On May 17, just two weeks ago, I reported on how CUNY (City University of NY in NYC) was working proactively to combat antisemitism, which has taken root systemically in the CUNY system.
One of the initiatives to raise awareness and show solidarity with the large Jewish community in the system is to display a blue square as a pin on one’s clothing and as part of any social media profile.
The blue square seemed to be completely absent from the recent CUNY Law School recent graduation ceremonies. The student body elected Fatima Mousa Mohammed. to give the commencement address. The resulting remarks were anti-American, anti-rule of law, and antisemitic. The only bright side to this speech is it exposes and puts on full display the philosophical underpinnings of much of the faculty of many universities and colleges, who are training the next generation of lawyers, teachers, business leaders, doctors, and policymakers. The exposure activated many Jewish and non-Jewish students, alum, community members, and supporters of the Jewish community and Zionism to respond.
The speech, which can be found here, was a vitriolic attack on all that Western civilization stands on including Judeo-Christian values, the rule of law, capitalism, and, of course, the specific existence of the only Jewish state in the world.
So I ask, What happened to the blue square during the event? Why does it take such an overt expression of hate speech to garner any kind of reaction? Why do some feel so emboldened and entitled to use a public, taxpayer forum to denigrate the very foundations, principles, and people who produce our exceptional society that offers opportunities, freedoms, and educational avenues? Anyone in a room to celebrate earning a Law Degree from CUNY should be thanking the very system that generated an educational system such as CUNY, a diverse and opportunity-rich such as New York, located in a nation where one can freely express opposition to any given political leader, corrupt system, or cultural trend? Free speech is free. These students are free to denigrate their very foundations, but not on the very stage paid for by the taxes of the people they rail against.
The backlash to this speech, thankfully, is completely bipartisan and reveals that reasonable Americans with some sense of values regarding human rights and dignity and knowledge of the history and origins of our systems agree. This speech was “hate speech.” I am not advocating for censoring free speech, but I am advocating for sensibilities at our tax-payer-funded institutions of higher learning and for standards on what political agenda items should make it into a graduation speech. And, further, I query why so many of our graduates hate the very society that brings them the freedom to pursue their interests.
Fortunately, the unabashed NY Post was the first to “post” the speech and shine a light on the speech when it could have been largely overlooked and that seed of poison sowed by Fatima might have been left to germinate unfettered. Uprooting weeds of hate is the only way to possibly prevent an even bigger harvest.
Representative Michael Law, who was part of the IAF allies caucus in Congress, (you can see him on last week’s red alert providing remarks on the topic of supporting our ally, Israel) publicly vowed to work on legislation curtailing taxpayer funds to CUNY (and all public institutions) until it cracks down on its antisemitism. Ted Cruz (R TX) also is outspoken and joins the legislative route on this topic.
NY Major Eric Adams, who was a form NYC Transit Police Offer gave remarks at the event before the commencement speaker took the stage and had the student body actually turn their backs on him. Future NYC prosecuting attorneys just turned their backs on a man who put his own life on the line, daily, to protect innocent, hardworking New Yorkers. They deemed Mayor Adams part of the “fascist police,” against which these law school students will likely go to work.
By the way, after the commencement speech came out, Mayor Adams held a Jewish Heritage celebration at Gracie Mansion. Adams told the crowd had he been able to stay for that speech and heard it live, he would have stood up right then and there and spoken out.
Congressman Ritchie Torres (D-NY), who represents South Bronx, stated that such hateful speech has no place at a publicly funded institution like CUNY. And Barry Grodenchik, a former Democratic city councilman, publicly agreed with Congressman Torres.
Most of these lawmakers and community leaders on both sides of the political aisle, local and national levels, are communicating their stances via press releases and social media.
My request to you all is to carefully examine the public institutions of learning in your communities and state. Be vocal in pointing out to your elected officials and your networks how your tax dollars are being used to destroy their very own sources. From local school districts and boards of education to universities, your prayers, your voice, and your willingness to expose deceit and evil while sharing the truth are the only mechanisms by which we can preserve our foundations.
Maybe we should all consider displaying the blue square, alongside our crosses, our American flag, and our stars of David.
Supporting Israel and the Jewish people is not just a biblical mandate for Christians, it should be part of a logical approach to local community relations as well as larger global policy.
Shavua Tov, Have a great week.