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June 10, 2022 8:52 am
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Faculty at City University of New York Issue Fresh Warning Against ‘New Antisemitism’ on Campus

avatar by Dion J. Pierre

(Illustrative) Hundreds of people participated in a rally and march in support of the Palestinians on 42nd street in Manhattan in New York on May 11, 2021. Photo: Lev Radin/Sipa USA.

A group of academics at the City University of New York (CUNY) on Friday issued a fresh warning about the “new antisemitism” on campus, one year after the college’s staff congress passed a viscerally anti-Israel resolution in the wake of the May 2021 war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

The resolution — passed by the Professional Staff Congress Delegate Assembly on June 14 last year — accused Israel of committing massacres and endorsed the boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) movement that seeks to isolate the Jewish state. It denounced Israel as a “settler colonial state” that had engaged in “dispossession and expansion of settlements” at the expense of the Palestinians since its establishment in 1948.

The passage of the resolution last year marked a moment when “the new antisemitism” projected “the hatred of Jews nurtured through the ages into our time and place,” the CUNY Alliance for Academic Inclusion (CAFI) — a faculty group combating antisemitism — said on Friday.

The resolution passed by the Delegate Assembly was “an iconic expression of a new antisemitism, a movement which is proud of its hostility to Israel and stands with Palestinian leadership sworn to destroy the Jewish state, no matter the cost to their people,” the group said.

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CAFI accused the Assembly attempted to “break the common bonds of humanity, intellectual integrity, and unfettered discussion that are essential for a flourishing civil society and university.”

The group continued, “You will not find any Delegate Assembly resolution touching upon the Russian and Iranian assault on Syria, the mass imprisonment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, the suppression of civil liberties in Hong Kong, and on and on.”

The “Resolution in Support of the Palestinian People” compounded the sense of antisemitism felt by Jews at the City University of New York, several faculty told The Algemeiner after it passed last June. It also touched off two other high profile CUNY endorsements of BDS, with the CUNY Law Student Government Association (CUNY LSGA) and CUNY Law school faculty voting to embrace the Palestinian-led campaign to boycott the world’s only Jewish state later in the year.

The latest CUNY endorsement of BDS prompted New York City Councilwoman Inna Vernikov to disappropriate $50,000 of CUNY Law’s funding and the New York City Council to launch an investigation of antisemitism within the entire university system. Hearings for the inquiry, which would have included testimony from CUNY Chancellor Matos Rodríguez, were set to begin on June 8 but have reportedly been postponed because of scheduling conflicts.

Miriam Elman –Executive Director of the Academic Engagement Network, a campus group combating antisemitism and ani-Zionism — said that in year since the passage of the resolution, its backers had yet to deliver on their promise of a dialogue.

The leadership of the Professional Staff Congress at CUNY was in “desperate need of an education on the issues that moves beyond propaganda and sound bites,” Elman told The Algemeiner.

“They are now being given an opportunity to meet with their own CUNY colleagues, who have a wealth of information about the value of educational exchanges with Israeli academics, both Jewish and Arab,” she continued. “Will they accept this gracious offer to engage in a dialogue? I won’t hold my breath.”

 

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