Monday, February 18, 2013

Press Conference to Investigate BDS & Brooklyn College (2-14-13)

A Press Conference held on February 14, 2013 has called for an investigation of Brooklyn College denouncing the BDS movement (Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment) as hate speech and   anti-Semitic. They asked that Brooklyn College adopt new policy changes in light of recent events surrounding a BDS (Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment) event aimed at Israel in which four Jewish students complained of being unfairly singled out and then removed from the audience. (scroll down for 5 videos of the press conference)

Jeff Wiesenfeld, a 14 year trustee at the City University of New York (CUNY)  said of the BDS event

“ This was not an academic pursuit, it’s propaganda, which is actually prohibited in universities. The American Association of University Professors has standards that have been in force since 1916 that say professors may not proselytize. They must give two sides of an issue and they are to spur academic discussion and research. That’s being violated....Laws were broken just by having the Political Science Department co-sponsor the event. The BDS panel marked a “black day for Brooklyn College.

Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) whose post-event press release can be found here organized the panel that was held on February 7, 2013.

sjp crop

An event that had only two speakers, two leaders of the economic and political warfare movement known as BDS. BDS Founder, Omar Barghouti and "feminist philosopher", Judith Butler . Their purpose was to promote BDS as a force for good.  BDS is 'so good' that the event was restricted to press as well as the public.

2nd sjp

This one-sided panel was co-sponsored by the Political Science Department at Brooklyn College, a sponsorship that caused many of New York City's politicians to express concerns regarding a boycott against Israel.  (Links to the January 28th Press Conference can be found here)

More facts exposing the BDS lies can be found in this flyer from Stand With Us .
This BDS event of 2013 was policed heavily, something that cannot be said for the David Horowitz event in 2011.  Horowitz had been invited by Brooklyn College students to speak out against the "Palestinian Wall of Lies" and fraudulent claims of an Israeli 'apartheid'. But, the "Palestinian" students demanded Horowitz be barred from speaking and threatened to shut down the event (as they have done on other campuses).

Link to the obnoxious attempts by 'Palestinian" students to shut down Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer at Temple University in 2012 and the indifference exhibited by Campus Security (yawning while this man heckled)

Back to Brooklyn College 2011. The College ignored the threats from the "Palestinians" and showed no interest in supplying security for the speaker, Horowitz,  or the Jewish students. No support from the Political Science Department for differing points-of-view. Thankfully, CUNY trustee, Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, persevered until there was a bare-bones Brooklyn College security presence.

DSCN8862 copy

The 2013 treatment of the "offending" Jewish students was completely different from the anti-Israel students who WERE disruptive in 2011. Even though the anti-Israel students spoke out-of-turn, showing disdain for the guest, David Horowitz, NO ONE was removed. Those anti-Israel students from 2011 can be seen and heard HERE.

Back to 2013. In spite of a recording made by Algemeiner that supports the pro-Israel, anti-BDS students claims that they were NOT disruptive, the Brooklyn College administration backed the SJP students' accounts claiming that four Jewish students were so disruptive and disrespectful of the speakers that they were force ably removed. Lies all Lies.

From Camera:

Senior Melanie Goldberg and three classmates were escorted out of the event, which featured the founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, by security officers shortly after it began.

“The whole point of having this debate was that it would be an open academic forum where I would be allowed to ask questions,” said Goldberg, who is studying journalism. “So I came prepared to ask questions.”

But when Goldberg took out her questions on handouts for the main speaker, BDS founder Omar Barghouti, she was asked by a member of Students for Justice in Palestine, which organized the event, to hand them over.

“Someone came to me and said, ‘Give me all your papers, or you'll be forcibly removed from the event,' ” she recalled. “Not only was it a violation of my freedom of speech, but they made sure to silence me.”

Camera continues,"The story includes another troubling detail: “Members of media outlets — including a Daily News reporter who was wearing a yarmulke — were also removed from the event despite reserving places to cover the forum.”

