Americans are mourning today the murder of one of their finest sons, Taylor Force, a West Point graduate. He made it through tours in Iraq and Afghanistan only to be stabbed to death by a Palestinian Arab terrorist on the streets of Tel Aviv.
It is a bitter moment, one that will be talked about at dinner tables in homes across America. The State Department was quick to issue a condemnation, declaring there is “no justification for terrorism.”
Could this kind of violence erupt at the City University of New York? That’s one of the questions being discussed by New Yorkers who are working on the problem of anti-Semitism at our city’s great public university.
They are alarmed at the pussyfooting by politicians as anti-Semitism on CUNY’S campuses grows more overt and edges closer to physical confrontation.
Anti-Semitic incidents are being reported at world-famous CUNY campuses.
There are reports of students being harassed and faculty intimidated in the name of “justice for Palestine.” Partisans of CUNY insist its administration is marshaling the right response.
Yet almost no public officials are standing up.
Mayor de Blasio is mum. The City Council hasn’t acted. The borough presidents are preoccupied. The state Legislature, except for Dov Hikind and one or two others, is cowering in silence.
Neither the Assembly nor Senate has called hearings, though they pay for much of CUNY. They have issued no subpoenas. No legislators or officials have offered to, say, escort Jewish undergraduates across campuses so hostile that some students fear showing a Star of David necklace.
The silence was broken by one of the most distinguished Jewish groups, the Zionist Organization of America. Last month it sent a horrifying bill of particulars to CUNY’s chancellor, James Milliken.
The details were promptly reported by The Post’s Carl Campanile under the headline “‘Jew-haters’ spread fear at CUNY colleges.” Campanile cited incidents at John Jay, Hunter, Brooklyn and Staten Island campuses.
“Jews out of CUNY” is the cry the ZOA says was heard at Hunter. At John Jay, ZOA reports, slurs were so frequent that three Jewish students transferred out. At a Brooklyn College faculty meeting, a yarmulke-wearing professor was called a “Zionist pig.”
The ZOA letter prompted one state senator, Jack Martins of Mineola, to write to Gov. Cuomo, demanding he take action. Martins cited reports blaming a group called Students for Justice in Palestine.
CUNY answered ZOA’s letter the next day. Its answer was signed by Milliken and CUNY Chairman Benno Schmidt.
High hopes had been placed on Schmidt, a former president of Yale, when he took over as chairman of CUNY.
Yet Schmidt and Milliken seem to have consulted the law firm of Milquetoast, Nervous & Dodge. Their letter confessed that they were aware of “many” of the incidents described in the ZOA’s 14-page letter but failed to satisfy the ZOA.
The disruption of the faculty meeting at Brooklyn is “still under active investigation,” they said. They insisted that in the other cases, the colleges responded “promptly,” including with “strong contemporaneous public condemnations.”
Milliken and Schmidt rattled on about free speech, which is not the issue. They also said they’d deploy a student-faculty “task force” and seek “additional perspective and advice” from outside counsel.
The outside counsel — Paul Shechtman and Barbara Jones, both partners at Zuckerman Spaeder — are regarded by one activist on this issue as serious figures. I hear that they were Milliken’s idea, but, separately, that they were essentially forced on CUNY by an angry Andrew Cuomo.
The Anti-Defamation League has praised CUNY’s response. ZOA’s president has suggested that had the events involved hostility to any other group, the response would have been stronger. There have been no warnings of expulsion or criminal charges.
Not that the anti-Semitism is limited to CUNY. Intimidation of Jewish students is taking place at campuses all across America. And not just America, as a column by The New York Times’ Roger Cohen marked this week.
Cohen wrote about his alma mater of Oxford. He made a point of calling this phenomenon what it is — “Anti-Semitism of the Left.” Good for him. Yet the Times itself has been silent on anti-Semitism at CUNY.
De Blasio has closed the NYPD’s demographics unit, which had allegedly surveilled campuses in and out of New York. So our guard has been reduced against what could become the kind of violence that cost the lives of Taylor Force and so many others.
This article was published by the NY Post and may be found here.