Wednesday, June 29th | 30 Sivan 5782

May 24, 2022 11:19 am

CUNY Law School Honors Student Who Called for ‘One Solution – Intifada’

avatar by Rachel O'Donoghue


CUNY School of Law in New York City. Photo: Evulaj90 / Wikimedia Commons.

Nerdeen Kiswani has called for “one solution — [the] Intifada revolution”; she has spread antisemitic conspiracy theories about Zionists controlling the media; she has called for violence against the Jewish state; and she wants  Zionism to be “wiped out.”

Kiswani’s social media pages are awash with disturbing comments and imagery, including a mural of notorious plane hijacker Leila Khaled toting an AK47, which she praised as “gorgeous,” and a film of herself sparking a cigarette lighter and threatening to set a man’s Israel Defense Forces sweatshirt on fire while he was wearing it.

However, such posts did not disqualify Kiswani from being selected to deliver the commencement address this month at the law school of the City University of New York (CUNY).

Kiswani, who is the founder and head of the anti-Israel hate group Within Our Lifetime, used her time on stage to rail against the Jewish state, alleging she had faced a “campaign of Zionist harassment by well-funded organizations with ties to the Israeli government and military…”

So extreme are Kiswani’s views, that she appears to have even alienated supporters of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, which seeks to delegitimize and eventually dismantle the Jewish state.

In 2018, after calling for the controversial campus group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) to “go beyond” the BDS campaign, Kiswani quoted Leila Khaled, saying: “BDS, of course, on the international level, is very effective. But it doesn’t liberate land.”

Following a censure by the BDS movement, she went her own way and set up Within Our Lifetime, which she proudly states uses an hourglass logo because “Israel’s days are numbered,” and campaigns to “globalize the intifada,” a reference to the waves of Palestinian suicide bombings and knife attacks that left thousands of innocent Israeli citizens dead.

Unsurprisingly given Kiswani’s troubling past, objections about her commencement address were raised by Jewish students and faculty, including by S.A.F.E. CUNY (Students and Faculty for Equality at CUNY), which pointed out that “honoring a Jew-hating bigot who has called for violence to Jews makes Jews at CUNY unsafe.”

“CUNY bears responsibility if someone gets hurt in the wake of Kiswani’s violence-inciting antisemitic rhetoric,” the group’s statement added.

CUNY law administrators ignored these objections.

And this is not the first time that the school has dismissed the concerns raised by Jewish students about their safety.

For example, the dean of CUNY Law School, Mary Bilek, actually defended Kiswani after the aforementioned IDF sweatshirt incident, claiming Kiswani was simply using “her First Amendment right to express her opinion,” which was her “opposition to Israel’s armed forces (or Israel’s policies toward Palestine).”

And faculty at CUNY Law faculty officially endorsed the BDS campaign this month, in a resolution that demanded the university sever ties with Israel, while accusing the Jewish state of being guilty of “apartheid, genocide, and war crimes.”

And all this occurs as antisemitism in New York is surging. In 2020, there was a 325% increase in antisemitic assaults on the city’s streets compared to the year before. Nationally, the rising levels of hatred and violence toward Jews have reached such an alarming level that just days ago, the US House of Representatives passed a resolution denouncing rising antisemitism.

When Kiswani, who said at a 2021 rally that she hopes a “pop-pop is the last noise that some Zionists hear in their lifetime,” is awarded the honor of addressing graduating students, CUNY Law School is seemingly giving a green light to violence against Jews.

And this hatred will have real-life consequences.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.