Goldberg's personal testimony is available here (snip) She was expelled from the event in full view of an official from Brooklyn College who did not intervene. Her Free Speech was denied."

Attorney Neal Sher, former Special War Crimes Prosecutor for the US Dept. of Justice, said that Brooklyn College has a very serious Title VI problem, referring to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and the practice of allowing an anti-Semitic environment to flourish on campus.

Jeremy Thompson, a spokesman for Brooklyn College, released a statement in response to the uproar over the ejection of four Jewish students from the BDS panel event on Feb. 7, 2013 and in response to the threat of filing a Title VI civil rights claim against the college.

"Due to the serious concerns raised by our students, [Brooklyn College] President Gould has asked [CUNY] Chancellor Goldstein to order a swift and thorough review in order to ascertain all the facts about the event held at the college on February 7."

The Algemeiner said that the audio file has been given to investigators and would be used as part of an inquiry the school has launched. Algemeiner has published audio of the event . The audio proves the students were ejected without reason. The press release said the ejected students would be present at this presss conference on February 14, unfortunately they did not attend.

For VIDEOS be sure  to chose HD: 

Part 1- Jeff Wiesenfeld , a 14 year trustee at the City University of New York (CUNY) Statement to  the Press

Part 2 - Former Special War Crimes Prosecutor for the US Dept. of Justice, Neal Sher

Part 3 - Dovid Efune, Editor-in-Chief of Algemeiner

Part 4 - Last three speakers. Rabbi Yakov Kermeier of the Fifth Avenue Synagogue and past President of the NY Board of Rabbis. Irene Alter speaking for the National Conference of Jewish Affairs (NCJA) and Feliks Frenkel, Chairman of the Board, Council of Jewish Emigre Community Organizations (COJECO). 

Part 5- a brief Q and A. Pro-BDS Mondoweiss reporter, Alex Kane, asked a few questions of Wiesenfeld and Sher. Kane is an assistant editor for Mondoweiss and the World editor for AlterNet

Other than Reporter Alex Kane of Mondoweiss, did any other pro-BDS press take the time to cover this Press Conference, including the MSM? Where was the MSM?

These are links I found from the pro- BDS-ers....

In conclusion, as I looked for articles connected to the BDS event and this press conference, I happened upon a timely article by Cinnamon Stiilwell and Rima Greene. They have exposed this latest propaganda text book intended for use in our schools. The Politics of Teaching Palestine to Americans: Addressing Pedagogical Strategies  . It is indoctrination, not education. Here are some excerpted thoughts and quotes from that article.

"Activist teachers, teaching "critical thinking" means indoctrinating students to believe that Palestinians are always right -- and Israelis are always wrong. Teaching that the Arab-Israeli conflict is not about religion omits crucial terms such as "jihad" or "terrorism, turning Israel into another Islamic state. This is the real motivation of its opponents, to suppress people by excluding them. History is a closed-loop in which Palestinians are presented as innocent victims and Israelis as evil-doers. Bill Ayers and his  "alternative pedagogies are in our American schools, taking sides, re-interpreting history as did Howard Zinn and Edward Said. It is extremely biased, teaching scorn and ridicule and indoctrinating our students in a culture of hatred while fomenting anti-Israel activism."

There is a chapter on Hip-Hop. Something I noticed to be very popular with young muslim hate-groups like "Existence is Resistance" as well as the ex-head of NY-CAIR, Cyrus McGoldrick. Cyrus has an odd 'side-career' as a Hip-Hop "Poet".  These "Palestinian" students have embraced an obnoxious, angry "art-form" and the reasons "why" are made a bit more obvious when reading the intentions behind this 'text-book'.

