[Last updated: December 17, 2016]
Here’s a link list for news articles and related resources about Far Right antisemite Christopher Bollyn’s appearance at the (formerly) “progressive” space Brooklyn Commons, and owner Melissa Ennen’s welcoming of the booking.
Ennen’s new career as a host for antisemites drew denunciations from a state senator, two city councilers, many of the tenants in the building, Jewish groups, and local Palestine Solidarity groups (both Jewish and not). International coverage included Haaretz, the Jerusalem Post, and the International Business Times. Even the orthodox Jewish press chimed in.
Ennen has tripled down on the booking and, in the WBAI interview, said she would welcome David Duke to speak there.
A second protest at the end of September, during an open mic, resulted in the non-violent protestors being attacked with, among among things, a mic stand and had a hot cup of coffee thrown on them – caught on video.
Daniel Sieradski, “Brooklyn Commons hosting antisemitic truther Christopher Bollyn,” Jewschool, September 3, 2016.
Mitchell Plitnick, “Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theorist Speaking At Progressive Sites in NYC and DC,” The Third Way, September 3, 2016, https://mitchellplitnick.com/2016/09/03/anti-semitic-conspiracy-theorist-speaking-at-progressive-sites-in-nyc-and-dc.
Mitchell Plitnick, “Busboys and Poets Cancels Christopher Bollyn Event!,” September 4, 2016, The Third Way, https://mitchellplitnick.com/2016/09/04/busboys-and-poets-cancels-christopher-bollyn-event.
Spencer Sunshine, “Far Right Conspiracy Theorist Christopher Bollyn to Speak at the Brooklyn Commons,” September 5, 2016.
Mitchell Plitnick, “Shame On Brooklyn Commons as Another Venue Cancels Bollyn Appearance (UPDATED),” September 5, 2016, https://mitchellplitnick.com/2016/09/05/shame-on-brooklyn-commons-as-another-venue-cancels-bollyn-appearance.
Tiffany Owens, “Leftist Groups Protest Controversial Scheduled Speaker at Brooklyn Commons Café,” BK Reader, September 6, 2016.
“Anti-Semitic 9/11 conspiracy theorist to speak at NY venue for progressive groups,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, September 6, 2016.
Lauren Gill, “‘Raging anti-Semite’ 9-11 truther speaking in Boerum Hill tonight,” Brooklyn Paper, September 7, 2016.
Gabriela Geselowitz, “Tonight: Protest an Anti-Semite,” Jewcy, September 7, 2016.
Naomi Dann, “The Jewish Left Needs To Call Out Real Anti-Semites Like Christopher Bollyn,” Forward, September 7, 2016.
Sam Kestenbaum, “Progressive Brooklyn Space Won’t Dump ‘Anti-Semitic 9/11 Conspiracy Nut’,” Forward, September 7, 2016.
David Schraub, “A Hip Leftist Hub is Hosting an Anti-Semite Today. Here’s What Progressives Must Learn From That,” Tablet, September 7, 2016, www.tabletmag.com/scroll/212755/a-hip-leftist-hub-is-hosting-an-anti-semite-today-heres-what-progressives-must-learn-from-that.
“Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theorist Christopher Bollyn Speaks In Brooklyn,” September 7, 2016, Anti-Defamation League, http://blog.adl.org/anti-semitism/anti-semitic-conspiracy-theorist-christopher-bollyn-speaks-in-brooklyn.
“Anti-Semitic 9/11 conspiracist set to speak to progressive Jewish groups,” September 7, 2016, Jerusalem Post, www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Anti-Semitic-911-conspiracist-set-to-speak-to-progressive-Jewish-groups-467101.
Mitchell Plitnick, “Brooklyn Commons Owner Responds, Doubles Down on Anti-Semitic Speaker,” September 7, 2016, The Third Way, https://mitchellplitnick.com/2016/09/07/brooklyn-commons-owner-responds-doubles-down-on-anti-semitic-speake.
