Editor’s note: The David Horowitz Freedom Center has prepared a report on the “Top Ten College Administrations Most Friendly to Terrorists and Hostile to the First Amendment.” These campuses provide financial and institutional support to terrorist-linked campus organizations such as the Hamas-funded hate-group Students for Justice in Palestine while actively suppressing speech critical of Israel’s terrorist adversaries and their allies in the United States. Frontpage will be highlighting one campus from this report each day. Brooklyn College is the first school to be named to this list.
The Freedom Center has also claimed credit for posters that appeared today on the campus of Brooklyn College depicting Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) as a puppet of Hamas terrorists and denouncing convicted terrorist Rasmieh Odeh as a “Terrorist Murderer” who is nonetheless exalted as a “Hero to SJP and JVP.” JVP is the acronym for the organization Jewish Voice for Peace, which like SJP supports the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Both posters contain the hashtag #NoSupportForCampusTerrorists. These posters serve as a challenge to the Brooklyn College administration to defend speech that exposes the truth about SJP and its ties to terrorism.
Brooklyn College: Michelle J.Anderson, President
At Brooklyn College, President Michelle Anderson responded to posters protesting the links between the campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine and Hamas by tearing them down and denouncing their sponsor, the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Anderson emphasized that Brooklyn College’s status as a public university and its obligation to uphold the First Amendment did not in her view extend to speech she considered, without proof or substantiation, “hateful” or “bullying.”
President Anderson failed to address the posters’ central claim that Students for Justice in Palestine is funded by the terrorist organization Hamas, and exists to spread Hamas’s genocidal propaganda against Israel and the Jews. Instead, she cited the widely-discredited smear site of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as the basis for her criticism of the Freedom Center.
Anderson’s response included lofty passages about the importance of free speech and intellectual diversity on a college campus including this one: “Academic freedom not only prevents the suppression of dissident views; it also forces us to confront those whose beliefs are antithetical to our own. The opportunity to have one’s beliefs challenged, to reflect, and to consider change is the very purpose of a university. Free speech, debate, and the open exchange of ideas are the oxygen of our existence on this campus. We must engage.”
Yet she exempted the Freedom Center from these protections by calling its posters “hate speech” – which in any case is constitutionally protected – and defended her decision to tear them down with the following reasoning: “The images and words were frightening and hostile to both supporters of SJP and advocates of free speech on campus, including many Jews. In particular, they targeted individual SJP leaders with the aim of bullying them and making them vulnerable to additional harassment or worse.”
Anderson’s defense of SJP illustrates the intellectual double-standards accepted by administration officials at Brooklyn College. She claims that SJP’s hate speech – in particular its genocidal claims that Israel is an “apartheid state,” and the historical absurdity that Gaza terrorists are “freedom fighters” - are protected speech under the First Amendment while the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s well documented revelation that SJP is promoting Hamas propaganda lies is not.
Brooklyn College SJP has posted articles and videos online defending terrorism including an advertisement titled “The Third Intifada” on its Facebook page. It has hosted speakers promoting the Hamas-inspired Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, and even staged an event to publicize its refusal to enter a dialogue with pro-Israel organizations and students. And a gang of 10 anti-Israel activists stormed a campus faculty meeting in February 2016, calling one faculty member a “Zionist pig” and issuing demands for “Zionists off campus.”
Anderson admits that “in years past, some have felt offended by SJP’s protests and have asked the Brooklyn College administration to ban the student group.” But then adds sanctimoniously, “We cannot.” But when given an opportunity to actually defend “dissident views”—which on the campus of Brooklyn College includes the view that SJP is a pawn of anti-Jewish terrorists—Anderson’s First Amendment concerns suddenly disappear.