When will the doors of Freedom be opened at America’s universities?

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff


This morning I received a very short email from Kris simply stating that Zionist pressure worked. I was let go. I want to get very loud over this and will be appealing. The department and many colleagues are behind me. I have attached a press release.There will be coverage in the Daily News and Post tomorrow.

Kris Petersen

Hopefully the situation will soon change.

Here is the Press Release that was attached;

CUNY Provost Intervenes To Cancel Appointment of Controversial Brooklyn College Professor: Grave Implications For Academic Freedom

Kristofer Petersen-Overton, a political science doctoral student at the CUNY Graduate Center, has been fired from his position as an adjunct professor at Brooklyn College one week before his course on Middle East politics was slated to begin.

The case was taken up by the Brooklyn College administration after a student enrolled in his course raised concerns that Mr. Petersen-Overton’s alleged pro-Palestinian bias would prevent him from conducting a balanced seminar. The student expressed these concerns with the political science department but agreed not to pursue further action until after the course actually began. However, this student contacted state Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who then characterized Mr. Petersen-Overton as “pro-suicide bomber” in a letter to the college President.

In a response sent to Hamodia newspaper on Wednesday, Mr. Petersen-Overton expressed concerns “that a state official would denounce my work so strongly without, apparently, having offered it more than a cursory reading. [Hikind’s] press release … is slander pure and simple.” Mr. Petersen-Overton emphasized that his work has little to do with suicide bombers and that Mr. Hikind deliberately twisted his conclusions to make it appear otherwise.

“I was not contacted by Brooklyn College administration at any time during their decision-making process. This politically motivated action undermines CUNY’s longstanding legacy as a stalwart defender of academic freedom,” Mr. Petersen-Overton said.

The allegations against Mr. Petersen-Overton center on time he spent in the Gaza Strip working for the Palestinian Center for Human Rights and on an unpublished scholarly paper that analyzes the symbolic place of martyrdom in Palestinian nationalism. Petersen-Overton’s detractors also took issue with the fact that, according to his personal website, he still maintains “close contact” with the Palestinian activist community.

Mr. Petersen-Overton’s academic work deals broadly with issues of identity formation in Israel and Palestine.

# # #

And here is how New York’s two tabloids reported the story today…


Kristofer Petersen-Overton, Brooklyn College prof, says he was fired for pro-Palestinian politics

Brooklyn College spokesman said Kristofer Petersen-Overton was fired for not having a Ph.D.  

Brooklyn College spokesman said Kristofer Petersen-Overton was fired for not having a Ph.D.

A Brooklyn College professor says he got canned because of pressure from a local pol angry over the teacher’s pro-Palestinian politics.

A college spokesman said Kristofer Petersen-Overton, 26, was dropped Wednesday from teaching a Middle East politics class because he didn’t have a Ph.D.

“[He] simply did not have the credentials to be teaching at the graduate level,” said spokesman Jeremy Thompson.

But the adjunct prof says he thinks he was fired because Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) complained to City University of New York Chancellor Matthew Goldstein about the course reading list .

“It’s pretty clear that this was politically motivated,” said Petersen-Overton. “I don’t blame the pro-Israel crowd. I blame the administration for caving in to the pressure.”

The dismissal came one day after Hikind fumed to Goldstein about the syllabus – which he said included many anti-Israel books – and Petersen-Overton’s internship in 2007 with the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. “This guy was literally radical and one-sided,” said Hikind. “Whatever your point of view is, if you’re a teacher you’re supposed to present both sides.”


and from the New York Post…..

‘Anti-Israel’ prof canned

Brooklyn College yesterday fired an adjunct professor teaching a class on Middle East politics just hours after a state assemblyman accused him of supporting Palestinian suicide bombers.

Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) faxed a letter to the college president, Dr. Karen Gould, on Monday expressing his reservations about Kristofer Petersen-Overton.

Hikind said yesterday that Petersen-Overton, 26, has written several academic papers that are anti-Israeli and attempt to understand suicide bombers.

Hikind told The Post that after he was alerted by students, he reviewed the proposed curriculum and saw about 50 books listed — all of which blamed Israel for problems in the region.

“Not one of them presents another point of view,” Hikind said.

Petersen-Overton, a doctoral student at CUNY’s Graduate Center, said Hikind’s accusations were “slander, pure and simple.”

The Jewish newspaper Hamodia this week quoted Petersen-Overton on suicide bombers, saying , “I certainly do not condone such heinous acts.”

Jeremy Thompson, a spokesman for Brooklyn College, said that Petersen-Overton was bumped from the classroom because he was not “sufficiently qualified,” since he is “very early on in his doctoral studies.”

Thompson said that Hikind’s accusations had no bearing on the decision and that Petersen-Overton should never been have hired in the first place.


