In the past we have raised the issue of NYC Comptroller Brad Lander’s problems with some things Jewish: At his son’s bris milah ceremony, for instance, he referred to the procedure as “religious violence”; he has denounced the notion of Jewish nationalism, ridiculed the “right of return” as being arrogant and unduly divisive; last but not least, he is an ardent supporter of the BDS movement.

This week – this week he outdid himself. And even worse, he seems to us to be prepared to use his official powers as comptroller to indulge his personal dislikes.


As The Jewish Press reported this week, Mr. Lander has issued a veiled threat to Yeshiva University that its continued failure to recognize an LGBT club on its campus jeopardized future City funding for the school. He noted in a letter to the institution “that all recipients of public funding from the City must attest that they are in compliance with City laws and statutes, including the New York City’s Human Rights Law which bars discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Lander’s challenge to YU doesn’t pass the smell test.

As most readers know, YU claimed that setting up such a LGBT club would be a direct violation of the university’s Orthodox Jewish tenets and it was therefore entitled to a religious exemption as provided for in the human rights law. A NYS trial court and two state appellate courts ruled against YU, rejecting its claim and refusing to grant YU a temporary stay of enforcement of the state rulings until the case was finally decided.

YU thereupon appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which sent the case back to the state courts for reconsideration; but it was strongly indicated that if the case ever gets back to the Supreme Court, YU would prevail.

To make a long story short: in the middle of all this, YU and the LGBT club applicants entered into an agreement providing for a voluntary stay of enforcement until the case is finally decided.

So, the question is: If the students agreed to wait until the courts finally decided whether or not YU is entitled to an exemption, meaning that that question is an open one, then why does Brad Lander act as if that question was already finally decided?

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