US lawmakers blast NYC public colleges for anti-Zionist commencement event

Fatima Mohammed speaks at CUNY School of Law (Youtube screenshot; used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)
Fatima Mohammed speaks at CUNY School of Law (Youtube screenshot; used in accordance with clause 27a of the copyright law)

National and local politicians in New York blast the City University of New York (CUNY) and its law school for a commencement ceremony that featured a keynote speech attacking the Jewish state and “Zionists.”

US Congressman Ritchie Torres calls the speech “anti-Israel derangement syndrome at work.”

“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,” Torres says.

US Congressman Mike Lawler says, “CUNY should be ashamed of itself — and should lose any federal funds it currently receives.”

New York State Assemblymember Simcha Eichenstein says, “This hate-filled and dangerous speech has been brought to you by CUNY and paid for by New York taxpayers.”

New York City council members Ari Kagan, Kalman Yeger and Inna Vernikov also blast the city college system over the speech.

“CUNY Law continues to be a bastion of antisemitism, encouraging another generation to hate Jews. This vile blood libel is yet another example of how dangerous it is to be Jewish on a CUNY campus,” Yeger says.

Lee Zeldin, a former congressman and gubernatorial candidate, says, “Until the administration is overhauled and all Jewish students and faculty are welcome again, taxpayer funding must be immediately halted.”

The law school’s commencement speaker, pro-Palestinian activist Fatima Mohammed, dedicated much of her speech to criticism of Israel.

She accused the Jewish state of “indiscriminate” murder, encouraging “lynch mobs” and lauded resistance to “Zionism around the world.”

She said “investors” at the college had stifled criticism of the Jewish state.

She also lauded opposition to “Zionism around the world… by any means necessary.”

The Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, which partners with CUNY to boost Jewish life on campus, called the speech antisemitic.

CUNY Law released a video of the speech on Thursday, after refusing to make the clip public after the May 12 commencement address.

The law school made the video available after the Council on American-Islamic Relations and pro-Palestinian media and activists accused the university of stifling activists.

The speech marked the second consecutive year that the law school’s commencement speaker dedicated much of their address to anti-Israel rhetoric, and comes amid a years-long running battle over alleged widespread antisemitism in the city college system.

The CUNY system has 25 colleges around New York’s five boroughs, with around 260,000 students and close to 20,000 faculty. It has long been part of the city’s social fabric.

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