Letter to the New York Times Regarding Op-Ed on BDS

The following letter was submitted to The New York Times in response to "Anti-Zionists Deserve Free Speech" (April 16).

To the Editor:

Re “Anti-Zionists Deserve Free Speech” (column, April 16):

Michelle Goldberg would have a legitimate point to make if she had limited her argument to the decision to bar the entry of Omar Barghouti to the United States.

As despicable as his views are — as the founder of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, he is clear that B.D.S. intends to delegitimize the state of Israel, which he seeks to dismantle — there is an argument to be made that that should not have disqualified him from entering the United States.

But Ms. Goldberg uses the decision blocking Mr. Barghouti’s entry to brand critics of B.D.S. as denying the right of free speech to anti-Israel activists on campus. In reality, B.D.S. activities and speakers abound on campuses around the country, even though their actions often stoke anti-Semitism and intimidate Jewish students.

Underlying her argument is an attempt to stifle the legitimate outrage that so many Americans, Jews and non-Jews, have about a concerted effort to delegitimize Israel, America’s ally.

Ms. Goldberg can argue Israel politics and policies all she wants, but she should not fail to acknowledge that delegitimization of Israel is not only offensive in itself but also dehumanizes and endangers innocent people.

Kenneth Jacobson
Deputy National Director
Anti-Defamation League