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Bloomberg defends Brooklyn College’s right to host BDS event

JTA

February 7, 2013 | 11:07 am

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York on Jan. 29. Photo by Robert Miller/Reuters

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York on Jan. 29. Photo by Robert Miller/Reuters

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the right of the publicly funded Brooklyn College to sponsor an anti-Israel BDS conference.

Bloomberg said Wednesday at City Hall that though he "violently" disagrees with the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, a university should be free to sponsor a forum on any topic, The New York Times reported.

Thursday's event at the college will feature Omar Barghouti, the co-founder of the BDS, and Judith Butler, an academic who openly speaks sympathetically about Hamas and Hezbollah.

The college's political science faculty is an official co-sponsor for the event. The primary host is the Brooklyn College Students for Justice in Palestine, a group that says it is aimed at “helping end Israeli apartheid and the illegal occupation of Palestine.”

Members of the City Council threatened to withhold funding it provides to the college if the program goes forward, which the mayor rejected.

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