Sunday, July 3rd | 4 Tammuz 5782

May 2, 2013 8:13 pm

The Brooklyn College Jewish Student Evictions Case Should Now go to Court

avatar by Dovid Efune


Picture of the east quad of Brooklyn College.

The sorry saga of the wrongful eviction of four Jewish students from a Brooklyn College Political-Science-Department-sponsored anti-Israel event, is not yet over and it is my profound hope that the case concludes with a full blown lawsuit.

On Friday April 12th CUNY released its 36 page report on the BDS forum which reads more like a convoluted dog-ate-my-homework excuse paper, than a serious and reasonable legal study. The paper’s authors liberally grant credence to the lone testimony of a discredited character, and present unlikely assertions and assumptions.

A week following the release of the report, a lawyer representing three of the evicted students, Ari Ziegler, Michael Ziegler and Melanie Goldberg, responded with a letter which accuses the CUNY investigation of dodging the most critical issues surrounding the students’ expulsion. The students called for a public apology from CUNY, and the initiation of disciplinary proceedings against the Brooklyn College chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, College administration officials and those responsible for the inaccurate statements to the press that followed the expulsion. No CUNY response to this letter has been made public.

On Tuesday, City Council member Lew Fidler, along with three of his colleagues sent a blistering letter to CUNY Vice Chancellor Jay Hershenson in which they write that the CUNY report “falls short,” and they describe some of its important reasoning as “sophomoric.” The politicians call on the school to establish clearer criteria for­ a number of procedural matters and a plan to “level the playing field” to counter the “clear (anti-Israel) slant” of the Political Science Department. One suggestion is for the endowment of a chair in the Department for a visiting professor from Israel.

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Both of the letters are cordial and constructive. Both are unlikely to elicit more than a nod of acknowledgement from CUNY, and surely not the desired response.

I hope that Brooklyn College and CUNY will now be pursued to the full extent of the law for the wrongful evictions, for the following reason.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement which hosted the anti-Israel event from which the students were evicted, is a racist, hateful and bigoted group. The organization snugly fits the bill as anti-Semitic according to the European Union working definition of Anti-Semitismas its aims include the effective destruction of Jewish Israel, and clearly seeks to foster an environment of hatred towards the Jewish state and its supporters through libel and demonization.

This particular watershed injustice perpetrated by BDS activists at a BDS event, is important because it provides an unfortunate illustration of how quickly hate speech devolves into hate action. How verbal discrimination translates into acts of political or religious discrimination and even violence.

It is well documented that on college campuses throughout the US , using sustained propaganda, and at times intimidation, and classic Trojan horse methods to infiltrate mainstream Jewish organizations, the BDS movement and their supporters are moving swiftly and effectively to turn Jewish students against their own people.

Here is an opportunity where it is all out in the open. There is concrete evidence in the form of testimony, and audio/video recordings that the students were wrongfully evicted and there is a strong case to be made that it was on hateful and discriminatory grounds. Herein lies the opportunity to very publicly expose BDS bigotry and send a warning signal to campuses throughout the USA that any discrimination against Jewish or Zionist students is intolerable.

The upcoming decisions and following steps of the four brave students who have already been through one hell of an ordeal, bear relevance and ramifications for Jewish students on campuses across the country and will have implications for years to come.

To Ari, Michael and Melanie, I wish you courage and strength.

The author is the editor of The Algemeiner and director of the GJCF and can be e-mailed at [email protected].

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