at its absolute worst. He should be ashamed. How the CUNY community responded has been wonderful, and I know that Mr. Kushner will be vindicated.

      Good day to you all.

      • AliceL.

        “international Jewry” – now where have I heard that phrase before? You are full of it!

      • Meyshe

        Christopher, You make the assertion that apartheit exists in Israel but provide no evidence to back it up. If apartheit has any meaning at all it refers to a legally enforced system of racial or ethnic separation; this doesn’t exist in Israel. If you object to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, so do I–it’s wrong and shortsighted for Israel, but it ain’t apartheit. That aside, surely Tony Kushner should get an honorary degree for his literary achievements; his political opinions are irrelevant, and to call him an anti-Semite because he objects to some Israeli policies is absurd.

    • Joseph Nunnya

      Vincent, you’re absolutely right! It’s not an apartheid state, it’s more like a prison camp for Palestinians. Even SA managed to stop short of building an 8 meter tall concrete wall to enforce the separation of its citizens.

    • Bev

      Vincent, I echo your sentiments completely – I live in South Africa and spend much time defending Israel’s policies against a media and government becoming increasingly hostile to her. It’s a tough battle, and I am always keen to have those who speak in favour of her legitimate survival visit us and address public groups and have interviews with the media so that a balanced portrayal of a country now demonised and delegitimised more than any other and for little good reason can be made. Israel is a democracy and as such can and should be criticised for her actions, but when she is the only country in the world held to account for accusations like human rights abuses, and when Belarus and Zimbabwe and China carry out such abuses with equanimity, that is where the imbalance occurs. Would you consider coming to South Africa as our guest? IF so, please give me your e-mail address and I’ll contact you personally. I am Media Director of a very large NGO in the country.

    • Yoav


      Not ALL! I for one think you are terrific – I wish I could meet you in person.

    • Edward H

      I greatly appreciate what you have to say and I would like to share what you have to say with other people. Please email me at . I look forward to hearing from you

  • Will the death of Bin Laden make him a martyr?

  • delia

    Turning statements of fact into libelous statements, hmmm … Where did this guy get his degrees from? The University of Hasbara?

  • Rachel

    A thought experiment: Imagine a world where the roles of Jews and Palestinians are reversed. In this world, Palestinians have been persecuted for thousands of years and have gone through a holocaust, and finally have their own state. And this state treats Jews in geographical proximity to it in the exact same way that the Israel state treats Palestinians. (Note that I use the neutral term “treat,” which does not imply “ethnic cleansing,” “apartheid,” “occupation,” or “oppression,” etc.)

    One response to this might be that if the imaginary state of affairs described above were actual, Jews would not behave as many Palestinians have behaved. And this might be true. But once we go in that direction, we go in the direction of the very kind of “we-centric” thinking that is at the root of antisemitism, the idea that “my group” is in some significant sense superior to some other group. Who wants to go in that direction? Given his comment to a New York Times reporter that Palestinians are not human, it would appear that Jeffrey Wiesenfeld may think in such we-centric or ethnocentric terms. Maybe Wiesenfeld is no less an “extremist” than Kushner. (See the May 5 NYT editorial “CUNY Shamed Itself” as well as Andrew Sullivan’s essay, “The Mind of Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld” for references to Wiesenfeld’s comment about Palestinians. I should add that I think that both the NYT and Sullivan take Wiesenfeld’s comment out of context and by so doing make it sound worse than it is, but I also think that Wiesenfeld among others have done the exact same thing with some of Kushner’s comments on Israel. Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and as my mom used to say, two wrongs don’t make a right.)

    • Yoav


      It has been awhile since I read such stupid, self-serving and dishonest analogy as the one you presented in your letter regarding role-reversal, or position-reversal between Jews and Palestinian Arabs!

      Do you want role-reversal? Fine, then go all the way, not halfway! Since your analogy goes only as far as making the Palestinians Holocaust-survivers who moved to establish their own state which treats the neighboring Jews unfairly – I will complete it for you:

      Let it be known that those Jews who happen to live there are part and parcel of the Great Jewish nation, comprised today of 24 countries whose total territory is greater than North and South America combined; they number about 300 million; they share the Great Jewish religion, albeit divided into Orthodox, Conservative and Reform -still they all believe in the God of Abraham; they share the same Hebrew lagnuage; they have Jewish Bretherns numbering about 1 billion living in 53 independent countries; they posses untold riches in the form of oil reserves and other natural resources; they have never been persecuted because of their religion, ethnicity or national origin – to the contrary: they were the grand slave hunters and merchants, and during WWII sided with Hitler and encouraged him to apply his Final Solution on the Palestinians living in Palestine, not only on those dispersed in Europe – and so on. But, my dear Rachel, I will not end there: The Jews, who had no historical or spiritual connection to the land, had no national aspirations, saw themselves as part and parcel of the Great Jewish Nation, and when the colonial powers created Jewish states – most of them regarded themselves as Syrian Jews and referred to Palestine as Southern Syria; and when Great Britain, followed by the League of Nations, promised the Palastinias a National Home in all of Palestine – the Jews objected; then the Brits (Churchil,1922) cut 77% of Palestine and gave it to a deposed Jewish Prince from Saudi Judaica – the Palestinians accepted it, even though that meant the loss of 77% of their promised land; the Palestinians built cities, towns, agriculture, industry, universities – and the Jews? Terror campaigns lasting for 100 years; Finally – in 1937 and in 1947 the Jews and the Palestinians were offered partition – most of what was left of original Palestine to the Jews, and a tiny strip along the coast and in the Eastern Gallillee to the Palestinias. The Palestinians accepted – the Jews rejected, intenisfied the terror campaign against the Palestinians, and called upon their Jewish bretherns of Trans Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Judaica and Yemen to come with their well equiped armies and anahilate the nascent Palestinian State, throw the Palestinians to the sea and bring whole of Palestine under Jewish control. They faild – but tried again and again and again. On the trird attempt, the Palestinians beat the Jews badly and occupied large chuncks of Jewish land, which they were willing to exchange some of it for real peace. No takers. After failing 5 times Egypt agreed to make peace and the Palestinians gave back the whole Sinai desert, including its oil and gas. The Jews of the West Bank and Gaza only worked on improved terror tactics, started airplane hijaking and changed the way the entire world lives and travels. And when all this terror proved useless – Palestine became a thriving, prosperous Democracy with achievements unparalleled – the Jews moved to the deligitimization campaign, enlisting people like you and your ilk, many of them from within the Palestinian communities in Palestine and the Diaspora, to do the dirty work for them, while all along vying and vowing to free all of Palestine from the Palestinians.

