Morton A. Klein, National President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), issued the following statement regarding media reports that the New York State Senate has passed a resolution proposing a cut in funding to the City University of New York (CUNY):
“Last month, the ZOA sent a detailed letter to the CUNY Chancellor and Board of Trustees, describing the harassment and intimidation that Jewish students and faculty have been subjected to on four CUNY campuses. Many public officials, including members of the New York State Senate, were justifiably outraged to learn that CUNY had so far done virtually nothing about this longstanding problem. Last week, the New York State Senate debated and then approved a resolution proposing a cut in funding to CUNY, reportedly based on the campus anti-Semitism and other factors.
“Although the ZOA never personally requested a cut in CUNY funding, we understand and share the New York State Senate’s frustration and shock over CUNY’s failure to respond to the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) group’s vicious, dangerous and frightening anti-Semitism. The State Senate is using this tool as a way to get CUNY to finally respond to protect Jewish students. The ZOA does not want to see budget cuts that could raise student tuition, but there is no question that threatening a loss of funding is a powerful and effective way to compel CUNY to finally pay attention to and address the harassment and intimidation of Jewish students on CUNY campuses. The ZOA defers to the judgment of our elected representatives to fashion the remedies that they deem necessary and appropriate, and we hope that the threat of losing funding will inspire CUNY to finally address this problem on their campuses. Once the CUNY administration takes serious action to protect its Jewish students, we assume that the proposed cut in funding will be withdrawn.
“In the same way that we would support actions to motivate CUNY to address bigotry against African American, Latino, Muslim, LGBTQ and other students, the ZOA supports measures intended to inspire CUNY to remedy bigotry against Jewish students. As always, the safety and well-being of students are the ZOA’s number one priority. We cannot and will never tolerate the harassment and intimidation of students because they are Jewish or support the State of Israel.”