(JTA) — After last month’s anti-Zionist incident at Brooklyn College, the City University of New York (CUNY) launched an investigation into allegations of antisemitism at several of its campuses. In addition to the probe directed by CUNY Chancellor James Milliken, the university is establishing a task force to foster a more understanding and respectful environment. The probe follows a string of anti-Israel incidents at CUNY campuses detailed in a lengthy letter sent Feb. 22 from the Zionist Organization to Milliken and the CUNY board of trustees.
On March 4, the Anti-Defamation League praised the university for its response.
Students at Brooklyn College on Feb. 16 allegedly demanded that “Zionists” leave campus and referred to a professor at a meeting as a “Zionist pig,” prompting strong condemnations of the incident by the college administration.
That Thursday, state assemblyman from Brooklyn, Dov Hikind, called on Brooklyn College to discipline the involved students.
“It’s nice to issue a statement apologizing for what occurred, but actions speak much louder than words.”
In November, the New York City chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine invoked what ADL called an antisemitic stereotype in the lead-up to the “Million Student March” rally at Hunter College when it referred to those who run CUNY as a “Zionist administration.” Additionally, several hate messages, including antisemitic, anti-gay and racist graffiti were discovered in restrooms and a classroom on the campus of John Jay College last year.
Klein alleged that campus activism by pro-Palestinian students infringed on university rules that prohibit obstructing free speech rights, verbal and physical abuse, and the endangerment of anyone’s physical or mental health. “If they were simply having rallies that Israel was an occupying force or an apartheid state, this might be within the rules,” Klein said. “But they go far beyond that.”
Evan R. Bernstein, ADL New York regional director, said, “Over the past few years, students have expressed to us firsthand a growing concern over a climate of anti-Jewish animus on some” CUNY campuses.