[Marxism] Bloomberg Defends College’s Right to Sponsor Israel-Boycott Talk

michael yates mikedjyates at msn.com
Thu Feb 7 13:07:33 MST 2013

Naturally, it is better that the mayor defend the right of a public college to practice free speech. But his statement that NYC is the most free city in the world is preposterous. The city has paid tens of millions of dollars in lawsuits just in the last decade or so because the police routinely violate speech rights. And it would be interesting to ask black people how free the city is.

The bar is set so low now in the United States for all manner of things that we should take for granted that the Brooklyn College BDS
controversy seems a great victory for the people. The president of the college is seen as a steadfast champion of civil liberties and the voices of a few tenured professors are seen as heroic. It all kind of cheapens the actions of real champions of civil liberties and true heroes. 

No doubt we have to take what we can get. But read president Gould's statement (let me add that I wrote her a letter, as asked by the sponsors of the event). It is pretty wishy washy. Same for the political science department's statements. Everyone wants to be fair and balanced, like Fox News.

During the Vietnam War, boatloads of professors came out publicly against it. Teach-ins, all kinds of events were held on campuses. Nobody gave a damn about balance or even bothered to consult administrations. We didn't make statements saying how we respected all sides of the issue. It would have been a cold day in hell before my small department would have invited someone who favored the war to campus of sponsored an event of a group that did this. But president Gould wants to convene a committee to make sure that balance prevails.And she goes further, as Michael J. Smith notes on his blog. She says, "As the official host of the CUNY center for study abroad in Israel, our college has a proud history of engagement with Israel and Israeli universities… We deeply value our Israeli partners and would not endorse any action that would imperil the State of Israel…" Some balance.

I remember our college president in a tenure meeting asking about a philosopher's syllabus for an ethics class. Where were the pro war articles he wanted to know. We nearly hooted him out of the room. Now the definition of academic freedom is so pinched and constrained that we hail minor victories as akin to revolution.

Let's not be so foolish as to believe that this one small victory marks the beginning of a weakening of US support for the criminal Israeli state. And even if it did, Israel certainly won't lose its atomic weapons or any or its other weapons of mass destruction. 		 	   		  

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