" How to teach the Arab-Israeli conflict, in a chapter titled "Hip-Hop Education and Palestine Solidarity," Knopf-Newman advocates using hip-hop, or rap, music because it has short, easy-to-remember segments that prove conducive to incorporating political material. Using her book as a guide, high school students can now rap, dance, or sing their way to anti-Zionism. Lesson plans include how to organize street theater with "apartheid walls" and "tunnels of oppression" that connect to other "sites of oppression." Such agitprop can be adopted, she helpfully suggests, by teachers of literature, social studies, theater, music, and many other subjects. She particularly admires content that connects genocide, imprisonment, slavery, indigenous people, the "prison-industrial complex," and even Hurricane Katrina with the delegitimization of Israel in the malleable minds of her students"

The academia (and media) love-affair with anti-Israel agitprop rages on. 
Now .... What are we going to do about it?

UPDATE - February 19, 2013. More from Lori Lowenthal Marcus on what took place INSIDE the event on February 7th. Great research and quotes.

As pointed out in her article, the claim that there were Jews in attendance who were allowed to speak,  to ask questions, was a hollow claim when you see that they are referring to the very anti-Zionist Neteuri Karta. They were there to  support BDS.

In the face book picture published of the BDS event, I recognized the fellow in the intifada scarf. His name, Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss, an anti-Zionist Neteuri Karta.


Here is my  interview with Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss at the 2012 Israel Day parade , explaining why he is anti-Israel (begins at 1:52)

Have yet to see a listing of who (or how many)  of the anti- BDS Jewish voices were permitted to speak. Since security was removing opposition from the room, it is doubtful any had the courage to speak up.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Anti-Israel Hate-Fest Coming To Brooklyn College (2-7-13)

February 7, 2013 UPDATE with two links reporting on the counter protest in support of Israel outside Brooklyn College from the NY Times and also the Jerusalem Post.

"It's the college coming out in support of a vicious, hateful group, plain and simple," New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind told The Jerusalem Post at the rally. "This isn't about free speech. The issue is very simple: the sponsorship is inappropriate."


My previous experience at Brooklyn College was in March of  2011, when David Horowitz was the speaker in opposition to the slanderous "Israeli Apartheid" Hate-Fest.  Pictures and video are posted here:

An uproar arose from the Marxist student orgs as well as the "Fakestinian"  contingent. Free-speech and the right to hear diverse opinions, opinions that contradicted their lies, were denied. They demanded that no one at the college was to hear Horowitz speak. Brooklyn College gave no support to the student organization that had invited Horowitz and the campus police would not supply any security. It was expected that these Leftist agitators and their Fakestinian chums would attend and go unchecked; free to scream and yell at Horowitz so that he could not be heard. His 'crime' was defending Israel and criticizing the obscene hate-fest: "Israel Apartheid Week". The Horowitz event did happen and Horowitz WAS heard, but ONLY because of the action of the fearless Jeffrey Wiesenfeld (of the CUNY Board of Trustees) . Wiesenfeld demanded that the college supply campus security, that was key to permitting the event to proceed without harassment.

David Horowitz was invited by a student organization and was not co-sponsored by Brooklyn College.

Flash forward to a controversial panel coming to Brooklyn College on Feb 7, 2013. A propaganda panel spewing hatred for Israel and the Jews, and YES, co-sponsored by the Political Science Department of Brooklyn College.

The panel features "Fakestinian" Activist, Omar Barghouti and Judith Butler of whom Hikind said, “They think Hamas and Hezbollah are nice organizations and they probably feel the same way about Al Qaeda!”

These same antagonists who were opposed to David Horowitz speaking in opposition to the Israel Apartheid Week, these same groups are now defenders of free speech and 'diverse' opinions. On our TAX dime they will have racists and hate-mongers advocating for boycotting, sanctioning and divestment from Israel (BDS) and co-sponsored and protected by Brooklyn College.

Would  Brooklyn College do the same for David Dukes? How about racist, Al Sharpton and The New Black Panthers. Would they sanction these speakers? Perhaps not David Dukes since they seem to think he represents the 'other' side. If you do not ascribe to the Leftist, Marxist agenda you are 'dis-invited'.

