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Brooklyn College funds ‘threatened’ after hosting Pro-Palestine speaking event

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BROOKLYN (PIX11) – Brooklyn College students lined up for an event sponsored by one of its groups, Students for Justice in Palestine on Thursday evening.  Across the street, another group gathered to protest against the lineup of scheduled speakers, Judith Butler and Omar Barghouti.  Both are viewed as political activists for Palestinian Rights and also supporters of movement known as BDS, or Boycott Divestment and Sanctions against Israel.

The speakers are controversial in themselves, but Brooklyn city councilman Lewis Fidler and 9 other councilmembers stirred up even more attention with a letter to Brooklyn College asking the college to cancel the event and going even further to say future funding to the school could be threatened.

“No one has suggested that we are going to take money away from Brooklyn college.  I merely suggested that I would be much harder for me as a councilmember to fight for additional funding for Brooklyn College as I have for the past 11 years,” said Fidler.

Fidler maintained his main issue pertained to the college’s political science department co-sponsoring the BDS event.  The practice, however, is one the college says is not at all unusual.

“Sponsorship of a forum where students and faculty and outside speakers can discuss a topic does not in any way suggest that the political science department or the college are endorsing the views presented at the event,” said Brooklyn College’s Executive Director of Marketing, Communications and Public Relations, Jeremy Thompson.

Fidler also fired off on Facebook and called Butler and Barghouti “…anti-semetic fools…”

Brooklyn College in the meantime said while they respect Fidler’s opinions, his comments about taking away additional funding was unfortunate and they hope he rethinks his position.

Thompson also cited support from other city councilmembers who wrote and signed another letter to the College President on Wednesday.  While they remained opposed to the stance of the speakers invited to speak at Brooklyn College, they pulled back from any request to cancel the event and cited academic freedom.

Noticeably absent from the signatures was Lewis Fidler.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg weighed in as well and sided with Brooklyn College.  Bloomberg said even though he did not agree with the viewpoints of the speakers, he did not believe it was the government’s position to form an opinion on what should or should not be discussed at a university.



  • ralphiesmom

    Thanks for the straight-forward reporting on this. Israel needs to learn from these messages and move immediately to a position of human rights for all.

    • Michael's Comment

      Just over a year ago, PA Mufti Muhammad Hussein [senior religious leader of the Palestinian Authority], addressing the Fatah leadership [main political party within the Palestinian Authority] openly advocated the killing of all Jews. Specifically he said:

      "The reliable Hadith (tradition attributed to Muhammad), [found] in the two reliable collections, Bukhari and Muslim, says:

      "The Hour [of Resurrection] will not come until you fight the Jews.
      The Jew will hide behind stones or trees.
      Then the stones or trees will call:
      'Oh Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.'
      Except the Gharqad tree [which will keep silent]."

      Therefore it is no wonder that you see Gharqad [trees] surrounding the [Israeli] settlements and colonies. This is Palestine, when we talk about it, from the beginning of the Jihad, with the continuation of the Jihad, with the struggle, and with the way of the Martyrs."

      These remarks were broadcast two days later on PA TV (January 9, 2012).

      These verses, the stone and the tree, are widely known and cited within the Arab world. They call for Moslems to kill ALL Jews. These remarks were not made by some obscure cleric, they were made by the senior cleric in the Palestinian Authority. They were not made in some obscure forum, they were made before the senior political leadership of the Palestinian Authority. They did not surprise or dismay their audience, as the remarks were broadcast two days later on Palestinian Authority Television, to make sure everyone heard the message to kill Jews. These remarks were not made by the bad cops of Hamas but the allegedly good cops of the Palestinian Authority.

      I hope this sampling of reality is not too traumatic for “Ralphiesmom.”

  • ralphiesmom

    Not traumatic at all. Is it really a surprise that an occupied people has leadership that calls for fighting the people oppressing them? I don't see anything saying kill ALL Jews except your interpretation.

    At any rate, all Palestinians are not Muslim. This isn't about religion, it is about the theft of land.

    • proftaheri

      The most recent instance of "land theft" has been E-1 — a two-mile strip of public land east of Jerusalem that both sides are vying for. It's public in the sense that it's not private, it doesn't belong to a particular landowner.

      Israeli planning and infrastructure work in E-1 has been taking place on and off for 13 years now.

      Part of the plan includes a road, that has already been started, that will connect Palestinian villages around Jerusalem and the northern and southern West Bank as a whole—a road that has never existed, a road that will facilitate Palestinian travel, and will be built on the Israeli taxpayer’s dime.

      The construction will provide housing to any Israeli citizen—Sunni, Shiite, Druze, secular Jew, Orthodox Jew, Christian, Baha’i—just as housing in West Jerusalem or elsewhere in Israel does.

      Those opposing the construction, call for the area to be free of Jews. They claim that Israel’s plan to provide housing indiscriminately to any Israeli citizen, regardless of color or creed, is a racist apartheid policy.

      The construction in E-1 and the eventual neighborhood will provide employment to thousands of Palestinians.

      The insistence that Jews, and only Jews, be excluded from an area, may lead to events such as the ones brilliantly depicted in Jonathan Bloomfield’s award-winning book, “Palestine,” in which actual history and future predictions are thinly veiled as fiction.

  • Hosting

    It's a captivating article. Already i have go through this whole article. I am too happy to read this article. I think all of the people will like this post. Carry on….

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