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Brooklyn College to Launch BDS Event Inquiry

New developments from last week’s controversial panel

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(Flickr)

The BDS panel hosted by Brooklyn College last week and co-sponsored by its political science department continues to spark controversy, almost a week after the event. Brooklyn College President Karen Gould is now calling for a formal inquiry into an incident involving four Hillel-affiliated students who were escorted out of the Brooklyn College Student Center by campus police during the event.

Last week the Hillel students told Tablet they were simply holding anti-BDS information sheets on their laps, but college officials alleged that they were talking throughout the panel and distributing anti-BDS pamphlets to other students.

“There are many different opinions about what happened and why,” Jeremy Thompson, Director of Communications at Brooklyn College told Tablet.

“The president has asked that there be a formal inquiry to get a better sense of what happened and to get more information from people who were there,” he added.

Meanwhile, Melanie Goldberg, one of the students who had been ousted, held her ground. “We are not taking the slander to our names lightly, nor do we feel the college had any right to evict us,” she said, adding that the school administration had yet to contact any of the students who were removed and they were not aware of the investigation. Another student aired his frustrations about being ejected from the event in a New York Daily News op-ed.

The investigation, it seems, may have also been initiated in part as a response to a statement released online earlier this week, in which Hillel Director Nadya Drukker called the BDS event “decidedly non-academic” and “very confrontation-oriented.”

“We are united in the belief that an investigation must ensue immediately regarding the difficulty of students easily identified as Jewish to enter the BDS event and others, as witnessed by the Dean of Student Life, to be asked and then forced by security guards to leave,” she wrote.

As we reported last week, a few pro-Israel students also claimed that they had been turned away at the door, even though each said they had received an email confirmation of a reserved spot. Brooklyn College responded to that as well.

“It’s my understanding that there were errors concerning students who RSVPed but didn’t have seats, but anyone who was turned away was then escorted in. If there’s an instance where that wasn’t the case we’d like to be told,” said Thompson.

For now though, the already controversial event has led some free speech advocates to suggest that violations of civil rights may have occurred last week. According to Kenneth Marcus, President and General Counsel of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, the Brooklyn College controversy may be indicative of a larger trend at public universities.

¨This is reminiscent of the UC-Davis case in November when pro-Israel students were forced out of an event, and so it seems like it´s somewhat of a pattern,¨ said Marcus, referring to a student protest on November 19 of last year.

We’ll see what the investigation by Brooklyn College turns up.

Earlier: Pro-Israel Students Ousted from BDS Event at Brooklyn College
UC-Davis protestors abused pro-Israel students, pro-Israel group claims [JTA]
Silenced by Brooklyn College [NYDN]

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Cool_Romeo says:

So many championed this event on free speech grounds. Where are their voices now?

    pkbrandon says:

    Seems to be some question as to whether we’re talking about a right to free speech, or a right to be disruptive. This was a panel discussion, not an open forum. One can question whether the panel ought to have contained a greater variety of views, but that is not a free speech question.

    There are valid questions about the academic appropriateness of the Political Science department putting its imprimatur on the event, but that’s another matter.

      Cool_Romeo says:

      I agree completely that there is no right to disrupt or, more accurately, interfere with another’s speech. That said, there’s no evidence whatsoever that there was any disruption.

      One of the defenses of sponsoring this event was so the BDS ideas could be heard and potentially challenged. Certain students were evicted so the ideas would not be challenged. That’s the opposite of free speech and the opposite of the educational purpose that colleges are supposed to foster.

      Yet Mayor Bloomberg, the NYCLU, and many others who I also admire and rightly came to the defense of this panel being held are no longer involved.

      Why?

        pkbrandon says:

        There are conflicting reports here as to whether or not there was disruption, nor have I seen any evidence that the purpose of the panel was to debate the BDS ideas, as opposed to putting them into the public forum so that they could be challenged in other venues. Therefore, at this point I am withholding judgement.
        Were I a member of the Political Science department (not my field) I would not have sponsored an event that did not conform to my standards of fair public discourse, but again that’s another matter.

          Samual Seller says:

          There was no disruption, just Islamofacists lies…

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YuqkWhGp93s

          Cool_Romeo says:

          I suppose there have been conflicting reports on whether there was a disruption in that the officials who removed the students claimed there was one. The audio file linked to below by Mr. Seller, if authentic, makes it pretty clear that there was not one. It is further discussed here, so you can hear the context of what was said: http://www.algemeiner.com/2013/02/12/exclusive-audio-reveals-brooklyn-college-misled-public-on-eviction-of-jewish-students-from-bds-event-audio/ Also, as the 972 link below shows, someone attending the event said there were no disturbances.

          It’s true that virtually everyone who discusses this has a “dog in the fight,” but that’s probably why audio or video tapes are so valuable.

          And, yes, the President of the university said that one of the purposes of having speakers such as these was “debate”: http://www.thenation.com/blog/172641/brooklyn-college-president-defends-bds-forum#

          Such a debate was then prevented.

          pkbrandon says:

          This is disturbing, but I’d still like something more than an audio recording made by a group with an uncertain provenance (The Algemeiner’s web site doesn’t say much about who’s supporting them; funding them, etc., beyond the standard disclaimer of ”

          The opinions, facts and any media content presented by Algemeiner
          bloggers are presented solely by the author, and The Algemeiner assumes no responsibility for them.”

