Pro-Israel groups and Jewish allies are calling for the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Public Law to lose funding after an alum accused Israel of "indiscriminately firing bullets and bombs at Palestinians" during a speech. She also stated that American laws are "white supremacy" and criticized the "fascist" NYPD and US military. The edition told in more detail Fox News.
Fatima Musa Mohammed, who was selected by the class of 2023 to speak at the CUNY Law graduation ceremony on May 12, accused Israel of "indiscriminately" killing Palestinians and encouraging "lynch mobs." She also noted resistance to "Zionism around the world" by supporting the anti-Israel BDS movement.
The law school initially removed the speech from YouTube, but released it in its entirety after a public outcry from both pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel groups.
“I want to celebrate CUNY Law as one of the few, if not the only law school that has made a public statement in defense of its students' rights to organize and speak out against Israeli settler colonialism,” Mohammed said from the podium.
“CUNY Law has adopted and endorsed BDS at the student and faculty levels. Thereby recognizing that Israel continues to indiscriminately drop bullets and bombs on believers, killing old and young, attacking even funerals and cemeteries, encouraging lynching, attacking Palestinian homes and businesses. Our silence is no longer acceptable,” she said.
“We did all this in spite of racism, in spite of the activism, in spite of the vested interests of the CUNY center, an institution that continues to fail us, which continues to train and cooperate with the fascist NYPD, the military, which continues to train IDF soldiers to do the same violence around the world,” she added.
In another part of her speech, Mohammed called for a "revolution" to challenge the "repressive" institutions in the US. She also spoke out against the mistreatment of "Palestinian political prisoners like the HLF in US prisons." The HLF, or Holy Land Foundation, was a Texas-based charity that "existed to support Hamas."
The speaker later called on her graduate legal class to dismantle capitalism.
“The joy and excitement that fills the hall… let it be the fuel for the fight against capitalism, racism, imperialism and Zionism all over the world,” she concluded.
Prominent American Jewish groups and allies condemned Mohammed's performance, with some accusing her of "spreading anti-Semitic clichés" while others demanded that CUNY Law be cut off from taxpayer funding.
The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of New York called Mohammed's speech "incendiary anti-Israel propaganda," noting that the speech came only a year after the law school was criticized for the involvement of Nerdin Kiswani, then president of Students for Justice in Palestine" as a speaker at the 2022 Graduation Ceremony.
"This particular opening speech rejected the principle of seeking the truth in a shameless attempt to vilify CUNY's constructive engagement with Israel and New York's Jewish community, as well as Israeli supporters on campus, using anti-Semitic clichés," JCRC said. - We strongly recommend that CUNY review its speech policy."
“Graduation should not be a place for vilification,” wrote the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). “We are shocked to see such a blatant display of hostility towards Jews and Israel in this speech. This is another example of the problems Jewish students are experiencing on campus."
Former New York Congressman Lee Zeldin tweeted: “Violent anti-Semitism has completely consumed the City University of New York. Until the administration changes its attitude towards Jewish students and teachers, funding should be stopped immediately.”
“That is why I am finalizing a bill to remove funding from universities if they engage in and promote anti-Semitism,” said Rep. Mike Lawler, NY. – CUNY should be ashamed. He needs to be stripped of all the federal funds he currently receives."
SAFE CUNY, a group that defends Zionist Jews under the CUNY system, has shared a full 13-minute video of Mohammed's speech.
“Here is a totally venomous, angry, anti-Semitic @CUNYLaw speech from Jew-hater Fatima Mohammed,” they wrote. “Inconceivably, this is even worse than last year's hatred spewed by Nerdin Kiswani. No wonder CUNY, who is under investigation, tried to cover up this video."
New York City Council member Inna Vernikov also condemned the venue for hosting the performance.
"If anyone had any doubts about what's going on at @CUNY, here it is: vile, unabashed hatred of the US, Israel, the NYPD and democracy," she tweeted. – I can’t imagine myself as a graduate sitting in the audience. These are the future lawyers of New York.”
Lawfare Project Senior Counsel Gerard Filitti wrote: “Jewish hatred at @CUNY is systemic, especially in law school. Withholding funding is one way to hold CUNY accountable. What Jewish students and teachers are facing is a civil rights issue that, perhaps, can only be resolved by the courts."
“Heinous anti-American and anti-Israel hate speech,” New York City Council member Ari Kagan tweeted in response to a user question, “How is education at @CUNY @CUNYLaw different from education at Hamas? @CUNY @CUNYLaw is subject to state and federal taxes. We have to get rid of them now."
Kagan added: “Totally unacceptable graduation speech for a taxpayer funded institution. @CUNY and @CUNYLaw must immediately condemn this hateful speech and take all necessary steps to eliminate such dangerous rhetoric."
New York State Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein wrote, “This hate-filled speech was paid for by New York taxpayers. Keep this in mind the next time our elected leaders emphasize their commitment to fighting anti-Semitism.”
Former speechwriter for Israel's Permanent Mission to the United Nations, Aviva Klompas, wrote: “City University of New York law student takes the podium to deliver a tirade of insults against Israel. She is a product of the @CUNY education that portrays Israel as a caricature of evil, not a flourishing democracy facing nearly intractable problems."
Former U.S. Deputy Special Envoy to Combat Anti-Semitism during the administration of the 45th U.S. President Donald Trump, Ellie Cohenim, also spoke out.
"NYC taxpayers: get your voice across to @CUNY - we don't want to support Jew hatred," she wrote.
The New York State Young Republican Club denounced the law school for "providing a platform for hate."
"We hope @NYSYD and @CollegeDemsNY will join us in condemning this disgusting and hateful speech," the group wrote on Twitter. “If not, their silence will speak volumes.”
CUNY Law stated that “the student speakers… offered comments and their own views. Like all such speeches, they reflect the thoughts of these people.
Mohammed's speech came amid accusations of anti-Semitism at CUNY among students and faculty. Earlier this year, the US Department of Education reportedly launched an investigation into allegations of harassment and discrimination against Jewish students at CUNY's Brooklyn College.