Judith Butler, Magnet for Critics, Voicing Truths She Sees

Judith-ButlerLast August I wrote about philosopher and author Judith Butler and her critics who wanted the Adorno Prize she’d been awarded by the city of Frankfurt to be denied her. I was glad that the critics’ demands were unavailing. My post from last summer focused on her beliefs about Israel and Palestine, and about the fact that in a twist of circumstance, I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, with Judith’s father as my dentist. I knew Judith’s sister, Diane. Our parents were friendly, too. As the tweet above indicates, this week Judith was again the target of critics, when a speech she gave at Brooklyn College drew protesters critical of her support for the B.D.S movement, which advocates Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel for its policies in the Occupied Territories and the West Bank.

For my part, I believe in co-existence and a two-state solution. I abhor the policies of the Netanyahu government, and believe that its construction of settlements on land that should be the subject of negotiation marginalizes reasonable voices on all sides, making a peaceful solution an ever-diminishing prospect. I condemn intolerance, hateful rhetoric, and violence. I do not share all of Judith Butler’s positions, but I emphatically support her right of self-expression and applaud the decision of Brooklyn College to uphold the principles of free speech and academic freedom, allowing her to speak this week, even in the face of critics who wanted the event canceled.

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