Brooklyn, NY – Controversial College Event With Anti-Israel Speakers Goes On Calmly Amid Protesters (video)


Tensions were evident everywhere as two pro-Palestinian speakers arrived Thursday night at Brooklyn College. Protesters began gathering across the street from the student center, where the college-sponsored talk was scheduled, more than an hour before the event was to start. Photo: Stefano Giovannini/ Brooklyn, NY – An event at Brooklyn College calling for boycotts and sanctions against Israel went off calmly Thursday with the panelists speaking to a largely supportive crowd.

The college had been criticized for a lecture co-sponsored by the college’s political science department and by a student-run group called Students for Justice in Palestine. It featured speakers from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, which supports boycotts it likens to the anti-apartheid movement against South Africa to compel Israel in its policies toward Palestinians.

Protesters outside as the anti-Israel event went on. Video: Stefano Giovannini/

Critics had said a publicly funded college should not sponsor an anti-Israel lecture. The college said sponsorship is not the same thing as an endorsement, and figures like Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke in favor of free speech in supporting the school’s decision to hold the event while condemning the content.

Speakers Omar Barghouti and Judith Butler outlined the aims of the movement, which include calls for Israel to withdraw from disputed areas and for Palestinian refugees to be allowed to return to where they came from.

“It is time for Palestinians’ freedom, justice and equality,” Barghouti said.

The security to get into the event was tight, with people straggling in even after it had begun. The audience of about 200 people listened quietly, many breaking into applause when the event was over and speaking mostly positively in the question session.

“I anticipated more antagonistic questions,” said Elaine Smith, 61, who’s from Brooklyn, attended with her husband and daughter. “I was pleased that it wasn’t.”

One slight disruption occurred when a group of 4 students holding material from a group against BDS were asked to either hand it over or leave, according to Melanie Goldberg, 1 of the students. The students were escorted out when they didn’t turn over the material, she said.

Outside the student center, a few dozen protesters stood behind metal barricades, holding signs against BDS.

“When a political science department of the university co-sponsors an event and gets involved, I see that as them taking sides, and the university should be neutral,” said Dina Yanofsky, 18, a first-year student at the college.

Brooklyn College is part of the City University of New York.

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    • Calling someone a liberal, as if it’s a dirty word, has become a popular way of downgrading the opinions of many people who are passionate Zionists and are fervently against Hamas and other terrorist organizations. If I love Israel, and also support social security and Medicaid for your grandparents and social security and Medicare for your parents, and against reductions in force for civil service workers, and against the elimination of pensions for civil service workers, and against pay freezes for civil service workers, and for inexpensive food programs for your poor brothers in Williamsburgh, does that make me a liberal? Then I plead guilty. If I disagree with that blowhard Rush Limbaugh, and that squeaky clean choir boy Sean Hannity, and that bombastic patriot Marc Leven, who constantly quotes from the Constitution as if he is a direct descendant of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, all of whom support the NRA and the unqualified right to bear arms, and all of whom believe that global warming is a phony issue, does that make me a liberal? Guilty as charged. Meanwhile, I will continue to honor my yizkor pledges and put money in the tzedakah box. BTW, OBL is dead. .

  1. and garaunteed had it been de OTHER way aroun muslim protesters wouldve heckled, threatened etc etc as prooven 10 times over lekaim mah shenemar ‘vehu yiyah peraH ADAM’

  2. A few years ago at Concordia University, it was a pro-Israeli speaker who came to speak and pro-‘Palestinian’ groups who were protesting outside.

    The animals protesting started smashing windows, attacking people, blocking doorways and acting so violent, that the event had to be cancelled.

    Muslims always claim “free-speech”, but they’ll never GRANT “free-speech”.

    • Yes I remember that. Didn’t a catoonist get shot when he used free speech in Denmark? It is such hypocricy to say it is free speech when they did not allow an opposing view. Alan Dershowits wants a second debate now with Isreals point of view let us see if he gets that. And if he does, will protesters use violence to stop it. Wait and see.

  3. Good point. I hope lots of pictures were taken of those who attended and clapped. They are the ones who allow suicide bombers to be given a green light, all for the cause. They are the potential terrorists of tomorrow. yes many a terrorist had an MD degree and got trained in US Universities. Not all, but just saying, watch them .


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