Times Square, New York City
Times Square, New York City Gili Yaari/Flash 90

Approximately 40 Jewish studies faculty at the City University of New York (CUNY) have signed a letter condemning a one-sided controversial faculty union resolution charging Israel with “apartheid” and recommending a boycott of Israeli institutions.

The June 10 motion by the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) union also accused Israel of being a “settler colonial state” and alleged Israel committed a “massacre” of Palestinian Arabs.

The motion stated that Israel was “established as a settler colonial state in 1948” and that the union should “consider support” of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement.

It further called on the Biden White House to terminate American aid to Israel.

The motion was put forward to the PSC by the Anti-Racism Committee, International Committee and Academic Freedom Committee.

According to the Algemeiner, the letter addressed to union leadership and the executive council stated that the resolution was passed without any notice from PSC that the issue was up for debate and without inviting PSC members for a “broader discussion.”

“We only learned of it from the new PSC CUNY president after the resolution was passed. It is clear that this resolution does not adequately represent PSC CUNY membership,” the letter stated.

It continued, “As teachers and scholars of Jewish Studies, we consider the right to academic freedom — the ability to engage in intellectual debate, research, and exploration without fear of retaliation — to be fundamental to all of our endeavors.”

It noted that the resolution’s call for chapter-level debate on adopting BDS does not promote free speech as BDS advocates the silencing of Israeli academics and employees of Israeli institutions.

“This is the opposite of academic freedom and the fundamental tenets of free speech… Peace and justice are born out of dialogue, discussion, conversation, and mutual understanding,” it said.

The letter also stated that the recent national spike in anti-Semitic incidents is linked to problematic language such as that of the resolution, with attacks “frequently (correlating) to anti-Israel rhetoric.”

“It is the responsibility of the PSC CUNY, which represents a diverse array of faculty, to ensure that all are valued. This resolution fails to do this,” it said.

On Friday, Jeffrey Lax, a Jewish CUNY business professor, announced his resignation from the union over the resolution.

He called the resolution “absurd” and not factual. “Facts matter,” he told the Cleveland Jewish News.

He didn’t want his money to go to Jew-hatred so he resigned form the union. “I don’t want my money to go to foster anti-Semitism.”

“It’s downright anti-Semitic that the resolution completely failed to mention that Hamas rockets were fired down at Israeli civilians,” said Lax. “This was a month ago, not years ago. Did they forget? This was a reaction to the fighting in Israel. That Palestinians died is a terrible tragedy, of course. But you can’t ignore the actions of Hamas. It took place. It’s a fact. You can’t just choose to ignore it and expect that you are doing something honorable. It’s nonsensical.”