This professor accused CUNY of anti-Semitism. He hired an anti-Israel official to investigate.
When Professor Jeffrey Lax reported widespread discrimination against Jews, including harassment of Jewish faculty members like himself, the City University of New York placed the investigation in the lap of Saly Abd Alla, an office official of school discrimination but hardly an ally of the Jewish community. people.
Abd Alla came to CUNY from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, where she worked as civil rights director alongside officials who promoted anti-Israel agitprop and defended Jew-hating terror groups, including Hamas.
The CUNY’s decision to name Abd Alla in the case has drawn strong backlash from the pro-Israel community, with critics saying it is not possible for a former CAIR official to adjudicate fairly on allegations of anti-Semitism. The selection comes amid a rising tide of anti-Semitic incidents on the US college campus, some of which have prompted unprecedented investigations by the Department of Education. This includes Jewish students who were allegedly expelled from a sexual assault survivor group at the University of Vermont and similar incidents at the University of Southern California in which students were cyberbullied for publicly expressing their Jewish and pro-Israeli identity.
Lax, a professor at CUNY’s Kingsborough Community College, says in his complaint that CUNY management, including Kingsborough President Claudia Schrader, failed to act on the recent ruling by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. confirmation of pervasive discrimination against Jews on the CUNY campus. Pro-Israel faculty members and those who identify as Zionists have repeatedly said they have been targeted because of their beliefs.
“Can you imagine if a college commissioned David Duke to investigate discrimination against black people? That’s the equivalent of what it is,” Lax told Newsmax on Monday. “It has long been a cancer at CUNY, anti-Semitism.”
The Anti-Defamation League reports that CAIR’s leadership uses “incendiary anti-Zionist rhetoric that has repeatedly veered into anti-Semitic tropes related to Jewish influence on media or political affairs, or descended into defamation Zionists, which includes the majority of American Jews.”
“Antipathy toward Israel,” says the ADL, “has been a staple of CAIR since the group’s inception in 1994.” This includes “repeated pro-Hamas statements by CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad.”
Lax, in the information provided to the Free tagsaid he was first contacted by Abd Alla earlier this month and told she would take up his discrimination case.
Lax responded to Abd Alla in an email outlining his concerns about his relationship with CAIR and his support for anti-Semitic causes like the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which is waging economic warfare against Israel.
“The core of my claim is that I am being discriminated against and retaliated against because I am a Zionist Jew,” Lax wrote. “I want to be very open and transparent from the start about a concern I have: I notice that you are the former civil rights director of CAIR MN. As you know, CAIR is an aggressive anti-Zionist movement and a voice CAIR also lobbied against the existence of the 100-year-old Jewish civil rights organization, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and supported and defended Ilhan’s comments. Omar and Linda Sarsour whom most Jews regard as deeply anti-Semitic.
Lax wondered if Abd Alla “could investigate such allegations without bias.”
Lax says Abd Alla has yet to respond to that September 12 email. He also wrote to Abd Alla’s supervisor, Vice-Chancellor Doriane Gloria, asking for a response. Gloria told him last week that she had received his message and would respond this week, although that was yet to come, according to Lax.
A CUNY spokesperson told the Free tag that Abd Alla will have no problem investigating Lax’s allegations of anti-Semitism fairly.
“CUNY is committed to cultivating a diverse and inclusive community, free from anti-Semitism and all forms of hatred, and safe for all individuals,” the spokesperson said. “All CUNY Diversity Officers are professional and trained to ensure that the university and its campuses follow workplace rules and conduct fair and impartial investigations of workplace discrimination when necessary.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a group that fights anti-Semitism, hit out at CUNY on Twitter, accusing the school of losing its moral compass.
“CUNY Rental[d] someone from CAIR to investigate anti-Semitism [and] anti-Zionist?” the center tweeted. “CAIR officials have internalized hatred of Jews. CUNY has lost its moral compass.”
CAIR was listed by the Wiesenthal Center as one of its top 10 promoters of anti-Semitism as recently as 2021.
Inna Vernikov, Republican Minority Whip for the New York City Council, also criticized CUNY’s decision. “CUNY subpoenaing a former CAIRNational representative to investigate allegations of anti-Semitism is like asking a sexual abuser to investigate allegations of sexual harassment/rape of a victim of such abuse,” he said. she adds. tweeted.
Representative Lee Zeldin (R., NY) said in a statement Tuesday that CUNY is guilty of displaying “a disgusting antipathy to students, faculty and staff who have been victims of anti-Semitism on campus.”
“This is just the latest example,” Zeldin said. “If you name someone who has held a leadership position in an anti-Semitic organization known to investigate anti-Semitism, there may as well be no investigation at all. By his words and their actions, the school leadership has enabled and encouraged an environment where Jewish students, faculty and staff do not feel valued and often feel outright attacked.”