Mayor Bloomberg yesterday chimed in on the latest Israel-related scandal to hit Brooklyn College, and he did not mince words! Asked about an event being held at the school today which will include some anti-Israeli opinions the mayor made his opinion crystal clear.
"I couldn't disagree more violently with BDS, as they call it, boycott, divestment, and sanctions. As you know I'm a big supporter of Israel, as big a one as I think you can find in the city," Hizzoner said. However, "If you want to go to a university where the government decides what kinds of subjects are fit for discussion, I suggest you apply to a school in North Korea."
"The last thing we need is for members of our City Council or state legislature to micromanage the kinds of programs that our public universities run and to base funding decisions on the political views of professors," he went on. "I can't think of anything that would be more destructive to a university and its students."
Bloomberg was responding to a threat made by City Councilman Lewis Fidler who last month threatened to take away funding for the school if it didn't back away from the event. "We believe in the principle of academic freedom," he wrote. "However, we also believe in the principle of not supporting schools whose programs we, and our constituents, find to be odious and wrong."). And Bloomberg is far from alone. Others siding with the school in the matter include the NYCLU (their letter on the issue is great) and mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn who yesterday said that she thinks "this event is deplorable — I think it is an anti-Israel event" but qualified her opinion by saying "That said, Brooklyn College has the right to have whatever events it wants to have. I don’t think whatever programming they do or don’t do should have any relevance on their funding or any of their other standing as an academic institution.
And so the event tonight—which includes two speakers from the B.D.S. movement—will go on. And so will everybody's lives.