Boycott Israel Backer Judith Butler Pulls Out of Jewish Museum Appearance

Prof 'Withdraws' — Talk on Franz Kafka Cancelled

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By Michael Kaplan

Published February 20, 2014.
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The Jewish Museum in New York has scrapped a talk that included a planned appearance by Israel critic Judith Butler after Butler pulled out of the event amid pressure from supporters of the Jewish state.

“I cancelled the event,” Butler told the Forward in an email.

Judith Butler
Judith Butler

Butler was set to speak at an event about the late existentialist artist, Franz Kafka. But many supporters of Israel took issue with the museum’s decision to invite the controversial literary studies professor, given her strongly critical views on Israel and her support for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanction Movement.

“While her political views were not a factor in her participation, the debates about her politics have become a distraction making it impossible to present the conversation about Kafka as intended,” the museum said in a statement.

Butler is a professor of comparative literature and critical theory at the University of California, Berkeley and also holds positions at Columbia University and the European Graduate School.

She said in a statement that she regretted having to scrap the talk.

“I was very much looking forward to the discussion of Kafka in The Jewish Museum, and to affirm the value of Kafka’s literary work in that setting,” Butler said in a statement released by the museum.

A spokesperson from the museum has confirmed that the talk, which was set to also include the museum’s deputy director Jens Hoffmann, was cancelled.


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