New York Democrats are questioning whether taxpayer dollars should fund a New York City law school after a recent graduate delivered a “vile anti-American” commencement speech.
What is the background?
At the May 12 commencement for CUNY School of Law graduates, student speaker Fatima Mousa Mohammed called for a “revolution” to “fight against capitalism, racism, imperialism, and Zionism around the world.”
“No longer are we going to capitulate to oppressors,” Mohammed declared, before quoting Malcolm X and vowing to carry out her mission “by any means necessary.”
In the speech — which routinely slammed Israel — Mohammed said “the law is a manifestation of white supremacy,” and she even attacked the very institution from which she was graduating for “racism, selective activism, and self-serving interests.” The City University of New York, she claimed, is “an institution that continues to fail us.”
What did critics say?
The speech triggered a tsunami of criticism, including from Democrats who suggested CUNY should lose taxpayer funds for platforming such rhetoric.
- State Rep. Simcha Eichenstein (D): “This hate-filled and dangerous speech has been brought to you by @CUNY and paid for by New York taxpayers.
Keep this in mind next time our elected leaders highlight their commitment to fighting antisemitism.”
- U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.): “Imagine being so crazed by hatred for Israel as a Jewish State that you make it the subject of your commencement speech at a law school graduation.
Anti-Israel derangement syndrome at work.”
- NYC City Council Member Ari Kagan (R): “Vile anti-American & anti-Israel speech promoting hate. Totally unacceptable graduation speech for taxpayers funded institution. @CUNY & @CUNYLaw should immediately condemn this hateful speech & take all steps necessary to address such dangerous rhetoric!”
- Former NYC City Council Member Barry Grodenchik (D):“This hater can spout her hate where she pleases but it should not be at the publicly funded @CUNY school of law. Her antisemitism destroyed this commencement and it must be roundly condemned and should not have been sanctioned with public funds.”
- U.S. Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-N.Y.): “Beyond despicable that blatant antisemitism has been allowed to take hold at a taxpayer funded university here in New York. There must be a full blown investigation into @CUNY practices that permit such hatred to be willingly spread in our public college system.”
Even Mayor Eric Adams (D) criticized the speech, describing it as “words of negativity and divisiveness.”
How did the school respond?
In a statement, the school distanced itself from the speech.
“Members of the Class of 2023 selected student speakers who offered congratulatory remarks and their own individual perspectives on advocating for social justice,” the statement said. “As with all such commencement remarks, they reflect the voices of those individuals.”
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