[Marxism] Bloomberg Defends College’s Right to Sponsor Israel-Boycott Talk
lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Feb 6 12:55:55 MST 2013
NY Times February 6, 2013
Bloomberg Defends College’s Right to Sponsor Israel-Boycott Talk
By KATE TAYLOR
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Wednesday forcefully defended the right of
Brooklyn College to co-sponsor an event with an international group that
advocates Israel’s withdrawal from Palestinian territories, weighing in
for the first time in a debate that has pitted New York City and state
legislators, the Anti-Defamation League and prominent alumni like Alan
Dershowitz against the school.
Describing himself as a “big supporter of Israel,” Mr. Bloomberg said he
“couldn’t disagree more violently” with the movement behind the event,
known as B.D.S., for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. But Mr.
Bloomberg said a university should be free to sponsor a forum on any
topic, “including ideas that people find repugnant.”
“If you want to go to a university where the government decides what
kind of subjects are fit for discussion, I suggest you apply to a school
in North Korea,” Mr. Bloomberg said during a news conference at City Hall.
“The last thing we need is for members of our City Council or State
Legislature to be micromanaging the kinds of programs that our public
universities run and base funding decisions on the political views of
professors,” he continued. “I can’t think of anything that would be more
destructive to a university and its students.”
The Brooklyn College event, which is scheduled to take place on
Thursday, is being co-sponsored by the college’s political science
department, as well as several student and nonstudent groups, and will
feature two speakers from the B.D.S. movement, Judith Butler, a
philosopher, and Omar Barghouti.
On Jan. 29, 10 members of the City Council, led by Lewis A. Fidler of
Brooklyn, signed a letter to Brooklyn College’s president, Karen Gould,
demanding either that the event be canceled or that the university
revoke its sponsorship. The letter also suggested that, if the
university went ahead with the event, the Council might withhold funding
to the school in the future.
Mr. Bloomberg said New York City was a city defined by its commitment to
“This is a city that loves and protects freedom -- academic freedom,
religious freedom, sexual freedom, cultural freedom, political freedom,”
the mayor said. “We are the freest city in the world and that’s why
we’re the greatest city in the world.”
He said politicians had a right to protest the event, but he said their
fulminations were counterproductive.
“What the protesters have done is given a lot of attention to the very
idea they keep saying they don’t want people to talk about,” Mr.
Bloomberg said. “They just don’t think before they open their mouths.”
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