      Got the picture? Now we have a fair, albeit incomplete role reversal. And, Dear Rachel, under those circumstances – I will be the first to condemn the Jews and support the embattled Palestinians!

      A word of advice: Before you dare call Israel an Apartheid State, go and learn something from Vincent Gordon, who knows first hand what aparteid means and seems to have taken the trouble to really study and understand the roots of the conflict. Then respond.

  • David

    The tragedy of the people of Palestine is that their country was “given” by a foreign Power to another people for the creation of a new State. The result was that many hundreds of thousands of innocent people were made permanently homeless. With every new conflict their number have increased. How much longer is the world willing to endure this spectacle of wanton cruelty? It is abundantly clear that the refugees have every right to the homeland from which they were driven, and the denial of this right is at the heart of the continuing conflict. No people anywhere in the world would accept being expelled en masse from their own country; how can anyone require the people of Palestine to accept a punishment which nobody else would tolerate? A permanent just settlement of the refugees in their homeland is an essential ingredient of any genuine settlement in the Middle East.

    We are frequently told that we must sympathize with Israel because of the suffering of the Jews in Europe at the hands of the Nazis. I see in this suggestion no reason to perpetuate any suffering. What Israel is doing today cannot be condoned, and to invoke the horrors of the past to justify those of the present is gross hypocrisy.

    -Bertrand Russell

    • Rachel Goldberg

      There wasn’t any country of Palestine until this PLO thing. They have declared themselves their own nation but then piss and whine that Israel has built a wall to keep them out or that Israel won’t give them healthcare. They need to make up their mind if they are separate or not. As for the aparteid, see above. If they are a separate country, then they have the right to separate out persons who are not citizens.

      “No people anywhere in the world would accept being expelled en masse from their own country;”

      But the Jews are supposed to accept it?

      Also, if you would check your facts you would find there are plenty of Arab-Israelis so, how should a rational person believe that all Arabs were expelled. The statement is false, that’s why.

    • Alan A Zelcer

      Uh, exactly where was this country, Palestine?

    • AlexandraB.

      Bertrand Russell, the atheist who did not read his Bible.

    • sophie

      Your quote is a completely inaccurate description of the history. Their “country” wasn’t given to another, there were 2. ARab nations refused to accept it and tried to destroy the new state of Israel. The Arabs who fled left because the ARab armies wanted them out of the way. It was easier to identify the Jews to slaughter (and many they did if you consider the murder of many unarmed civilians). In 1967, Israel begged Hussein of Jordan to stay out of the war. Your beloved victims were residents of and far worse treated Jordanians. It was the Arab nations who attacked Israel and again in the Yom Kippur war when they almost succeeded. Wanton cruelty? You’re pushing it. An overwelming majority of Israeli Arabs prefer Israel to the Palestinian way. “Wanton cruelty”? I guess it’s ok with you to slaughter children in their sleep and blow people up in restaurants and on busses. You have drunk an excessive aomount of the kool-aid and neeed to de-tox yourself from your anti-Jewish mania.

    • Meyshe

      Yes, it’s a tragedy that the Palestinian Arabs didn’t accept the UN partition plan, which would have given them 2/3 of what is currently Israel and the West Bank/Gaza, and instead became refugees. But why are their descendents still called “refugees” over 60 years after the fact? Many millions of other peoples (including 700,000 Jews from N. Africa and the Middle East) became refugees during 20th century–they got on with their lives and assimilated to their new surroundings. Why do no Arab countries grant citizenship to Palestinian “refugees” (or their grandchildren)? Right or wrong, they ain’t going back Israel, so get over it already and build a functioning state on the West Bank (or combine with Jordan a majority Palestinian country–oh, I forgot, Jordan doesn’t want the West Bank because their absurd monarchy would be in danger). Oy–blame it all on the Jews!

    • Yoav


      I do not know where you live, so I will not comment in a personal way. Your knowledge and understanding either history or refugee status are below zero.

      1. No one “gave” the Jews a State; the UN, not “another country”, proposed, but did not enforce, the partition of what was left of Palestine. 77% of it were arbitrarily handed by Britain, in 1922, against the wishes of the League of Nations, to the control of Prince Abdulla from Saudi Arabia, to rule, with his tribe, over the Palestinian Arabs who lived there. He established a State named The Hashamite Kingdom of Trans Jordan, and when he conquered in 1948 the West Bank, which was supposed to be the Arab State – he annexed it and changed the name of his country to: The Hashamite Kingdom of Jordan. That was recognized by only the UK and Pakistan.

      2. The Jews of Palestine accepted the Plan – the Arabs rejected it, even though their share of the land was much greater than that of the Jews’.

      3. The Palestinian Arabs, who supported Hitler in WWII, intensified their on going terror campaign against the Jews, and in May 15, 1948, when the Jews declared the establishment of their State in the portion alloted to them by the UN – 7 Arab armies invaded Palestine, called upon their Arab bretherns to move out of the way so they could anahilate the nascent State. No one came to help the Jews or enforce the UN resolution; the Jews did it ALONE. In that War of Independence, 1% of the Jewish population was killed. In American terms it will be the equivalent of 3 million dead. Never happened here, thank God.

      4. Between 600,000 and 700,000 Palestinian Arabs became refugees in as they fled to neighboring Arab countries and into what was supposed to be a Palestinian State – the West Bank and Gaza – then occupied by Jordan and Egypt. They all share the same languge, religion and culture.

      5. About 700,000 Jews living in various Arab countries were expelled and came to Israel pennyless. In effect – you had an exchange of population.

      6. While the Jewish refugees who came to Israel from Arab countries were quickly absorbed, resettled and rehabilitated – Palestinian refugees in Arab countries were kept in refugee camps, were not allowed to resettle, were not given citizenship, with the idea that they will forever be a thorn on the side of Israel until its destruction. The rich Arab states do not support them – the UN and the Western nations, through UNRAW, maintain them in this status 63 years.

