Kushner to be honoured by New York's City University after all

By Jennifer Lipman, May 10, 2011
Tony Kushner

Tony Kushner

City University of New York (CUNY) has re-approved an honorary degree for playwright Tony Kushner, following its controversial decision to remove his name from a list of those eligible because of his stance on Israel.

At a special meeting convened to discuss the issue, CUNY chancellor Matthew Goldstein praised the Angels in America writer for his "compassion, empathy, and intellectual rigour".

Mr Goldstein added: "In the spirit of all great artists, he challenges orthodoxy, confronts assumptions, and tests certainties, and, in so doing, ignites our imaginations, illuminates issues and ideas, and expands our vision - whether or not we agree with him, whether or not we take exception to some of his conclusions.

"This is also the highest ideal of the university - a search for knowledge and understanding that values questions, dialogue, and dissent."

Last week the CUNY board voted to deny Mr Kushner the honour after board member Jeffrey Wiesenfeld raised objections over the playwright's record of criticising Israel.

At last night's meeting all but one of the seven members of the CUNY executive committee voted in favour of honouring Mr Kushner. Mr Wiesenfeld was not present but has stated his commitment to remaining on the board, despite calls for him to resign.

Mr Kushner has not yet said whether he will accept.

Last updated: 9:22am, May 10 2011