Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Brooklyn College Under Fire for Sponsorship of Anti-Israel BDS Event (VIDEO)

January 31, 2013 2:38 pm 7 comments

Buildings on Brooklyn College's campus. Photo: Wikipedia.

The controversy surrounding a BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) event aimed at Israel in February at Brooklyn College has prompted more criticism of the school, whose political department is co-sponsoring the event that will feature anti-Israel activists Judith Butler and Omar Barghouti.

The Jewish Community Relations Council of New York released a statement that read in part:

“While we vigorously defend academic freedom, we believe that these freedoms do not extend to faculty and academic bodies exploiting their association with the university to enhance their biased and hateful agenda. At the very least, academic integrity requires a balanced forum representing diverse views. Since that is not the case, we call upon the Political Science Department to remove its name from this one-sided propaganda event.”

Tanger Hillel of Brooklyn College also released a statement echoing the JCRC’s belief in academic freedom but condemning the political science department’s role in the event.

“We believe in the right of free speech and that an academic institution should provide an appropriate venue for serious discussion of meaningful issues. However, we strongly condemn the decision of brooklyn college’s political science department to lend its name and support to an event featuring individuals who espouse extremist and hostile view,” the statement said.

Hillel also addressed calls for Brooklyn College President Karen Gould to resign.

“We do not agree with those who call for the resignation of President Gould. We do ask her to endorse the obvious: the college does not agree with these hateful speakers; the college intends to provide equal protection from hate speech for all our students; the college values Hillel’s constructive role on campus; the college values its relationship with israeli universities and colleges; the college abhors any anti Israel call for a boycott.”

StandWithUS, a non-profit organization “dedicated to informing the public about Israel and to combating the extremism and anti-Semitism that often distorts the issues,” released a statement that read in part:

“While student clubs are certainly entitled to put on whatever events they wish that conform to school guidelines, it is reprehensible that a school department is willing to officially dignify this event. This forum, entitled ‘Judith Butler and Omar Barghouti: BDS Movement for Palestinian Rights,’ will be an effort to promote bigotry, prejudice and hate against the Jewish state and its supporters. ”

It also released two videos (see below) one of which is about the hypocrisy and hate of the BDS movement, and the other which features Norman Finkelstein, a well known anti-Israel advocate, admit that the movement’s goal is the destruction of Israel.

Wednesday, the ADL  condemned the political department’s actions, as did Alan Dershowitz, the well known attorney and an alumnus of the school.

The president of Brooklyn College’s Assembly (the undergraduate government), Abraham Esses, released a statement Wednesday as well.

“The department’s approach to the issue is far from constructive; knowing well in advance that such sponsorship would insult and isolate a large portion of its students, it chose to express its own opinions through a venue that inhibits open dialogue and honest debate. Far from being receptive to students’ concerns, I regret to inform you that they have repeatedly turned down students’ requests to meet and discuss the issue further.”

He added: “I find the administration’s slow, halfhearted response to the issue to be appalling. Without any support or sympathy for students’ complaints, the administration seems complacent in a department’s clear abuse of its rights and responsibilities. Furthermore, the administration has failed to consult any student group before issuing its statement in support of the Political Science’s sponsorship decision. I believe this approach to be indicative of the respect, or lack thereof, which they have for students on campus. Whereas I understand its hesitation, the administration has clearly failed to represent and act for its own
constituents.”

In a letter to students, faculty, and staff, President Gould wrote that principles of academic freedom grant students and faculty the right to “engage in dialogue and debate on topics they may choose, even those with which members of our campus and broader community may vehemently disagree.” Gould emphasized that while the college endorses free speech, it does not endorse the views of speakers it brings to campus.

A spokesman for the college also noted that another student group, the Israel Club, will host its own event in February.

Watch a video about BDS below:

Watch a video of Norman Finkelstein talking about BDS below:

7 Comments

  • Nanette Rayman

    Gould should resign.
    I am sick and tired of these maggots questioning Israel’s right to exist. I question THEIR right. AM Y’ISRAEL CHAI

  • 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)

  • Problem is deep down those people sitting on the fence know Israel has more good to offer than bad. They are educated people that see both sides of the issues and there is not enough to warrant the BDS.

  • Don’t a lot of Jews go to Brooklyn College? Aren’t there a whole lot of alumnae? How about withholding donations? Squeeze ’em. The obviously don’t listen to reason, nor do they have any morals. So make them hurt.

    President Gould is a run of the mill academic lefty; one shouldn’t expect anything less from her.

    Sheesh!®

  • Lawrence Kulak

    In addition, why is Dershowitz writing so much about his objections to the BDS but not offering his legal services to try to derail it? Is good old Alan trying to burnish his liberal credentials at the same time by standing by the first Amendment even though he is claiming in another article that it is being violated by not giving Jewish students a chance to present the other side? Furthermore, are Mike Tyson, Claus von Bulow, and every other lowlife whose defense Dershowitz became involved in more important than protecting the Jewish students at BC from an assault on their identities? what kind of lawyer IS he? Apparently confused to say the least.

  • Lawrence Kulak

    The political science department of Brooklyn college is taxpayer funded and is thereby prohibited from supporting hate speech on a college campus especially when there are perhaps Jews of both Israeli and non-Israeli origin who perceive themselves as the objects of that hates speech. If the University President does not force the political science department to to withdraw its endorsement of this event and ban BDS from coming to the Brooklyn College Campus, there should be a lawsuit instituted immediately seeking her removal and injunctive relief.
    It is appalling that people like Alan Dershowitz and Dov Hikind can vehemently object but when it comes to action all they do is bring the megaphone and shout. Dershowitz is a world famous lawyer for heavens sake, does he not know how to bring a request for Restraining Order in the NY Courts?
    Immobilized bureocrats like Karen Gould should be forced to do something rather than succumb to their own fascistic inclinations when it comes to letting the pol science department do whatever it wants. It cant do whatever it wants because the students are paying for it. You cant force someone to pay to get insulted. The BDS are like Nazis; Would it be ok to bring Neo-Nazis to campus even if the Po
    ly Sci dept did not endorse them?
    OK, if they come they will have to deal with Hikind, Pamela geller and Beth Gilinsky. But I am warning these people, you don’t want to be around Dov Hikind when you are challenging Israel’s existence. There is no cop in the Boro of Brooklyn who has the guts to arrest him.