Daniel Sieradski, “How it went down at the Brooklyn Commons tonight,” September 7, 2016, https://storify.com/selfagency/how-it-went-down-at-the-brooklyn-commons-tonight
Lauren Gill, “The ‘truth’ hurts: Staff at 9-11 truther talk attack spitting protestor,” Brooklyn Paper, September 8, 2016.
[includes video of Brooklyn Commons employee, who is spit on and then attempts to attack a protestor]
Brendan O’Connor, “An Antisemitic 9/11 Truther Grows in Brooklyn,” Jezebel, September 8, 2016.
Sam Kestenbaum, “9/11 Anniversary Sparks New Wave of Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories,” Forward, September 8, 2016.
(Also published in the International Business Times)
Bill Weinberg, “‘Progressive’ Brooklyn Commons hosts anti-Semite,” Countervortex, September 8, 2016.
Sam Kestenbaum, “9/11 Conspiracy Theorist Blames Terror Attack on ‘Zionist War Agenda’ in Brooklyn Speech,” Forward, September 8, 2016.
Marilyn Mayo, “That Time I Came Face to Face With an Anti-Semite in Brooklyn,” Forward, September 8, 2016.
Joyce Chu, “Anti-Semitic Author Christoper Bollyn to Speak in Brooklyn,” JPUpdates, September 8, 2016, http://jpupdates.com/2016/09/08/anti-semitic-author-christoper-bollyn-to-speak-in-brooklyn
David Schraub, “On Listening to Us: A Follow Through on the Brooklyn Common,” The Debate Link, September 9, 2016, http://dsadevil.blogspot.com/2016/09/on-listening-to-us-follow-through-on.html
Debra Nussbaum Cohen, “9/11 Truther’s Controversial Speech at Hipster Brooklyn Bastion Draws Protesters, Police,” Haaretz, September 9, 2016.
Rob Bryan, “An Anti-Semitic Conpiracist Comes to Brooklyn, Sparking Outrage,” Alternet, September 9, 2016, www.alternet.org/grayzone-project/anti-semitic-conspiracist-comes-brooklyn-sparking-outrage
[Favorite line: when asked if 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust, Bollyn said it was “not his area of expertise.”]
Jacob Siegel, “Jew-Hater Christopher Bollyn Brings 9/11 False Flag Act to the Brooklyn Commons,” Daily Beast, September 10, 2016, www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/09/10/jew-hater-christopher-bollyn-brings-9-11-false-flag-act-to-the-brooklyn-commons.html
Nathan J. Robinson, “Let the Kooks Speak,” Current Affairs, September 10, 2016, https://www.currentaffairs.org/2016/09/let-the-kooks-speak
“Christopher Bollyn’s presentation for Friday, Sept.9th has been cancelled,” West-Park Press, September 13, 2016, http://west-parkpress.blogspot.com/2016/09/christopher-bollyns-presentation-for.html.
[from the UWS church who cancelled Bollyn’s other NYC talk]
“A Lesson Hopefully Learned,” Hamodia (Daily Newspaper of Torah Jewry), September 11, 2016, http://hamodia.com/2016/09/11/lesson-hopefully-learned
[Even the conservative, Orthodox press chimes in]
“What do we do when a neo-Nazi speaks at a Left venue?,” Systemic Disorder, September 14, 2016, https://systemicdisorder.wordpress.com/2016/09/14/anti-semitism-and-the-left
Doug Chandler, “Progressives Reflect on Antisemitism in Their Midst,” Jewish Week (New York), September 21, 2016, www.thejewishweek.com/news/new-york/progressives-reflect-anti-semitism-their-midst
Sam Kestenbaum, “For Jewish Left, a Conflict in Brooklyn Exposes Bitter Split Over Anti-Semitism,” Forward, September 30, 2016, http://forward.com/news/351032/for-jewish-left-a-conflict-in-brooklyn-exposes-bitter-split-over-anti-semit.