Letters in support of Kris’ reinstatement can be sent to;

Office of the Provost (William A. Tramontano)
Brooklyn College
2900 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11210
Let’s flood his email box by writing to… tramontano@brooklyn.cuny.edu
Or by calling….




University is closed today due to heavy snow…. so best to email


  1. January 27, 2011 at 15:05

    […] A pro-Palestinian supporter of Kristofer Peterson shares Peterson's email to him: “I was not contacted by Brooklyn College administration at any time during their […]

  2. Big Man said,

    January 27, 2011 at 18:07

    And our education system was to be about learning and discussion of ideas, etc.
    Zionism is apparently against all that our country stands for.

  3. January 27, 2011 at 19:15

    […] ZIONISM TRIUMPHS OVER REASON AT BROOKLYN COLLEGE « Desertpeace. January 27th, 2011 | Category: Uncategorized | Leave a comment | […]

  4. nyctower@gmail.com said,

    January 27, 2011 at 21:04

    could someone get me a copy of the proposed curriculum so i can see for myself what the fuss is all about?



  5. ilektra said,

    January 27, 2011 at 22:08


    Click here and you can download it:

  6. AD said,

    January 27, 2011 at 22:22

    “Whatever your point of view is, if you’re a teacher you’re supposed to present both sides.”
    And when exactly do the zionists present both sides?

  7. Oliver said,

    January 27, 2011 at 23:52

    Present both sides? You mean the official Zionist narrative, which for the most part is pure fiction. Perhaps he would not have been fired had his course syllabus included readings by Alan Dershowitz or Dore Gold.

  8. Glenn said,

    January 28, 2011 at 02:05

    Strangely enough, when I attended Brooklyn College back in 2001, I had a core class which was on the middle east and africa. Half the semester was on Africa, particularly South Africa and Nelson Mandela, the middle eastern half was solely on Islamic history including teachings of the Quran. The African half was taught by a black woman while the Islamic half was taught by an Orthodox Jewish man.
    Any chance he had he put down Islam, how the Islamic calendar is not conducive the the rest of western civilization and he also pointed out that the problem with Islam was they needed a war against each other, like the Christians had, in a sense, with the protestant reformation. Obviously he neglected to mention that Judaism needs the same between those of faith and zionism.
    As a graduate of Brooklyn College I find this disturbing but I am not shocked by it. With the social and religious make up of the college could clearly see this Happening. I remember when the Hillel group had some IMF soldiers speak to them in their building and those in charge at Hillel were disappointed that the soldiers were not allowed to be in full uniform while outside the building.

  9. January 28, 2011 at 02:39

    As Kristofer’s father, I am keenly disappointed with this decision. One of the things that I love about a free country is enjoying the right to maintain and express opinions without fear of discrimination or prejudice. I served in the US military for almost all of my adult life because I believe in protecting individual freedoms, and I believe that all nations have an obligation to set a good example in this regard. This decision does not appear to be a good example. I have no fluency on the issue at hand, but I know why I served and I believe that this decision is counter to the fundamental principles of that service.

    What is particularly painful for me is that an inaccurate, irrational, and indefensible accusation from Assemblyman Dov Hikind was quickly followed by Kris’ removal, which would suggest that the leadership of the school is in agreement with the Assemblyman’s opinion. If that is not true, then the only other conclusion that I can reach is that the decision demonstrated a deplorable lack of moral courage. Kris has never condoned violence of any kind and never could. I believe on that topic, I am completely fluent.

    From a purely academic perspective, I am currently enrolled in an EMBA program at Rochester Institute of Technology. I can write with certainty that one of my most important sources of learning comes through robust dialog with others in my class (or with my Professors) who hold conflicting opinions. While I am not an educator, suppressing the opportunity for such interaction does not make sense to me.

    As a father, I may not always agree with the opinions of my children, but I respect and honor their right to have them and I am proud when they have the courage to express them, even if those opinions are unpopular. How else can any of us continue to learn?

    One of the biggest complaints in the US today is that the truth is often hidden because people in authority give in to special interests groups, lobbyists, and individuals who pay or use political power to have their position pushed to the forefront…often squashing opposing opinions. I imagine that it would be impossible to stop that behavior in politics due to its very nature, but I would not have expected an academic institution to “fold” so easily and so quickly.


    Mark D. Petersen-Overton,
    Captain, USN (ret)

  10. ReadingThis said,

    January 28, 2011 at 14:35

    Remember Rachel Corrie?
    These zeolots will stop at nothing. Why do you think idealism will protect you?

    Remember 9/11. There, you can see the depth of darkness, which will stop at nothing, until it is totally exposed. It must be exposed, or it will continue to fester.

  11. February 1, 2011 at 19:04

    […] Kris Petersen-Overton has been rehired at Brooklyn College. Background info can be seen HERE. Thanks to all of our readers and supporters for coming not only to his defense, but to the […]

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