But several intrepid pro-Israel students ultimately gained access to the event, armed with factual material they intended to distribute at the conclusion of the event, and with points they hoped to raise during the question and answer session.
The Greek chorus chanting academic freedom and diversity of views and free speech who insisted the one-sided anti-Israel BDS panel be hosted at Brooklyn College somehow became mute when it came to the rights of pro-Israel students. The four were not only not permitted to share their views, they were rounded up and forced from the room within minutes of entering the event, and later publicly and officially labeled as troublemakers by the university.
Luckily a (different) pro-Israel student surreptitiously made an audio recording of the event from which it became clear that the pro-Israel students who had been expelled had not disrupted the BDS speakers or the other audience members. Were it not for the audio recording, the public castigation of those four pro-Israel students as troublemakers would have been the last word on the subject. Because the recording was made, however, Brooklyn College and its parent body, City University of New York, were compelled to institute an “independent” investigation and issue a report.
The report itself, while prepared by seemingly qualified legal experts, was deeply flawed. At this time, nearly a year after the infamous fascistic BDS event at Brooklyn College, three of the four pro-Israel students are still seeking appropriate responses from CUNY and the Brookyn College administration. Those students are Melanie Goldberg and Ari and Michael Ziegler.
The reason these three students merit placement on the list of pro-Israel bright lights is that, unlike the vast majority of pro-Israel victims of unfair treatment on U.S. campuses, they refused to simply accept the unfair treatment, even when it was endorsed or actually meted out by the administrations of their own academic institution.
It may seem like a small step. It isn’t. It requires enormous fortitude and those students, and all who supported them, deserve a great deal of credit.
11. Crossing back over to the other coast, we find a bright pro-Israel light at Claremont McKenna College in California. Yaron Raviv was a reluctant actor in the pro-and anti-Israel wars on campuses. But he came through not only by doing what was right, he has also refused to accept the enormously ugly vilification of him because of the steps he took.
Raviv is an economics professor at CMC. Although Israeli by birth, Raviv had not been overly involved in campus activism regarding the Middle East conflict.
But last spring, on March 4, a Jewish student called him, practically in tears over an anti-Israel event taking place at Claremont McKenna. Students from Pitzer College, one of the other schools in the Claremont Colleges Consortium, were blocking the entrance to a cafeteria at CMC. These were members of Students for Justice in Palestine, and they were dressed up as Israeli soldiers, pretending they were manning a checkpoint at the cafeteria entrance, demanding students show their college identification cards in order to pass the checkpoint and go into the cafeteria.
The Jewish students were upset after a day of encountering other ugly demonstrations at Pitzer. Raviv left his office where he had been grading papers, and went to the mock checkpoint. He observed that the SJP mock “checkpoint” violated school policy by blocking the entrance. Although the students moved several times when the cafeteria manger demanded they do so, they quickly filed back into a line blocking the door.
What followed was ugly.
Raviv claims the lead SJP student, Najib Hamideh, demanded Raviv show his identification, Raviv refused, but when Hamideh saw Raviv show the ID to a campus security officer whom Raviv had called, Hamideh shouted out: “You are faculty! We will hunt you down.” Raviv admitted he then cursed at the student and called him a “cockroach.” Hamideh insisted the term is a racial slur against Palestinian Arabs. Hamideh said he could not recall whether he said he would hunt down Raviv, but a CMC investigation found that others present heard him say it.
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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