[includes video of a WBAI advisory board member assaulting protestors]
CONDEMNATIONS FROM ELECTED OFFICIALS:
New York State Senator Jesse Hamilton, “Rejecting Hate in Our Community,” BK Reader, September 7, 2016, http://www.bkreader.com/2016/09/rejecting-hate-community/
New York City Counciler Brad Lander, Twitter, September 4, 2016. “Highly distressing to see @BrooklynCommons hosting anti-semitic conspiracy nut this week,” https://twitter.com/bradlander/status/772455049184305153
New York City Counciler Steve Levin said “I am alarmed that Mr. Bollyn’s outrageous, abhorrent, and libelous theories on 9–11 are being presented as somehow ‘progressive’ and I hope those in attendance challenge Mr. Bollyn forcefully.” See Brooklyn Paper article.
CONDEMNATIONS FROM BROOKLYN COMMONS TENANTS & OTHERS WHO USE THE SPACE:
“Statement from Multiple Organizations on Christopher Bollyn Event at the Brooklyn Commons,” Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, September 4, 2016, https://thebrooklyninstitute.com/2016/09/04/statement-from-multiple-organizations-on-christopher-bollyn-event-at-the-brooklyn-commons.
Families United for Racial & Economic Equality (FUREE), September 5, 2016, www.facebook.com/FUREEous/posts/1449795611713553
Baffler Editor in Chief Chris Lehmann, Baffler, September 6, 2016, www.facebook.com/TheBafflerMagazine/posts/10153864009843597.
“Jewish Voice for Peace–NYC calls on Brooklyn Commons to Cancel Event with Antisemitic speaker,” Jewish Voice for Peace, September 6, 2016, https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/jewish-voice-peace-nyc-calls-brooklyn-commons-cancel-event-antisemitic-speaker.
“JFREJ Calls on Brooklyn Commons to Cancel Anti-Semitic Event,” September 6, 2016, JFREJ, http://jfrej.org/jfrej-calls-on-brooklyn-commons-to-cancel-anti-semitic-event.
“CUNY for Palestine Statement on Brooklyn Commons Hosting Anti-Semitic Speaker,” Academic Boycott of Israel at CUNY, September 6, 2016, https://cunyboycott.wordpress.com/statements.
If Not Now, “An Open Letter to The Brooklyn Commons: Cancel the event with Christopher Bollyn,” Medium, September 7, 2016, https://medium.com/ifnotnoworg/an-open-letter-to-the-brooklyn-commons-cancel-the-event-with-christopher-bollyn-bf68d021c81e.
“Official BISR Statement on Bollyn Event / Brooklyn Common,” Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, September 8, 2016, https://thebrooklyninstitute.com/2016/09/08/official-bisr-statement-on-bollyn-event-brooklyn-commons.
BISR Executive Director Ajay Singh Chaudhary, “A letter from Ajay,” Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, September 8, 2016, https://thebrooklyninstitute.com/2016/09/08/a-letter-from-ajay.
