Rising anti-Semitism on CUNY campuses in New York

ZOA protests investigators' conclusion that there's nothing to do about it.

Hillel Fendel ,

campus anti-Semitism
campus anti-Semitism
INN:JTA

A report released on Friday shows grave anti-Semitism on campuses of the City University of New York college school system – and the investigators say nothing can be done about it.

CUNY hired attorneys Barbara Jones and Paul Shechtman to conduct an independent investigation of allegations of anti-Semitism on the CUNY campuses. The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) both initiated (indirectly) the report and sharply criticized it.

This past February, the ZOA wrote a 14-page letter to CUNY Chancellor James B. Milliken and the CUNY Board of Trustees, describing numerous incidents of anti-Semitism on four CUNY campuses. The resulting investigation was completed in August, and the report was released last week – with the conclusion that nothing can be done about the anti-Semitism.

The ZOA says the investigators not only failed in their mission, but their report will "almost surely encourage more anti-Semitism at CUNY and on campuses around the country."

The list of numerous anti-Semitic incidents at CUNY confirmed by the investigators includes these:

• “Students for Justice in Palestine” (SJP) led a rally at Hunter College, chanting “Jews out of CUNY,” “Death to Jews,” and “Long live the intifada!”

• At Brooklyn College, a student’s mother was harassed by an SJP member while she was cleaning offensive anti-Israel chalkings off the sidewalk. Jewish students who did not endorse the SJP’s positions were harassed and even threatened by SJP members. Among Brooklyn College professors: One called Israelis “assassins” and “baby killers” in the classroom, another made disparaging comments when Jewish students had to miss class for a religious holiday, and another skipped over the Holocaust in a history class, dismissively telling his students, “You all know this story."

• At John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the SJP threatened the Muslim Student Association (MSA) for co-hosting an event with Hillel that had nothing to do with the Middle East conflict. The MSA dropped its sponsorship.

• At the College of Staten Island, an anti-Israel student disrupted another student’s class presentation on women in the Israel Defense Forces, shouting that Israeli soldiers were “killers;” the professor did not intervene. Both a Hillel student and the Executive Director of Hillel were bullied and harassed on Facebook.

The investigators acknowledge in their report that these and other anti-Semitic incidents caused students to feel harassed, threatened, and unsafe, and made some fearful of openly identifying as Jewish on campus. Nevertheless, the investigators said that the aggressors cannot be punished by CUNY for exercising their "protected free speech."

The ZOA notes that CUNY’s own written rules actually prohibit such conduct and authorize sanctions for it. It further notes that other universities have punished students for blatant anti-black discrimination, such as at the University of Oklahoma; for promoting sexist behavior, as at Yale University; and for behavior offensive to African-Americans, at the University of California, San Diego.

"Yet at CUNY," laments the ZOA, "when students call for Jews out of CUNY and death to Jews, when they call for the murder of Jews with chants for an intifada or a terror war against Jews, when they blame Jews for high tuition and other CUNY problems, when they threaten Jews for refusing to support the SJP’s hateful agenda, and when they threaten other students simply for working with Jews on campus, the investigators claim that such speech is protected and not punishable."



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