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February 5, 2013

2013.02.05: Defend Academic Freedom for Palestinian Rights at Brooklyn College

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Tuesday, February 05, 2013 11:25 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Defend Academic Freedom for Palestinian Rights at Brooklyn College

In Defense of Civil Liberties
Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW 2325, February 21, 2002
History teaches that our civil liberties and democratic rights are most endangered—and most essential—during times of crisis. ALAA, therefore, supports and endorses all efforts to defend these freedoms against attacks such as those discussed above.



Ways you can help Brooklyn College Student for Justice in Palestine
Please join us in showing support for our school administration, and encouraging them to continue to support academic freedom and expression on campus. Below you can find the contact details of school admins and sample letters to send, and a statement individuals and groups can sign on to.

Today, 1 p.m.: Brooklyn College SJP to Hold Press Conference in Support of Brooklyn College’s Continued Support for Academic Freedom and Expression on Campus
On Tuesday afternoon at 1 PM ET, members and supporters of the Brooklyn College chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) will hold a press conference to address the escalating attacks led by city and state politicians and lawyer Alan Dershowitz against the Brooklyn College administration following the political science department’s co-sponsorship of an upcoming event organized by SJP.

Background and Context

Glenn Greenwald: NYC officials threaten funding of Brooklyn College over Israel event
That’s what free speech and academic freedom are about: the right to freely air and advocate for any and all viewpoints, even ones that “offend” people. Few things threaten those critical values more than elected officials threatening to punish colleges for hosting such events. But that’s exactly what is taking place right now in New York.

Litmus Tests
Such intimidation chills debate and makes a mockery of the ideals of academic freedom.

MSNBC host calls push to shut down boycott discussion at Brooklyn College ‘outrageous and outright chilling’
Hayes says that some of those politicians “browbeating” the college have been on his show. Good liberals. Yes: Progressive Except Palestine, PEP.

The Tide Turns: Letitia James Backs Off From Threats to CUNY
It would be inappropriate to even imply that the Council use their power over CUNY’s budget to influence what issues are discussed on campus, or what groups are invited to engage in dialogue. Because I did not want to be misunderstood in my position, I removed myself from the letter.

Palestine Conditions “More Brutal” Than in U.S. South of 50 Years Ago, Says Author Alice Walker
“I respect that boycott [against Israel] in the same way that I respected the boycott when there was apartheid in South Africa. . . . I mean, they’ve essentially stolen what was all of Palestine.”

Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters backs Brooklyn College Israel boycott event
“You are standing up for truth and liberty. You believe that all men should be equal. “That you have come under attack from powerful political and media forces for trying to shed light on the predicament of the good peoples of Palestine and Israel is wrong. I stand with you.”

Jews for Palestinian Right of Return Stands With Brooklyn College BDS Event
Far from preaching “hate” or “anti-Semitism,” as those trying to suppress this event have falsely claimed, BDS resembles the heroic Montgomery bus boycott and South African anti-apartheid divestment campaign.

Dershowitz’s attack on boycott Israel campaign smacks of desperation
The obvious chasm between the democratic rhetoric and the racist reality of the “Jewish state” is widening so fast, revealing a hypocrisy so stark, so deeply embedded, and so discordant with modern notions of universal human rights, that the Dershowitzs, Hikinds, and Thompsons of the world have nothing left in their hands but the anti-Semitism card.


Union Free Speech Notice: Collective Bargaining Agreement, §§ 3.5 (“The expression of personal religious, political, social or economic beliefs of each and every attorney is fully guaranteed and will never constitute grounds for discharge or relief from an individual assignment unless, in either instance, it can be demonstrated that such expression has, or will, directly interfere(d) with, and detract from, representation of a Society client so as to render said representation less than at the highest level of competence and effectiveness.”) and 1.5 (“The Union will have reasonable use of the Society’s internal communication mechanisms.”).

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