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Vol. 54, No.4 March 09, 2011
The Patriot Returns presents commentary by Phil Orenstein, former QCC Faculty Member
Separating Fact from Fiction During
By Phil Orenstein
It is very sad to observe today's student and faculty bodies, in that supposed allies so often forsake their friends. It is particularly sad to observe students and faculty finding common cause with those who seek the destruction of the USA and its good ally, Israel.
Mark Twain said, “In the beginning of a change, the Patriot is a scarce man, brave, hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, however, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a Patriot.” This quote personifies not only Horowitz, but Yosef Sobol as well, a brave undergraduate student at Brooklyn College who singlehandedly organized the Horowitz event. Moreover Yosef was deserted by student campus groups whose stated purpose is to provide a voice for students. In order to host an event one needs the sponsorship of a campus organization. Yosef participated in and contributed to these groups during his entire college life, but they exhibited cowardice by refusing sponsorship of the event. Falsely citing Horowitz's political “litmus tests” (sic) the national board of directors of a major organization advised campus groups to avoid involvement. They fell in line.
Yosef persisted with individual supporters. The student organizations shamefully chose to stick their collective heads in the sand during “Israel Apartheid Week” at Brooklyn and campuses across the nation, allowing lies and myths to be disseminated about the State of Israel. Faculty members of good will and integrity should be standing strong and rallying to hear Horowitz educate the student body and challenge the nefarious myths and lies. The opposition will certainly be out in force aiming to obstruct and censor Horowitz's right to deliver his message, aiming to suppress academic freedom for Professor David Horowitz. Students have a right to hear the message.
Horowitz's life story has been a philosophical odyssey. He grew up in a communist family and took a leading role in the radical leftist movement of the sixties. His views have since matured. He is indeed one of the prominent conservative intellectuals of today. He embraces the goodness of America and of the West he once condemned. His journey ultimately led him to advocate for true academic freedom to tackle the widespread leftist agenda dominating college campuses. He originated the Academic Bill of Rights to end enforced political indoctrination by radical professors, to prevent discrimination against students and faculty who hold differing viewpoints and to re-establish open inquiry and critical thinking, all sorely lacking on today's campuses. In addition, he publishes FrontpageMagazine.com a popular online magazine featuring articles on “the war at home and abroad,” and runs DiscoverTheNetworks.org, an online database of the political Left and its networks. His umbrella organization, the David Horowitz Freedom Center, has as its mission the restoration and defense of America 's core values. He has tirelessly taken this message to college campuses across the nation via lectures, pamphlets, videos and educational online journals.
College campuses are often ideological battlegrounds and Horowitz has been on the front lines defending Israel, the only tolerant pluralistic democracy in the Middle East and the United States' most trusted ally. Students are subjected to attempts at indoctrination when professors purposefully provide unbalanced anti-Israel views. Such is the case at Brooklyn College, one of the campuses of the City University of New York. Brooklyn's Political Science Department recently hired an Islamist activist, Kristofer Petersen-Overton, an under-qualified graduate student (who has not even taken his qualifying exams) to teach a graduate-level course on Mideast politics. The course syllabus is one-sided, aiming to propagandize. Such courses often fail to discuss the murderous dictators of Arab regimes, or the bloody genocides in Rwanda and Darfur. The overwhelming focus is on Israel. And students are given a twisted, prejudiced view.
One nefarious tactic used by the totalitarian left is the obscene equating of Israel's policies of self- defense with the apartheid system of South Africa. Dozens of campuses across the nation hold annual hate-fests called “Israel Apartheid Week”, whose goal is to delegitimize our loyal ally. The week's activities and slogans add fuel to the global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement in order to end “Israeli Apartheid” (sic). The truth is that Israel, a multiracial society in which Arabs have equal rights (as contrasted with Arab countries where all non-Muslims are deprived of rights), is in fact the diametric opposite of South Africa, with its former system of institutional racial discrimination. Israel's defensive security barrier, which has saved many hundreds of innocent lives by preventing Palestinian suicide bombers and terrorist attacks, cannot be validly or legitimately compared with the “apartheid wall” and mock “checkpoints” propagated by false sloganeering.
Brooklyn College has been a linchpin in the informational war against Israel, with political hate theater and virulent anti-Israel speakers. A few months ago members of the Palestinian Club staged a mock Israeli "checkpoint," acting out the "brutal Israeli occupation" (sic). Last year, the Political Science Department hosted a speaking event called “Injustice then, Injustice Now” with the venomous Norman Finkelstein who called Israel a “terrorist state” and a “satanic state.” He openly expressed his support for Hezbollah which seeks the destruction of Israel. For “Israel Apartheid Week” the Palestinian Club hosted the screening of a film called “The Iron Wall” with a speaker from the pro-Palestinian group, Al-Awda leading a discussion on the so-called parallels of Israel today to apartheid South Africa.
To compound the atrocity, Al-Awda receives donations of funds from the Professional Staff Congress (PSC), the CUNY union of faculty and staff, with money funneled to Al-Awda through the organization NYCLAW (New York City Labor Against the War) in a money-laundering operation which attempts to cloud the identity of the recipient of those funds. These monies are dues monies, which are forcibly deducted from the paychecks of instructional staff.
Just like the widespread lies that enabled racial discrimination against Blacks, Hispanics and Jews before the 1960's, viewpoint discrimination is a fact of life on college campuses today, and at Brooklyn College in particular. The concept of diversity should not apply only to ethnic issues. Today, there is indeed a “litmus test” regarding faculty hiring and faculty speech on campus, with the pro-Israel side of the equation quashed by the totalitarian left.
The upcoming event, entitled “Israeli-Palestinian Conflict by David Horowitz: Myths and Facts” will shatter many false impressions and present the other side of the story to give students the opportunity to think for themselves.
Every point of view must and should be heard on campus. The battle for diversity of opinion needs to be waged by all concerned students, faculty, campus groups and taxpayers who foot the bill for the City University of New York.
The event will be held on Thursday, March 10 at 6pm, at Brooklyn College Library, Tanger Auditorium. For all interested parties other than Brooklyn College faculty and students who wish to attend and support this event, or for more information please email to HorowitzLectureBC@gmail.com.
Former Member of the Faculty
Sharad Karkhanis, Ph.D.