The Rabbinical Alliance of America — Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American rabbis — applauds the fifty CUNY faculty members who resigned or indicated that they will be resigning from the Professional Staff Congress (PFC), the College systems union, over its anti-Semitic statement on Israel.
The statement, which was released by the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) in response to the eleven days of violence between Israel and Gaza, did not mention Hamas or the rockets being fired indiscriminately into Israeli civilian areas. Instead, the statement condemned “the continued subjection of Palestinians to the state-supported displacement, occupation, and use of lethal force by Israel.” The statement described Israel as a “settler colonial state” and connected the “the Palestinian struggle for self-determination to the struggles of indigenous people and people of color in the United States.” The union also said that it would be exploring support for BDS (the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement) during the upcoming fall semester.
“With the PSC CUNY resolution you have chosen to support a terrorist organization, Hamas, whose goal (‘From the River to the Sea’) is to destroy the state of Israel and kill all my relatives who live there,” wrote Professor Yedidyah Langsam, chairman of Brooklyn College’s Computer and Information Science Department and its faculty council, in a letter of resignation to the Professional Staff Congress obtained by the New York Post.
“I personally have an uncomfortable feeling interacting with these faculty, and as many students have written, feel exceedingly uncomfortable on campus,” Langsam continued. “For that reason, I have resigned from the PS-CUNY Union effective immediately, after being a member for over 40 years. I have urged my fellow faculty to immediately resign as well. You do NOT represent us, and I will not be a part of an organization that supports those who wish to destroy us.”
“By endorsing this resolution, you have made many Jewish faculty and students uncomfortable with being associated with Brooklyn College and CUNY to the point of fearing for our safety,” Langsam concluded. “Have you and your colleagues forgotten the exponential increase in anti-Semitic attacks against Jews in the NY City area?”
Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America, remarked that “the Rabbinical Alliance of America (RAA) commends the actions and protests taken by Professor Langsam and his colleagues against the one-sided, anti-Semitic statement issued by the PSC against Israel. Israel is not a ‘settler colonial state’ and there is no comparison or connection between ‘the Palestinian struggle for self-determination’ on one hand and ‘the struggles of indigenous people and people of color in the United States’ on the other.
“This accusation of the PSC implies that Jews stole Judea and Samaria, and contradicts thousands of years of history. It is a historical fact that Jews have lived in Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem for millennia.”
Mirocznik continued, “Israel is the Jewish homeland, where Jews settled within the biblical borders thousands of years ago. Whether the Babylonians and the Greeks, the Romans and the Crusaders, the Ottoman and the British, many have occupied our land but only temporarily, because we keep returning to our homeland. There has always been a Jewish presence in Israel and particularly in Jerusalem. Even when foreign invaders persecuted us and made our lives miserable, Jews maintained a constant presence in Israel. Israel always served as a haven for Jews escaping persecution in Christian and Arab countries. It is a historical crime to now claim that Jews have no right to the land in which we have lived and for which we have prayed daily for thousands of years. Further, Israel permits non-Jews, Christians, and Muslims to reside all over Israel and never engages in any discrimination preventing these non-Jewish citizens from accessing equality and fairness under the law. From voting to owning property to serving in the government, etc., these non-Jewish citizens have full equality — A concept that is foreign to many in the middle-east.”
Judea and Samaria constitute the homeland of the Jewish people, with Jerusalem as its capital. The Jewish people will not be expelled or pressured out of our homeland. PSC should be ashamed of their attempt to deny to Jews their country. Shockingly, these academic scholars are on the wrong side of history.
Additionally, Israel responded with incredible restraint and humaneness to a barrage of deadly missiles fired indiscriminately into Israel by Hamas from the Gaza strip. The Israeli army warned Hamas to clear civilians from the area in advance of bombing the places from where the missiles were launched. Instead, Hamas chose to ignore those warnings and allow children and civilians to remain in danger in order to cynically manipulate the media narrative and falsely aint Israel as killers when the true villains, murderers and terrorists are Hamas and their enablers.
As a union that represents educators, PSC should do the right thing by apologizing and retracting their biased, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic statement. The public expects more from our educators. What message is sent to the world by the city of New York, the city with the largest Jewish population outside the State of Israel, when its educators issue an obviously anti-Israel statement full of lies and hate? CUNY, New York City and New York State should be embarrassed by this blatant, politically motivated act of hatred.