Brooklyn College student group defends booting Jewish students from controversial forum

 Protesters outside Brooklyn College supporting the BDS forum.

Protesters outside Brooklyn College supporting the BDS forum.

The pro-Palestinian student group that hosted a controversial forum at Brooklyn College defended tossing four Jewish students, despite audio showing no disruption.

The Students for Justice in Palestine charged the Jewish students were “speaking loudly” and “shuffling papers” and “moving noisily around in their seats for several minutes,” in a press release issued Thursday.

The four students have denied the charges.

CUNY officials are investigating why the students were ejected from the event last Thursday, which showcased the founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

BDS calls for “nonviolent punitive measures” against Israel to push the Jewish state to change its policy towards Palestinians. The organization also opposes a two-state solution, demanding Palestinian refugees be allowed to return to Jerusalem.

Campus police booted students Ari Ziegler, his brother, Michael, and friends Melanie Goldberg and Yvonne Juris at the behest of the pro—Palestine student group.

“I want an explanation for why we were removed,” Ziegler said. “We were sitting there with info sheets, and weren’t disrupting at all.”

College officials are also investigating why members of the media- including a Daily News reporter wearing a yarmulke-were blocked from attending the forum.

The student group hosting the event said it initially decided to block media at the request of one of the speakers, Judith Butler, whose speech was to be published online the same day.

But two reporters were allowed inside because they had registered, the group claims. The Daily News also reserved a seat online before the event but was still blocked from entering.

Meanwhile, a CUNY trustee blasted the handling of the event and called for broad changes into how department chairs are appointed.

“I will not stand by as the cancer of faux ‘academic freedom’ is used to malign people indiscriminately and damage the reputation of the university,” Jeff Wiesenfeld told reporters Thursday.

He suggested that department chairs be selected by college presidents. Currently, they are chosen by professors in each department The event was co-sponsored by the college’s political science department.

The change is a long shot, as it would require a new state law and has been vehemently opposed by the union representing city professors.

rblau@nydailynews.com

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