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‘Racism and Oppression’: Anti-Israel Activists Hold Event at CUNY in Protest of University’s Antisemitism Investigation

(Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Kate Anderson, Daily Caller News Foundation

Students and faculty at the City University of New York (CUNY) are hosting a “People’s Hearing on Racism and Repression” Thursday to “hold the university accountable” for investigating claims of antisemitism on campus from Jewish students and groups, according to an event document.

CUNY has been under scrutiny for a rash of antisemitic incidents on campus, and the New York City Council’s higher education committee held a hearing to listen to Jewish students’ experiences and concerns, according to the Times of Israel. In response, 27 groups, the majority being pro-Palestinian, organized a “People’s Hearing on Racism and Repression” to take place on March 9, accusing the university of allowing “anti-Palestinian racism, anti-Blackness, Islamophobia” by implementing policies suggested by many pro-Jewish groups, according to the event document.

“The hearing was the result of pressure by right-wing groups who made it clear that their aim was to force CUNY to adopt policies that would in effect erase any mention of Palestine from the university space in direct response to successful Palestine liberation organizing across the university,” the document read. “As such, we felt strongly that what was needed was in fact a different hearing – a People’s Hearing – to hold the university accountable to its students and workers, and to the wider community in which it is embedded.”

The event is being held at CUNY’s Graduate Center to network and protest “institutionalized racism, transphobia, sexism, ableism, colonialism and imperialism,” according to the document. CUNY recently launched an online portal for students to report “community acts of discrimination and retaliation” in an effort to combat rising anti-Jewish sentiment but the documents argues that both the university, the FBI and the NYPD are complicit in “over-policing” creating a “psychologically distressing and physically unsafe environment” for those ” resisting discrimination.”

However, no mention is made in the document of the anti-Jewish and antisemitic issues brought by Jewish students over the past year. Jewish students and faculty have raised concerns regarding antisemitic comments about “Jewish white privilege” and Jewish power tropes from professors and classmates, prompting the Department of Education to step in and investigate CUNY’s Brooklyn College in 2022, according to a report from StopAntisemitism.

Among the co-sponsors of the event are Jewish Voices for Peace, which has been classified by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as a “radical anti-Israel activist group” that supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that targets businesses and individuals who support Israel.

“JVP considers supporters of Israel, or even critics of Israel who do not hew to JVP’s own extreme views, to be complicit in Israel’s purported acts of racist oppression of Palestinians,” ADL states. “JVP leaders believe that expressing support for Israel, or not challenging mainstream Jewish organizations that support Israel, must also be viewed as an implicit attack on people of color and all marginalized groups in the United States.”

CUNY and People’s Hearing on Racism and Repression at CUNY did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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