Divest This! had a very interesting exchange with one of the PennBDS organizers in the comments section of this post. The whole exchange has encouraged him to take on the gargantuan task of writing a response for every topic to be discussed at the conference. Quite an undertaking! You can follow his efforts at PennBDS-Oy!
I can't wait to see it. Here we will be pro-active, topic-by-topic.
Here is the statement from the University of Pennsylvania:
Penn Statement on Planned BDS Conference
This is not an event sponsored by the University. The event is being sponsored by a registered student group, as is permitted of any student group on campus.
The University of Pennsylvania has clearly stated on numerous occasions that it does not support sanctions or boycotts against Israel. Indeed, Penn has important and successful scholarly collaborations with Israeli institutions that touch on many areas of our academic enterprise.
Penn has always supported free expression and the free exchange of ideas. These are essential elements of a great university. These principles apply to this event, as they would any other student event, whether or not we agree with or condone the message BDS seeks to communicate.
University of Pennsylvania
1 College Hall, Room 100
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6380
President Amy Gutmann