Dershowitz Challenges Brooklyn College to Invite Him to Speak at BDS Event

January 30, 2013 2:49 pm 7 comments

Omar Barghouti. Photo: usacbi.org

The controversy surrounding the political science department at Brooklyn College, which is co-sponsoring a BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) against Israel event on campus along with several other organizations that will feature devout anti-Israel activists Omar Barghouti and Judith Butler, has elicited a response from one of the school’s most famous alumni: Alan Dershowitz.

In an interview with The Algemeiner, Mr. Dershowitz expressed the same concerns as the Anti Defamation League, noting that the event has a right to be held but that the political department’s co-sponsorship creates serious ethical questions.

“I am not opposed to students sponsoring an event like this. Students have the right to be foolish and damn fools and immoral. What I’m opposed to is the political department sponsoring and endorsing the BDS. The BDS includes the blacklisting of Jewish professors from Israel, and that’s illegal, immoral and racist. An academic department should not be taking sides in this debate. This department would never invite me, for example, to speak and state my opposing point of view. So it’s not about academic freedom; it’s about the department taking one side, and the wrong side.”

Dershowitz noted that the school, and the political science department specifically, will take an enormous hit to its credibility both as a balanced and fair institution. “If I were a student at Brooklyn College today I would be fearful of taking political science courses from professors who might grade me down, or who might refuse to give me a recommendation if my views were different from theirs,” he said.

And he offered his own prescription for resolving the event’s lopsidedness. “The event shouldn’t be cancelled, but the political science department should withdraw it’s support, or alternatively the political science department should invite me or someone else that represents an opposing point of view and give equal endorsement.”

7 Comments

  • Dershowitz has spoke twice at Brooklyn College, once on 5/23/08 and once at the invitation of the very Poli-sci Department who he now criticizes so scathingly, to deliver their annual Konefsky lecture. When he himself was to speak, he did not demand that someone with opposing views be present to balance the event, or that the Department withdraw its sponsorship of his lecture. Funny how now that it’s someone whose views differ from his he wants to raise a stink while pretending to care about academic freedom.

    • When Dershowitz was invited to speak as the Konefsky lecturer it was as a respected visiting academic. He provided no program and no topic for his lecture, and the department didn’t require them. That is hardly comparable from intentionally sponsoring an event with only known biased speakers on a very fraught and controversial topic.

  • Thank you to Alan Dershowitz and others at Brooklyn College for exposing this issue and challenging the odious Judith Butler.

    Being the gay and ‘progressive’ minded (and “proud Jewish”, as opposed to “criminal Israeli”) freedom fighter that she is, does she not realize that she would be the first to hang from a crane in Hamas, Hizbollah or Iranian society? How naive, sanctimonious, frighteningly misguided and full of herself she is. She, herself has admitted that she could be ‘wrong’ about her views… oh well, she’s not the one who will pay for the increasingly hostile and hateful atmosphere she is helping to create.
    From one who is proud to live in Israel (with its problems, like any other western democracy)

  • I note that President Gould supports the conference under the guise of “academic freedom.” I assume she is unaware the BDS movement advocates the boycotting of Israeli academics. I am unable to find a plausible defense for this inconsistency.

    I invite any interested parties to attend Assemblyman Dov Hikind’s news conference at Brooklyn College’s Bedford Avenue entrance today (Jan 31) at 11 AM.

  • The political science society of a university in Halifax sponsored a talk delivered by a pro-Zionist Muslim speaker. He was great – when the Muslim students allowed him to speak – their shouting and political posturing went far beyond civil discourse or debate. Not a single pol-sci prof was in attendance, and one might surmise that there is not support in academia here for pro-Israel views, and that there is support for anti-Israel views. And sadly, I believe that one would be correct.

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