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.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Blogs 10 New Hollywood Movies That Aim to Show Support for Israel (SATIRE)

    10 New Hollywood Movies That Aim to Show Support for Israel (SATIRE)

    Ten major film studios are currently in production on projects that promote a decidedly pro-Israeli narrative. In famously liberal Hollywood, such a development has left mouths agape and set tongues a wagging. Since the Jewish State began defending itself from the thousands of rockets that Hamas has hurled at it – as well as ongoing terror attacks and murders, the overwhelming number of Tinseltown’s producers, directors, actors, and studio moguls have remained indifferent to the plight of millions of Israeli [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Israel Sports So Close: Israeli Judoka Loses Crown in World Cup Final, Finishes With Silver (VIDEO)

    So Close: Israeli Judoka Loses Crown in World Cup Final, Finishes With Silver (VIDEO)

    Israeli Judoka Yarden Gerbi (63kg), 25, of Netanya, on Thursday lost the final round at the Judo World Cup, and her world title to Clarisse Agbegnenou of France, at a match held in Russia. “I have mixed feelings,” Gerbi told Israeli Army radio. But, “I shouldn’t assume that I’d win the world Judo championship twice in a row,” she admitted. Gerbi won gold in Rio De Janeiro last year. “When I made my decision, I knew it was going to [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity Surviving the Holocaust by Hiding Their Faith (REVIEW)

    Surviving the Holocaust by Hiding Their Faith (REVIEW)

    “Jews Out!” was just the name of a child’s game that three little girls played in World War II Europe. But all is not as it seems because the three girls were Jewish, but hiding their true identities. In award-winning author R. D. Rosen’s riveting non-fiction work, Such Good Girls, “Jews Out!” wasn’t a game; it was a struggle for survival. The girls, Sophie, Flora, and Carla, grew up at a time and a place that did not allow them [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities Twenty Years On, the Real and Radical Legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

    Twenty Years On, the Real and Radical Legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

    JNS.org – “He was part hippie, part yippie, part beatnik, and part New Age,” wrote Elli Wohlgelernter in a Jerusalem Post eulogy in 1994, following the Oct. 20 passing of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. Twenty years later, more robust accounts of Carlebach’s life have come to the surface. Earlier this year, Natan Ophir published the book Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach: Life, Mission & Legacy. This past summer, Rabbi Shlomo Katz’s The Soul of Jerusalem hit the shelves. But even the authors will admit [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Music Beatlemania Invades the Gaza Strip (SATIRE)

    Beatlemania Invades the Gaza Strip (SATIRE)

    As Hamas loses its grip on power in the Gaza Strip as a result of war, poverty and disillusionment, the Islamist terrorist group has developed an ingenious way to raise the morale of the 1.7 million Palestinian Arabs it was elected to serve. While currently focused on delivering a rocket into every Israeli home, Hamas has not left its own people behind. To gently wipe away the tears of children strategically placed inside kindergartens as human shields, the Hamas Interior Ministry [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    In a strong statement that challenges the historic divide between Christianity and Judaism, Pope Francis recently proclaimed, “Inside every Christian is a Jew.” But if you look at Renaissance artworks that depict Jesus, you will not find any evidence of a Jew inside the Christianized Jesus — even though the Gospels in the New Testament tell us that Jesus was Jewish to the core. Getting that point across to the public is a daunting task, as I learned in interviews I [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities Recycling His Roots

    Recycling His Roots

    JNS.org – Having started his career playing on his family’s pots and pans, Jewish musician Billy Jonas has maintained this homemade performance ethic while spreading his messages of simple living and environmentalism to a shared home throughout the world. After beginning in the kitchen, Jonas soon moved to the music room, where he picked up the piano, guitar, and trombone. These days, the multi-talented multi-instrumentalist plays on with pretty much anything he can find, including cans, bottles buckets, and other recycled-object [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Personalities Jewish Renewal Movement Founder’s Insights Form a New Guide for Senior Living

    Jewish Renewal Movement Founder’s Insights Form a New Guide for Senior Living

    JNS.org – Sara Davidson’s The December Project is a new book that should be read by all senior citizens, and by those who hope to live a long life, for it raises a question that most of us have not been taught how to answer: What should we do in that final stage of our lives? Many of us continue working past the traditional retirement age of 65, not because we need the money and not because we find the [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.