Marc Lamont-Hill Sarsour

The New York City Council had enough of the ‘extremely hostile campus environment’ that results in ‘blatant forms of anti-Semitism.’


Days after a council member pulled her discretionary funding for the City University of New York’s law school in response to its faculty endorsing a boycott of Israel, the NY City council announced a committee hearing next week to examine a pattern of anti-Semitism on CUNY campuses.

The Council’s Higher Education Committee, led by the council’s Jewish Caucus chair Eric Dinowitz, will hold an oversight hearing called “Examining Anti-Semitism on College Campuses” on June 8.

“The embracement and normalization of BDS by both CUNY students and faculty have fostered an extremely hostile campus environment that has resulted in the more blatant forms of anti-Semitism that are becoming all too common in our city,” said Dinowitz.

“It is crucial for the council to ensure that our CUNY system—a national model for higher education—does not descend into the singling out of the only Jewish state in the world, and in turn, ostracize our Jewish students and residents.”

City Councilwoman Inna Vernikov, also a member of the Jewish Caucus, is the ranking Republican on the higher-education committee.

As a response to the faculty vote, she pulled $50,000 in funding for CUNY Law School designated for pro bono work in her Brooklyn district.

The vote came in the same month that a speaker with a long history of anti-Israel statements gave a commencement speech at a CUNY School of Law graduation ceremony.

Nerdeen Kiswani said during the speech that she is “facing a campaign of Zionist harassment by well-funded organizations with ties to the Israeli government and military on the basis of my Palestinian identity and organizing.”

Faculty members on stage could be seen nodding and applauding in approval at each of Kiswani’s several criticisms of Israel, which were a focus of her remarks.

CUNY’s chancellor, Felix Matos Rodriguez, has publicly opposed the anti-Israel BDS movement and other anti-Semitic efforts on campus, and recently led a Jewish Community Relations Council of New York-sponsored delegation of CUNY college presidents to Israel.