Several advocacy and watchdog organizations are taking action in the wake of the antisemitic speech delivered at a City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law commencement ceremony last month.
The Students and Faculty for Equality at CUNY (SAFE CUNY) group announced on Tuesday it had filed a complaint with the American Bar Association seeking the revocation of CUNY School of Law’s accreditation, based on evidence the institution had implemented a discriminatory pro-BDS policy targeting Zionist and Israeli students and faculty members.
“There are numerous standards or accreditation requirements, and you can’t discriminate based on ethnicity or nationality, which clearly BDS implementation does,” Professor Jeffrey Lax — founder of SAFE CUNY — told the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) in an interview on Tuesday.
He noted, “The big development here was two things — one was that the commencement speaker, Fatima Mohammed, gave specific examples of how BDS was being implemented at the law school. A year ago, the faculty unanimously adopted BDS, but we had never heard yet about the actual implementation of it.”
“And then, subsequently, CUNY came out and gave bizarre public statement in which they literally admitted that there was discriminatory hate towards a religious group at CUNY Law, though they didn’t want to use the word ‘Jews,'” Lax added.
The full four-page SAFE CUNY complaint can be read here:
SAFE CUNY has filed a complaint with the American Bar Association demanding removal of @CUNYLaw‘s accreditation based on new and EXTENSIVE proof that CUNY Law implements illegal BDS policy and based on CUNY’s public admissions of discriminatory conduct at the school. pic.twitter.com/YHFb01gJIb
— SAFE CUNY (@SAFECUNY) June 6, 2023
Meanwhile, the International Legal Forum (ILF) and National Jewish Advocacy Center (NJAC) sent a letter to the Internal Revenue Service last week, calling for a “thorough investigation into the tax-exempt status” of CUNY School of Law.
“While the CUNY Board of Trustees and CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez have denounced the ‘hate speech’ in Ms. Mohammed’s address and deemed it ‘unacceptable,’ we find their response to be not only late but also grossly inadequate,” the letter said. “This is particularly troubling considering CUNY’s well-documented history of antisemitism and its failure to take any meaningful action in response.”
It went on to describe CUNY School of Law as “a staging ground for the systematic promotion of BDS activities, and anti-Zionist and antisemitic bias on campus, all of which are the opposite of ‘educational,’ as well as clear violations of New York state law and federal policy.”
#CUNYLaw School has become “a staging ground for the systematic promotion of BDS activities, and anti-Zionist and antisemitic bias on campus”, which are a “clear violations of New York state law and federal policy.”
— The International Legal Forum – ILF (@The_ILF) June 4, 2023
In her May 12 remarks, Mohammed — a Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) activist — said, “I want to celebrate CUNY Law as one of the few, if not the only, law school to make a public statement defending the right of its students to organize and speak out against Israeli settler colonialism. That this is the law school that passed and endorsed BDS on a student and faculty level, recognizing that absent a critical imperialism settler colonialism lens, our work and this school’s mission statement is void of value. That as 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, as it imprisons its children, as it continues its project of settler colonialism, expelling Palestinians from their homes, carrying [out] the ongoing Nakba, that our silence is no longer acceptable.”
Mohammed further urged graduates to join “the fight against capitalism, racism, imperialism, and Zionism around the world.”
She also asserted, “Law is a manifestation of white supremacy that continues to oppress and suppress people in this nation and around the world.”
“We joined this institution to be equipped with the necessary legal skills to protect our communities, to protect the organizers fighting endlessly, day in and out, with no accolades, no cameras, no votes, no PhD grants, working to lift the façade of legal neutrality and confront the systems of oppression that wreak violence on them,” Mohammed continued. “Systems of oppression created to feed an empire with a ravenous appetite for destruction and violence.”
Here in its entirety is the vitriolic, evil, antisemitic @CUNYLaw commencement address from Jew hater Fatima Mohammed. Unimaginably, it is even worse than last year’s hate spewed by Nerdeen Kiswani. No wonder CUNY Law, under state investigation, tried to hide this video. pic.twitter.com/nKCe1Kx2sc
— SAFE CUNY (@SAFECUNY) May 28, 2023