Yet, a supporter of the BDS panel claims that Brooklyn College,

 “By bravely co-sponsoring a controversial forum – which means neither approval nor disapproval but openness to different ideas – you are offering a service to the Brooklyn College community…I believe… that reasonable debate without censorship will bring people to better understandings of each other and the issues at hand.

They did NOT feel so 'warm and fuzzy' when David Horowitz was invited to speak. Those who yell the loudest  shut out those of whom THEY disapprove. Bullies and Tyrants. When do we say, "Enough?"

February 7, 2013, should be the day we start to take back our schools from these hate-mongers.. Demand that Brooklyn College sanction speakers who actually represent a diverse reaction to hate-fests like the BDS Movements and Israel Apartheid Week.

On Thursday, January 31, 2013, Dov Hikind (Brooklyn Assemblyman-D ) called a Press Conference to do just that;  to say " Enough!" and to take back our schools from these hate-mongers. Their press release said:

We are calling for Brooklyn College’s Political Science Department to withdraw their endorsement of this event, rather than send the message to its students and to the world that the divisive perspective offered by the organizing groups is Brooklyn College’s official view.  In addition, we ask that you remain vigilant in ensuring that events bearing the official imprimatur of the College provide adequate opportunity for diverse perspectives to be heard.  We believe that this is the very hallmark of academic freedom.

Signed By:
Congressman Jerrold Nadler
Councilman Brad Lander
Speaker Christine Quinn
Comptroller John Liu
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio
Borough President Marty Markowitz
Congresswoman Yvette Clarke
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries
Senator Kevin Parker
Senator Daniel Squadron
Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs
Assemblyman Karim Camara
Assemblyman James Brennan
Assemblywoman Joan Millman
Assemblyman Walter Mosley
Councilwoman Tish James
Councilman Steve Levin
Former Comptroller Bill Thompson

Hikind called for the department vote on sponsoring the panel to be public:

"Is someone hiding behind someone’s skirt? Release the vote to the public! Those who want to sponsor the event, put your names down!” He noted just prior to the press conference that the college president Gould has cancelled her upcoming trip to Albany to request increased funds for the university. Hikind added that he was disappointed that she would not be able to advocate for additional funding: “You don’t think it has anything to do with the fact that I said I would make her life a little miserable?”

I managed to catch that wonderful challenge from Assemblyman Hikind in the video below

( :11 to :50). Be sure to watch video in HD

Sorry the video is only of the intros. Had a camera malfunction so I was unable to record the speakers. The speakers included former Comptroller and mayoral candidate Bill Thompson, Assemblyman Alan Maisel, Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz, Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz, Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs , Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein and Assembly District Leader, Ari Kagan.

Also speaking were two students:

There were questions asked by student reporters

And a healthy turn-out of the regular media:

Helen Freedman Exec. Dir.  AFSI (Americans For a Safe Israel) also spoke.

Freedman later said in a report of the Press Conference:

"Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind held a press conference at Brooklyn College today, Thursday morning, Jan. 31, 11 AM, to decry the co-sponsorship by the Political Science Department of the College with a hate-filled program of BDS against Israel. Assemblyman Hikind was accompanied by many of the city and state political figures. Every speaker addressed the tragedy of a moral, ethical, intellectual center like Brooklyn College, the alma mater of both Hikind and Freedman, being turned into a center for the promulgation of hate, lies, deceit, and delegitimization of the State of Israel. As Hikind stated, the "academic freedom" hailed by the President of the College, Karen Gould, and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, could be observed without interference, if only the College would withdraw its support. Taxpayer money should not be paying for the promotion of Jew-hatred."

Rina Yarmish read a statement from Jeffrey Weisenfeld of the CUNY Board of Trustees

STATEMENT BY - Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld, Trustee City University of New York

Former aide – Governor George E. Pataki, Senator Alfonse M. D’Amato and other public officials.

