Reader Post: An Open Letter to the President of Brooklyn College

brooklyn collegeI am very concerned about Brooklyn College’s decision to sponsor Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada to speak this Thursday in honor of Israel Apartheid Week. I have posted to this open letter to my website and shared with as many people as I think will listen.

Dear President Gould:

I’m sure by now you are aware of the event on Thursday March 6 at SUBO Bedford Lounge where Students for Justice in Palestine have scheduled notorious anti-Zionist blogger Ali Abunimah to speak.  This event coincides with the observance of Israel Apartheid Week, an international event that is billed as protesting Israel but often leads to the harassment of Jews in general.  I understand it is the school’s interest and duty as a public institution to permit all types of speech.  However, it is not in anyone’s interest for the school to permit incitement, and it certainly should not be contributing money to this end.

Ali Abunimah is a blogger for the website Electronic Intifada, a name that already betrays the purportedly peaceful intentions of his visit.  However, his activities go well beyond voicing a disagreeable opinion.  Mr. Abunimah’s internet activities range from possible incitement to outright misrepresenting the words of those who disagree with him.  Worse than that, Mr. Abunimah was recently involved with the cyberbullying of a Jewish studentat University of Michigan while she was in the process organizing a meeting in order to respond to intimidation stemming from the UMich Mock Eviction.  I cannot speak on behalf of the administration or faculty, but as a parent and educator I would be appalled to know that my tuition dollars were going to finance this speaker’s presence.

Ultimately, it is the administration’s decision whether to allow this speaker.  However, it is inappropriate for departments of the school itself to actually sponsor the event.   I understand that there have been tensions with the Jewish community in the past, and I hope that this incident will not strain them further.  I urge the administration to make the ethical decision.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Thank you

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  • steven

    My friends Father went to Bklyn College he told me a story about an argument in students lounge.I guess it was in the early 70’s or late 60’s when black militants were a large group on campus.A fight broke out in the lounge about what kind of music would be played.It was Jews against Blacks the fighting lasted over 4 days 100’s of policemen were brought to the campus.I understand the Jewish Students won the fight.That’s what campuses need today a strong JDL on campus I’m going to google this and see if i can find articles on the net

    • Bavi

      So your answer is that if you can punch them hard enough you can get your way? Even if it’s something as trivial as music? There is what is right and there is vigilantism.

      • ahad_ha_amoratsim

        Defending yourself against physical attack (something that I’ve never been very good at, to my shame) is not vigilantism.

        • Bavi

          To be honest I may have been picking at your word chose, when i hear Defense League i see fascists attacking people they disagree with. For that sorry. Every one has the right to defend themselves but forming groups to “defend” preemptively seems vigilantly too me but that again is due to the EDL in my country.. Also “curbstomping” doesn’t help my impression. Self defense as by its definition is the defense of aggression purposely started by another in which you use force only to the extent to discontinue the fight. For me this is necessary to maintain a moral high ground which is never normally convienent.

      • Hard Little Machine

        There’s only ever one way to deal with brownshirts. You curbstomp them.

      • steven

        Actually they were getting punched so they punched back.You can’t be a punching bag

    • Travis

      That event took place in Spring 1971.

      • steven

        Thanks

    • Eric

      I can’t endorse JDL or thuggery, not that I’ll level such an accusation. I will say that simply standing up and saying you won’t take garbage can often be enough. One of my professors at YU told us during the ’70’s someone posted a sign in the neighborhood that any Jew caught at the corner of Audubon and W187th at noon was going to get pounded. Kahane happened to have been on campus at the time and at noon they emptied the beit midrash and the whole school showed up at the corner. No violence was necessary for the point to be made.

  • http://www.pi-news.net/ steven

    My friends Father went to Bklyn College he told me a story about an argument in students lounge.I guess it was in the early 70’s or late 60’s when black militants were a large group on campus.A fight broke out in the lounge about what kind of music would be played.It was Jews against Blacks the fighting lasted over 4 days 100’s of policemen were brought to the campus.I understand the Jewish Students won the fight.That’s what campuses need today a strong JDL on campus I’m going to google this and see if i can find articles on the net

    • Bavi

      So your answer is that if you can punch them hard enough you can get your way? Even if it’s something as trivial as music? There is what is right and there is vigilantism.

      • ahad_ha_amoratsim

        Defending yourself against physical attack (something that I’ve never been very good at, to my shame) is not vigilantism.

        • Bavi

          To be honest I may have been picking at your word chose, when i hear Defense League i see fascists attacking people they disagree with. For that sorry. Every one has the right to defend themselves but forming groups to “defend” preemptively seems vigilantly too me but that again is due to the EDL in my country.. Also “curbstomping” doesn’t help my impression. Self defense as by its definition is the defense of aggression purposely started by another in which you use force only to the extent to discontinue the fight. For me this is necessary to maintain a moral high ground which is never normally convienent.

      • Hard Little Machine

        There’s only ever one way to deal with brownshirts. You curbstomp them.

      • http://www.pi-news.net/ steven

        Actually they were getting punched so they punched back.You can’t be a punching bag

    • Travis

      That event took place in Spring 1971.

      • http://www.pi-news.net/ steven

        Thanks

    • Eric

      I can’t endorse JDL or thuggery, not that I’ll level such an accusation. I will say that simply standing up and saying you won’t take garbage can often be enough. One of my professors at YU told us during the ’70’s someone posted a sign in the neighborhood that any Jew caught at the corner of Audubon and W187th at noon was going to get pounded. Kahane happened to have been on campus at the time and at noon they emptied the beit midrash and the whole school showed up at the corner. No violence was necessary for the point to be made.

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