Leave a Reply

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


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Relationships Yossi Vardi Credits Pushy Jewish Mother for His Startup Success

    Yossi Vardi Credits Pushy Jewish Mother for His Startup Success

    Millionaire entrepreneur Yossi Vardi credited his success in start-ups to his Jewish mother continuously pushing him to do better, Daily Mail reported on Thursday. “Jewish mothers are never satisfied and nothing is ever good enough,” he said, adding that his mother, who died 15 years ago, used to compare him with his cousins and say he was “an idiot.” “For most of my life I have been trying to show her I’m not,” he continued. “I keep on trying even now.” Vardi, […]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada Seth Rogen Unveils New Christmas Movie — ‘Will Open on Thanksgiving, Made by Jews’ (VIDEO)

    Seth Rogen Unveils New Christmas Movie — ‘Will Open on Thanksgiving, Made by Jews’ (VIDEO)

    Famed actor Seth Rogen on Tuesday unveiled with typical comic fanfare the trailer for his new Christmas film. The movie “was made by Jews… and opens on Thanksgiving,” Rogen pointed out on Twitter. The Night Before tells the tale of three “ride or die homies” celebrating one last debauchery-filled Christmas Eve reunion before they become too busy to keep up their annual tradition. In an effort to make the night as memorable as possible, they set out to find the “Nutcracka Ball – the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish History Art Can Inspire Faith; It Can Also Empower Destructive Ideologies

    Art Can Inspire Faith; It Can Also Empower Destructive Ideologies

    A June 2015 art exhibit, “The Transformative Power of Art,” at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, harnessed the universal language of art to convey an important message: “Our fragile Mother Earth faces the devastating consequences of climate change, a defining challenge of our time.” The exhibit also included sixteen portraits of people from all over the world who have “contributed to the common good of humanity in one way or another and have transformed the way we […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports Israeli Muslim Cage Fighter Says He’s Proud to Fight Under Jewish State’s Flag

    Israeli Muslim Cage Fighter Says He’s Proud to Fight Under Jewish State’s Flag

    A 32-year-old Circassian Israeli Muslim Mixed Martial Arts fighter from Abu Ghosh says he takes pride in fighting under the Israeli flag, Israel’s Walla reported on Sunday. Like most Circassian Israelis, Jackie “the Punishment” Gosh was born Sunni Muslim. He became observant about eight years ago, and is now scrupulous in following his religion’s tenets, praying five times a day and fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. Gosh is also very proud of his Israeli nationality, and sees no contradiction between […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Music New Mark Skinner Documentary Explores Jewish, Arab Rap Scene in Israel (VIDEO)

    New Mark Skinner Documentary Explores Jewish, Arab Rap Scene in Israel (VIDEO)

    A new documentary explores the lives and work of Jewish and Arab rappers in Israel and how the ongoing conflict in the region has impacted their lyrics, the U.K.’s Jewish Chronicle reported on Thursday. Hip Hop in the Holy Land is a six-part series co-directed by Mike Skinner, the British frontman of hip-hop group The Streets, and produced by Noisey, a music channel published by Vice news. The first episode, published last week, shows Skinner meeting with Tamer Nafar, the founder of one of […]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada 49ers Running Back Jarryd Hayne Apologizes for ‘Hurtful’ Jesus Tweets

    49ers Running Back Jarryd Hayne Apologizes for ‘Hurtful’ Jesus Tweets

    New 49ers running back and Australian rugby star Jarryd Hayne apologized on Wednesday for a tweet in which he raised the age-old myth that Jews were historically responsible for Jesus Christ’s death. Reaching out to his Jewish fans, and the chairman of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission, Hayne tweeted: “To the Jewish community @DvirAbramovich #WeAreAllOne.” Underneath, he keenly included a screenshot of a text message to elaborate on his apology: “I sincerely apologize for my tweets on July 1. I […]

    Read more →
  • Theater Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Recalls Being ‘Extremely Surprised’ at Winning Miss Israel Contest

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Recalls Being ‘Extremely Surprised’ at Winning Miss Israel Contest

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot reminisced about her childhood in Israel during an interview published in this month’s edition of Vanity Fair. “I don’t remember this, but my mom told me that when I was three they threw a party on the rooftop of the house. They put me to bed, and I heard people coming into the house and no one came to me. I went to the rooftop and took a hose and I started to spray water on everyone, just […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Wounded Israeli Soldiers Unite With American Veterans to Help Their ‘Brothers for Life’ Heal (INTERVIEW)

    Wounded Israeli Soldiers Unite With American Veterans to Help Their ‘Brothers for Life’ Heal (INTERVIEW)

    An Israeli organization is helping wounded U.S. veterans move past their physical and psychological challenges by connecting them with injured Israeli soldiers who understand what they’ve been through. “What we discovered very early is that there’s no ‘professional, psychiatrist, social worker’ or anything like that [or] pills that can come even close to helping a soldier who fought in combat, who was wounded, who lost his friends. No one can help him like another person who’s been through exactly what he has,” Rabbi Chaim Levine, […]

    Read more →