“Demand the Brooklyn Commons Publicly Oppose Bigotry in All Forms,” ND, https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/demand-the-brooklyn-commons-publicly-oppose-bigotry-in-all-forms [INN petition]
Boycott call, “This Is Not Our Commons: Boycott the Brooklyn Commons!,” https://jewishantifascists.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/boycott-flyer-final.pdf
— OTHER LINKS OF INTEREST—
ENNEN’S LETTER DEFENDING THE BOOKING AND DENOUNCING EVERYONE ELSE AS WHINY SAFE SPACERS
“Letter from Melissa regarding Christopher Bollyn talk,” dated September 7th, 2016 4:00 PM (actually appeared online earlier), https://web.archive.org/web/20160907011117/http://thecommonsbrooklyn.org/civicrm/event/info?id=13804&reset=1
ENNEN’S 9/11 TRUTH BACKGROUND: “[Westchester911truth] Press Advisory: 9/11 Truth Breakthrough Weekend in NYC,” September 6, 2006, http://two.pairlist.net/pipermail/westchester911truth/2006-September/000051.html
ENNEN SPENT $2 MILLION IN A VANITY MAGAZINE IN 1995
ENNEN ON WBAI, SPINNING LIES ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED AT THE PROTEST, September 16, 2016
On air at the radio station which is based in the same space that Melissa Ennen owns, she says: “If the KKK or David Duke or anybody came here and wanted to rent the space, I’d say fine, rent the space, see who you can persuade.” (around 23:00)
Brooklyn for Peace, “BFP Statement re Controversy About the Brooklyn Commons,” http://brooklynpeace.org/?p=5876
[undated] [note: Brooklyn for Peace sent a letter before the talk asking Melissa to cancel]
BFP initiated: “Statement in Support of Brooklyn Commons and Melissa Ennen”
This statement, apparently initiated after tenants of the Brooklyn Commons were consulted before a boycott of the space was called, calls on people to support Ennen as she affirms that the Brooklyn Commons is open to use by the Far Right.
UNITARIAN CHURCH, HARTFORD, CT CANCELLATION: www.facebook.com/UnitarianSocietyOfHartford/posts/10154404372188617
BUSBOYS AND POETS CANCELLATION: https://twitter.com/busboysandpoets/status/772460846094049280
‘SO YOU’RE HOSTING CHRISTOPHER BOLLYN?’
Rafael Shimunov, “So, You’re Hosting Christopher Bollyn?,” September 9, 2016, https://medium.com/@rafaelshimunov/so-youre-hosting-christopher-bollyn-9b0f39a415cd#.34vhblor1
JEWISH ANTIFASCIST ACTION, https://jewishantifascists.wordpress.com/
Corey Robin on refusing to speak at the Brooklyn Commons: http://coreyrobin.com/2016/10/15/why-i-wont-be-appearing-at-the-brooklyn-commons-on-wednesday/
VIDEO OF TALK OF BOLLYN AT THE BROOKLYN COMMONS:
full video (2+ hours)
(If you’d rather watch the video in segments)
“9/11 and Our Political Crisis – Christopher Bollyn at The Brooklyn Commons Pt 1“
2 thoughts on “Antisemite Christopher Bollyn & the Brooklyn Commons: A Guide to Links”
The Brooklyn Commons did not “host” Bollyn, rather it was RENTED by a third party and was in no way endorsed by Commons, any of the curatorial groups who regularly do host shows and events.
To describe the owner and founder of the Brookyn Commons, Melissa Enna as having a “new CAREER a host for antisemites” is a flat-out lie.
It’s libelous, and insinuates beliefs and activities directly contrary to the mission of the Commons and the ten years this (very real) Commons has been in operation.
1) The claim that the Brooklyn Commons “hosted” antisemitism, or this particular truther is incorrect. All statements demanding the Commons not “host” such activities should note, factually and in essence — that the Commons does NOT host, emcee, promote or take responsibility for the activities of a ONE-TIME leasee having a PRIVATE event.
2) The outrageous slanders and harassment of Melissa Enna should cease. Claims she is a “career” antisemite or has EVER ONCE made antisemitic statements or ideas should be recognized as actually libelous, as they intend to disrupt and shutter and essential resource for left-wing publishers, broadcasters and activists.
3) Insinuations that “the left” is “overrun with antisemites” is an outrageous lie. That this is actively promoted by some, anyone who is politically active in NYC is well aware of this. Racialists view anyone who rejects their racialism as fair game.
4) As with a previous article by Spencer Sunshine on attempted infilatration by fasc elements at OWS, so too does this confuse who is being targeted with who is the actual fascist. Similar to how the NY Post covered sexual attacks on women at Occupy as “occupy rapes” — the basic method deployed undercuts the importance of the reporting. Bollyn, like other third-position style fascists seeks to INSERT these ideas into communities, discourse or networks that DO NOT SHARE THEIR POLITICS. Why Spencer feels the need to conflate this, as he does here — that’s for Spencer (or Michael GW) to explain.
