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After year marked by anti-Israel bias, NYU hosts pro-BDS graduation speaker

(JNS) From its student government  passing a resolution calling on the university to separate its interests from firms that do business with Israel to Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour speaking on campus to the school administration giving an award to Students for Justice in Palestine to its Cultural Studies Department and ending its relationship with program in Tel Aviv, New York University experienced an academic year full of anti-Israel activity.

A graduation speaker at the school on Monday, May 20 topped it off, praising the BDS resolution passed in December.

“I am so proud, so proud, of NYU’s chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voices for Peace for supporting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against the apartheid state government in Israel because this is what we are called to do,” said journalist and former “Saturday Night Live” alum Steven Thrasher. “This is our NYU legacy—that we are connected in radical love, and we have a duty and a privilege in this position to protect not the most popular amongst us, but the most vulnerable amongst us on every campus where we serve in every community where we live, in every place that we work.”

“This is our duty, and we must stand together to vanquish racism and Islamophobia and antisemitism and injustice and attacks on women and attacks on abortion rights in Tel Aviv, in Shanghai, in Abu Dhabi, in New York City, in Atlanta, in Washington, in Los Angeles, in San Francisco and everywhere in the world. Finally, now I can relax.”

NYU president Andrew Hamilton, who has condemned BDS and was not in attendance when the school presented the award to SJP last month, can be seen on video applauding Thrasher’s speech.

A letter with more than 140 signatures from NYU alumni and faculty members urges Hamilton to fight a “climate of antisemitism at NYU that creates a hostile environment for Jewish students, prevents honest discourse and limits academic freedom on our campus” and that “antisemitism has been normalized on our campus.”

“Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), an organization that has become a symbol for anti-Israel and antisemitic hatred, was awarded the highest honor of any organization at NYU, the President’s Service Award,” stated the letter.

NYU spokesperson John Beckman told The Algemeiner that the anti-Israel vibe on campus doesn’t “reflect the center of gravity of opinion on our campus, and it is puzzling that the letter’s authors believe these incidents to be more of an indicator of campus sentiment than their unequivocal rejection by campus leadership and so many other members of the NYU community.”

An incoming college freshman, Ellen Schanzer, whose great-grandfather, Martin Bernstein, founded NYU’s music department in 1925 and was a decades-long professor there, withdrew her admittance to the school, as “it has now become clear to me that as a Jew, if I were to attend NYU, I would be affiliating myself with an institution that accommodates faculty members and student organizations that are dedicated to antisemitic ideologies.”

“Some on your campus differentiate between anti-Zionism and antisemitism; however, I am not one of those people,” she wrote. “This age-old hatred of my people wears different disguises in different generations, but [its] root objective is always the same.”

She continued, “I will not stand by as it is allowed to take form at NYU and will certainly not attend an institution where my core beliefs and very existence is being threatened.”

CAP: New York University’s Greenwich Village campus. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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