We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Many Jews and decent liberals are having a “consciousness-raising” experience. The three incidents at CUNY this past academic year honoring extremist foes of Israel, and throwing up chaff about academic freedom to distract, have struck to the quick in New York City and spread throughout the country. The contamination in our core institutions of the blatant Israel-hate that has melded the far left and Palestinian apologists and advocates has activated a ground-swell of reaction. Can this be the start of a roll-back? Yes, as more and more Americans speak up in defense of Western values and strike back at those who undermine them.
The Obama-CYA, George Soros funded, Palestinians apologists of J-Street, leftist Jews, defended Tony Kushner receiving an honorary degree from CUNY as “a victory for all of those in the Jewish community and beyond who cherish freedom of speech and are unwilling to punish people for the content of their political views.”
The Jewish Community Relations Council of New York has written to the Chair of the Board of Trustees at CUNY, Benno Schmidt, and to CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein. This Council represents approximately fifty Jewish organizations (including the ADL, AJC, Hadassah, Hillel, Jewish National Fund, Young Israel, New York Board of Rabbis, UJA, Union of Reform Judaism, the Orthodox Union, the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, ZOA, the American Sephardi Association, etc.) and is headed by some Major Jewish Players.
We are troubled though that it appears that the explicit right and duty of a CUNY Trustee under Policy 1.19 – to express his/her views and vote his/her conscience – are now being challenged….We believe that academic freedom cannot be exclusively limited to faculty and/or students. Indeed, that right applies to all sectors of the academy, including Trustees. We are shocked that people – including zealous advocates of academic freedom and free speech – have called for a Trustee’s removal because they disagree with his ideas and/or his desire to articulate them. Mr. Wiesenfeld’s freedom to state his views and opinions – whether one agrees with him or not – is equal to the freedom granted to faculty, students or even honorary degree nominees.
There are of course other contexts in which academic freedom is at stake, but the awarding of an honorary degree to Tony Kushner or anyone else isn’t one of them.
The 55,000 member Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, on 3500 worldwide campuses, wrote to the CUNY Board of Trustees to reverse the decision to grant an honorary degree to Tony Kushner:
By rejecting your earlier decision to table the nomination and put it up for discussion, you have, sadly, abrogated your responsibility….
The roll-back needs your active involvement in your house of worship, in your alma mater, in your newspaper. This is a "tea party" requiring all to attend.
UPDATE: Tony Kushner, on Facebook, says, " it seems like with each successive fight around the Israel-Palestine issue (first Moustafa Bayoumi, then Kristofer, now this), our side gets stronger and stronger." Kushner calls for "You want Wiesenfeld off the Board? Organize for it..."Now let's make a bigger, f-ing deal. Go to it, folks!" Bring it on, Tony, as you cement your and your allies reps lower than already. Kushner titles his post, "We Won." Kushner, you've won a whoppin'.