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Taxpayer Funded BDS at CUNY Is Illegitimate, Racist and Anti-Semitic

January 29, 2013 1:20 am 19 comments

BDS protester. Photo: wiki commons.

In my 13 years as a trustee of CUNY, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to observe the intellectual corruption and anti-Semitism of many in America’s academic elite. I hear about it from trustees in colleges and universities across America and it’s become more common at CUNY, with Brooklyn College as an unexpected hotbed. The current plans for an anti-Israel BDS conference with the school’s co-sponsorship by the political science department raises new questions.

If an individual professor engages in selective hatred of Israel and the resulting intimidation of Jewish students, that is bad enough. If branches of the MSA (Muslim Students Association, all chapters of which are affiliated with ISNA – the Islamic Society of North America, which is the Muslim Brotherhood on our soil), that is bad enough. I’ll be damned however, if I were to be silent on the official co-sponsorship by an entire academic department of a Nuremberg-like conference on a CUNY campus. This is a misuse of tax-levy funds. This is NOT an academic conference in any sense. Furthermore, other than through the intimidation of liberal arts professors who might support Israel, how do we know that EVERY professor in that department supports this drivel?

We must also look at the hypocrisy and intellectual corruption of these accusatory, one-sided conferences. The Islamic world, having evicted nearly all of its Jews following the reconstitution of the Jewish State in 1948, murdering many and plundering all of their property, is now exterminating its remaining  Christians, Bahais and Zaroastrians – in fact, anyone non-Muslim – whose adherents may have resided in these lands for millennia. Brave columnists like Fouad Adjami, Amir Taheri and other brave Muslims chronicle this dysfunctionality – and far worse – at great personal risk. Intra-Muslim murder rivals their states’ crimes against other groups as well.

From 1920 to the present, approximately 100,000 Jews and Arabs have died in all the conflicts involving them – most Jews and Israelis as victims of terror and in defensive wars and most Arabs as a result of Israel’s defense or their brethren having cowardly used them as “human shields.” 100,000 Syrians alone have been brutally murdered by the forces of Bashar Assad in the last 2 years. Do these BDS hypocrites care?

These BDS advocates single out Israel as a cover for rank anti-Semitism. It is not about saving Palestinians (who mostly need to be saved from themselves and their leaders); its purpose is to delegitimize and destroy Israel. They do NOT want a two-state solution. To them Tel Aviv and Haifa are “occupied territories” as much as Gaza, long vacated by Israel and now one of the world’s most prominent terrorist launching points. They want a one-state solution;  to have yet another of the many Arab states. They deny – as anti-Semites do – the eternal connection, since recordable history, of the Jewish people to their land. They reject all peace offers by Israel. They subjugate their own people to a vile existence in the false belief that they can “wait out the Jews.”

I call upon taxpayers to draw a line here and make it known: taxpayer dollars should not fund illegitimate, racist and anti-Semitic activities by any academic department. Those of us who care about Israel would do no less if others were similarly treated. Indeed, the Jewish community in particular historically has done no less. Additionally, academic administrators should be reminded that Jewish students are no less entitled – under applicable federal law – than other students to an educational environment free of intimidation and prejudice.

Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld is a Trustee at the City University of New York. He is a former aide to Governor George E. Pataki, Senator Alfonse M. D’Amato and other public officials.

19 Comments

  • I was just wondering, do any if you realize how incredibly stupid you sound?

  • I was just wondering if any of you realize how incredibly stupid you sound?

  • So what are we going to do about it?

    Is anyone already organizing?

  • Stop the bully on our campuses. Save our Jewish children.Stop the brainwashing and bullying. Stop the war against open minds, fact finding, democracy. Stop the funding of jihad in America with political agendas for others and not the individual of America for America and with freedom and dignity for all Save America. Understand that Arabs have freedom to shop in Gilo Mall, use Jewish supported Alyn Hospital in Jerusalem, be doctors and have businesses. Is it even safe for Jews to go to Ramallah? Who does the lynching? Isn’t teaching children to hate and suicide kill child abuse? Why have the Christian property owners of Bethlehem fled? Where are the Christians of Lebanon? What happened to the Twin Buddhas? Why are those who attacked the Twin Towers still bullying the masses? who is killing those who would police? Why the misinformation, the scapegoating of the Jews, the failure to research and care about the victims. This is not what I learned at Brooklyn College. We used to research, think, grow to be concerned individuals, respect the different, taste of each others culture, not part of GANG HATE! How has open enrollment led to closed minds?
    Don’t be a fact blocker and a bystander. Be vocal.

