As has been well documented over the last few months, there is rising anti-Semitism at the City University of New York (CUNY) and the safety and well-being of Jewish students on college campuses is under threat. Against that backdrop, The New York City Council launched a hearing to investigate – a hearing which the CUNY Chancellor refused to show up to – and the Jewish community was painfully silent on this issue.
Imagine the outrage of other communities had this happened?
Now, months later, on a July Friday afternoon, the American Jewish Congress (AJC) issued a letter to the CUNY Chancellor calling for action – and publicly released said letter in an attempt to raise funds from donors. Are they tone-deaf?
The American Jewish Congress letter says they need money to “educate, increase awareness and raise our voice about the antisemitic threats facing Jewish students.” Yet, the office of Councilmember Inna Vernikov who has courageously spearheaded the campaign regarding CUNY Anti-Semitism has verified that she has never heard from the AJC.
They weren’t present at the hearing; they haven’t helped in any way and she hasn’t heard from them. Their fundraising letter calls to “take urgent action to guarantee the safety and security of Jewish students,” yet they aren’t working with the councilmembers who are on the frontlines battling this issue.
Can they be raising money, issuing letters, but doing nothing - or is there something we do not know?
The AJC letter claims they are “ready to assist in any way possible.”
Maybe they can assist by touching bases with the City Councilmember responsible for fighting against anti-Semitism in NYC? If they are raising money on this issue, couldn’t they actually after many months speak to the members of the City Council working on this issue?
The American Jewish Congress letter further notably ignores a simple fact – that the head of the Jewish caucus of the City Council, Eric Dinowitz, is a member of the progressive caucus, whose executive director, Emily Mayer is a virulent anti-Israel activist. Mayer has labelled Israel an “apartheid” state, and has a long record of anti-Israel activities which have been well-documented.
The American Jewish Congress ignores Ms. Mayer, and ignores the inherent conflict that Dinowitz, the head of the Jewish caucus, has in also sitting as a member of the progressive caucus. How can one fight Anti-Semitism and collaborate with someone who calls Israel an Apartheid state?
The American Jewish Congress (who refused to comment for this story) should work on this issue – and only then raise money for it.
This issue continues to be a stain on so many –
On the CUNY Chancellor for continuing to turn a blind eye to racism and Anti-Semitism,
On Eric Dinowitz for sitting on a progressive council whose executive director is anti-Israel
On the American Jewish Congress for being months late to the show and raising money but not seen working on this issue.
Hank Sheinkopf, CEO of Sheinkopf Communications is a leading political strategist who has worked on campaigns in four continents. His clients have included former President Bill Clinton.
Ronn Torossianis a public relations executive.