      7. There were many conflicts in the 20th century with 10s of millions of refugees. Have you heard of any of them? No, because they were all resettled in their mother countries: When India became independent and Pakistan was created – millions of Hindus escaped Pakistan as refugees to India, and millions of Moslems escaped from India to Pakistan and Bangla Desh. Did any of them “returned” to their old homes? None! All resettled in their new countries. Same happened to Greeks who lived in Turkey and Turks who lived in Greece and Bulgaria, or in Cyprus when the island was divided. Same with the Volga Germans, same with Poles, Ukrainians and many more. I am sure you got the picture.

      The UN gives refugee status for only two years, and only 1st generation; The powerful Arabs managed to extend Palestinian refugee status for ever, and for all generations to come – with the hope that one day they will be able to destroy the Jewish State. You have 24 Arab countries, and Jordan is a Palestinian State sitting on 77% of original Palestine. When Jordan occupied the West Bank from 1948 to 1967 no one called for the establishment of a Palestinian State on the West Bank – only to replace Israel. Yet Iarael is still ready to accept a 2 state solution, but no return of now millions of Arabs who call themselves “refugees”. The Arab lands, with only 300 million citizens and land the size of North and South America combined – have plenty of room for them. There is only one Jewish state, her size is smaller than New Jersey, and 18 – 20% of it’s population is already Palestinian Arab, who enjoy equal rights and many priviledges not even shared by their Jewish neighbors. No wonder they do not want to live under Abu Mazen, Hamas or Bashar Asad, the Butcher of Damascus.

      The rest is history, ignoramus, go study!

  • Congratulations to Mr. Weisenfeld for his moral clarity in taking a stand against the shameful Tony Kushner.

    For those defending Tony Kushner, I wonder whether you would have the same principled stance if it was David Duke that was being considered by CUNY for an honorary degree.

    • Shutup Alice

      What a nonsensical comparison. David Duke is a white supremacist who advocates hatred. Don’t you think you’re position would be better represented by a more appropriate comparison? People like you with extreme, unconsidered statements are the reason others look to blame and blame and blame.

  • JohnN

    You should all notice that in this entire thread from beginning to end there is not a single reference or quote of anything Kushner has said. If he is so awful, you might think such ‘defenders of truth’ like AliceL would be able to cite all sorts of awful statements. But instead, they only characterize Kushner’s views, they don’t quote them. Because, of course, were they to quote them, we’d see that most of us agree with them.

    • Shutup Alice

      AliceL is just taking any opportunity she can to repeat things she read in her hate chat rooms. She’s probably never heard of Kushner to begin with.

      • AlexandraB.

        Hey, ShutupAlice – she must have struck a nerve with you! Kusher has stated that the creation of Israel was a mistake and supports boycotting the Jewish State. Enough said. Kushner is a sick hasbeen writer whose latest “play” will probably close quickly at the box office.

      • AliceL.

        Kushner – the mediocre has been hack, author of Angels in America and the boring Munich. He thinks he deserves an honor, paid for with my tax dollars because of what, exactly?

    • fern b

      John N. If you want a full history of Kushner’s libelous, and pernicious statements against Israel with documentation go to for it’s featured article. It’s all there. Just do your homework

      • Shutup Alice

        Fern – doing homework requires unbiased sources, please point to one that isn’t – thanks

        • Victor Nord

          To Alice:

          read, kiddo. Reading is good. Read the source. Read before getting advice from your teachers or friends not to. Make your own conclusions of what is biased or not.

          Skip the “biased” comments – look at the Kushner’s words.

          It’s a shame, kiddo, to be just a parrot. Especially when the bird repeats only popular words in order to be loved by the campus agit-prop heroes.

        • sophie

          ♦ The founding of the state of Israel required the dispossession of an indigenous group, the Palestinians.
          —Wrestling With Zion (Grove Press, 2003) Edited by Tony Kushner and Alisa Solomon; Introduction by the editors, p.2

          ♦ [Israel was] founded in a program that, if you really want to be blunt about it, was ethnic cleansing, and that today is behaving abominably towards the Palestinian people.
          —Yale Israel Review (winter 2005)

          I have a problem with the idea of a Jewish state. It would have been better if it never happened.
          —The New York Sun reporting Kushner comments made at a conference in NY(10/14/02)

          ♦ Kushner: Establishing a state means fucking people over. However, I think that people in the late 20th century or early 21st century – having seen the Holocaust, having seen the 20th century and all of its horrors – cannot be complacent in the face of that.

          good start???

        • Yoav

          Shutup Alice,

          Not so, Stupida – doing homework means going to the SOURCE – Kushner’s own articles and books! They need no interpretation by a biased or unbaiased source – they speak for themselves. Google it!

          One consolation: If you do not believe that the quotes attributed to Mr. Kushner are really his; and you do believe that he is indeed a friend of Israel – there is still hope for you, him and the human race…At least it means to me that you do not share such views; that you do not believe he holds such views; and that if you were convinced that he did – you will distance yourself from him! Hallelujah!!!

      • Rachel

        While you’re at it, do your homework on Wiesenfeld’s comment to a NY Times reporter about Palestinians being not human.

    • Rachel Goldberg

      Here you go, right on Norman Finkelstein’s blog:

    • Yoav

      Congratulations! Then most of you are of the caliber and equivalency of David Duke – except that your venom is directed at the Jews of Israel, not Afro Americans, and that, of course, is Kosher, especially if expressed by a fellow Jew like Mr. Kushner…

  • Harold A Maio


    Calling someone an anti-Semite is a very broad charge, there are many Semitic peoples. Does the author have one in mind?

    I believe he intends anti-Israel, they are not identical.

    The term “anti-Semitic” was invented about 1872 by Wilhelm Marr specifically to cloud the issue. Its intent was to provide a “parlor friendly” term to replace der Judenhaß, Jew Hate. His euphemism succeeded.

    I cannot say I am anti-Semitic, I have too little experience with Semitic peoples to hold that prejudice.

    I cannot say I am ant-Jew, Jews are too broad a demographic to see them as generic, good or bad.

    I can say I am anti-Israel on specific issues. Who cannot? And yes, it is the cannot, may not, that is important.

    Harold A. Maio, retired Mental Health Editor

  • Dan

    Let me tell u hippie liberals something I find funny…you sit here and go off about how awful Israel is, yet none of you morons would last 2 seconds in most arab countries.

