A Brooklyn councilwoman is pulling $50,000 in funding earmarked to the CUNY Law School because its faculty councilin support of the pro-Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.
Inna Vernikov, awho represents a handful of heavily Jewish neighborhoods in southern Brooklyn, charges that CUNY Law professors are engaging in antisemitism by backing the BDS movement against the Jewish State.
“I have pulled funding from the program and redirected it to Legal Services NYC,” Vernikov told The Post Friday.
“It seems as if antisemitism is the only politically acceptable form of racism which exists. We must stop handing out free passes to anti-Semites like candy,” Vernikov said.
The money had been set aside for CUNY Law to provide pro-bono services to the needy in her district.
The CUNY School of Law Justice and Auxiliary Service, staffed by its alumni, has provided legal assistance to hundreds of constituents in Council District 48 for over the past 15 years — thanks to funding provided at the discretion of council members.
She said CUNY professors are hypocrites by targeting Israel over disputed territory with Palestinians while ignoring other countries “who actually commit atrocious human rights violations, including but not limited to genocide, rape, torture, and persecution.”
“During a time when antisemitic hate crimes are up by 300%, it is incumbent upon our academic institutions to do everything in their power to protect their Jewish and pro-Israel students, not pass resolutions which directly place them in harm’s way,” the councilwoman said.
Backers of the Jewish State applauded Vernikov and said more of New York’s elected officials should withdraw support from CUNY until it stops condoning what it deems as Jewish hatred and discrimination.
“The CUNY system appears to be infected with systemic antisemitism that is hurting the ability of Jewish faculty and students to exercise and enjoy basic civil rights. Councilwoman Vernikov’s action to defund this hate is very significant, and something more elected officials need to have the courage to do,” said Gerard Filitti, senior counsel of the Lawfare Project, a Jewish civil rights group.
“If other minorities were targeted with the bigotry that Jewish students and faculty face at CUNY, there would be a public outcry to demand accountability, consequences, and change. The Jewish community deserves no less.”
CUNY Law had no immediate comment.
The CUNY Law professors on May 12 voted to endorse the BDS resolution that previously passed the school’slast December, a spokesperson for the law school confirmed last week.
The vote came the day before a pro-Palestinan student speaker bashed Israel during herat the CUNY Law graduation ceremony.
The resolution discusses the disputed territories occupied by Israel in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.
“The unceasing military occupation and colonization of Palestine by the Israeli state is a manifestation of both settler colonialism and structural racism, supported politically, financially, and militarily by the U.S,” the resolution said.
The resolution demanded that CUNY sever ties with Israel and accused the school of being “directly complicit in the ongoing apartheid, genocide, and war crimes perpetrated by the State of Israel against the Palestinian people through its investments in and contracts with companies profiting off of Israeli war crimes.”
The group called for the school to terminate student exchange programs with Israel and to join the Boycott Divest Sanctions movement against the nation.
The Israel-Palestinian dispute has raged in recent years among faculty and students at a number of City University of New York campuses. Students on both sides claim they have been subjected to bullying and discrimination and CUNY evenof complaints of harassment against Jewish students, though it concluded much of the offensive language spewed is protected by free speech.
Meanwhile, CUNY administrators — including Chancellor Felix Matos Rodriguez and campus presidents — recently returned from a mission to Israel. The mission was co-sponsored by the New York Jewish Community Relations Council and a clear indication that CUNY brass opposes the BDS movement.
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