The Jewish Museum in New York has come under fire for featuring Jewish anti-Zionist, BDS-backing professor Judith Butler at an upcoming event, according to a report in The Algemeiner.
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Israeli artist and professor Dahn Hiuni told The Algemeiner he was “speechless" that the museum invited Butler to a discussion about the writer Franz Kafka, scheduled for March 6.
But, he said, he wasn't surprised, accusing Chief Curator Norman Kleeblatt of liking to "travel in those academic circles."
“As PhDs in art history, they are aligned with ultra-left, politically correct bodies, such as the College Art Association (CAA), where there is much anti-Israel sentiment," Hiuni was quoted as saying.
Butler is a professor of comparative literature and critical theory at University of California, Berkeley, and also holds posts at Columbia University and the European Graduate School. She has authored numerous books and essays on philosophy, feminism and queer theory, and has also been an outspoken critic of Israel's policies toward the Palestinians.
Last year, she was among the speakers at an event at Brooklyn College that was cosponsored by a student group and the college’s political science department. That discussion prompted an uproar from pro-Israel groups, who said the event amounted to a tacit endorsement of BDS, or the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel. That event ended up going ahead as scheduled and attracting some 200 attendees.
The Jewish Museum defended its decision to host Butler, issuing a statement to The Algemeiner through its communications department. “Dialogue and the sharing of multiple perspectives related to art and Jewish culture are central to The Jewish Museum’s public programs,” it said.
“Judith Butler is a noted scholar and author who has lectured and written extensively on Franz Kafka,” it went on. “Her politics were not a factor in her participation. Program speakers are chosen on the basis of their expertise in the subject to be discussed not their personal political views.”