    Even as syria, iran, lebanon, egypt, tunisia, yemen, bahrain, sudan, libya (my fingers are starting to hurt so I won’t list the other dozens but u get the point)are still butchering their OWN people…let me repeat that, the “zionists” are not killing them, these people are killing each other…yet u hippie idiots are still addicted to bashing Israel and over look the arab on arab atrocities.

    So let me tell u like it is. Keep bashing Israel. Keep calling for Israel’s boycott. It’s sure working, since every time I turn on the news I see that Israel is killing its own people…and israel wont allow women to drive or vote…and israel has had the same dictator in power for 30 years…and israel wont allow bibles or koran in their country…and israel forces female circumcisions….and israel has the worst technology in the world…and many of israel’s citizens are illiterate…and israel barely has any scientists…or advanced doctors…israel didn’t lend a finger to help turkey or armenia during their earthquakes…israel wasn’t the 1st one in haiti…


    Finally, if Mr. Kushner hates Israel that much, let me be the 1st to offer to buy him a plane ticket to gaza…I will even pay for his Gay Pride flag that i sure he knows he can march thru gaza with freely and openly without anybody harming him…I just hope he doesn’t end up like that other pro-hamas italian USELESS IDIOT “peace activist” who got butchered in gaza…by the way, how ironic…that idiot hated israels army with all his heart, but when he got kidnapped by 1 of the 50 palestinian terror groups, and as they started to butcher him, how much u wanna bet he was praying the IDF would come in and save him? Oh well, in the liberal community, there are plenty of other morons that can replace him.

    • Shutup Alice

      Dan – you sound like a fool – the fact that you can’t be bothered to spell out the word “you” puts you in the intellectual realm of a texting teenage airhead. I’m a conservative, but I’m finding it hard to stomach people like you spouting incomprehensible nonsense at every opportunity. Either come up with something considered and rational to say, or keep it to yourself. You are an embarrassment to the people you think you support.

      • JB in VA

        Shutup Alice — You are aware, are you not, that men and boys known to be or merely charged with being homosexual are summarily put to death in most Islamic countries? As are women and girls under virtually any pretense.

        You are aware, are you not, that NO country ruled by Islamic law allows freedom of speech, religion or conscience to ANYONE; that criticizing or questioning Islam is considered blasphemy, another offense punished by death?

        You are aware, are you not, that in Israel all citizens — including Muslims and people of all religions, other Arabs, gays and lesbians, and indeed all women — have full democratic rights, including the freedoms of speech, religion and all other freedoms?

        You are aware, are you not, that in Israel members of all these groups openly compete for election to the Knesset and all lower offices, and indeed are elected and serve in the Knesset and all other offices, as well as in appointed positions like judgeships?

        Dan makes a valid point: Many of the people in the US and other western countries who excoriate Israel and defend Islam and sharia law would be put to death under sharia law (and in Muslim countries not subject to strict sharia would still serve decades of imprisonment which they likely would not survive), while in Israel they would be free to live full, productive, fully activist lives without fear.

        Your ignorance is appalling. Not to mention dangerous.

        • Shutup Alice

          My ignorance? Have a neutral third party fact check your ridiculous post. Report back…

          • sophie

            Actually Alice, JB’s post is completely correct and you are wrong on this.

        • Yoav


          Thank you. You saved me a long reply. Dan has a most valid point, as do you. This Shutup Alice seems to be so ignorant – I am amazed that, taking the time to post her silly commentary which is totally devoid of any substance, or at least one valid fact or even argument – does not find the time to study the facts. Worse – she does not even attempt to refute any of the valid points brought up by you and Dan! My guess – she simply knows nothing, but is full of hate to Israel and maybe towards the Jewish people in general (Except the likes of Kushner, Finkelstein, and the Grand Daddy of them all – Noam Chomsky????

      • VBN

        Dear Shtup Alice,

        how ’bout cooling it down a bit?
        What’s you outrage about? Your opponent’s typos and errors bother you that much, don’t they, eh?

        Stick to the topic. Cut the bull– over essence.

        Do you want others, too, start counting your awkward wording, spelling mistakes or semi-literal ways to express your outlook?

        • Tim D

          Oh – that is too good, someone who is accusing another of awkward wording and spelling mistakes in a post full of awkward wording and spelling mistakes. Delicious. Shutup Alice might be annoying, but you are pure entertainment!

      • VBN

        Apologies for my previous address to Alice. Obviously Shtup Alice should be read as Shutup Alice. That was a regretful typo.

    • Susan Nicholson

      Dan – your line of argument is completely irrelevant. How does it rebut Mr. Kushner’s criticisms of Israel that some OTHER country is much worse (even assuming it is)? If I criticize some policy of the US, which is the country I identify with, would you answer me by pointing out that Canada is worse? How does that rebut what I say about the US?

      Besides, it’s Israel, not any Arab country, that claims a “special relationship” with the US on the basis of its democracy and supposed shared values. If those values go awry, that must be pointed out.

      • Yoav

        Dear Susan,

        That is the whole point – it did not go awry at all – to the contrary! It only improves with time, and the risks it takes for the sake of peace have not been taken by anyone in a similar situation!

        The annoyance with Kushner and it’s ilk is not only that they hold Israel to different standards than any other country is held to even in time of peace – but they would, in their own words -prefer that Israel would have never born, or that it should be eliminated!

        Yes, Israel wants and deserves a special reletionship with the US. Israel’s actions in its own defence are much more gentle and mild in a much more dangerous situation than the actions of the US and its allies in Iraq, Afganistan and now Lybia. When Israel kills mass murderers in a “surgical” operation – Israel is generally condemned; when the US eliminates Bin Laden – it is generally praised (though not by the likes of Kushner, I am sure). And, be honst with yourself: How would you expect you government to react if you lived in San Diego and for 10 years had to endure thousands of rockets indiscriminately being lobbed into your neighborhoods by terror groups from Tijuana, forcing you to run within 15 seconds into a Safe Room, with your little children? Sit and do nothing? The US goes all the way to Vietnam, Korea, Iraq and Afganistan, not to mention Europe, in defense of it’s interests; so much so if it endured a daily barrage from a neighbory entity which openly claims that it wants to wipe you off the face of the earth.

        Think about it with an open mind, put your prejudices aside for a moment, and get into the shoes of the nation which lives like that for decades, not to mrntion suicide bombimg, knifing, shooting -all of civilians – even babies. Then react.

    • Yoav


      Bravo! I will share the ticket price with you!

