February 5, 2013, New York, NY - Yesterday, the Center for Consititutional Rights sent a letter to Brooklyn College President Karen Gould commending her for her principled stand for academic freedom and free speech in the face of a concerted campaign to shut down a student-organized event on the growing movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. The letter puts the pressure that Brooklyn College has faced in the context of a nation-wide effort on college campuses and beyond to silence advocacy for Palestinian rights, and shield Israel from scrutiny for its decades-long occupation and subjugation of Palestinians.
President Gould has been under intense pressure from right-wing Israel advocates like Alan Dershowitz and New York City Council Members that have threatened to withhold the College’s funding if the event is not canceled or a College department’s co-sponsorship of the event is not removed. Such a threat is likely a violation of the First Amendment. The letter urges Ms. Gould to recognize that opposition to the event is based entirely on political objections to the viewpoint expressed, and that the gross mischaracterization of Palestinian rights advocates and the movement for BDS as fueled by hate and anti-Semitism is a distraction from efforts to censor one side of an important international political issue.
To read the full letter, click here.
* Today, Brooklyn College's Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) organized a press conference to address these censorship efforts. SJP member Sarah Aly read a statement on behalf of the Center for Constitutional Rights and the National Lawyers Guild. To read the statement, click here.
February 7, 2013