Anti-Israel Sarsour, Barghouti speak at University of Massachusetts BDS event

BDS founder Omar Barghouti joined the event via Skype because he was banned from entering the United States in April.

By World Israel News Staff

On Tuesday. a Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) event took place at the University of Massachusetts for the second time this year.

The event titled “Criminalizing Dissent: The Attack on BDS and Pro-Palestinian Speech” included anti-Israel activist Linda Sarsour,  BDS supporter Professor Cornel West from Harvard University, Palestine Legal founder Dima Khalidi, and anti-race activist Tim Wise.

BDS founder Omar Barghouti joined the event via Skype because he was banned from entering the United States in April.

University of Massachusetts at Amherst chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said in a statement last month that there was nothing he could do to cancel the event.

“Despite our concerns regarding this particular gathering, based on its title and past statements by its panelists, as a public institution UMass is bound by the First Amendment to the Constitution to apply a content-neutral standard when making facilities available to outside organizations,” Subbaswamy said. “For this reason, and in adherence to the principles of academic freedom, the university will take no steps to inhibit this event.”

However, Subbaswamy made it clear in his statement that the university remains firmly opposed to the BDS movement.

“Academic boycotts are antithetical to academic freedom and it is ironic that individuals, who rely upon that very freedom to make their case, should advocate for a movement, in BDS, that seeks to suppress it,” Subbaswamy said.

When outside organizations come onto our campus and give a high-profile platform for one-sided and divisive political positions that some view as deeply offensive, they are saying to valued members of our community that they don’t belong.”

“It is troubling that such a one-dimensional, polarizing event should take place on our campus. A panel discussion where only one perspective is shared does little to increase the understanding of such a complex topic like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” he added.