The New York Times is reporting that the CUNY Board of Trustees is plannign an emergency meeting Monday to reconsider the decision to drop Tony Kushner from their list of honorary degree recipients for this year.
I think we can all pat ourselves on the back for this one, but really, the decision was so outrageous, there was hardly any support for the revolting behavior of Jeffrey Wiesenfeld.
I have no doubt that the CUNY trustees were simply cowed by Wiesenfeld, and thought they were taking a path of least resistance. That’s usually how it is with such bodies. University trustees are notoriously leery of controversy, because any controversy tends to be of concern to the parents of prospective students and to donors.
But in this case, they simply underestimated how widespread the opposition would be. Hell, even Ed Koch, another degree recipient and certainly not one who sees Arabs and Muslims, much less Kushner’s views, in a positive light, objected in very strong terms. He even called for CUNY to kick Wiesenfeld off the Board of Trustees, and I can only hoep that plea also doesn’t fall on deaf ears.
Good news here, but until some sense of reason can be brought to debate on the Israel-Palestine conflict and, most particularly, to the US role in it, it’s only a drop in the ocean.
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We’ve had many zingers like this one–episodes that we were sure would trigger a truly broad, open debate. But this one will probably disappear like all the previous ones.
Unless, of course, Wiesenfeld really does get kicked off the board of trustees like Finkelstein was pretty much kicked out of de Paul. We need to see a few bigoted Zionists made examples of.
On another topic, if anyone’s interested, Chas Freeman has yet another blunt-as-a-sledghammer speeches online at the Middle East Policy Council:
I hope that if CUNY donors DO curtail their giving, the NAMES of important newly-non-donors will be publicized and their reasons, if given. Wiesenfeld was HONEST and HORRIBLE. May all the pro-Israel world-of-donors learn from it.
If, by way of making up for this horror, CUNY sponsors one or more conferences on Israel/Palestine — without litmus tests for the scholars invited to take part — the world (and CUNY’s world) will be improved, I hope to an increase of donations rather than otherwise.
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