Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, the bomb-throwing CUNY trustee who has blocked John Jay College from awarding the playwright Tony Kushner an honorary degree, told me a few minutes ago that, as the child of Holocaust survivors, he has no choice but to call out Kushner for making the "blood-libel charge" that Israel has engaged in ethnic-cleansing.
"My mother would call Tony Kushner a kapo," he said in a telephone conversation earlier this morning. "Kapos" were Jews who worked for the Germans in concentration camps. "If I'm confronted by anti-Semitism in my face, I'm going to call it out." I asked him if he had any doubt Kushner was an anti-Semite. He said: "Anyone who accuses the Jews of ethnic-cleansing is participating in a blood libel, so yes, he's a Jewish anti-Semite." (I disagreed with Wiesenfeld's view here).
Wiesenfeld told me it is this specific charge -- that Israel was built on a campaign of ethnic cleansing -- that caused him to actively oppose the granting of an honorary degree to Kushner. "I've been on the CUNY board since 1999, and every year we have two or three honorary degrees on each of our 20 campuses. There have been people who have been critical of Israel in this group, but I never opposed them. Criticizing Israel is not a disqualifier. I wouldn't vote for such a person for public office, but this doesn't make them anti-Semitic."