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January 30, 2013 2:49 pm

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

avatar by Zach Pontz

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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.”

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