A pernicious student group’s hate speech on campus.
There was a time when CUNY meant a quality education at an affordable price. Today, for many Jewish students who attend CUNY, the institution has become synonymous with anti-Semitism and anti-Israel vitriol. This is due almost exclusively to the malevolent presence of a pernicious student group that calls itself Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).
Former CUNY board member Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld has accurately described the SJP as the “equivalent of bullying brownshirts.” This characterization may actually be an understatement. The SJP possesses all the hallmarks of a fascist student organization that operates under the larger umbrella of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamo-fascist organization that maintains a number of subgroups, each of which is tasked with furthering its cancerous ideology.
The SJP employs intimidation tactics designed to promote fear, harass and bully. Its group members have frequently disrupted pro-Israel or Jewish themed events by shouting down invited speakers and physically preventing students and others from attending. Conversely, Jewish and pro-Israel students who have attended events sponsored by the SJP have been arbitrarily removed on orders of SJP enforcers in full view of high-level CUNY officials.
Wiesenfeld also noted that SJP members are “specifically instructed and trained that disruption, shouting, harassment and the like are to be the CORE, not the periphery, of their activities.” Often, these activities manifest to overt anti-Semitism and escalate to actual physical violence against Jewish students.
In the face of CUNY indifference to SJP antics, the group has become more aggressive in both tone and action.
At a recent Brooklyn College faculty gathering in February, SJP members disrupted the meeting chanting “Zionists off campus,” as well as other anti-Semitic slogans. An attempt to restore order to the meeting drew more anti-Semitic outrages from the hooligans. A professor in attendance who wore a yarmulke was obscenely called a “Zionist pig” by the pro-Palestinian students.
At John Jay Criminal Justice, at least three Jewish students have transferred due to the rise of anti-Semitic incidents on campus. Officials at the school have all but ignored complaints of anti-Semitism with one faculty member reportedly saying, “What are these white kids complaining about?”
In November, SJP students at Hunter College conducted a rowdy demonstration where they shouted “Zionists out of CUNY” and “Intifada! Intifada! Long live the Intifada.” On social media, SJP organizers of the demonstration asked students to oppose the “Zionist administration.”
And at the College of Staten Island, a pro-Palestinian demonstrator insinuated that a Jewish student was a “murderer,” presumably because of his Jewish or pro-Israel affiliation. In addition, desks and walls were reportedly defaced with Swastikas.
In response to the growing scourge of anti-Semitism at CUNY and the lackadaisical attitude displayed by some CUNY officials, the Zionist Organization of America sent a 14-page letter to CUNY’s Chancellor, James Milliken, the Board of Trustees and public officials describing in detail the cruel treatment that Jewish students are forced to endure on a daily basis and demanding action. The ZOA warned that further inaction by CUNY officials would likely constitute a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
The continuous outrages at CUNY have also caught the eye of elected leaders. In early March, the New York State Senate approved a resolution to cut $485 million in funds earmarked for CUNY, to “send a message” that the colleges were not taking sufficient action to combat campus anti-Semitism. And last week, a group of 35 state lawmakers sent a letter to Chancellor Milliken demanding the suspension of the SJP from CUNY, blaming the group for the recent surge of anti-Semitic incidents on college campuses and creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.
Suspension of the SJP is not without precedent. In 2014, at Northeastern University, the group was suspended for 1½ months and was subjected to a further period of probation after they distributed fake eviction notices to students in an effort to draw attention to land claims by Palestinians. And in 2015, at Loyola University Chicago, the SJP was disallowed from “hosting any on-campus activities or events,” after its members accosted and tried to prevent Jewish students and members of Hillel from promoting a pro-Israel Birthright event.
CUNY officials have long sought to downplay the pernicious effects of the SJP on college campuses. Some are just apathetic to the plight of Jewish students while others are simply too paralyzed with fear to take decisive action. Perhaps the latest move by lawmakers and the threat of federal litigation will provide the necessary incentive for CUNY officials to finally take decisive action against the SJP and put to an end, once and for all, their cancerous effect on a once acclaimed institution of higher learning.