5) There is no boycott of the Brooklyn Commons. No organization, or tenants or participants is calling for the destruction of this space. Quite the opposite. The demagogic bullying and personal attacks on the Commons owner — why?
It may not be known by people reading here, but dozens of family members of Melissa received emails claiming she was a Jew-hating bigot. This type of harassment is grotesque, and for anyone who pays attention to history STINKS to high heaven of deliberate disinformation.
So, if you want to shutter the Commons, if you (Spencer) are claiming that the Broolyn Commons is a center of nazi organizing, or that the individuals or institutional stake-holders are nazis — stop insinuating and usuing weasel words and get to it.
Or, Spencer Sunshine and Michael GW should clarify their position, stop facilitating harassment and libel — and weaseling around with demagoguery about “Jewish activists” as if they had a fucking patent.
The Commons has HOSTED antifa activity and discussion. Jews and African-American leftists are not, in fact, weaseling around with crypto-nazis like Bollyn — and attempts to create a “strategy of tension” via wingnuts and libel will not go well, Spencer Sunshine.
Wingnuts spin, to be sure. The Brecht Forum was lost, as have many fora and commons before it. Demanding boycotts of speech, of encounter — on the basis of who has ideological cooties?
Grow the fuck up.
Almost nothing that you write here is true, but your falsehoods deserve debunking.
1) Bollyn may have rented the space, but it was advertised as a normal event by the Brooklyn Commons on the website. I found out about the event because it was on their regular email blast. In no way did this email present this event as a private event which was not endorsed by the Commons. (This is apparently in contradiction to other events, like the pro-charter school rentals, which did not seem to be announced.) When a venue has a speaker there, the everyday term for this is “hosting” the event. Like, “Bluestockings hosted PolyBi Speed Dating Night.” So, unless you want to invent a special vocabulary here to just to get Ennen off the hook, “hosting” is the appropriate term.
2) It’s untrue that anyone I know wishes to drive Ennen out of business. We want an assurance that she doesn’t book more Far Right events. Ennen has in fact welcomed more Far Right speakers to use the Commons, saying on WBAI: “If the KKK or David Duke or anybody came here and wanted to rent the space, I’d say fine, rent the space, see who they can persuade” (http://nuarchive.wbai.org/mp3/wbai_160916_150004jordan.mp3; around 23:00). So in her own words she is actively pursuing a new career as a host for Far Right speakers.
3) You put words in quotes as if I had said them in the article you are replying to (ie, “the Left” is “overrun with antisemites”). These words do not appear in my article. Maybe you should try citations in the future?
4) Everything I said in the OWS articles are 100% accurate and time has only shown me to be correct in retrospect. More and more former Occupy activists read my articles and contact me to tell me that they knew something was wrong at the time, but they didn’t realize the extent of it and couldn’t put it in words.
5) “There is no boycott of the Brooklyn Commons.” In fact, Jewish Antifascist Action has called for a boycott of the Commons (https://jewishantifascists.wordpress.com). Word is that there is more coming down the pike. Since I even put the JAA boycott flyer on the post, one wonders why you bother to write these long, disingenuous responses without looking at the post itself.
6) Neither I nor anyone I know has called on people to harass Ennen’s family.
7) “So, if you want to shutter the Commons, if you (Spencer) are claiming that the Broolyn Commons is a center of nazi organizing, or that the individuals or institutional stake-holders are nazis” – See, here is more of this constant dishonestly that is so common in this post. I’ve never said any of these things, but you’ve certainly gone out of your way to imply that I have.
I certainly hope you were several drinks in the bag when you wrote this, but somehow I doubt it.
Grow up, indeed.