  • BDS is indeed discussed on many college campuses, but by who? Only by groups who have a hate-Israel hate-Jew agenda and financed from abroad. There are 80 independence movements around the world. Only one is supported by a BDS.

  • Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld

    (letter to the president of Brooklyn College)

    Dear Karen:

    Dershowitz is less harsh than I would be – and will be – on the matter of the Nuremberg BDS conference pending at BC. So let me say this: Dershowitz is at least as good an arbiter of what person or entity is entitled to academic freedom as you or anyone else – a student? A professor? A department? Remember when the board was overruled by elected officials on the subject of an honorary degree? That was a marketing-based “honor” which I happened to oppose at the time. I didn’t think I could be compelled to honor someone. The candidate was indeed talented, and I’ve not heard his unjust, selective screeds on Jews and Israel since that board debate. Should I ask UJA to honor me even though I don’t have the capacity to be a mega donor? What right would I have? My point is – how is it that anyone who sets foot on campus in any association is entitled to “academic freedom?” The department is an administrative body; it has no right to collective / coerced “freedom.” A professor does and students DO.

    Dershowitz lays out a paradigm in his article in today’s Daily News. Academic freedom is the paradigm, so one should note:

    Fear of hooliganism has become the arbiter across academia. I’ll lay it out for you. The leftist / Islamist alliance uses disruption, violence, harassment and the like to stifle alternate opinion. This conference is as unacademic as a conference on eugenics. Would you REALLY stand for the freedom to hold such a conference? It’s this kind of flat-earth academic freedom which has had the taxpayers pay millions to Leonard Jeffries for 4 decades!

    Did you see the book of Mormon? Hysterical (but not for Mormons). There are plenty of shows which parody Jews and their neuroses as well. There’s a whole industry for that – Jews invented comedy. Funny. There are many forms of entertainment poking fun at Catholics (Bill Donohue is not always happy, but they largely tolerate it).

    Ever wonder why there’s no “Book of Muhammad?” It’s because the theatre would be burned down.

    Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld

    • One wonders what would happen if there was a pro-Israel or anti-Muslim speech. The place would burn. Dispicable.

    • Jon Schraeder

      Oh Jeffrey, get off your high horse. No one would have heard of this assinine event if you hadn’t promoted it for them. Every College campus in America has its fringe loonies and anti-Israel zealots but the vast majority of faculty and students at CUNY and elsewhere are indifferent to middle east politics. They have no strong opinions either way and couldn’t locate Israel (aka, Palestine)on a map if you paid them. Lastly, accusing the Brooklyn College Political Science Department of misusing public resources for sponsoring this lousy one-time event that might cost three hundred dollar is a monumental, shameless act of hypocricy. No one has diverted more taxpayer and tuition dollars to advance their own personal political and financial agendas than the CUNY Board of Trustees. Hundreds of millions have misappropriated for political purposes, including but not limited to corporate sweetheart deals,endorsement-buying schemes for their political patrons, patronage at every level of the University, and so on. Sadly, as a member of the Board, you lack the moral standing to criticize these useful idiots and have only succeeded in garnering them more press than they could have managed on their own. Mazel Tov to you.

      • Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld

        Thank you for your interest in Brooklyn College.
        Knowlege is not required to be a supporter. You are entitled to your own opinion. You are not, however, entitled to your own facts.

  • Robin Dickman Benoff

    AS AN ALUMNI I truly this is disgraceful and unacceptable.It must be prevented and weeded out of the parameters of Cuny.We must not allow such antisemantism to occur and propaganda of hate to take place

  • It’s too late Sir.
    We have even more troubles of that king in France. 30 000 jewish french kids had to find private scools for their own security.
    USA have given Edward Said a way to academic antisemitism.

  • Thomas Nephew

    Your title and final paragraph assert that just having a conference about BDS is racist and anti-Semitic, so I was expecting to see that assertion defended somewhere else in the article. But I don’t, and no wonder: it isn’t.

    Instead, I see childish charges of “hypocrisy,” like those my 14 year old daughter likes to unleash when she’s called to account for some misbehavior. It’s a neat rhetorical way of turning the tables, but it of course doesn’t prove she hasn’t done something wrong too. Nor do Arab world governmental misdeeds, however real, really have much of any bearing on whether the Israeli government is also committing wrongs in the West Bank and Gaza.

