Thursday, February 7, 2013


Yesterday, I was genuinely relieved to read a letter from “Progressive Elected Officials” to Brooklyn College President Karen Gould in which Gould—and by extension, Brooklyn College—was fully vindicated for taking such a daring, important academic stance in sponsoring “The BDS Movement Against Israel.”

Yes, I said sponsoring—not endorsing. They are two different things, apparently. In fact they might even be diametrically opposed concepts! My most important take-away from the letter, and the college’s elucidated position, was the clarification of the word sponsorship, which President Gould assures us does not in any way imply an endorsement.

Imagine my chagrin! For so many years I had mistakenly believed that sponsorship meant approval, backing, support. Did I acquire this notion as a student myself at Brooklyn College, or did I receive this misinformation later as an elected official?

In my bewilderment, I did a little research. I opened my Webster’s Dictionary. The ancient tome explains that a sponsor is “one who assumes responsibility for some other person or thing.”

Perhaps Webster’s is out of date, I thought (things do change so quickly these days!) So I found an Oxford Dictionary. And again I was baffled, because Oxford tells us that to sponsor is to “introduce and support.”

Did I say baffled? Perhaps I should say enlightened. Because if support means non-support, then sunshine means rain. Black means white and white means yolk. I shouldn’t be surprised to learn this at my age because 40 is the new 20. And concerned means everything’s a-okay. Just ask Brooklyn College.

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