Assemblymembers Dov Hikind and Steve Cymbrowitz along with former NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson addressed a huge gathering of students, faculty and press this morning at Brooklyn College to strongly criticize Brooklyn College for officially co-sponsoring an anti-Israel lecture featuring a well-known racist. The event “BDS Movement Against Israel,” which is scheduled to take place on the Brooklyn College campus on February 7, will be co-sponsored by Brooklyn College’s Political Science Department.
“This lecture, which is funded by tax dollars, gives a platform to the BDS movement, whose goal is to delegitimize Israel’s existence,” said Assemblyman Hikind. “Like its philosophical brothers in Hamas, BDS aims to eliminate the State of Israel from the map. Only its tactics differ from its terrorist cousins: While Hamas blows up busses of innocent men, women and children, BDS works to isolate Israelis, to cut them off from business.”
“This isn’t an issue of freedom of speech. This isn’t about having a dialogue. This is about the City’s University, which uses public funds, officially sponsoring speakers who call for the annihilation of the State of Israel; speakers who praise Hamas and Hezbollah. I asked President Gould to just withdraw the official support of the Political Science Department because that support is the City University giving its endorsement. Do that and we have no issue. They can go on and have their hateful forum. But President Gould doesn’t get it.”
The Brooklyn College Political Science Department co-sponsored event invites students to hear seasoned propagandist Omar Barghouti, founder of the BDS, who has compared Israelis to Nazis and added that he won’t take a lecture from a “white person”. Barghouti will be joined by Judith Butler, an apologist for Hamas and Hezbollah.
Assemblyman Hikind’s office reached out numerous times to Paisley Currah, chairman of the Brooklyn College Political Science Department. Currah would not accept his calls, nor calls from other elected officials. Hikind called Currah a coward.
In addition to former NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson, numerous elected officials turned out this morning to condemn Brooklyn College’s sponsorship of the BDS event, including: NYS Senator Eric Adams, NYS Senator John Sampson, NYS Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs, NYS Assemblyman Alan Maisel, NYS Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz, NYS Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, NYC Councilman David Greenfield and NYC Councilman Mike Nelson.
Also in attendance were Helen Freedman, Executive Director, Americans For a Safe Israel, as well as Ari Kagan (a leader in the Russian Jewish community) and Wolf Sender, District Manager, Brooklyn Community Board 12. Dr. Rina Yarmish (Chairperson, Mathematics & Computer Science, Kingsborough Community College) addressed the crowd and delivered comments from CUNY Trustee Jeff Wiesenfeld. Joey Saban, a Brooklyn College sophomore, also addressed the crowd.