• In addition, a New York Daily News reporter wearing a kippah was allegedly barred from the event, even though other members of the press were present. According to someone who claimed to be in line waiting to be admitted SJP people allowed in members of the public who were not on any pre-registration list. Yonah Fredman wrote in a talkback to an Algemeiner article that he believed he was not admitted because he was speaking against the BDS movement while waiting in line.
• Ten minutes later, the four students were approached by Carlos Guzman (Guzman, the SJP president at Hunter College, is not affiliated with Brooklyn College), who asked them to hand over their printed material. Goldberg gave him one copy, but refused to hand them all over.
According to Goldberg, this is what happened next:
“Let me reiterate that I was quiet this entire time at the event, that I was not disruptive, nor was I disseminating the material. Audio and video files from the event can prove that. Carlos then came very close to my face and threatened to have me forcibly removed if I did not hand all my documents over. I refused, turning to VP Morales for help. She was standing at the door to the event at the moment this was going on and I was sitting four seats in. She made eye contact with me but turned away, leaving my classmates and me to deal with security on our own.” When the four students were escorted out of the room by security, Goldberg said she turned to the college’s vice president for student affairs, Milga Morales, to ask her why she was being evicted. “Her answer shocked me,” Goldberg wrote, “and therefore I remember it, word for word. She said, ‘it’s their event and they’re calling the shots.’” When the students who had been ejected complained that all they were doing was, in Goldberg’s words, “simply taking notes so we could ask informed questions like we were encouraged to do by the school and Political Science Department.”
REASON FOR EXPULSION ACCORDING TO SJP
The official statement by the SJP denied that anyone was denied entrance to the event or was ejected for any reasons other than lack of space or because the students were being disruptive:
“The individuals in question were speaking loudly enough to prompt people sitting around them to ask them to be quiet. They were talking, shuffling papers, and moving noisily around in their seats for several minutes, while Dr. Butler was talking, prompting complaints from other attendees sitting nearby.”
The SJP further stated that they removed the students “after consulting with security, after they failed to comply with requests to be quiet.”
To bolster their contention that they did not discriminate, the SJP statement includes a claim that other supporters have made elsewhere: “There were many Jewish students and non-students in attendance, with varying viewpoints on the subject, some of whom asked challenging questions during the question and answer period.”
The presence of Jews at the BDS event and whether that means the Expelled Four were not removed for a discriminatory reason is one that will undoubtedly be examined during the official investigation.
However, some who claimed there were Jews present were clearly referring to two very visible members of the Naturie Karta sect, a vehemently anti-Zionist offshoot of Judasim whose adherents pose hugging Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, appear at events aimed at De-Judaizing Al Quds (the Arabic name for Jerusalem) and protest at most major pro-Israel events.
EVIDENCE THAT STUDENTS WERE NOT DISRUPTIVE The clearest evidence that the Expelled Four were not creating a disruption at the BDS event is an audiotape of that event which was made public by the Algemeiner on February 12. “The recording device was positioned only two rows in front of the Jewish students and was able to clearly pick up the voice of Judith Butler several rows ahead.” Listen to the recording here; no disturbance can be heard, although some laughter, noises from outside the building, and even the clicking of pens is audible. It isn’t until Goldberg is heard asking why she had to turn over her written material that voices other than Judith Butler’s are heard at all.
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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