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CUNY’s Trustees Block Honorary Degree For Prize-Winning Playwright Tony Kushner

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Tony Kushner attends a tribute to Kathryn Bigelow at The Museum of Modern Art on November 10, 2010 in New York City.  (credit: Andy Kropa/Getty Images)

Tony Kushner attends a tribute to Kathryn Bigelow at The Museum of Modern Art on November 10, 2010 in New York City. (credit: Andy Kropa/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The trustees of the City University of New York have voted to block a planned honorary degree to playwright Tony Kushner at its commencement ceremony this spring.

The vote Monday night came after one trustee said the “Angels in America” playwright had made disparaging comments about Israel in the past.

In an interview with The New York Times, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer says he is a strong supporter of Israel’s right to exist. He says he believes the board has slandered him and owes him an apology.

Kushner told the Jewish Week that “there’s never been a moment in my entire life when I haven’t expressed complete and full support of the State of Israel.”

Kushner says he wouldn’t accept the degree now even if the board changed its mind.

The degree was to have been awarded by CUNY’s John Jay College.

Each college within CUNY chooses its honorary-degree candidates which are then to be approved by the board. This year the list also included former Mayor Ed Koch and Joel Klein.

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