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Jewish Group Demands CUNY Chancellor Felix Matos Rodriguez Resign Over Law School Hate Speech

A Jewish rights watchdog group is demanding the resignation of CUNY Chancellor Felix Matos Rodriguez following a commencement “hate speech” spewed at the public university’s embattled law school, while New Jersey Congressman Josh Gottheimer is calling for a federal civil rights probe of antisemitism of CUNY.

The group StopAntisemitism — which monitors Jew hatred on college campuses — said the second consecutive year of anti-Jewish bile at the law school was the last straw for the CUNY boss.

The group referenced the inflammatory May 12 commencement address by student Fatima Mousa Mohammed, who critics including the chancellor and CUNY board of trustees said smeared Jews, Israel, the NYPD and the military.

Last year, both CUNY Law’s faculty council and student government passed resolutions supporting the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel while another student, Palestinian activist Nerdeen Kiswani, blasted the Jewish state during her 2022 commencement address.

“Enough is enough! CUNY Chancellor Felix Matos Rodriguez must step down. He has done nothing to properly fight antisemitism and is miserably failing to protect CUNY’s Jewish students against hate,” said StopAntisemitism’s executive director Liora Rez.

“The Chancellor receives more than $750,000 a year in compensation funded by taxpayer money, but the damage he is causing to Jewish students and staff is far more costly and cannot be quantified.”

The group called Mousa Mohammed a “rabid antisemite” who utilizes social media and participates in pro-Palestinian rallies to “spread her hatred towards Jews, Israel, and America.” It cited her posts calling for the “death to  Israel” and saying that “may every Zionist burn in the hottest pit in hell” and compared the Jewish state to Nazis.

“She advocates for the destruction of the world’s only Jewish state, pushes the antisemitic BDS movement, and expresses support for violence,” StopAntisemitism said.

Meanwhile, Gottheimer called on the U.S. Education Department to open a civil rights probe of CUNY and its law school.

“I am appalled by the persistent attacks against Jewish and pro-Israel students that have emanated from CUNY recently, including this speech, and I urge your office to investigate whether these incidents and CUNY’s administration’s response, or lack thereof, constitute a
violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI) jeopardizing the school’s eligibility for federal funding,” the Democrat said in a June 6 letter to the department’s assistant commissioner for civil rights.   

During her commencement address, Mousa Mohammed alleged that “Israel continues to indiscriminately rain bullets and bombs on worshipers, murdering the old, the young, attacking even funerals and graveyards… our silence is no longer acceptable.”

The future lawyer slammed CUNY for continuing “to train and cooperate with the fascist NYPD, the military.”

She also blasted the school for continuing “to train [Israeli] soldiers to carry out that violence globally.”

The board of trustees and Matos Rodriguez belatedly issued a statement accusing Mousa Mohammed of spewing “hate speech.” But CUNY law administrators including Dean Sudha Setty were seen applauding her speech and none condemned.

Matos Rodriguez declined comment on the call for his resignation.

The chancellor is setting up a Jewish council at CUNY to address complaints of antisemitism, said one prominent Jewish leader who rejected calls for Matos Rodriguez to resign.

“My position is we work together with the chancellor and address the problem forthrightly,” said Joseph Potasnik, vice chairman of the New York Board of Rabbis.

Mousa Mohammed recently declined to comment on her speech when reached by The Post at a relative’s home in Queens.

“I do not want to speak to anybody,” Mohammed said, refusing to give her own phone number and saying she did not want to be contacted again.

But 40 CUNY Law School professors co-signed a letter defending her address and said CUNY brass should apologize for calling it hate speech.

“No reasonable interpretation of the student speaker’s remarks would suggest it was `hate speech,’ given that none of the student’s comments attacked any persons or protected classes,] but at most commented on nations and state institutions that are incontrovertibly causing harm to people domestically and internationally,” the letter said.

“To the extent that the May 30th Statement attempts to equate the scourge of antisemitism with criticisms of the State of Israel, many human rights and Jewish organizations, including the Jewish Law Students Association at CUNY School of Law, flatly disagree.

Making such an equivalence would place CUNY squarely part of a well-documented campaign to silence students and faculty at institutions of higher education around the nation by labeling speech that supports Palestine or is critical of Israel as `antisemitic’ or `hate speech.’ 

“To the extent that the May 30th Statement purports to equate criticisms of policing and other city policies as `hate speech, this would be equally wrong, and disturbingly following the pattern of politically and ideologically motivated attacks on racial justice movements and public higher education seen in places like Florida.”

Source:https://nypost.com/2023/06/06/jewish-group-demands-cuny-chancellor-felix-matos-rodriguez-resign-over-law-school-hate-speech/