You can’t really call the controversy brewing at Brooklyn College this week a BDS fight since no BDS-related institutional discussion (much less a decision) is taking place, meaning no boycott or divestment activity is even being contemplated by the college.
Rather, you’ve got the start of yet another Omar Barghouti book tour (apparently he’s decided to blow off mid-terms at Tel Aviv U once again in order to travel the globe telling others to boycott the comforts he chooses to continue enjoying). And sharing the stage for this month’s Brooklyn performance is birthday clown turned incomprehensible academic Judith Butler (current holder of the Angst-Ridden-Pampered-Jewish-Academic-Who-Can’t-Abide-the-Embarrassment-Israel-is-Causing-Me-at-Dinner-Parties Chair at Berkeley).
If you look over the list of sponsors for the event, the usual categories emerge including:
- Organizations that exist solely to sling mud at the Jewish state (Adelah, Students for Justice in Palestine)
- War groups named in such a way to make you think they’re big, peace-loving and represent anyone but a tiny group of underemployed, Israel-hating fanatics (Brooklyn for Peace, NYU Students for Justice)
- Has-beens clinging to a brand they still think has caché (Occupy Wall Street Global Justice Working Group) – Hey, who do I need approval from to rename this site “Occupy Wall Street Divest This?”
- Groups willing to reveal their genuine militancy, so long as it gives them a rhyme to chant at the next riot (Existence is Resistance)
- The usual Jew-Washers (Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, Jewish Voice for Peace)
- Anomalies such as the Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender Association of Brooklyn College who SJP can use as a blast shield when asked why the BDS “movement” is allied with the most homophobic nations and groups on the face of the earth
In fact, there is nothing much unusual about the speakers, what they will say (I could give their speeches verbatim in exchange for a fifth of scotch, saving SJP the thousands they’re playing to bring Barghouti to town), or the sponsors.
With one exception.
For reasons still unknown (since no one is talking), the Political Science Department at Brooklyn College decided to lend their name to the event, despite the fact that departmental sponsorship of controversial events like this one is far from typical at Brooklyn College (which, like most schools, allows students the latitude to do and say any obnoxious nonsense they like, but avoid doing things that could be construed as lending the imprimatur of the institution to divisive events).
This being academia (and New York academia at that), all of the participants in the controversy are falling into their assigned roles, including:
- The Poli Sci department which, like most academic fiefdoms, cannot bring itself to admit it made a mistake
- The administration, failing miserably to keep everyone off its back while hunkered in their bunker waiting for the controversy to run its course
- Jewish organizations and city and state politicians lining up to take potshots at a school that has not only dropped its pants and put a target on its behind, but invited the whole city to give it a collective kick in the backside
- SJP et al who flew into martyrdom mode and began demanding that others stop suppressing (i.e., criticizing) them, while all the time gaffawing that – once again – it is someone else (Brooklyn College) that has to take the brunt of the backlash the boycotters decisions have caused
As noted above, Barghouti starting his “Do as I Say, Not as I Do” tour in January is about as newsworthy as the silence that befalls the “peace movement” he claims to represent whenever Hamas missiles start flying or the number of Syrians murdered by their government climbs towards six figures.
In fact, the only thing I find interesting about the whole mishagas is the fact that BDS continues to emit such stench that people who agree on almost nothing (i.e., the millions of New York Jews not in the ranks of the Israel haters and Jew washers) have no problem letting the world know that one of the few red lines that still exist is that regardless of who is in the “Big Tent,” BDS is outside it.