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Friday, December 19, 2014

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Brooklyn College department to co-sponsor BDS event

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NEW YORK — The political science department at Brooklyn College reportedly will be an official co-sponsor for an event in support of the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement.

The Feb. 7 event will feature Omar Barghouti, the co-founder of the BDS movement, and Judith Butler, a Jewish academic who openly speaks sympathetically about Hamas and Hezbollah, according to the New York Daily News, which wrote an opinion piece decrying the event.

Barghouti has  compared Israelis to Nazis, according to the newspaper.

A representative from the college, however, said the event does not demonstrate that the department endorses the BDS movement, which advocates the boycott of Israeli products, but that the “department’s support is simply for providing a forum for discussion and debate about the topic. Nothing else is implied.”

The primary host of the event is the Brooklyn College Students for Justice in Palestine, a group that says it is aimed at “helping end Israeli apartheid and the illegal occupation of Palestine.”

The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of New York strongly condemned the college’s decision to lend its name to the event, writing to JTA that “while we vigorously defend academic freedom, we believe that these freedoms do not extend to faculty and academic bodies exploiting their association with the university to enhance their biased and hateful agenda.”

The JCRC called on the political science department to remove its name from event.

Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz has referred to the BDS movement as one of the most “immoral, illegal and despicable concepts around academia today.”

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