  • Bill Hicks

    I love reading the comments of AliceL. They’re too funny! There’s nothing funnier in this world than a rabid defender of Israel. Maybe a teabagger, but that’s about it.
    People who see the world and black and white because it’s convenient and easy. They’re funny because they’re pathetic.

    • Shutup Alice

      Thank Christ someone said it!

    • AlexandraB.

      Your use of the word “teabagger” shows the kind of low life that you are. People support Israel because it stands for the truth while Lefties like you are the biggest destroyers of free speech on campus.

    • Yoav


      You are a real moron with nothing to say. In that case, save us the trouble, leave Alice alone and exchange private comments with Shutup Alice; both of you seem to have been sharing the same level of knowledge and intelligence..

  • 35% of Arabs in East Jerusalem prefer to remain Israelis while 40% would likely move to Israel if their neighborhood became part of a state of palestine. Don’t trust me, read the article here:,7340,L-4064783,00.html

    Interesting that so many Arabs prefer to live under an apartheid regime than have self-determination in their own state!

    That should be enough to convince people that they should question the propaganda they hear from the media and so-called scholars but the people who spew the lies about Israel aren’t interested in the truth.

    It is sad and disappointing when college students, who really don’t know better, believe the lies they are fed that Israel is an apartheid state, ethnic cleansing and the other blatant lies told about Israel in the name of human rights, liberal values and justice. Yet, it is a disgrace when adults and scholars spew these lies when they know that they are lies! The hate and injustice that these so-called scholars are generating in the world will bring about the exact opposite of all the values from which they claim to represent. Israel is the ONLY country in the Middle East with human rights for all, freedom of religion for all and the ONLY democracy. All values of human rights, equality, justice are on Israel’s side. While the liberals all rally to the flag to “free palestine”, a country that never existed for a people that never existed, they have disregarded the human rights abuses in Egypt, Syria, Saudia Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon and other Arab countries of minorities, women, gays etc. Refugees of the Palestine Mandate of 1948 are not even second class citizens in Lebanon! They are forbidden to vote, can’t work in certain professions and still live in refugee camps! Women in Saudi Arabia, a US ally, are forbidden from driving a car. Gays in Muslim countries? They are sentenced to death! If the liberal scholars continue to stay mum regarding the true nations that abuse human rights while skewer Israel, the only country that respects human rights, they shouldn’t be surprised if one day the values they say they represent disappear in their countries as well.

    In terms of the historical, moral and international legal rights of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel, don’t trust me, trust the League of Nations, the predecessor to the United Nations that wrote the last international legal binding decision pertaining to the land of the whole of the Palestine Mandate at the San Remo Conference. According to international law the Jewish people’s historical right to the land gives them full right to settle throughout the Palestine Mandate, yet conditioned it only for the West Bank of the Jordan River since the British decided to give the East Bank (Trans-Jordan) to a Suadi tribe led by the Hussein clan in exchange for their assistance in World War I (hence Jordan and its indigenous population has being occupied by a foreign occupier for a century, yet nobody complains about that!)

    Bottom line, any scholar who spews anti-Israel lies about apartheid, human rights abuses, ethnic cleansing etc. does not deserve any honor, not even the honor to teach! He/she is a liar and can’t be relied on for relying any truths for fear that they are tainted by a certain bias.

    It is about time that college campuses stand up to the brain washing taking place by its own compromised professors. Oh, I forgot, they can’t stop that, they receive too much money from the Saudi princes who have been dedicating departments in US college campuses since the 1970s! Like everything else, follow the money trail….

    For more truths dealing with this topic everyone is invited to watch the video series I run called Israel Straight Talk Because it is about time that people hear the bare truth and deal with it.

    • Shutup Alice

      More nonsense from someone who obviously would never see anything Israel does wrong, no matter how atrocious it is – meaningless and long-winded

      • Shalom Shutup Alice,

        1. You would sound more convincing if you actually deal with the facts and not insult

        2. You would deserve more respect if you actually post comments with your real name

        3. Even though Mr. Kushner and his supporters like using soundbytes to attack Israel, the true situation here in the Middle East is much more complicated than that, so pardon me for being long winded. That was just the warm-up considering the amount of information needed to help people understand and undo the damage Mr. Kushner and his colleagues are inflicting upon Western Civilization by falsely speaking in the name of liberal values.

        4. No government is faultless and every citizen has a right to critique his/her government. If Mr. Kushner or anyone else would state true critiques of the Israeli government I might agree. But he is not stating true critiques, he is spewing blatant lies and anyone who spews blatant lies, especially in the false name of justice and liberal values, must be called out and stopped in their tracks!

        • Shutup Alice

          Which neutral party has determined they are lies?

          Please name one. I doubt you can.

          • Shutup Alice


      • AliceL.

        “Shut Up Alice” – you first – I guess the truth hurts. You far Lefties love the Islamofascists. You are two of a kind. You hate Judaism and you hate Christianity. It has gone from “blame America first” to “Blame Israel, first, second, and third”. You are angry because we are fighting back because we see through you and your propaganda.

        • Shutup Alice

          ZZzzzzzzzzz – Alice you sound like a parrot that has been stuck in an elevator full of Fox anchors – I am Jewish and love Judaism – who are you to say otherwise? I’m also not even close to being a “Leftie” – good guesses all around – sorry they are all so wrong and so hate-filled

          • AliceL.

            Oh, you claim you are Jewish – and I should believe you because . . .

      • AlexandraB.

        Shur up – boy, that Alice struck a nerve with you! I guess you can’t handle the truth. Kushner is a vile self-hater and a very, very confused person whose glory days are long past. His latest “play” is a disaster.

      • Yoav

        Shutup Alice,

        Why don’t you shut up? You have nothing to say, you have no response to the factual and accurate presentation by Avi – because it is all true and factual! So you descend to name-calling and stupid, meaningless remarks. Put up (facts!) or shut up!

    • Yoav


      Well said!

  • Pit Dawg

    Why should we Americans continue to subsidize a theocratic apartheid state in the Middle East? It’s not like we get any oil or anything out of the bargain, just more headaches, ingratitude and a constant drain on our treasury!

    • AliceL.

      “Oil” – yup, for you lefties, it is all about getting your Arab oil! “Apartheid state” – oh, you mean Saudi Arabia, don’t you?

