The City University of New York’s law school’s commencement speech was given on Friday, May 12, by Fatima Mousa Mohammed, the Queens-born daughter of Yemeni parents, as was decided by the graduating class of 2023. What were her qualifications?
At a rally last March, Mohammed urged the crowd to demand banning Zionist professors from college campuses, and for segregating Zionist students from spaces where Palestinian students hang. She explained that Zionism is a “genocidal threat to us.” Her speech was streamed live on the Twitter account of CUNY’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).
Mohammed’s commencement ceremony speech was live-streamed on the CUNY Law School’s YouTube account and deleted a few hours later.
Now, compare and contrast: below is the 12-minute video of Mohammed’s commencement ceremony speech. Below you’ll find CUNY School of Law’s video of “Commencement 2023.” Go to minute 1:19, to hear an innocuous clip from Mohammed’s speech, and note that in this flowing, colorful, video, with cuts to the joyous audience, the segment of Mohammed’s excerpt is her voice over a still image of her at the podium (also, the second video is available only on YouTube).
Before graduating from CUNY Law School, Mohammed attended John Jay College, earning a BA in Law and Society with a focus in Human Rights Studies. She told the audience at the ceremony that she was “from the rich soil of Yemen, raised on the humble streets of Queens.”
In her deleted speech, Mohammed said American law is a “manifestation of white supremacy.” Also, she chose CUNY School of Law because it endows its students with the tools to protect “organizers” working to “confront the systems of oppression that wreak violence on them, systems of oppression, created to feed an empire with a ravenous appetite for destruction and violence.”
She expressed her delight that CUNY Law endorsed BDS, helping students in fighting “Israeli settler colonialism,” while Israel “continues to indiscriminately rain bullets and bombs on worshippers, murdering the old, the young, attacking even funerals and graveyards, as it encourages lynch mobs to target Palestinian homes and businesses.”
She described as “political prisoners” the Holyland Five, five leaders of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, based in Richardson, a Dallas suburb, who were convicted in November 2008 on all 108 criminal counts against them, including funneling money to Hamas, money laundering, and tax fraud.
She said she wished that the reaction to her speech would become “the fuel for the fight against capitalism, racism, imperialism, and Zionism around the world,” concluding: “No longer are we going to capitulate to the oppressors, no longer are we going to put our hope in their depraved consciousness… Greater empires of destruction have fallen before, and so will these.”
When news broke, almost three weeks later, of this impossibly hate-filled speech (people don’t pay much attention to what’s going on in CUNY Law) Congressman Ritchie Torres (D-NY) said, “Imagine being so crazed by hatred for Israel as a Jewish State that you make it the subject of your commencement speech at a law school graduation. Anti-Israel derangement syndrome at work.”
State Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein (D-Brooklyn) tweeted: “Keep this in mind next time our elected leaders highlight their commitment to fighting antisemitism.”
Democrat-turned-Republican City Councilman Ari Kagan said the speech was a “vile anti-American & anti-Israel speech promoting hate. Totally unacceptable graduation speech for taxpayers-funded institution. CUNY & CUNY Law should immediately condemn this hateful speech & take all steps necessary to address such dangerous rhetoric!” he tweeted.
The NY Post asked and the office of city Comptroller Brad Lander dug up the fact that CUNY’s 2023 budget is about $4.3 billion (NIS 15.97 billion), most of it provided by NY State, except for a little more than $600 million from the city.