NYC law school slapped with complaint over anti-Israel policy

Daily Caller News Foundation

The City University of New York School of Law (CUNY Law) was hit with a complaint Tuesday after a Jewish advocacy group wrote a letter to the American Bar Association (ABA) about an anti-Israel policy adopted by faculty in 2022.

In June 2022, faculty at the law school adopted a boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) resolution to resist “Israeli settler colonialism” and called for a boycott of any and all support of Israel to protest the alleged “occupation” and “war crimes” against Palestinians. In response, Safe CUNY, a Jewish advocacy organization, sent a letter of complaint to the ABA arguing that the resolution violates the association’s standards for accreditation and demanding that the law school lose its accreditation status for supporting anti-Israel policies.

Safe CUNY claimed that the law school’s resolution violated the ABA’s nondiscrimination and diversity standards, which prohibit discrimination against students, faculty, employees and programs based on religion or nationality. The group argued the BDS resolution’s approval of banning the Jewish student organization Hillel was one of the multiple examples of how the resolution targets “Israeli and Zionist Jews” on campus.

“In addition, the implemented BDS policy … institutionalizes and effectuates an academic boycott of Israeli universities, Israeli scholars, and any other scholars that engage in research and publication with Israeli institutions or Israeli scholars,” the letter read. “CUNY Law’s actively implemented BDS policy employs a boycott and divestment of … companies, which it claims, are somehow complicit in ‘war crimes’ and other atrocities, by virtue of having had any connection to, worked in any way with, or done any business with an Israeli business, and Israeli individual or with the State of Israel.”

The group also noted a statement from CUNY Chancellor Matos Rodríguez on May 30, 2022, that similarly condemned the BDS policy and called the boycott “contrary to a university’s core mission to introduce students to a world that can be vastly different from their own.”

“CUNY does not support and to be clear cannot participate in BDS activities, and is required to divest public funds from any companies that do,” Rodríguez said.

The group concluded by asking the ABA to review the policy and “take all appropriate measures” including, and up to, removing the law school’s accreditation, according to the letter. When asked for comment, the accrediting arm of the ABA told the Daily Caller News Foundation that accreditation matters, including investigations, are handled confidentially under its rules.

The university was recently the subject of criticism after allowing a commencement speech by CUNY Law student Fatima Mohammed that bashed Israel and commemorated the “ferocity of the violence” of  “those who carry the revolution.” Elected officials and Jewish advocates have called for an investigation into the university system following the speech, arguing that it was an “egregious display of hostility.”

CUNY Law and Safe CUNY did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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