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September 26, 2016 / 23 Elul, 5776
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Civil Rights Violations, Lies & Audiotape: B’klyn College Still in Spotlight

We are now in a situation where there seems to be no two ways about it - someone is lying, maybe several people. And school officials, both administration representatives as well as faculty members were on the scene - so if the students were unfairly ejected, an apology will hardly suffice.

Jews Who Were Allowed in to Brooklyn College BDS Event

Jews Who Were Allowed in to Brooklyn College BDS Event
Photo Credit: Facebook Image

In addition to Morales, Ernesto Mora, media relations manager, senior vice president for finance and administration Joseph Giovanelli, and Donald A. Wenz, director of campus and community safety services were all on the scene, although Thompson repeatedly stated that all were in and out of the room and the building at various times, so it is unlikely any of them were present for all of the event.

Given that the students who were ejected were present in the room for such a short time, Thompson agreed that whatever disturbances were reported may have solely been what began only after the SJP member asked Goldberg to hand over her papers.

THE ALGEMEINER AUDIOTAPE CHANGED EVERYTHING When the existence of an audiotape revealed that there was no disturbance – which is consistent with the initial reports by those supportive of the event – and in fact it was so quiet in the room during Butler’s speech that people yelling outside could be heard through the walls, but no protests from within the room – an iron wall of silence came down.

Nobody was talking.  Well, almost nobody.

Alex Kane, who when interviewed immediately after the event said the BDS speakers were well received and it was an exemplary audience, suddenly had a different story to tell.

Kane found a thin splinter of dissent and he proceeded to use it as a sledgehammer, attacking the Daily News and the Tablet for “publicizing one side of the story while omitting claims that complicate the story.  I did not clearly see the incident, so I can’t definitively say who is right and who is wrong. But it’s the height of journalistic irresponsibility to publicize one narrative while leaving out another side of the story that complicates things greatly.”

Notwithstanding his earlier unequivocal statement that everything both outside and inside the event went off without any problems, Kane was now quoting SJP members who claimed the Expelled Four were disruptive, and invoked the statement from Thompson to support his claim.

But he then seizes upon the Holy Grail – someone whom he claims is an unbiased witness!  Brooklyn College student Emma Snyders, wrote in a talkback to Goldberg’s Facebook posting, “I was directly in front of you and had to ask you to be quiet numerous times before you were asked to leave. While leaving someone you were with yelled, ‘This is a violation of our freedom of speech.’”

It remains unclear how it is that Snyders, who claimed to be in the row in front of the Expelled Four, could not be heard telling them to be quiet on the discovered audiotape of the event, given that she was just one row behind the Algemeiner‘s audiotape source.  But what’s also odd is that Snyder suddenly disappeared after making this comment, even though she was answered by Ari Ziegler less than an hour later.

We’ll get to Ziegler’s response in a moment, but first, it’s worth noting that Kane had to place what he called an “update” – others might have called it a correction – on his report that the Expelled Four were not “distributing” the written material, as he had originally reported.  What were they doing?  “They were passing out flyers amongst themselves.”

And Kane also ignored his own advice.  Although his article was posted on Feb. 12, Snyder’s comment appeared on Facebook on February 10, at 10:30 a.m.  And Ziegler’s response to Snyder, very politely clarifying his own positions (opposed to BDS, not opposed to the event or the political science sponsorship) and asking her to please explain how she could describe his behavior or that of his three companions as disruptive.  A portion of his lengthy comment – to which Snyder did not respond, nor did she respond to a request for comment from The Jewish Press – describes what he thought and experienced, and he was clearly asking for an explanation for how she could have understood it otherwise.

Ziegler wrote:

Emma, I’m sorry that you felt uncomfortable and I agree with you that Judith Butler is an amazingly articulate speaker and spoke quite logically from what I heard (I was one of the students removed before the end of her prepared remarks.) However, I must say that there was only one instance of speech from us that might be construed as disruptive or unsettling and that was after we were asked to hand over our info sheets or be forcibly removed. The instance of yelling “This is a violation of our freedom of speech,” was as we were leaving, as you rightly pointed out. But it was not in response to the event at all. Rather it was in response to the apparent reason that the organizing member was giving us for kicking us out, that we wouldn’t hand in our info sheets which would later inform our questions had we been allowed to ask. I’m curious what it was that we said that was not quiet or respectful, and since you were directly in front of us then perhaps you can tell me a bit about that.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the U.S. correspondent for The Jewish Press. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com


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