Internationally-acclaimed author and poet Alice Walker is among the most recent persons to sign on to a statement expressing support for free speech at Brooklyn College in the face of a campaign of defamation and threats by Zionist organizations and politicians.
The attacks on Brooklyn College were started by anti-Palestinian demagogue Alan Dershowitz, who denounced a planned 7 February event on boycott, divestment and sanctions, featuring Omar Barghouti and philosopher Judith Butler.
“We deplore the efforts of politicians and others to bully student activists and faculty and to smear supporters of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel as anti-Semites,” the statement signed by Walker begins.
Others who have spoken out in support of Brooklyn College include Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters.
Bullying and threats to funding
New York politicians have even threatened the funding of Brooklyn College, part of the City University of New York, unless it toes their political line and suppresses criticism of Israel.
Lew Fidler, Assistant Majority Leader of the New York City Council, and one of the ring leaders of the attack on free speech at Brooklyn College denounced Barghouti and Butler as “anti-Semitic fools.”
As David Letwin wrote for The Electronic Intifada, many other politicians “jumped on the bandwagon” even calling for the resignation of Brooklyn College president Karen Gould.
In a 4 February letter to Gould, the Center for Constitutional Rights applauded Gould for “standing strongly in favor of academic freedom” and urged the college to “continue its principled stance in the face of increasing efforts to suppress speech expressing a viewpoint sympathetic to the Palestinian cause for freedom and equality.”
Brooklyn College SJP calls for support
Yet as the attacks continue, Brooklyn College Students for Justice in Palestine have called for support. The group has provided links for people to sign on to statements of support, as well as names and contact information for officials and model letters.