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June 9, 2021 5:58 pm
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CUNY Faculty Union Weighs Resolution Accusing Israel of ‘Massacres’ of Palestinians, Demanding Boycott

avatar by Dion J. Pierre

The B. Altman & Company Building housing the City University of New York Graduate Center in New York City. Photo: Beyond My Ken/Wikimedia.

The City University of New York (CUNY) faculty union will vote on Thursday on a resolution to endorse the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement and accuse Israel of “crimes against humanity” and “ongoing settler colonial violence.”

“Be it resolved that PSC-CUNY condemn the massacre of Palestinians by the Israeli state,” said the resolution, posed to the faculty’s Professional Staff Congress (PSC) Union by its Anti-Racism Committee, International Committee and Academic Freedom Committee.

The resolution also called on the union to join student and faculty efforts to endorse the BDS movement and have CUNY “divest from all companies that aid in Israeli colonization, occupation, and war crimes.”

Writing at the website Left Voice, CUNY professors James Dennis Hoff and Olivia Wood described the “Resolution in Support of the Palestinian People” as “unprecedented” in the union’s history, and said they are “proud to be a part of a union whose members have the integrity and courage to take a stand against Israel.”

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They also wrote that they were “extremely disappointed” that the union’s Executive Council has opposed the resolution and presented a “watered-down alternative,” which was similarly critical of Israel but did not advocate divestment.

Brooklyn College history professor K.C. Johnson told The Algemeiner on Wednesday the union has “struggled to deliver on bread and butter issues to the membership, so it’s not hard to see all this … as a way of saying ‘alright, if we’re not providing the membership with economic representation, at least we’re giving voice to the extreme anti-Israel figures.'”

“Basically, if you’re the union, you’d rather be talking about Israel than why you haven’t gotten a raise,” he said. Brooklyn College is part of CUNY, which comprises 25 colleges and is the largest urban public university in the country.

Johnson also said that “it’s puzzling as to why a union would feel compelled not only to involve itself on a foreign policy question but only involve itself on this foreign policy question,” and challenged the idea that the resolution is “unprecedented.”

“It’s unprecedented in the viciousness of its text, but this is a union that has periodically condemned Israel for many years.”

“This is a union that has said, as far as I know, nothing about the Uyghurs, it never condemned Assad during the Syrian Civil War, I don’t believe it ever condemned Iran for its treatment of gay and lesbian citizens, I don’t believe it ever condemned Russia for the invasion of Crimea  — I don’t recall a debate about Morocco and the Western Sahara,” Johnson continued.

“It’s virtue signaling,” he charged. “They certainly want to send the message that anti-Israel activism is alive and well within the CUNY faculty.”

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