CUNY’s Law Faculty Unanimously Endorsed a Student-Led BDS Resolution—after CUNY’s Chancellor Unequivocally Rejected It

Last December, the student government of the City University of New York (CUNY) Law School adopted a resolution endorsing, “proudly and unapologetically,” the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. At the time, CUNY’s chancellor Felix Matos Rodriguez cited a 2016 executive order from then-Governor Andrew Cuomo, which, he argued, precluded the public law school from participating in or supporting BDS. The matter might have ended there, Steven Lubet suggests, noting that many similar BDS initiatives at schools across the country have produced little practical effect. Last month, however, the law-school faculty council unanimously endorsed the student resolution, a move that Lubet argues “might jeopardize the law school’s legitimacy.”

The student government’s impressively researched boycott resolution covers six pages, with twenty paragraphs of accusations against Israel and 26 footnotes. It protests every conceivable university connection to Israel, from using Dell computers (because CEO Michael Dell “is an Israel backer”), to free tuition for NYPD officers (because of their exchange programs with Israel), to serving Sabra hummus.

It gets worse. . . . The scope of [the student government resolution] is only revealed by a link in a footnote, which leads to an extensive BDS website. A few clicks will then take readers to the “Guidelines for the International Academic Boycott of Israel,” which include “the cancellation or annulment of events, activities, agreements, or projects involving Israeli academic institutions or that otherwise promote the normalization of Israel in the global academy, [including] conferences, symposia, workshops, book and museum exhibits.”

If honored by any law school, these limitations would constitute a blatant violation of academic freedom for future teachers, scholars, or students interested in understanding Israel—beyond its purported crimes—in their research or education. At a public law school, such sweeping viewpoint restrictions on conferences, symposia and book exhibits—prohibiting anything that “normalizes” Israel—also violate the First Amendment.

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Read more at The Hill

More about: Academia, BDS, First Amendment

Salman Rushdie and the Western Apologists for Those Who Wish Him Dead

Aug. 17 2022

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a fatwa (religious ruling) in 1989 calling for believers to murder the novelist Salman Rushdie due to the content of his novel, The Satanic Verses. Over the years, two of the book’s translators have been stabbed—one fatally—and numerous others have been injured or killed in attempts to follow the ayatollah’s writ. Last week, an American Shiite Muslim came closer than his many predecessors to killing Rushdie, stabbing him multiple times and leaving him in critical condition. Graeme Wood comments on those intellectuals in the West who have exuded sympathy for the stabbers:

In 1989, the reaction to the fatwa was split three ways: some supported it; some opposed it; and some opposed it, to be sure, but still wanted everyone to know how bad Rushdie and his novel were. This last faction, Team To Be Sure, took the West to task for elevating this troublesome man and his insulting book, whose devilry could have been averted had others been more attuned to the sensibilities of the offended.

The fumes are still rising off of this last group. The former president Jimmy Carter was, at the time of the original fatwa, the most prominent American to suggest that the crime of murder should be balanced against Rushdie’s crime of blasphemy. The ayatollah’s death sentence “caused writers and public officials in Western nations to become almost exclusively preoccupied with the author’s rights,” Carter wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times. Well, yes. Carter did not only say that many Muslims were offended and wished violence on Rushdie; that was simply a matter of fact, reported frequently in the news pages. He took to the op-ed page to add his view that these fanatics had a point. “While Rushdie’s First Amendment freedoms are important,” he wrote, “we have tended to promote him and his book with little acknowledgment that it is a direct insult to those millions of Moslems whose sacred beliefs have been violated.” Never mind that millions of Muslims take no offense at all, and are insulted by the implication that they should.

Over the past two decades, our culture has been Carterized. We have conceded moral authority to howling mobs, and the louder the howls, the more we have agreed that the howls were worth heeding. The novelist Hanif Kureishi has said that “nobody would have the [courage]” to write The Satanic Verses today. More precisely, nobody would publish it, because sensitivity readers would notice the theological delicacy of the book’s title and plot. The ayatollahs have trained them well, and social-media disasters of recent years have reinforced the lesson: don’t publish books that get you criticized, either by semiliterate fanatics on the other side of the world or by semiliterate fanatics on this one.

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Read more at Atlantic

More about: Ayatollah Khomeini, Freedom of Speech, Iran, Islamism, Jimmy Carter