      • Shutup Alice

        Lefties – profound and original Alice

        • EvanS

          Oh my g-d you’re annoying Shutup Alice!

          Do me a favour – offer an argument already…

          I thank you.

    • Jerry

      Your comment is so dripping with sarcasm that its interpretation is difficult for me. Are speaking of Saudi Arabia as the apartheid state? If you are speaking of Israel as the apartheid state, would your opinion change if Israel began supplying oil the the US? Indeed, it might be in a position to do so in the future!

      • Shutup Alice

        At least if they oil we’d get something in return for the tens of billions we spend propping the county up every decade

        • Shutup Alice

          *they had oil

        • Yoav

          Shutup Alice,

          Tell me how you would like Israel to disappear, and since you claim to be a Jew (possible, I have seen worse…), what will happen to the 6 million Jews who live there? (Yes, 6 million. Sounds familiar???)

    • AlexandraB.

      “theocracy” – do you mean Saudi Arabi? Women can’t drive carse there. I feel sorry for gay Saudis. I guess Kushner would not last too long there.

    • Yoav

      Dear Pig/Dog,

      Theocratic? You do mean Saudi Arabia, into which you cannot bring a Bible, and if you smuggle one you may find an early demise??? Apartheid? You do not mean Jordan, or the Palestinian Authority, where selling a house to a Jew is punishable by death??? Moron…

  • Dave J.

    Why does Weisenberg conflate criticism of Zionist policy with racism? Zionists are not a race, they are adherents of a political/religious ideology.

    I fear Mr. Weisenberg is being intellectually dishonest with himself and his readers.

    • AliceL.

      And you, Dave, are a real Abe Lincoln!

    • Jerry

      Zionism supports the physical land of Israel as a haven for Jews from such people as yourself. Your opposition to Zionism justifies the Zionist position. What Jew in his right mind would voluntarily subject themselves to your view of their limited rights in the world that does not include minimal safety for themselves and their children!

  • John Q. Public

    It’s about time that American Jews stopped playing the tired old “Anti-Semite” card against anybody who dares criticize Israel. It’s gotten to the point where everybody else is afraid to say ANYTHING about Israel for fear of getting blasted with this silly charge. How are we supposed to have an honest, open, democratic debate on these issues when there are kneejerk reactionaries like Mr. Weisenfeld who are determined to shut down the discussion before it begins. I fear that tactics like his will ultimately do more harm than good to Israel’s standing in America.

    • AliceL.

      Oh, your “support” of Israel is very touching. You are another double talker. I see in academia and the lefty media (which is most of the media) only Israel and Jew-hating and naked hating at that. Your concern has been noted. I looove your concern for Israel! so, touching – not!

    • AlexandraB.

      John Q. Public, your “concern” is so fake, that it is comical! What a phony you are. What crocodile tears you shed.

    • Yoav

      Jhon Q,

      American Jews? Some of them (Kushner, Finkelstein, Chomsky) are worse than almost all non-Jewish critiques of Israel.

      You want an open, honest debate? First get your facts straight, come up with a decent argument which is not based on a lie – I promise you a straight forward answer. Neither Israel nor any other country is imune from criticism; but when Israel is singled out – in the UN, Academia, the Media – for harsher critisism than the worst among the nations – yes, this is anti-Semitism Mr. Public!

      But, if you want to start with a Kushner-like position that Israel should have never come into existence, i.e. that the Jews, of all nations, do not deserve a homeland – I have nothing to say to you, except maybe suggest you go to Gaza, or Lebanon, join the Hamas or Hizbullah and put your money where your mouth is! Maybe one day you will get the 72 virgins, with God’s help!

  • Rocky Lore

    I wonder if Tony Kushner knows what would happen to him if he were in a Muslim country.

    • Pit Dawg

      He would probably be treated to warm hospitality and good food, like most guests.

      • AliceL.

        Then he would be beheaded what with his being gay and having been born Jewish (although we know he hates Judaism).

        • Tiger Tiger

          I doubt it. I’m a gay, Jewish American and have traveled pretty extensively in the Arab world and have never been beheaded. As long as you travel as a respectful guest, you will be treated with respect. It’s an old Middle Eastern tradition that my Sephardi grandparents taught me – you ought to look into it.

          • AliceL.

            “Travel as a respectful guest” – oh, I am sure that Kushner would be very, very respectful – not! He can’t help himself.

  • Chad H

    Please tell us exactly what standards you feel we hold Israel to that we wouldnt hold another nation to… Let’s see, it can’t be the apartheid they’re running; nor the siezure of Palestinian property, or building Walls cutting off farmers from parts of their land and/or the nearest town.

    Sorry, my bad, holding Israel to normal standards that we expect from any other country is anti-semitism.

    Maybe, the fact a Jewish person is saying things you consider to be anti-sw Eric should be a sign to you that what you see as anti-semetic, really isn’t.

    • Dave J.

      What does that have to do with anything? Please refrain from gay-bashing/baiting and stick to the topic.

      • AliceL.

        “Please stick to the topic” – we are – we are calling Kushner out for being a self-hating phony. And a hypocrite!

      • Chad H

        @ Dave: What Gay Bashing?

        Oh wait, I see what you’re doing there. You’re calling critism on a completely different subject hate speech. Clever.

        • AlexandraB.

          The Left and the Jew haters remind me of the kids who kill their parents and then ask for mercy because they are “orphans”. Kushner finally got called out and his feeling are hurt. Tooooooooo bad! So sad!

    • Raymond in DC

      Clearly you have no idea what apartheid means, and no one who knows what the word means would consider Israel an apartheid country after five minutes walking its streets. It’s not just that one finds Jews of almost every “race” there, but non-Jews too. Arab judges and members of Knesset, Druse and Bedouins serving in the Foreign Ministry, Jews and Arabs (and lots of foreigners) studying and teaching in its universities, and so on. Apropos, if it’s such an “apartheid state” why are so many Palestinians, Africans, and others trying to settle there?

      You’re either too young or too ignorant to know of a time when there were no such walls. They (and checkpoints) only went up in the 1990s when the Arabs restarted the terror war. And you might be surprised to know that most of the *private* land in Israel is not owned by Jews; it’s owned by Arabs (and in Jerusalem by the Greek Orthodox).

      Finally, if you’ll study the socio-economic data, you’ll find that the so-called “occupation” that followed the 1967 war was the best thing to happen to Gaza and the West Bank.

