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CUNY law students warring with faculty over anti-Israel resolution

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It’s an escalating war of words over Israel at the City University of New York.

The student government of CUNY’s law school passed a resolution ripping the Jewish state last week — prompting an enraged rebuttal from a group of faculty members.

The Law Student Government Association demanded that CUNY sever ties with Israel and accused the school of being “directly complicit in the ongoing apartheid, genocide, and war crimes perpetrated by the State of Israel against the Palestinian people through its investments in and contracts with companies profiting off of Israeli war crimes.” 

The group called for the school to terminate student exchange programs with Israel and to join the Boycott Divest Sanctions movement against the nation.

The law students characterized the exchanges as “propaganda” exercises that “normalize settler colonial and apartheid rule.”

That salvo was met with outrage from an opposing group of CUNY faculty members who argued that the group was attempting to stifle pro-Israel opinion and demonize Jewish students.

Students hold Palestinian flags and protest signs.
Student protesters held a rally in May demanding that the university system divest from Israel.
Corbis via Getty Images / Andrew Lichtenstein

LSGA’s language sought to “trash academic freedom by seeking to bar opinions contrary to its own from CUNY and its groups,” the faculty members wrote in their counter-missive.

Calling itself the CUNY Alliance for Inclusion, the educators ripped the resolution for attempting to “shame” Jewish student groups into silence.

CAFI said that pro-BDS groups are pushing to exclude students sympathetic to Israel from unrelated social justice causes like climate change and women’s rights.

“A frenzy of anti-Semitic vilification of Israel under the cover of ‘anti-Zionism’ is sweeping American education and, is metastasizing into attacks on Jewish life in the United States,” their letter stated.

A CUNY faculty member said that tensions over the political flashpoint are reaching a boiling point.

“This debate has existed for decades here,” he told The Post. “But it has never been this bitter, this angry. I’m not sure the administration knows what to do.”

CUNY students hold protest signs reading "Jewish CUNY prof here to demand CUNY divest -- Free Palestine."
Dozens of CUNY professors quit their faculty union after it passed another resolution critical of Israel politics.
Corbis via Getty Images / Andrew Lichtenstein

The faculty members demanded that school brass take a clear position on the confrontation.

In a statement Friday, CUNY officials told The Post that the school does not support BDS and that individual groups had the right to express their views on Israel.

“The CUNY community is home to a great many membership organizations that include students, faculty and staff and CUNY encourages dialogue, tolerance and civil engagement amongst our diverse community,” said a CUNY spokesperson. “As the Chancellor has said before, these organizations speak for themselves and the opinions or positions they express are entirely theirs and do not represent the views of CUNY or the majority of the 300,000 members of our community.”

This week’s clash of correspondence is only the latest CUNY controversy over Israel.

In July, dozens of CUNY professors quit their faculty union after it passed another resolution critical of Israeli policies.

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