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Protesters chant “Long live the intifada” at a November rally at Hunter College.

Klein boiled these down to two for The Jewish Press: “We asked for two things: they should be removed as a student-funded group, and Milliken should publicly condemn SJP by name.”

New York City Councilman David G. Greenfield, one of 13 Jewish Council members who signed the letter sent to CUNY, told The Jewish Press, “We’re looking for CUNY to immediately suspend SJP and create a clear policy that no one may threaten a Jewish student on campus. So far the response we have received is no response.”

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At a rally earlier this week against anti-Semitism, New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind said, “Many people want to pretend that everything is OK, they want to turn a blind eye to what is going on within our CUNY colleges. They want to pretend that if you’re quiet, the hate will subside. That does not work. Silence does not work. Period.”

The ZOA’s Klein echoed that sentiment. “You can never ignore or appease bullies and haters,” he said. “If you allow what they do to go on, it gets worse. We need to stop it now before it reaches the point of physical violence. Jews have learned from history that threats and abusive language lead to physical violence. Milliken is hoping this goes away. We in the Jewish community dare not let that happen.”

Both Arena and Hershenson pointed out to The Jewish Press that the Anti-Defamation League and Mark G. Yudof, chair of the board of advisors at the Academic Engagement Network, have commended CUNY’s response. (Neither provided any names when asked if any other organization or individual had expressed support.)

In a press release, ADL New York regional director Evan R. Bernstein stated, “We are pleased to hear that CUNY has appointed outside counsel to review the troubling allegations of anti-Semitism that have taken place across some of its campuses. The formation of a task force composed of members of the administration, faculty and students is an additional step that indicates that CUNY is taking these allegations seriously. We eagerly await the results and stand ready to work with the CUNY system to create an environment that is inclusive and fosters respect for all.”

“The ADL has made no demands,” said Klein. “It simple praised the investigation that was called for because of the ZOA letter to CUNY. Other Jewish groups like the American Jewish Committee have been essentially silent, which only helps the Jew-haters.”

Greenfield said the City Council may hold hearings about the incidents at CUNY. “CUNY has lots of support among members of the Council,” he said, “and if they don’t respond well to these actions by SJP, they can lose that support. We can hold hearings if we don’t get a response…. We’re not going to let Jewish students be intimidated.”

Asked about the specific points of criticism voiced by Klein and Greenfield, CUNY’s Arena e-mailed a statement that appears similar to those the university has already issued, including in a letter to the editor in last week’s Jewish Press:

“CUNY has strongly and consistently condemned all forms of bigotry, including anti-Semitism, and will continue to do so. CUNY colleges have aggressively investigated allegations of discrimination and intimidation and earlier this month retained two highly regarded former prosecutors to review reports of anti-Semitism at several campuses. In addition, the University announced the formation of a working group to develop board policies on speech and expression and a new task force on campus climate. CUNY’s actions were commended by the Anti-Defamation League and other respected organizations, and reflect our commitment to ensuring that CUNY provides a safe and welcoming environment for all members of its community.”

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Shlomo Greenwald is the senior editor of The Jewish Press.
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