  • Sarah

    Led by a surprise attack by Mr. Wiesenfeld, CUNY, when presented with the nomination of Tony Kushner for an honorary degree, stood up and punched itself in the eye. Mr. Kushner has strong, but nuanced views, about Israel and the region, and the choice to deny him a honorary degree based solely on largely false and entirely cartoonish characterizations of his views is a disgrace to CUNY and the antithesis of the way an academic institution should conduct itself. But Mr. Wiesenfeld is a trustee, not because of any experience, talent or prediliction for education or the academy, but soley because he is a politician and the crony of politicians. While we should expect him to act as such, it is a shame for the trustees as a whole to bow to his bluster without any opportunity for a fuller investigation into the actual truth of the situation.

    All this does is play into the hands of Israel-haters: “See,” they will say, “in the US and NYC, you cannot even get a honorary degree for your theater work if you say anything at all critical of Israel’s past actions, even when you strongly support Israel’s right to exist.” With defenders such as Mr. Weisenfeld, Israel will soon lose all support from the reasonable people of this world, which would be a shame.

    • AliceL.

      “lose support from reasonable people” – like you? do you realize what a double talker you are? Kushner is not “critical” – he is libelous and he into the blood libel, to be more specific. I suspect you are also.

      • Tiger Tiger

        Excuse me, AliceL, but you really don’t seem like the most astute judge of who and who doesn’t qualify as “reasonable people”. LOL

      • Sarah

        So, Alice, your response to the argument that refusing an honorary degree to a playwright because he is critical of Israel will play into the hands of those who say criticism of Israel is always punished is to say, “But he really is critical.”

        And to accuse me of being libelous too, on absolutely no grounds.

        You have strong opinions, Alice, but unfortunately they only hurt your position.

        • AliceL.

          Susan, Susan, your “concern” is duly noted, double geared as it is.

    • Yoav

      Really, Sara?

      Kushner supports Israel’s right to exist? Thank you thank you thank you, Mr. Kushner and Sara. Trouble is, he does not agree with you…He stated many times that Israel should have never been established. If this is not the new, modern “anti-Zionist” form of anti-Semitism – I do not know what is…

      If you can show me a direct quote where he affirms the “Right of Israel to exist” (I do not need the lisence from him, but…) I will salute you!

  • Jon Penne

    Why is it that Tony Kushner’s views of certain events in history are referred to as bigotry or anti-semitism, but Jeffrey Weisenfeld’s generalizations that Arab goverments are racist, misogynistic, etc are acceptable? If all negative comments on Israel are to be branded anti-semitism, does this leave room for honesty? And why Wiesenberg’s anti-Arab comments considered fair game? Interesting double standard.

    • Rob

      Let him try to be an openly gay male in an Arab country. See how far he gets.

      • AliceL.

        He will be either stoned to death or have his head chopped off. I guess Kushner is into denial. How safe for him it is in the USA where he can bash the USA and Israel, a real twofer for him.

    • AliceL.

      Because Mr. Wiesenfeld’s comments on what happens in Arab/Moslem countries happens to be accurate! They stone women to death and persecute Christians, Jews and dissident Moslems! What about that statement is inaccurate? They also support suicide bombings. Anything inaccurate about that?

      • Tiger Tiger

        Your statement is very inaccurate – and ignorant – while you can cherrypick instances of all of these things happening in various isolated incidents, to say that ALL Arab/Muslim countries stone women to death and persecute Christians, Jews and dissent Muslims with regularity or as a matter of policy is just plain stupid. I am an openly gay, Jewish American with family in Israel, Turkey and the U.S., and I’ve traveled all over the Middle East and I can say with some authority, that you’re full of it.

        • AliceL.

          I can say with authority that you dare not “do your thing” in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and Syria. And I doubt you can now in Turkey! You are full of it!

        • Yoav

          Were you holding hands with your boy friend in Gaza? Cairo? Riad? Istanbul? Were you kissing on the street??? you can do it here and in Israel – if you did it openly in any Arab country and was caught – you would not have been writing here today…

          Side comment: Sepharadic Jews are usually more sane than Ashkenazi Jews when it comes to the Middle East – they have direct experience. I wonder what happened to you. Is it because you were born in the US? And you really do not know the status of women and gays in Moslem, not only Arab countries? Are you for real or just another fake?

    • Yoav

      Because one is basically true (try for yourself), and one is basically false, malicious and libelous. That is why. Go with your wife or girl friend, or better yet, boy friend if you are so inclined first to Saudi Arabia, then to Israel. Then tell us your impressions. And do not forget to bring the Bible with you to Riad, or ask for a permit to visit Mecca!

  • Chaz Rose

    Notice Jeffrey Weisenfeld never states what these supposed libels are.

    Because? Because, the things he most objects to, like the fact the state of Israel was founded on land ethnically-cleansed of Palestinians–are absolutely true.

    • AliceL.

      Of course, you make no mention of the “ethnic cleansing” that was done to the Jews of Iraq, Syria, Egypt, etc. And you never mention the partition of India into two countries. Nope, blame the Joooooooos. It won’t work any more.

      • Pit Dawg

        Probably because most of that is off-topic.

        • Rachel Goldberg

          Considering these other Arab nations kicked the Jews out and they had no where to go, so they went to Israel, it’s not at all off topic. All of the former Ottoman empire was broken up. The arabs got most of it and kicked out the Jews. So, why was it fair to kick out the Jews?

          FYI, there are plenty of Arab-Israeli citizens so, I don’t get this garbage about how they are supposedly homeless now.

    • Yoav


      Ethnic Cleansing? Where did you get that from? Have you heard of the Jewish National Fund, established in 1902 to purchase, you hear, P U R C H A S E land in Palestine to settle Jews! and it paid for swamp land much more than the early Americans paid the Indians for Manhattan ($24 in case your knowledge of American history is at par with your knowledge and expertise in Middle East history). Not to mention what later Americans paid the Indians for the Western territories, or to Mexico for Texas, California, etc’.

      Then came the UN Partition Plan, which offered most of what was left of Palestine (the major part was given to the Hashamites to form Trans Jordan) to the Palestinian Arabs, and only what the Jews paid for – to the Jews. The Jews accepted (check your history books), the Arabs rejected, attacked the Jews with 7 armies, lost, and some of them became refugees. They should have been settled in Arab lands just as Jews who were really cleansed fro Arab lands settled in Israel, but the Arabs needed them for the future wars and terror campaigns. All other refugee problems havelong been settle in the places to which they came: India, Pakistan, Turkey, Greece, Germany. Go back to school!

