A bipartisan group of 35 state legislators is urging CUNY to get rid of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a virulently anti-Zionist, pro-Palestinian student organization, from its 23 campuses, in response to accusations that its members threaten and harass Jewish students. The Zionist Organization of America has sent CUNY Chancellor James Milliken a 14-page letter listing Jewish students’ complaints of anti-Semitism at four CUNY colleges, blaming SJP for the anti-Semitism on campus. The ZOA also demanded an investigation of SJP’s tactics and their funding.
In a letter sent on Tuesday to Milliken, NY Assembly Members Dov Hikind and David Werpin wrote, “We call for the immediate suspension of the Student for Justice of Palestine from City University of New York campuses, sending a clear and unequivocal message that hatred and bias have no home at CUNY.”
“It’s not about an issue of ‘freedom of speech’, it’s about intimidation and fear,” Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) told the press Wednesday.
According to media reports that span 15 years, since its establishment in 2001, SJP members focus on demonizing Israel, advocating for its destruction, supporting terrorism, and bullying and intimidating pro-Israel and Jewish students with vicious, anti-Semitic rhetoric, as well as with physical violence. They have been making the college experience increasingly dangerous for Jewish and pro-Israel students.
CUNY said it is conducting an independent investigation of the claims.
The SJP insists that “our mission as students living in a free democracy is to promote the cause of justice and speak out against oppression.” It also says that its students are the real victims of a “long history of repression” on CUNY campuses.