2 thoughts on “Protest CUNY’s Rejection of Kushner Honorary Degree – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. As a member of a board, Mr. Wiesenfeld is responsible for speaking up and casting a vote according to his conscience – as opposed to rubber stamping any motion that comes past the body – and that is what he did. It is his privilege and his responsibility. The institution is responsible for protecting him from public abuse for doing his duty. You won’t have much of a board if you don’t.

    Second, nobody is entitled to an honorary degree. It’s ridiculous to go around demanding an honor, as Tony Kushner is doing. And since the honor was officially for his artistic achievements, I’ll add that “Angels in America” is not a great play. People who set fashion claim that it is. But if you press intelligent theatergoers, you will find that not so many of them really love the play; they just know they’re supposed to love it, and are scared that if they don’t, they’ll sound retrograde or homophobic or some such.

    Finally, CUNY should not use the weight and prestige of the institution to honor an extremist. Not an extremist of any kind. And Tony Kushner has in fact accused America’s ally Israel of ethnic cleansing (on the authority of Benny Morris, who has since retracted his own statements). He actively supports efforts to boycott and otherwise damage Israel’s ability to exist. In fact, he supports people who deny the right to exist to Israel – alone among all the nations on the planet! I call that extremism.

    It is precisely for that political extremism, more than for his art, that his supporters want to honor him.

    Nahma Sandrow
    Professor Emerita, Bronx Community College

    1. You’re a member of CUNY’s board of trustees? If so, I can see how the board got itself into hot water. All I can say is thank God chairman Schmidt sees this issue with common sense as opposed to the nonsense you bring to it.

      Tony Kushner NEVER demanded an honorary degree & yr characterization is a lie. He was offered a degree by John Jay College and that offer was withdrawn by the full board. Thankfully, the executive committee is meeting today to undo that unjust decision. YOU might want to take it up with the board & see if you can convene the full board to once again withdraw the nomination. That would put the school in a right awful mess. But this would no doubt please you to do so if you could.

      Wiesenfeld deserves no protection fr. anyone for making as ass of himself which he’s been doing for the past few yrs intruding himself in issues where he has no expertise like this one & Khalil Gibran.

      What does Angels in America have to do with anything? Are you saying he didn’t deserve his honorary degree because you’ve become a theater critic & decided the play didn’t deserve the universal honors and recognition it received world wide? And you’re prepared to substitute yr own judgement for the PUlitzer Committee?? And you’ve polled all these unknown theater goers who really don’t like the play very much? Who & where are they?

      Benny Morris did NOT retract any statements he made about Israel engaging in ethnic cleansing. In fact, what he has done is said that Israel should’ve engaged in MORE ethnic cleansing & not stopped when it did at expelling only 1 million. YOu don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t know what yr academic field is but you’d be much better off sticking to it & not putting yr nose in areas about which you know so little.

      You’ve also lied about Kushner’s alleged support for an Israeli boycott, which he does NOT support. If any one is an extremist here it’s you, sister. I’m so glad that you are on emeritus status. They really should put you out to pasture.

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