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Posted in: Anti-Semitism

Published on May 09, 2011 by Phyllis Chesler

Written for NewsRealBlog

Retirees & Alums Demand Investigation of Growing Anti-Semitic Cancer at CUNY


An hour ago, a letter was emailed to CUNY's Board of Trustees. The letter, below, defends trustee Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld and his point of view. This letter will be hand-delivered to every trustee later today. The initiators of this letter have chosen not to release the names of the signatories to the public; the likelihood of hate mail and death threats are too great to risk at this time.

As I knew, the heroic Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld is now being defamed and attacked while the playwright Tony Kushner is being defended and supported.

Kushner is the man who believes that the state of Israel was a "mistake." He is quoted as having said: "I have a problem with the idea of a Jewish state. It would have been better if it never happened." He has also accused Israel of "ethnic cleansing."

Like other members of the left intelligentsia—who almost totally control academia and thus influence media, government, and the international "discourse," Kushner is not viewed as having engaged in "hate speech" or in "racist" speech. Kushner's support for a Palestinian "state," which is a code-word for the destruction of the Jewish state, is viewed as both his academic and "free speech" right and as the revered and only opinion to hold. No other view is allowed, even though this view is based on a series of lies, misinformation, disinformation, and anti-Semitism.

Trustee Jeffrey Wiesenfeld defended Israel's right to exist by speaking the truth about Israel, and for characterizing Kushner's views accurately–for which he is now being demonized.

This entire episode proves how craven and conformist the western academy is, how it supports terrorism and Islamic gender and religious apartheid over the only modern, western-style democracy in the Middle East: The Jewish state. Okay, fine. But this group also wishes to be seen as a champion of liberty and tolerance for its very support of totalitarian misogyny—which is not so fine.

Here is the text of the letter the trustees have just received:

As alumni, professors and students of the City University of New York, we wish to comment regarding the character assassination that is now transpiring via email attack and media attacks on Trustee Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, a gifted and serious CUNY Trustee who performed his duty and exercised due diligence regarding the recent vote on CUNY honorary degrees. Many who are presently impugning Mr. Weisenfeld's character are also responsible for a very unwholesome and dangerous demagoguery that is creeping into mainstream dialogue at CUNY campuses. We are particularly cognizant of a dangerous demagoguery at Brooklyn College where we have most recently been made aware of an anti-Israel and anti-semitic culture that is growing, aided and abetted by the campus administration. Brooklyn College is not alone in this regard, however, and documentation is mounting regarding abuses on other campuses, supported by local CUNY administrations.

On many CUNY campuses, Muslim Student Association (MSA) clubs (sometimes dubbed Palestinian Clubs) are aided, abetted and supported by off-campus "advisors" and Imams from radical Muslim groups. They operate as virtual missionary groups, exercising tactics which are contrary to free inquiry and which seek to foment hatred towards other campus groups. Most are also supported by a professors' union that promotes rhetoric which encourages and promotes this hatred.

We have also been made aware that professors who are politically pro-Israel are intimidated and prevented from speaking freely, out of fear of retribution when seeking reappointment, tenure and/or promotion. There is little doubt that there are valid bases for this fear.

All this is reflected in the venom that is pouring out of the CUNY professoriate in the attempt to stifle Trustee Wiesenfeld for the simple exercise of his right and responsibility as a member of the Board of Trustees.

We ask that the Board initiate an investigation into the assault on Jews at the City University, disguised as anti-Israelism, which seeks to mask its true agenda: anti-semitism. We ask that a representative task force be established to investigate this phenomenon.

We are grateful that one member of the Board, Mr. Wiesenfeld, has the courage to speak the truth. He is a giant among men and a hero to so many. We shudder to think what will happen when his tenure on the Board is over. We fear the demise of CUNY as an institution of free speech and inquiry.

Should the Board of Trustees continue to ignore the current assault against those of free will who object to the administration's uninspired and cowardly support of radical liberal orthodoxy and against those who are supporters of the State of Israel, then please be aware that our Association of CUNY Alumni and Retirees will assure:

  • That CUNY alumni are apprised of recent events and are exhorted to reconsider donations to their alma maters – colleges which are no longer institutions which are protective of all.

  • That Jewish graduates and others of good will are apprised that the colleges which were once their homes, are no longer welcoming to supporters of Israel.

We will not sit by idly and allow this cancer to continue to grow.

Members, Association of CUNY Alumni and Retirees


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