From the offices of Council Members Lew Fidler and David Greenfield:
Council Members Lew Fidler and David Greenfield, along with several of their Council colleagues representing diverse backgrounds and parts of the City, mailed a letter today to the President of Brooklyn College, Karen Gould, objecting to her school hosting and ‘co-sponsoring’ a “BDS Movement Against Israel” event, on February 7th. The Council Members criticized the school for officially supporting viewpoints they described as “either anti-semitic or simply ignorant” and that “promote the worst kind of hate.”
At this event, the boycotting, divestment and sanctioning of Israel will be called for. Two of the invited speakers reportedly have a history of troubling and hateful statements, such as equating Israelis with Nazis and describing the terrorist organizations of Hamas and Hezbollah as socially progressive movements. Even worse, the event lists Brooklyn College’s Political Science Department as an official “co-sponsor” of the event, giving it a stamp of legitimacy and official approval that such a wrongful event does not deserve.
Councilman Fidler said, “I understand the right of students to express their various viewpoints, no matter how much I may disagree with them. A line is crossed, however, when the school itself is painting a veneer of legitimacy over something that is so clearly offensive to me and to so many of the people in our community. This event is wrong, their viewpoint is wrong and the event being co-sponsored by school itself is doubly wrong.”
“I share the anger and shock of many of my constituents and colleagues who are appalled that Brooklyn College would deem it appropriate to sponsor and host this type of hateful, offensive event. I am especially disappointed in the lack of judgment from Brooklyn College’s administration. Institutions like Brooklyn College that rely on public funding and support must ensure they do not serve as an outlet for groups spreading divisive, odious anti-Israel messages,” said Councilman Greenfield.
The CUNY schools, including Brooklyn College, heavily rely on funding from the tax dollars of the State and City of New York. Every year these schools ask their local legislators for additional funding to support programs and events. The Council Members expressed their belief that events such as this one are not what the taxpayers of New York City – many of whom would feel demonized and targeted by this event – would want their tax dollars spent on.
The Council Members have called on President Gould to either cancel this event or remove any official sponsorship or support.