Photo Credit: YouTube
Protesters chant “Long live the intifada” at a November rally at Hunter College.

The City University of New York’s response to a series of anti-Semitic incidents on its campuses – to date it has asked for recommendations from outside counsel and set up a “working group” and a “task force” – is tepid and inadequate, according to several critics.

CUNY Chancellor James B. Milliken announced the public university system’s plan after receiving letters from the New York City Council’s Jewish Caucus and from the Zionist Organization of America. The latter, a 6,000-word missive detailing more than a dozen separate anti-Semitic incidents, describes events at Hunter College, Brooklyn College, College of Staten Island, and John Jay College.

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To cite one of its most incriminating examples, the ZOA letter describes a November 2015 rally at Hunter College, ostensibly campaigning for free public college tuition and the cancellation of student debt. At the rally, protesters held signs stating “Boycott Israel” and “Zionists out of CUNY,” and Jewish students at the rally were greeted with calls of “Zionists go home!” “Zionists out of CUNY!” “Jews out of CUNY!” “Get out of America!” and “We should drag the Zionist down the street!” Many of these were recorded on video.

In February at Brooklyn College, a group of students interrupted a Faculty Council meeting and made demands regarding tuition and campus diversity. Soon, though, they were chanting “Zionists off campus!” When the chair of the Council, a yarmulke-wearing computer science professor, told them they were out of order, they called him a “Zionist pig.”

These are just two of the many examples of anti-Semitism on the four CUNY campuses included in the ZOA letter. (The entire letter can be found on the organization’s website, www.zoa.org). Videos of a number of the incidents have been posted online and several have been widely reported in Jewish and mainstream media.

Several critics have pointed to a national student organization, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), as the instigator in most of these cases and as a group that has fomented an often vicious anti-Semitic climate at colleges and universities across the country.

The rally at Hunter was partially organized by SJP, which, in advertising the event on Facebook, 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 aims to change the university to fight for all peoples [sic] liberation.”

In an October 2014 article on thetower.com, activist journalist Daniel Mael wrote, “Instead of promoting justice, SJP and/or its members spend almost all of their energy demonizing Israel, advocating for its eventual destruction, showing an unfortunate affinity for pro-terrorist figures, bullying and intimidating pro-Israel and Jewish students with vicious and sometimes anti-Semitic rhetoric, and even at times engaging in physical violence. While SJP may pay lip-service to peaceful aims, their rhetoric and actions make it hard to avoid the conclusion that a culture of hatred permeates nearly everything the group does – making the college experience increasingly uncomfortable, at times even dangerous, for Jewish or pro-Israel students. Perhaps equally disturbing is the limited response from university authorities that have an obligation to prevent such attacks and protect Jewish students.

“And the risk to Jewish and pro-Israel students appears to be growing. Indeed, unless college administrators take a more active role in preventing it, SJP has a good chance of achieving its goal of turning venomous hatred of Israel and bullying of Jews and non-Jewish supporters – with all the violence and fear that inevitably accompany it – into a legitimate and accepted tactic on North American campuses.”

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13 COMMENTS

  1. mix an assortment of low IQ'ers, Jew haters, ethnically self-deprived, spoiled and ill-mannered kids together, and you get
    the sjp & similar groups. these rampaging morons survive by intimidation and their own brand of intolerance and as along as educational systems do not clamp down on them, they will attract more dupes. Like most other arab nations, these nitwits do not really care about the pals, but are more interested in seeing Israel destroyed. they will never stand up to true debate as facts will drown out their cause.

  2. When he witnessed the outbreaks of Anti Semitism during the Dreyfuss affaire, Theodore Herzl was shocked that this could happen in a country as civilized and as progressive as France. If this could happen in France, he reasoned, it meant that it could happen anywhere in the world and his conclusion was that Jews would only be protected from this scourge if they had a country of their own. Today's rise in Anti Semitism in Europe and even in some parts of the US offers clear proof that Zionism and Israel are just as important and necessary as they were back in 1895.

  3. CUNY is committed to free speech as fish are committed to riding bicycles. Teaching at Brooklyn College, I once disagreed with a student's mistaken claim (apparently taught in New York's illiteracy-purveying high schools) that American industrialization ocurred because of slavery. I was thereupon called in for an administrative investigation, which I stopped by bringing an attorney to the interview. If anyone disagrees with the policies of the Democratic Party, they are either fired or demoted. CUNY has Soviet-style free speech.

  4. Lenore Arnow I've given a lot of thought to this: how do we start a boycott of these Israel hating socially prominent entities? (universities, newspapers, tv channels, etc).

    Is that stopping to their level?

    I really don't know, but it's hard to know what else to do.

    Can't we work politically for laws and boycotts that go "tit for tat"?

    If all Israel loving Jews and Christians boycotted the anti
    Israel companies like Orange (the anti Israel cell company and the like) would that get their attention?

  5. This anti-Semitism has been rising in the US by leaps and bounds over the past decade and has been ignored by the president who gives a press conference to smooth over and justify miscreant behavior of "his" people and condemn law enforcement for upholding the law against their unlawful actions. His actions and non-actions have perpetrated this infection of hatred and prejudice.

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