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February 20, 2014 9:28 pm

Judith Butler Talk at New York’s Jewish Museum Canceled

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Judith Butler at a lecture at the University of Hamburg, April 2007. Photo: Jreberlein.

JNS.orgAnti-Israel professor Judith Butler on Thursday withdrew from an event at The Jewish Museum of New York that she was scheduled to address, the museum said.

The March 6 event titled “Wish You Were Here: Franz Kafka“ was set to feature several experts on 20th-century literature speaking on the works of Jewish existentialist author Franz Kafka.

Butler, a professor of comparative literature and critical theory at the University of California, Berkeley, is an outspoken critic of Israel’s policies and a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Despite the event being non-political, critics contended that hosting someone who advocates against Israel at a museum that receives charitable contributions from the Jewish community crossed the line.

“The hosting of [BDS] advocate Judith Butler by The Jewish Museum is a slap in the face to every Jew,” Richard Allen, head of JCC Watch, told

The museum said in a statement, “[Butler] was chosen on the basis of her expertise on the subject matter to be discussed. While her political views were not a factor in her participation, the debates about her politics have become a distraction making it impossible to present the conversation about Kafka as intended.”

This is not the first event involving Butler that has sparked controversy in the New York region. Last year, pro-Israel groups at Brooklyn College sought to pressure the school to drop Butler from an event there. Brooklyn College, however, held the event, citing academic freedom.

Butler said in The Jewish Museum’s statement, “I was very much looking forward to the discussion of Kafka in The Jewish Museum, and to affirm the value of Kafka’s literary work in that setting.”

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  • Sanych

    It is only logical to boycott people and organizations that boycott us.

    I would even take it further – it is just and mandatory.

    • Khan Duvid Goldberik

      Who is “us”? I am Jewish and I am outraged by the Israeli governments support of settlements and disdain for the rights and lives of Palestinians. I am Jewish and want to hear what Judith Butler has to say about Kafka, and about BDS as well, so I can make up my own mind rather than buy into group think that allows membership in “us” only to those who agree with one or another point of view? Since when are “we” so afraid of debate, of divergent opinions of justice and right?

  • BTW the petition to bring the bum Khalidi to Ramaz is made up of less then 5% students of the School.You have Lefist Christian Pastors, Berkley Students and teachers who haven’t been within 200 miles of Ramaz

  • hank savitch

    We should not delude ourselves about Professor Judith Butler. Her scheduled appearance at the Jewish Museum was not a matter of “free speech” but of lending legitimacy to anti-Israeli propaganda. BDS types, like Butler, have an ample number of venues from which to spout their invective and do so every day. Nor could Butler’s appearance be justified as a matter of putting her “politics” aside. Institutions that presume to be open forums rarely invite overt racists to speak on other subjects because their “politics” is often not separated from their “non-political” views. Whether admitted or not, most of our universities, museums and public forums have drawn lines about acceptable behavior. I am not endorsing these restrictions or condemning them, but simply pointing to realities and hope we can be consistent about Butler and her ilk. When our public institutions begin to invite members of the Ku Klux Klan or Aryan Nation to speak so too might they invite Professor Butler. Until then we should say good riddance to this sordid episode.
    H.V. Savitch
    Brown and Williamson Distinguished Research Professor
    Urban & Public Affairs
    University of Louisville

  • EG

    A very ugly study in self-hatred, judging from the photograph alone.

  • Harvey

    This is such good news !
    Let this be a wake up call to all our institutions that they have to a last recognise this enemy within and make a clean and irrevocable break from their malign influence .
    We cannot prevent the Butlers of the world from being at the forefront of those who seek the eradication of the Jewish nation state but the least we can do is to send a clear signal that the wider community is wise to their malign intent .

    • smokes

      The movie “Philomena” is worth citing, too, in this anti-Judeo Christian America. It’s filled with lies to support the destruction of the Roman Catholic Church in the former “West”. Harvey Weinstein produced the movie as he campaigns, with President Obama, to bar a religion from the public square.

  • jay

    I can’t understand why Jewish organizations always provide anti-Jewish and anti-Israel individuals a platform from which to spread their bias and anti views.

    What is wrong with us???

    • Follow the money. They are NOT Jewish organizations. They never were. They have ALWAYS been controlled and sponsored by the Vatican, via the CFR/CIA nexus and other fascist bankster criminal gov mafia shadow organizations. Unfortunately, too many Jews are too naive ignorant and stupid to perceive and understand this.



    *JON, did you know that the TORAH EVEN HAS A STORY OF DONKEYS THAT SPEAK?…..

  • pnina


  • Jon R.

    Paranoid bureaucrats stifling non-conformist expression. Kafka would be so proud!

    • I guess you wouldn’t mind having a speaker at a Philistine Institution speak who is against a Philistine State.And this speaker has stated the the idea of a philistine state should be smothered before it comes to fruition.

      • Jon R.

        You’re right. I wouldn’t mind. But as it turns out, the Jewish Museum is rather a philistine institution itself, so we don’t have to preoccupy ourselves with hypothetical Philistine institutions.

        • Well now Butlers appearance is hypothetical as well.

          • And how is the Jewish Museum ‘a rather philistine Institution’

          • Jon R.

            “Well now Butlers appearance is hypothetical as well.”

            Yes, indeed.

            Interesting to see such a high degree of insecurity and unwillingness to confront criticism. Even as the Jewish Museum is hiding from Judith Butler, the Museum of Jewish Heritage downtown has cancelled a discussion of John Judis’s new book on Truman and Zionism for similar “reasons.”

            Intellectual and moral cowardice is always an unpleasant thing to behold.

    • @ Jon R.

      No one is stifling anyone. And no one is obligated to give a platform to certified propaganda liars trolls genocidal war mongers and other Vatican/CIA/CFR thieving murderous blood vultures. Take your Jew-baiting elsewhere, troll.