Man waves Hamas flag at anti-Israel demo in New York (illustration)
Man waves Hamas flag at anti-Israel demo in New York (illustration) Reuters

City University of New York (CUNY) students who are planning to protest for a tuition freeze and debt cancellation on Thursday issued a surprising anti-Semitic call in their protest announcement, blaming the "Zionist administration" for their financial situation.

Students at Manhattan's Hunter College, together with other students from the CUNY system which is the largest urban university system in America, planned the protest as part of the "Million Student March" campaign.

But when they posted an ad for the upcoming protest on Facebook, the students made very clear who they held guilty for their debt - the Zionists.

"On November 12th, students all across CUNY will rally to demand a freeze on tuition and new contracts! We must fight for funding for our university, and for CUNY to be accessible to working class communities in NYC as the public university system," wrote the students.

That's when things took a turn, as they wrote: "the Zionist administration invests in Israeli companies, companies that support the Israeli occupation, hosts birthright programs and study abroad programs in occupied Palestine, and reproduces settler-colonial ideology throughout CUNY through Zionist content of education."

"While CUNY aims to produce the next generation of professional Zionists, SJP (NYC Students for Justice in Palestine) aims to change the university to fight for all peoples (sic) liberation."

The students then called for an end to "the privatization of education," demanding "tuition-free education, cancellation of all student debt, $15 minimum wage for campus workers."

They also demanded "an end to racial and economic segregation in education" by stopping "racialized college-acceptance practices, work program requirements for students on public assistance, rapid gentrification and privatization of public school property."

In a final set of demands for "transparency in administration," they called for "gender resources centers and perpetrators of sexual assault expelled," and took an anti-Semitic tone again by demanding that "CUNY divests from Israel, companies that maintain the Zionist occupation, private prisons, and prison labor." They also pressed for "pay parity for adjunct professors" and "a fair contract for CUNY professors."

The Facebook post concluded by listing groups endorsing the statement, including: "NYC Students for Justice in Palestine; Students for Justice in Palestine at Hunter College; Students for Justice in Palestine at Brooklyn College; Students for Justice in Palestine- St. Joseph’s College; Students for Justice in Palestine at College of Staten Island; Students for Justice in Palestine at John Jay College; CUNY School of Law Students for Justice in Palestine; Students for Justice in Palestine at Pace University – Pleasantville; NYU Students for Justice in Palestine; Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine."