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ADL Troubled by Planned Appearance of Anti-Israel Activists at Brooklyn College

  • November 13, 2013

New York, NY, November 13, 2013 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today said it was deeply troubled that two upcoming programs featuring unabashed haters of Israel are being co-sponsored by the political science and sociology departments of Brooklyn College.

“While we are strongly committed to the principles of academic freedom and free speech, we believe that official college sponsorship of a program featuring speakers who use vitriolic rhetoric to condemn Israel and who do not recognize the Jewish state’s right to exist is beyond the pale,” said Evan R. Bernstein, ADL New York Regional Director.  “We are troubled by the political science and sociology departments’ willingness to co-sponsor these talks, which provides some measure of support to the views of the speakers.”

            One of the featured speakers, Ben White, has defended former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s heinous comments denying the Holocaust and calling for Israel’s decimation, charged that Zionism is inherently anti-democratic and has described Israel as an “apartheid state,” including within its pre-1967 borders – an extreme position far outside legitimate criticism of Israel.

            White, who will be speaking at Brooklyn College on November 14, is a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel and has called for a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which would result in the dismantlement of Israel as a Jewish state.

            Josh Ruebner, the National Advocacy Director of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, a coalition of hundreds of anti-Israel groups that recently made ADL’s 2013 “Top Ten Anti-Israel Groups in America” list, is scheduled to speak at the College on November 13.  Ruebner claims that the “Israel lobby” controls the U.S. government and he has legitimized Palestinian terrorism as a result of Israeli policy.

Both White and Ruebner have used Holocaust analogies to demonize Israel. In a November 2007 article, White alleged that Palestinians were forced to endure “death-marches” at the hands of the Israeli government. He has claimed that Israel exploits the memory of the Holocaust in order to justify its so-called oppression of the Palestinian people, believing that it is justifiable “as long as it falls short of what was experienced by the Jews in Nazi Europe.”

“We also find it deeply offensive that the political science department saw fit to post on its website that it was ‘pleased’ to co-sponsor these events, thereby further legitimizing and giving a stamp of approval to extreme anti-Israel messages,” Mr. Bernstein said.  “These speakers have the right to hold – and express – their views, however academic departments at a respected institution such as Brooklyn College do not need to give them a platform and legitimacy.”

            In February 2013, the political science department at Brooklyn College co-sponsored a similarly offensive program featuring supporters of the BDS movement. At the time, Brooklyn College President Karen Gould appropriately issued a statement distancing the institution from BDS.


The Anti-Defamation League is the leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.  Follow us on Twitter: @ADL_News

Source: ADL