An Introductory Note From DovBear: Guys, I don't agree with this guest post at all. In general, I think a school is supposed to let its professors talk. That's part of what it means to be a school. The way you fight back is by making counter arguments. Not by demanding that the other person be silenced. Trying to shut your opponent up is weak and cowardly. Just make fun of him, or out argue him instead.
Now, because there are stupid people in the audience who will hear "I think people should be allowed to talk" but think I mean "I am pro-Divestment" I have to waste every one's time by setting the record straight, so here goes: I don't support the economic boycott against Israel. I think the pro-divestment people have their heads on backwards. Israel is a democracy. You don't get a democracy to change it's policies by punishing it with sanctions. You get a democracy to change its policies by electing people who agree with you.
Also, the letter writer (below) seems to have forgotten why we have no movement to divest from Syria or Hamas. Its not because anyone in their right mind is proSyria but because US law already makes it impossible to invest in either entity. I assure you that if such investments were possible, you would have people calling for boycotts, and the rest.
Anyway, on with the guest post.....
Calling Brooklyn College out on their Transparent Male Cow Field Fertilizer
Recently, Brooklyn College Political Science department sponsored a 'Divest From Israel' Event.
There was an outcry.
Brooklyn College defended itself (see below) on the grounds of Freedom of Speech and this is, frankly, bull.
Thankfully, someone has called them out on it.
This was posted publicly and I am grateful to DovBear for sharing it with his followers:
Dear President Gould,
It is a disgrace to Brooklyn College that its faculty seek to defend their actions by mischaracterizing a 'Divestment from Israel' rally as a 'freedom of academic speech' issue.
A political attack weapon is not the same thing as an academic debate. The Divestment from Israel movement is not interested in freedom of debate. It is not interested in discussion. It is a tool used by the enemies of Israel to spread the perception that the Palestinian struggle against Israel is the only moral stance to take in this matter. It is a political attack weapon used by the enemies of Israel (who, it should be pointed out, are not reknowned for their the staunch advocacy of freedom of speech).
If your staff is unable to make this distinction they don't deserve to teaching a college level political science course. Perhaps potential future students might wish to consider this when preparing their college admissions applications.
Freedom of debate is when a matter is considered openly and fairly. The Divestment movement is an advocacy tool and to be honest, it is a lot worse. You notice that there isn't a 'Divestment from Syrian, Iran, North Korea or Sudan' movement. There isn't even a 'Divest from Hamas' movement. Your staff should consider if singling out Israel for Divestment isn't a little suspect. It has nothing to do with freedom of speech, nothing to do with protecting human rights and everything to do with de-legitimzing the Jewish State.
To claim otherwise is to be ignorant or to lie to the public.
Your staff could benefit from taking some comprehensive political science undergraduate courses.
* Here is the tripe that Brooklyn College seeks to hide behind.
Freedom of expression and inquiry are the cornerstones of the academy. It is our responsibility as educators and scholars to resist any threat to open discussion and dialogue among faculty and students on controversial topics, even when we individually, as groups, or as departments, may vehemently oppose the views expressed. Therefore, we vigorously endorse President Karen Gould’s recent clear and principled stand in support of full and open expression of diverse views on the Brooklyn College campus. Brooklyn College must continue to uphold academic freedom as a basic and inviolable principle and to protect the right of its students and faculty to exchange ideas in an atmosphere of open debate, untrammeled by fear or intimidation. We may disagree among ourselves and sometimes hold passionately to our different views. But what we agree on is the right of all members of our community to think and speak freely. We deplore the condemnation of Brooklyn College, its faculty, and its leadership for upholding the principle that is at the heart of any academic institution.
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