Jewish Voice for Peace Commends Brooklyn College for Hosting Forum on BDS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Brooklyn, NY, January 31st—Jewish Voice for Peace released earier this week the following letter of support sent to Karen Gould, President of Brooklyn College, in response to pressure to rescind sponsorship or cancel an event on Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), scheduled for February 7th:
Dear President Gould,
I am writing on behalf of Jewish Voice for Peace in appreciation of Brooklyn College’s support for free speech and open political debate. We commend you for supporting your Political Science department’s co-sponsorship of an event on February 7th about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement featuring Omar Barghouti, a leading Palestinian rights activist, and world-renowned Professor Judith Butler.
Recent efforts to shut down this event are a deplorable attack on free speech that has no place on a college campus. As an organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for equality and human rights for all the people of Palestine and Israel, we are especially troubled by the allegations that this event is anti-Jewish. Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions are non-violent tools with a long history of being used by civil society to make social change. Two recent examples include the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and the civil rights movement here in the United States.
Contrary to reports in the media, the BDS movement has a broad array of support, including from Jewish students and community members. In no way can it be construed as anti-Semitic. We urge you to look with skepticism on any claims to speak for the Jewish community in New York, which we know to hold a wide array of opinions on this issue. In fact, our New York chapter is a co-sponsor of this event.
We urge you to continue to stand up to the pressure being exerted against this important event and in defense of free speech on campus.
Executive Director, Jewish Voice for Peace
Carolyn Klassen, Coordinator of the New York JVP chapter added, “JVP-NY is proud to be co-sponsoring this important event. We have the greatest respect for the work of Omar Barghouti and Judith Butler and are grateful that Brooklyn College is not giving in to fear-mongering and baseless accusations of anti-Semitism."
Jewish Voice for Peace is a national grassroots peace organization dedicated to promoting a US foreign policy in the Middle East based on equality, human rights and respect for international law. With offices in New York and Oakland, CA, over 135,000 supporters, 35 chapters, an active Rabbinical Council and youth wing, and a Board of Advisors that includes Judith Butler, Tony Kushner, Ed Asner, Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky, Eve Ensler and others.