Following the Anti-Defamation League’s condemnation of the”Homonationalism and Pinkwashing” conference, which plans to accuse Israel of using its positive record on LGBT issues to deflect from the “oppression of Palestinians”, the City University of New York - which is co-sponsoring the event in conjunction with the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies on campus - has decided to take the unprecedented step of ensuring that those who oppose the idea of “pinkwashing” will be well represented at the conference.
“Generally, in the past, universities were expected to abide by civility and proper discourse in having honest debates. That’s evolved in recent years so that opinions that are one sided get dominance in these forums,” CUNY Trustee Jeffrey Weisenfeld told The Algemeiner. “The difference here is, they won’t be able to imbalance it. In the past, some groups, what they would do, they would get ten people against Israel, and one person for. Not only is the argument balanced now, but the number of presenters will be balanced.”
On its website, The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS), writes that “intensifying criticism and the threat of economic boycott” has led Israel to increase “their marketing plan by harnessing Homonationalism to reposition its global image.” Representatives from CLAGS were not immediately available for comment.
According to Wiesenfeld, CUNY will adopt a policy of ensuring that university sponsored events provide an equal and balanced academic approach.
“It will not only be for this, but this will be the policy going forward,” he said.
A Friday morning phone conversation led to the decision, which Wiesenfeld said is an important one because it ensures there is not a single narrative. He credited Matthew Goldstein, the chancellor of CUNY since 1999, for making what he believes is the right decision.
“He [Goldstein] has always said that there has to be a paradigm to change the way this one sided debate against Israel has been going on across the country, and I think the approach he is taking is the way to go.” At the time of publication the Office of the Chancellor had not responded to The Algemeiner’s request for comment.