Senator calls out CUNY boss Milliken on campus anti-Semitism

ALBANY — A state senator says CUNY just doesn’t get it when it comes to anti-Semitism.

Sen. Jack Martins (R-Nassau County) sent a letter Friday to CUNY Chancellor James Milliken blasting a scheduled vote later in the day by CUNY’s Doctoral Student Council on a resolution calling for a boycott of Israeli colleges and universities.

The resolution also states the organization’s support of Students for Justice In Palestine, which pro-Israeli groups say has fostered anti-Semitic activities on CUNY campuses.

The meeting, Martins, who is running for Congress, noted, is scheduled for just hours before the Jewish Sabbath begins.

“It’s not an exercise of First Amendment rights; it’s hate speech,” the senator wrote. “But rather than condemning SJP’s actions, DSC is endorsing them wholeheartedly in a coordinated effort. It’s disgusting and shameful.”

Making matters worse, he wrote, is the timing of the vote. The meeting is set for 4:30 p.m. on Friday.

“Their effort to silence any opposition by scheduling the vote for this Friday during the Sabbath, when observant Jews cannot attend to voice their concerns, is no coincidence,” Martins wrote.

Miliken has publicly stated that he opposes any academic boycott of Israel.

Jack Martins, a Republican state senator representing Nassau County, implored Milliken to send a “strong, clear message” against anti-Semitism.Michael N. Todaro/Getty Images/Getty Images

Jack Martins, a Republican state senator representing Nassau County, implored Milliken to send a “strong, clear message” against anti-Semitism.

But Martins wrote “that’s not enough.”

“CUNY’s leadership needs to denounce this resolution in its entirety and suspend SJP from CUNY campuses now, today,” he wrote. “Chancellor Milliken, the time for action is now. I urge you to send a strong, clear message that there is no place for hate on our campuses. The world is watching.”

According to its website, the Doctoral Student Council “represents nearly 4,000 members of the graduate school who are also students and faculty across many of the campuses within the CUNY system.”

Its mission, according to the website, includes promoting democracy within CUNY and enabling students to participate in important social, political, and economic decisions that affect their community.

Other resolutions passed in the past included calls to divest from fossil fuels, respect students’ rights to free speech and assembly, and have condemned police surveillance of CUNY student organizations.

Hamad Sindhi, the council’s Co-Chair for communications, could not be immediately reached for comment Friday morning.

A CUNY spokesman also couldn’t be immediately for comment.

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