CUNY Defends Decision to Host Anti-Israel Activist as Commencement Honoree

CUNY Defends Decision to Host Anti-Israel Activist as Commencement Honoree, Washington Free Beacon, April 26, 2017

(Gosh Darn! Next year, they will probably invite Ayaan Hirsi Ali unless Berkley gets to her first. Right? Please see also, Sharia-Advocate Sarsour to Give Graduation Address at CUNY. “Brigette Gabriel=Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She’s asking 4 an a$$ whippin’. I wish I could take their vaginas away – they don’t deserve to be women.”– DM)

BROOKLYN, NY – APRIL 20: Women’s March National Co-Chair Linda Sarsour speaks onstage during Vanity Fairís Founders Fair at the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge on April 20, 2017 in Brooklyn City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

CUNY has defended its decision to host Sarsour, telling students in a community message it is committed to all types of free speech.

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The City University of New York (CUNY), a taxpayer-funded institution, is doubling down on its decision to host a leading anti-Israel activist who has been accused of anti-Semitism as its honored commencement speaker next month, a move that has generated calls for New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo to step in and cancel the address.

CUNY is set to host Linda Sarsour, a leading voice in the anti-Israel movement who has been condemned by human rights groups for her rhetoric and promotion of terrorism against the Jewish state.

Sarsour, a Palestinian American and executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, is scheduled to give the commencement speech for CUNY’s Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy.

Local lawmakers and pro-Israel activists have expressed outrage over the decision, calling on CUNY to cancel Sarsour’s appearance. CUNY leaders have continued to praise Sarsour and maintain the speech will take place as scheduled.

Sarsour has earned a reputation as one of the country’s most virulent anti-Israel activists. She has attacked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “bigot” and routinely condemns the Jewish state as racist. Sarsour attracted outrage in 2015 when she tweeted out a picture of a Palestinian child with a rock in his hand accompanied by the caption, “the definition of courage.”

Sarsour became a darling of the activist left as a participant in the Women’s March against President Donald Trump and other demonstrations. She also has embraced and partnered with Rasmea Odeh, an anti-Israel activist and convicted terrorist who was recently found guilty of immigration fraud in the United States for failing to disclose her ties to terrorism.

Dov Hikind, a New York City assemblyman and pro-Israel advocate, told the Washington Free Beacon that Americans across the country should be outraged that a taxpayer-funded school is celebrating an individual who once praised child terrorism.

“This is a woman who not so long ago put out a tweet with a picture of a young child holding rocks in his hand and Linda Sarsour put in that message, ‘the definition of courage,'” Hikind said in an interview with the Free Beacon.

“The idea this woman would get this honor at a CUNY commencement, a place my tax dollars pay for, is unbelievable audacity.”

Sarsour “is someone who is an apologist for terrorists, and that’s who we need to be an example for graduate students at a tax-funded university here in New York?” Hikind asked. “How do you justify in any way [these views]? People should speak out everywhere. This should be a no brainer.”

While Hikind and other pro-Israel voices have spoken out against Sarsour’s appearance at CUNY, Cuomo and activist voices such as the Anti-Defamation League have remained silent.

“The ADL speaks out 24/7 on defamation of the Jewish people and nothing can be more defamatory than Linda Sarsour’s statements about Jews and her glorification of Arabs throwing rocks at Israelis,” Hikind said in a statement. “But following the invitation from CUNY for Sarsour to address their graduates, the ADL’s silence has been deafening and shameful.”

One senior official at a national Jewish organization told the Free Beacon that Sarsour’s appearance at CUNY demonstrates that anti-Israel activism is still being mainstreamed.

“Linda Sarsour advocates a version of feminist intersectionality that, by design, excludes liberal Jews who support Israel but welcomes radical Muslims who deny women’s rights,” said the official, who was not authorized to speak on record. “In that sense she’s perfect for today’s upside-down academy. That doesn’t make what she says or what CUNY’s doing any less disgraceful. It makes the whole thing more disgraceful.”

CUNY has defended its decision to host Sarsour, telling students in a community message it is committed to all types of free speech.

Ayman El-Mohandes, the dean of CUNY’s Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, said in a statement that CUNY is committed to academic freedom.

“I hope you all join me in my firm view that a diversity of viewpoints and an open exchange of ideas is at the heart of our country’s strength, and our university’s strength,” El-Mohandes said in a statement. “It is why we at CUNY are so committed to academic freedom, a bedrock principle of our university.”

“This will be a very special and meaningful commencement for all of us,” El-Mohandes added. “I hope to see you all there to celebrate women in leadership.”

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One Comment on “CUNY Defends Decision to Host Anti-Israel Activist as Commencement Honoree”

  1. Richard Rubenstein Says:

    I spent my first two college years at City College of NYC, now CUNY, In 1940, the big issue of the left at CCNY was keeping the US out of the war that started in September 1939. The left-wing students argued that it didn’t make any difference whether the French and British won the war or the Germans did. Both sides were imperialists and the important thing was to keep America out of the war. The left changed its line the moment Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. They immediately began to campaign to get the US into the war. Roosevelt kept us out of the war until the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 11, 1941 and, a few days later, Hitler declared war on the US.

    There were a lot of brilliant students and faculty at CCNY and then there was the politically blind left. I did not graduate from CCNY, but I do have two Harvard degrees, STM and PhD. The left is as politically blind and not only at CUNY.


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