    But as long as we’re on the subject of racism: is ‘”Muslin” Student Association’ really just a typo or a cowardly dog whistle to Islamophobic readers? Whichever is the case, I hope the error is quickly corrected.

    • Your words are typical of the ultra-left who disguise their wretched, miserable racism and antisemitism (both far-rigt and far-left traits!) by showing themselves up for righteous humanitarians. You are none of that of course in my view, only a fake. You obviously cannot read either, since Wisenfeld does not merely write about other countries and other situations, but also cogently and analytically explains the depth and core of the problem and shame. Too bad you can detect nothing of this. You are just like your fellow travellers, the ultra-antisemitic Quakers (And the “Friends” group) and other/many so-called mainline protestant church groups and denominations who have had tons of scandals in the apst dozen years already.

    • Muslim is not a race. It can not be considered racism talking about Muslims.

  • Well said. As someone who along with my wife and all 3 children, are graduates of Brooklyn College, I am embarrassed to tell people that I ever stepped foot onto this breeding ground of racism and blatant antisemitism. The cowardly head of the Political Science department refuses to even talk to anyone about it. When I attended, the motto was ‘If you want to far go to Brooklyn’. Now i want to get as far from Brooklyn College as possible. Shame on them!

  • Isn’t CUNY, by definition, a city-funded and operated university? Is its administration so cowed and intimidated by the MSA that it forgets it legal and moral duty? And where is NY Mayor Bloomberg? Are we going to see this once great city bow to the Islamists embedding themselves like so many ticks under its “skin”?
    Shame on the cowards who run CUNY for condoning such bigotry and destruction of Western values and US history!

  • Well we could start a BDC movement against Syria and Egypt, couldn’t we?

    But wait…they have nothing to Boycott nor Divest in. Sanction? Indeed, we send them money.

  • E Pluribus Beagle

    Oh wow it’s hard to know who to root for. CUNY used to be called the “Jews’ Harvard” but in the 70’s they adopted an ‘open enrollment’ program and anyone who could scrawl their name could get a college degree from CUNY. They should bulldoze the whole thing down and start over with standards.

  • Dear Reader

    Mr Wiesenfeld is right. He is also brave because he is one of the very few to speak up about this.

    I spend 16 years in these types of elite US universities both as a student and CS faculty member. I left academia because I could not stand it anymore. There is only one segment of American civic life where anti-semitism is acceptable, where these double standards against Jewish identity, Jewish behavior, Jewish nationalism is not only tolerated but actively furthered, Jewish students intimidated, viciously attacked (physically, psychologically and verbally) and that is American academia. If this sounds incredible to you, google “In an Academic Voice: Antisemitism and Academy Bias” by Lasson 2011 and see what happens today in US campuses to Jewish students. Absolutely disgusting, and utterly shameful that Jewish leaders do not speak up like Mr Wiesenfeld.

    All of these silent US “leaders”, some of which aid the persecutors, should remember one thing, at this moment in history: When European Jews were sent to the ovens, US Jews by and large did nothing. The apotheosis of this (not to mention NYT’s Sulzberger denial and minimization of the destruction of European Jewry, together with NYT Moscow bureau chief Duranty’s denial of the Holomodor in the 30s) can be found in the selfish haughty egomaniac Justice Felix Frankfurter, Harvard Prof of Law, heaved on the bench and then proceeded to remain silent. He could have used his influence to press on FDR who appointed him .. but he chose to put his career, his life and his wellbeing before his fellow Jews.

    No American Jew today wants his or her epitaph to read – as Frankfurter’s must always read in Jewish history (This is from Auerbach, “Rabbis and Laywers”:) “He could have helped but didn’t. He could have believed but wouldn’t. He placed his own interests before those of his fellow Jews. He concerned himself with affairs in India, Australia, and Vichy, France. Yet Frankfurter would not utilize his position and contacts, or his irrepressible energy, in the service of Jewish needs during the most
    desperate years of Jewish history.Among the varied causes that engaged his extrajudicial efforts, the rescue of Jews from the Holocaust was not among
    them [..]
    Nothing was more characteristic of American Jews than their acquiescence in Roosevelt’s ‘abandonment of the Jews’ of Europe. Proximity to power [..] all but silenced them to Jewish tragedy.”

    Mr Wiesenfeld is absolutely right: Speak up, US Jewish “leaders”, “professors”, “liberals” who concern themselves with everything but their own: or you will have the blood of your Jewish brethren on your hands, again. Your silence will not save them, and it will not save you. It’s never too late to repent.

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