Saturday, December 11, 2021
"The student government of CUNY’s law school passed a resolution ripping the Jewish state last week — prompting an enraged rebuttal from a group of faculty members."
"The Law Student Government Association demanded that CUNY sever ties with Israel and accused the school of being “directly complicit in the ongoing apartheid, genocide, and war crimes perpetrated by the State of Israel against the Palestinian people through its investments in and contracts with companies profiting off of Israeli war crimes.”
"That salvo was met with outrage from an opposing group of CUNY faculty members who argued that the group was attempting to stifle pro-Israel opinion and demonize Jewish students."
From the faculty resolution:
On June 10 the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) of the City University of New York passed a grievous resolution littered with viciously demonizing misrepresentations of Israel and modern-day libels of Jews. The CUNY Alliance for Inclusion (CAFI), a group of CUNY faculty enthusiastically endorsing civil dialog and exchange of ideas and vehemently opposed to demonization, arose in response. Sadly, on December 2, the CUNY Law Student Government Association (LSGA) further magnified the PSC’s offense by passing a resolution that, following in historic antisemitism’s unreserved disparagement of Jews, “proudly and unapologetically” endorses Boycott Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS). The LSGA resolution attacks Israel with the mendacious, ahistoric chant of “apartheid, genocide, war crimes.” It launches a wholesale offensive maligning and attacking Jewish student groups and programs as well as faculty research and collaborations with a host of universities and corporations, attempting to shame such groups by name. Its 24 supporting organizations seek to exclude Jewish students who support Israel from a host of groups including those advocating for work against climate change, and those fighting for women’s rights. It thereby appropriates for itself the right to separate good from bad Jews and to quash Jewish self-expression it disfavors as it trashes academic freedom by seeking to bar opinions contrary to its own from CUNY and its groups. This directly contradicts Dean Capulong’s 2021 stated Law School goal to "recognize and respect one another's right to be part of our community."
The LSGA’s resolution reeks of historic redemptive anti-Judaism that demonizes Jews and Jewish institutions as satanic, with slanders that are precise inversions of the truth. For example, it is truly shameless to charge that Israel – whose people have experienced genocide in the recent past - with genocide against the Palestinian people, a population that has expanded manyfold since Israel’s founding, all while some Palestinian leaders actually call for the genocide of Jews. It is sad that, after millennia of being labeled stateless outsiders, the LSGA portrays the Jewish State as the outsider amongst nations. It is disheartening that this portrayal is from students supposedly learning to think clearly and rigorously in the service of fairness and justice who now misguidedly oppose these ideals. The rights of both pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian students must be supported.
A frenzy of anti-Semitic vilification of Israel under the cover of “anti-Zionism” is sweeping American education and, is metastasizing into attacks on Jewish life in the United States. In April 1933, the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service excluded Jews and the “politically unreliable” from civil service, including teaching at universities in Germany. Further legislation that month targeted Jewish student enrollment. Many German university administrators, professors and student fraternities supported these restrictions. In response to the CUNY LSGA resolution, which echoes a tragic period of Jew hatred, responsible CUNY administrators and officials in NYC and beyond must now speak out. A great university must champion diversity and cultivate a tradition of inclusive civil discourse and engagement on complex issues and conflicts and stand against historic hatreds and limitations upon speech and association."