Open Letter to Glenn Greenwald Regarding Brooklyn College
It is crystal clear that the political science department's co-sponsorship and endorsement of these extremist speakers does constitute an endorsement of BDS. The best proof is that they have refused to endorse anti-BDS events or even pro-Israel speakers who advocate the two state solution and an end to the settlements. If you can't see through the charade of the political science department 's claim of neutrality, then you don't deserve to be a journalist.
Dear Mr. Greenwald:
Before I respond to your questions I have two questions for you:
1. Are your editors aware that you are an active participant in the controversy at Brooklyn College about which you are writing—that you have threatened to cancel your speech if the event is cancelled?
2. Are your readers going to be made aware of your bias in this matter?
Now to answer your questions. First, I hope you will emphasize that I would be completely opposed to any cancellation of the event. As I have written in all of my articles, I want the event to go forward. My sole objection is to the fact that the political science department has officially "endorsed" and "co-sponsored" the event.
Your absurd comparison between this highly politicized advocacy event and the Konefsky lectures reveals your bias. I was selected to give the Konefsky lecture by the Konefsky family about 40 years ago. It was an entirely academic lecture. Much of it was devoted to memorializing my great professor, Samuel Konefsky (who would be appalled by the invocation of his name for the support of BDS.) I have no problem with an academic department sponsoring an academic lecture. I would be just as opposed to the political science department endorsing and co-sponsoring an event advocated increased Israeli settlement on the West Bank. (Of course the political science department would never sponsor such an event.)
If and when I come to Brooklyn College to speak against BDS, I do not expect the event to be co-sponsored by the political science department. It will be sponsored by student and outside groups, as this event should be.
I am opposed to any officials trying to stop the BDS event from taking place. But I think it is perfectly appropriate for all concerned citizens to speak to the issue of principle. Namely: whether departments, which include students who are taking classes, should be officially endorsing highly contentious and divisive issues. What if the political science department had decided to officially endorse Mitt Romney's campaign for president? You would be jumping up and down in furry. If you don't like that analogy, you would be jumping just as high if the political science department , or any other department, were to sponsor an event by pro-settlement advocates demanding more building in the West Bank. I believe there should be a rule prohibiting any department from co-sponsoring or endorsing one sided political events that are not academic in nature. Any other approach denies academic freedom to students who disagree with the official political line of the department and risks putting them in fear of being downgraded or otherwise discriminated against for deviating from the "party line." Every school I've ever been associated with has such a rule. At Harvard, professors can't even use their official Harvard stationary to advocate political positions. They are, of course, free to do so with their own stationary and without the university's imprimatur.
In this case, it is crystal clear that the political science department's co-sponsorship and endorsement of these extremist speakers does constitute an endorsement of BDS. The best proof is that they have refused to endorse anti-BDS events or even pro-Israel speakers who advocate the two state solution and an end to the settlements. If you can't see through the charade of the political science department 's claim of neutrality, then you don't deserve to be a journalist.
Of course advocates of a movement should be able to gather at an event to debate tactics and strategies without having someone there who objects to the movement itself. The absurd way in which you pose the question again reveals your bias. Do you know anyone who objects to the BDS movement gathering to debate among themselves? Do you think that the political science department should officially sponsor and endorse such an unacademic meeting that deals with tactics and strategies? Would you favor the political science department endorsing or sponsoring a gathering of Republicans debating tactics and strategies as to how to roll back healthcare reform or how to pack the Supreme Court? I don't think I've ever heard a more ridiculous analogy or question. I would expect you to hide your bias with a little more subtlety.
I am sending a copy of this letter to the editor of the Guardian, because I don't trust you—as an advocate—to report my views fairly and in context. I am also publishing your letter and mine online as a further protection against your anticipated mischaracterization of my views based on your history and your advocacy position. I hope you will surprise me and actually present my views fairly, fully and in context.