"In my 13 years as a trustee of CUNY, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to observe the intellectual corruption and anti-Semitism of many in America’s academic elite. I hear about it from trustees in colleges and universities across America and it’s become more common at CUNY, with Brooklyn College as an unexpected hotbed. The current plans for an anti-Israel BDS conference with the school’s co-sponsorship by the political science department raise new questions.
If an individual professor engages in selective hatred of Israel and the resulting intimidation of Jewish students, that is bad enough. If branches of the MSA (Muslin Students Association, all chapters of which are affiliated with ISNA – the Islamic Society of North America, which is the Muslim Brotherhood on our soil), that is bad enough. I’ll be damned however, if I were to be silent on the official co-sponsorship of an entire academic department of a Nuremberg-like conference on a CUNY campus. This is a misuse of tax-levy funds. This is NOT an academic conference in any sense.

Furthermore, other than the intimidation of liberal arts professors who might support Israel, how do we know that EVERY professor in that department supports this drivel?
We must also look at the hypocrisy and intellectual corruption of these accusatory, one-sided conferences The Islamic world, having evicted nearly all of its Jews following the reconstitution of the Jewish State in 1948, murdering many and plundering all of their property, is now exterminating its remaining  Christians, Bahais and Zaroastrians – in fact, anyone non-Muslims – whose adherents may have resided in these lands for millennia. Brave columnists like Fouad Adjami, Amir Taheri and other brave Muslims chronicle this dysfunctionality – and far worse – at great risk. Inter-Muslim murder rivals their states’ crimes against other groups as well.

From 1920 to the present, approximately 100,000 Jews and Arabs have died in all the conflicts involving them – most Jews and Israelis as victims of terror and in defensive wars and most Arabs as a result of Israel’s defense or their brethren having cowardly used them as “human shields.” 100,000 Syrians alone have been brutally murdered by the forces of Bashar Assad in the last 2 years. Do these BDS hypocrites care?

These BDS advocates single out Israel as a cover for rank anti-Semitism. It is not about saving Palestinians (who mostly need to be saved from themselves and their leaders); its purpose is to delegitimize and destroy Israel. They do NOT want a two-state solution. To them Tel Aviv and Haifa are “occupied territories” as much as Gaza, long vacated by Israel and now one of the world’s most prominent terrorist launching points. They want a one-state solution – to have yet another of the many Arab states. They deny – as anti-Semites do - the eternal connection, since recordable history, of the Jewish people to their land. They reject all peace offers by Israel. They subjugate their own people to a vile existence in the false belief that they can “wait out the Jews.”

I call upon taxpayers to draw a line here and make it known: taxpayer dollars should not fund illegitimate, racist and anti-Semitic activities by any academic department. Those of us who care about Israel would do no less if others were similarly treated. Additionally, academic administrators should be reminded that Jewish students are no less entitled – under applicable federal law – than other students to an educational environment free of intimidation and prejudice."

Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld, Trustee The City University of New York

"The Political Science Department is co-sponsoring a forum Thursday that leaves no doubt about the depravity lurking within Israel-haters’ hearts and souls.

It’s called “BDS Movement Against Israel.” For the uninitiated, “BDS” stands for boycott, divestment and sanctions, a pernicious plot that calls for the shunning of Israeli scholars and the removal of funding and investment from Israel.

I say it promotes ethnic cleansing."

" 10 City Councilmembers wrote her a letter objecting to the panel. Prominent pro-Israel voices including lawyer Alan Dershowitz lambasted the panel... We don’t believe this program is what the taxpayers of our City, many of who would feel targeted and demonized by this program, want their tax money to be spent on.”

In conclusion:


Brooklyn College's President, Karen Gould must sanction and perhaps 'co-sponsor' another panel that would be permitted to oppose BDS. Perhaps then she can say she supports true diversity of opinion .


Link to more photos in the set here: