Posting at Democracy Project, Phil Orenstein recounts the latest developments regarding, one, the panic-stricken reversal by the City University of New York Board of Trustees of its decision not to award an honorary degree to anti-Israel extremist Tony Kushner; and, two, the torrent of protest loosed by assorted leftists on Trustee Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, who drove the board’s original ruling to withhold the degree from Kushner, on grounds that honoring any such extremists harms the university’s reputation.
As Orenstein notes, “there has also been a flood of individuals, faculty and Jewish groups of good conscience standing up for Wiesenfeld and calling for the board to reverse its reckless decision.”
In addition, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), an academic group representing 55,000 scholars, researchers, and students wrote to the Board of Trustees voicing their concern with its reversal of decision, which illustrates how “a distinguished university easily succumbs to political pressure,” and urging that they “act immediately to reverse this deeply uninformed decision.”
A Wall Street Journal opinion column joined in Wiesenfeld’s defense by observing that his ”‘mistake’ was not appreciating that hostility to Israel has become such a deeply embedded principle of the modern academy that objecting to it earns you denunciation as a censor and philistine.”
While the left can effortlessly mobilize academics, media and celebrities who show their anti-Israel bona fides, we patriotic scholars, students and citizens need to rally behind Wiesenfeld in his quest for justice. We need to tell the Board of Trustees to reverse its decision. We need to send a message to Kushner and his academic minions that instead of denouncing the State of Israel, they should save their outrage for the Arab dictatorships massacring their own citizens and widespread atrocities against millions of gays, women, Christians and political activists.