Alan M. Dershowitz
Harvard Law School
Letter from Glenn Greenwald to Alan Dershowitz
From: Glenn Greenwald
Sent: Friday, February 01, 2013 3:36 AM
To: Alan Dershowitz
Subject: From Glenn Greenwald/THE GUARDIAN
Professor Dershowitz - I'm writing a piece on the controversy over the BDS event at Brooklyn College. I have a few of questions:
(1) You yourself have previously spoken at this college, including when you delivered the Political Science Department's annual Konefsky Lecture (coincidentally, I'm giving that same lecture next month at Brooklyn College).
On that occasion, you spoke alone. You've spoken alone on other occasions at the school. Why is that different? Should they have had someone next to you who disagrees with your views? Did you request that?
(2) As a long-time advocate of free speech and academic freedom, do you view it as concerning that local political officials are now trying to interfere in BC's events and dictate to the PoliSci deparmtent how they should hold such events?
(3) Why shouldn't advocates of a movement be able to gather at an event to debate tactics and strategies without having someone there who objects to the movement itself?
(4) PoliSci departments host a wide range of speakers. Indeed, the one at BC hosted you. Is it fair to view their sponsorship of an event as an endorsement of the ideas expressed by the participants?
Reader comments on this item
|Leftist/Socialist Hypocrisy [37 words]||Edward||Feb 3, 2013 06:40|
|Well Said [13 words]||James||Feb 3, 2013 03:19|
|"Kauft nicht bei Juden" [94 words]||Rita||Feb 3, 2013 01:53|
Comment on this item
by Burak Bekdil
Where Turkey stands today is a perfect example of how, when Islamists -- mild or otherwise -- rule a county, even the most basic liberties are systematically suppressed.
"A climate of fear has emerged in Turkey." — Hasam Kilic, President, Turkey's Constitutional Court.
The prosecutor demanded a heavier penalty for the victim than for her torturers.
The European Commission identified government interference in the judiciary and bans imposed on social media as the major sources of concern regarding Turkey's candidacy for full membership.
by Khaled Abu Toameh
To understand what drives a young Palestinian to carry out such a deadly attack, one needs to look at the statements of Palestinian Authority leaders during the past few weeks.
The anti-Israel campaign of incitement reached its peak with Abbas's speech at the UN a few weeks ago, when he accused Israel of waging a "war of genocide" in the Gaza Strip. Abbas made no reference to Hamas's crimes against both Israelis and Palestinians.
Whatever his motives, it is clear that the man who carried out the most recent attack, was influenced by the messages that Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership have been sending their people.
by Richard Kemp
Would General Allen -- or any other general today -- recommend contracting out his country's defenses if it were his country at stake? Of course not.
The Iranian regime remains dedicated to undermining and ultimately destroying the State of Israel. The Islamic State also has Israel in its sights and would certainly use the West Bank as a point from which to attack, if it were open to them.
There can be no two-state solution and no sovereign Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan, however desirable those things might be. The stark military reality is that Israel cannot withdraw its forces from the West Bank.
Fatah leaders ally themselves with the terrorists of Hamas, and, like Hamas, they continue to reject the every existence of the State of Israel.
If Western leaders actually want to help, they should use all diplomatic and economic means to make it clear to the Palestinians that they will never achieve an independent and sovereign state while they remain set on the destruction of the State of Israel.
by Louis René Beres
The Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO], forerunner of today's Palestinian Authority, was founded in 1964, three years before Israel came into the unintended control of the West Bank and Gaza. What therefore was the PLO planning to "liberate"?
Why does no one expect the Palestinians to cease all deliberate and random violence against Israeli civilians before being considered for admission to statehood?
On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States endorsed a "Mandate for Palestine," confirming the right of Jews to settle anywhere they chose between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. This is the core American legacy of support for a Jewish State that President Obama now somehow fails to recall.
A sovereign state of Palestine, as identified by the Arabs -- a Muslim land occupied by "Palestinian" Arabs -- has never existed; not before 1948, and not before 1967. From the start, it was, and continues to be, the Arab states -- not Israel -- that became the core impediment to Palestinian sovereignty.
by Timon Dias
It looks as if this new law is meant to serve as a severe roadblock to parties that would like to dismantle the EU in a democratic and peaceful way from within.
A rather dull semantic trick pro-EU figures usually apply, is calling their opponents "anti-Europe."