  • MarioG

    Why is Tony Kushner being taken seriously by anyone?

    Has he not read the charters of the dominant Palestinian organizations, like the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad – that all provide documented proof that they have no intentions of accepting any peaceful solution that includes Israel?

    Does he not know that the partition of 1947 was intended to give the Jews a tiny slice of their original homeland as a safe haven after the horror of the Holocaust? Does he not know that Israel’s founding Zionists accepted this pittance and reached out to the Palestinians in their inaugural speeches?

    Does he not know that it was the Palestinians who refused to accept Israel, that FIVE Arab armies then tried to annex Israel by force, and have continued since then to try and wipe it off the map?

    If the brunt of Israel’s defensive reactions have been borne by innocent Palestinians, isn’t this because these people have been held hostage by their own leaders, and many have even been complicit in the relentless attacks on Israel from day one?

    When Israel withdrew from Gaza, ostensibly in return for peace, this enclave could have been turned into another Dubai. Instead the “innocent Palestinians” voted for a terrorist organization, Hamas, to run their government and decided to turn it into a hell-hole.

    Does Kushner have any suggestions as to what Israel’s negotiating position is supposed to be against an adversary that has a) never, in 64 years, accepted it as a Jewish state, b) used violence and rejected negotiations without pre-conditions, c) never once made any concessions of their own, and d) continues to try and wipe it off the map?

    Is Israel’s negotiating compromise supposed to be to agree to only half being wiped off the map, in perhaps twice the time, to make it even more “fair”?

  • Rachel Isaacs

    Kushner has made some horrible accusations and comments about the Jewish State over the years, as have many in the academic sphere. It is about time someone stood up to these attacks and showed them that there are consequences to their bigotry. Kudos to Wiesenfeld for displaying some spine. If you don’t believe it, check this out:

    • Sarah M.

      Well said!!

  • Barry Telman

    Why is it any different for Wiesenberg to accuse Arab nations of being woman-hating, racist, anti-gay? Why is it anti-semitic for Kushner to dicuss an event in history as he sees it, but its perfectly alright for Wiesenberg to make anti-Arab or anti-Muslim comments? Interesting double standard.

    • Mike W

      Please name ONE Arab nation where women have equal rights, where gays can live their lives out in the open, and where a Christian or a Jew can observe their faith openly and without fear of intimidation, imprisonment or death. There is no double standard here unless you choose to ignore rampant human rights abuses in the Arab world while holding Israel to an impossible standard.

      • Susan Nicholson

        “please name one Arab country…” Try Lebanon. Lebanon’s freedom of association is more liberal than Israel’s, according to the 2010 annual review on Freedom of Association by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN). Lebanon also leads Israel in freedom of the press, according to the 2010 Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders. According to the US State Department 2010 International Religious Freedom Report, Lebanon has a centuries-old heritage as a place of refuge for those fleeing religious intolerance, and the Lebanese constitution guarantees freedom of religion to 18 recognized religious groups, which includes Christian, Muslim and Jews.

        • AliceL.

          Oh, gee, Susan: why are Maronite Christians fleeing and why is there almost no Jewish population in Lebanon? You are such a fool – have you heard of Hezbollah, have you heard of Syria?

          • Susan Nicholson

            Hey, AliceL. There are many reasons why Maronite Christians, or persons of any religion, might leave Lebanon, including pollution, traffic, and political instability. Being intimidated, imprisoned, or killed for practicing Christianity isn’t one of them. I was recently in Lebanon for 3 months, and attended a Christian church next door to a mosque. No one feared being attacked, because that just isn’t happening in Lebanon.

            As for Jews, Lebanon’s Jewish population actually increased after the state of Israel was founded, as Jews fled Iran,Iraq and Syria for refuge in Lebanon’s tradition of tolerance. Jews, like other Lebanese, subsequently fled during Lebanon’s civil war. And when Israel began invading Lebanon (5 times between 1978 and 2006 plus an 18-year occupation) the Lebanese Jewish community must have been torn apart.

            Plans are underway to restore a major synagogue in Beirut damaged by Israeli shelling in 1982. Hezbollah, by the way, has expressed support for the restoration, stating that their issue is not with Jews living among them, but with Israel’s occupation of land.

        • Yoav


          Maybe 50 years ago some of it was true; today? with Hezbolla effectively in control? with secterian wars, decimation of the Christian communities, not to mention the jews – what La La land are you living in? what are you smoking? and which Human Rights organizations you are talking about? Maybe the UN one, headed by Iran, Syria and Lybia, the great humanists who butcher their own people???

          • Yoav

            Dear Susan,

            You are either naive, ignorant, or simply biased.

            Hariri, the Prime Minister of Lebanon (Christian) was murdered by Hizbulla, as were thousands of Christians before him.

            And what part of Lebanon is Israel occupying now, exactly? What part of Gaza?

            Lastly, why did Israel fight against the PLO in Lebanon in 1982, occupied the South for 18 years, evacuated and had to go back and fight in 2006? Can you give me a straight, honest and factual answer? No bulshit propaganda, please…I am waiting.

  • Joshua Holland

    It’s McCarthyism, plain and simple. The dishonesty Wiesenfeld employs is typical of the genre.

  • Eliezer

    there is no difference between this action and the actions of British and other institutions that want to boycott Israel.

    This is America. We are each entitled to our political beliefs as well as our religious beliefs. A publicly-funded University giving an award for artistic achievement should NOT base its decision on the recipient’s legal political beliefs.

    Siz a kharpe un a bushe az der algemayner zhurnal iz azoy niderik gezunkn.

  • A Pauled

    Mr Weisenfeld’s slanderous assault on one of our nation’s and our generation’s most ardent and articulate advocates of justice makes a travesty of Board of Trustee oversight of CUNY.

    • AliceL.

      A. Pauled, Kushner is nothing but a historical revisionist. He needs a history lesson. Calling him an “advocate of justice” is laughable.

      • David

        No, honey — Tony Kushner does NOT need a history lesson, lol. Can you sum up what exactly he’s “revising”?

        • AliceL.

          Honey, double honey – the history of Israel. Have a nice day, fool