          From the Nation article (quoting the President of BD):
          “…We do, however, uphold their right to speak, and the rights of our
          students and faculty to attend, listen, and fully debate. We also
          encourage our students and faculty to explore these issues from multiple viewpoints and in a variety of forums so that no single perspective serves as the sole source of information or basis for consideration.”

          I agree that this sounds like a statement that the purpose of the panel included a debate of the issues, but it doesn’t quite say so explicitly; just that she was upholding the rights of BC students to fully debate.

      Samual Seller says:

      There is a recording which proves there was no disruption. Judge for yourself. These Islamo-facists hate technology because it always proves them to be liars.

      actually pkbrandon, if you read the actual facts “on the ground” there is no evidence whatsoever that the 4 students were being disruptive at all! They were simply given a choice, either give up the (pro-Israel) papers on their lap, or be forcibly removed. Holding papers on your lap (regardless of their content) cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be considered disruptive. The being disruptive claim is what we call a “cover your ass” tactic!

Habbgun says:

The comment spam by Left Wing White Trash continues to annoy.

PhillipNagle says:

The Left’s idea of free speech is for them to talk and their opponents to be silent.

It is a tragedy that an institution of learning that has been attended for many years by Americans(Jews and Christians) is now used to denigrate The Jewish People of the USA, Israel and the World. I suggest that the Administration of Brooklyn College and the City of NY are responsible for the hate spewed from these anti American terrorists. Yes, the hate speeches are being protected under the Bill of Rights. They should not be protected due to their content.

It is not militancy, it is by right.

Is there a transcript of what was said by the college and speakers?

Nice article! For those of us who dont know what a BDS event is…could you please follow the rules of journalism and remember to spell out acronyms at least once in your article? That would be helpful, thank you.

From the school’s press release: “……two spokespeople for the so-called Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (“BDS”) against Israel have been invited to speak next week at Brooklyn College.” That would have been helpful to know from reading your article. WHY it was so controversial was also explained in the press release, but not your story. Thank you for linking it. I know you have space limitations (thank you editor) but in covering ‘why this story is important’ some background information would be useful. Thanks again for the article.

From the school’s press release: “……two spokespeople for the so-called Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (“BDS”) against Israel have been invited to speak next week at Brooklyn College.” That would have been helpful to know from reading your article. WHY it was so controversial was also explained in the press release, but not your story. Thank you for linking it. I know you have space limitations (thank you editor) but in covering ‘why this story is important’ some background information would be useful. Thanks again for the article.

Gee whizz! What a surprise. Dissenting opinions were not allowed at a BDS event? Is this news? These events are always political events and not college discussion panels. Simply looking at Barghuti’s youtube videos makes this clear. The man is a polemicist and nothing more. Judith Butler uses her academic fame as cover for her anti-Israel crusade. Even Norman Finkelstein says so.

The internet is full of pro-Israel people being shouted down, taken off lists, made to leave and physically threatened…. http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/palestinians-non-violent-demonstrations-and-a-6th-broken-camera/

Maybe this farce will begin to unravel. And don’t forget the world famous UCB Professor Butler is part of this charade.
Freedom of speech, my arse. It’s like Erich Honecker talking about world peace.

Here is a link to a (anti-Zionist) 972mag piece by Lisa Goldman. Goldman was present at the event and mentions no heckling. In fact she calls it a “non-event”, http://972mag.com/after-a-week-of-controversy-the-brooklyn-college-bds-event-was-a-non-event/65634/

Looking at the worlds most censored blog mondoscheiss, where banning those who disagree and opinion-monoculture is their daily bread we should not be surprised. Butler off course publishes at mondoscheiss.

The far Left has always banned, censored and intimidated those who were not on point. From 1917, to the Baader Meinhof Group to BDS to Mursi. Nothing new.

What I find surprising is the naivite of the College Director. Where does this person live? She promised an open discussion yada yada yada, and got people getting kicked out by armed police. What is armed police doing there anyway? In a university “talk”. Escorting people out of events paid for by the tax payer? What did Bloomberg say? I think he mentioned North Korea. Schande.

Have pity on Karen Gould, the soon-to-be-former President of Brooklyn College.

I’ve been an annual donor to the BC Alumni Association for many years. I’m going to drastically reduce or eliminate my donations until the Poli Sci Dept. or the College Administration itself sponsors a pro-Israel event. I’m okay with political forums from student groups and community organizations. Once the college or dept. sponsors only one side, it’s no longer a center of higher learning. BC’s Bachelor of Arts degree has now become a Bachelor of Indoctrination, or BI.

    herbcaen says:

    I would recommend completely eliminating your donations. BC is beyond repair, just like a patient with advanced Alzheimers. Who would have thought that a college that helped jumpstart many Jewish careers would exclude Jews from events, with the approval of VP Dilga Morales. It is like Poland in 1935

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Brooklyn College to Launch BDS Event Inquiry

New developments from last week’s controversial panel

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