A spokesman for Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, told The Jerusalem Post on Friday that a talk with academic Dr. Angela Davis, a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign targeting the Jewish state, has been postponed.
When asked about a reported cancellation, Mark Apple, the interim director of Strategic Communications, said “I need to correct some misinformation. The program was postponed, not canceled.
The postponement had nothing to do with Dr. Davis’s political views or the content of her program. We expect to announce in the next 24 hours that we have a rescheduled date for the program.”
On March 30, various student organizations, including Students for Justice in Palestine and Muslim Student Association, announced in a statement that “Butler University administration canceled the April 1, 2021 event, Joint Struggle and Collective Liberation, which featured a conversation with the revolutionary author, abolitionist, and anti-racist activist Angela Davis.”
The statement said, “Days before Butler University’s shameless censorship of Dr. Angela Davis, the Student Government Association was bombarded by pressure from Zionist students who claimed to oppose Davis’s event because of her support for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.”
According to the statement, “This is not the first time that Zionists have attempted to deplatform Angela Davis for her supportive stance on Palestine.”
Dr. Asaf Romirowsky, executive director of the over 40,000 member organization Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, told the Post that “Davis is an outspoken supporter of the BDS movement in addition to making antisemitic comments in connection with her support of the Soviet Union’s suppression of Jewish dissidents. She was asked by some on the left to help Jews in the former Soviet Union and refused to.”
He added that “According to the university’s spokesman the talk is now being postponed. All of this highlights the kind of ‘tolerance’ universities have and to what limits they are willing to go to showcase their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion policies even if it means giving racists a platform. Antisemitism is racism yet with the normalization of it gets a pass from BDS supporters and activists who are abusing free speech and spreading hate speech.”
The university has an undergraduate enrollment of 4,685. University spokesman Apple declined to respond to the Post’s queries about Romirowsky’s criticism and whether the university is contributing to a rise in antisemitism by hosting Davis.
A query sent to Davis’s email at the University of Santa Cruz went unanswered. Davis has also faced criticism for her praise of former communist regimes including the highly repressive now-defunct German Democratic Republic in East Germany that was responsible for creating a mass surveillance state.