New York, NY – Pro-Israel and openly Jewish professors at the City University of New York (CUNY) who raised the alarm about an atmosphere of pervasive antisemitism on campus and expressed concerns over intense BDS advocacy making students feel unsafe are now being investigated by the institution, a rights group announced on Sunday.
“Four Zionist Jewish professors who complained about antisemitism on their campuses have now been placed under investigation by CUNY for ‘discrimination’ against BDS and radical Islamist antisemitic activists,” said SAFE CUNY, which advocates for Jewish students at the school, on their Twitter account.
“We have all the details but cannot share yet.”
Professor Jeffrey Lax, who has been a vocal advocate against antisemitism at CUNY, confirmed that he is one of the staff members under investigation by the school for speaking out.
“For those asking, yes, I am one of the four,” Lax wrote on his Twitter account Monday.
Speaking to World Israel News, Lax warned that academia is “right now going down a 1930s path of Nazi Germany, where Jewish academics are being expunged. And here still, we have Jewish leaders who prefer to work only with our oppressors, and maintain cozy relationships with people in power.”
Lax cited CUNY’s adoption of the Jerusalem Declaration, which does not define anti-Zionist activity or the BDS movement as antisemitic, as one of the reasons why harassment of pro-Israel students and staff is permitted on the campus.
“The Jerusalem Declaration allows for the vilification of Zionist Jews as racists,” Lax said. “It’s a complete disgrace. Politicians and Jewish leaders shouldn’t tolerate this…and them having done so is an utter betrayal of the Jewish people, not just at CUNY, but everywhere.”
He added that “not one” of the local council members and Jewish leaders “who claim to be fighting for Jewish people” had reached out to help the Zionist professors under investigation for complaining about antisemitism, who are “victims of abhorrent oppression.”
Lax wrote in a later post on Twitter that CUNY denied him the ability during the course of the investigation to testify in his own defense, would not provide him with a copy of the complaint against him, and that despite the probe being closed nearly five months ago, the university refuses to reveal the findings of the investigation.
For years, CUNY staff and students have reported numerous antisemitic events on campus, including two consecutive years of commencement speeches at the law school’s graduation ceremonies that were focused on demonizing Israel.
A number of reports have also indicated that senior CUNY officials engaged in a systematic cover-up of antisemitism at the school and refused to cooperate with probes into a campus environment that is hostile towards Israel and Jews.
In a May interview with WIN, Lax pointed to Fatima Mousa Mohammed’s law school commencement speech, which called for the destruction of both Israel and the U.S., as a sign of the school’s attitude towards radicalism on campus.
“What I find truly incredible is not just that Mohammed’s speech is clearly evil – I’m not interested in a random evil student, even though she’s now a graduate. What I’m much more interested in is that the faculty most likely saw that speech and approved it,” Lax said at the time.