Maura Moynihan, the daughter of New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, announced that she is boycotting the opening of a City College of New York (CUNY) center named for her late father in protest against an antisemitic speech given at the CUNY Law School commencement in May.
The Moynihan Center, an institution meant to produce new public affairs leaders, is scheduled to be opened later today.
In her May 12 commencement speech, CUNY Law School graduate and Students for Justice in Palestine member Fatima Mohammed called the founding of the State of Israel a "catastrophe" and engaged in antisemitic conspiracy theories about the influence of Jewish money on the discourse surrounding Zionism at the school. She further called for "resistance" to "Zionism around the world.
Speaking to the New York Jewish Week, Moynihan said that “the speech by Fatima Mousa Mohammed at the CUNY Law School commencement shocked and horrified so many people in New York and around the world."
She said that the school, by naming an institution after her father while failing to condemn Mohammed's speech, is "taking his name in vain.”
Senator Moynihan was a strong supporter of the State of Israel. During his term as US Ambassador to the United Nations, before he was elected as Senator, Moynihan strongly opposed the 1975 resolution declaring the Zionism, the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, is racism.
In his speech before the General Assembly, Moynihan said that "the United Nations is about to make antisemitism international law... the United States rises before the United Nations and before the world to declare that it does not acknowledge, it will not abide by it, will never acquiesce in this infamous act... a great evil has been loosed upon the world."
Maura stated that she was reminded of her father's famous speech while watching Mohammed's commencement address. “A great evil has been loosed upon the world; the abomination of antisemitism has been given the appearance of international sanction. That’s how I felt when I watched it, several times ... That the abomination of antisemitism has been sanctioned.”
She added: “I’m so sick of people, when these antisemitic statements and incidents come up, they somebody writes a tweet or a statement condemning it, but they don’t take action ... It is illegitimate to have a Moynihan Center that will not invoke his famous speeches at the United Nations.”
“If you can’t stand up against antisemitism in the CUNY system, in my father’s hometown of New York, what is the point of a center that bears his name?” she said. “We cannot stay silent about this dangerous normalization of antisemitism.”
CUNY has been the site of several antisemitism controversies this year. In addition to Mohammed's commencement speech, it has been revealed that the university has launched an investigation against Jewish Zionist professors who raised concerns about antisemitism.
Last month, CUNY drew further accusations of antisemitism by hiring former CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill, who was fired by CNN for a 2018 speech at the United Nations in which he endorsed violence against the State of Israel and even called for the destruction of the Jewish State by demanding "A free Palestine from the river to the sea."