A CUNY Regulation Graduate Criticized Israel at Graduation. Trustees Referred to as Her Phrases ‘Hate Speech.’

A CUNY Regulation Graduate Criticized Israel at Graduation. Trustees Referred to as Her Phrases ‘Hate Speech.’


Fatima Mohammed’s speech on the Metropolis College of New York College of Regulation’s graduation ceremony on Could 12 started with an acknowledgment of the challenges college students confronted throughout Covid and a shout-out to her mother. Her remarks then turned political, together with a harsh critique of Israel — phrases that CUNY’s Board of Trustees known as “hate speech” in a just lately issued assertion.

Whereas the ceremony was held nearly three weeks in the past, the furor sparked by her speech has grown in latest days as a video circulated on social media. A New York Publish headline described her speech as “hate-filled” and Fox Information’s headline deemed it “vile.” U.S. Rep. Daniel Goldman, a Democrat who represents New York’s tenth district, condemned the regulation pupil’s “hateful and deceptive rhetoric” in a tweet.

In her 12-minute speech, Mohammed acknowledged that “Israel continues to indiscriminately rain bullets and bombs on worshipers, murdering the previous, the younger” and stated that the state encourages “lynch mobs.” She praised CUNY’s regulation faculty as “one of many few, if not the one, regulation faculty … defending the best of its college students to talk out towards Israeli settler colonialism.” CUNY
payments itself as a “nationwide chief in progressive authorized schooling.”

She additionally known as on the assembled law-school graduates to “acknowledge that the regulation is a manifestation of white supremacy that continues to oppress and suppress individuals on this nation and around the globe,” a line that was met with cheers. She criticized two high-profile Democrats, Eric Adams, the mayor of New York, and Chuck Schumer, the U.S. Senate majority chief, asserting that “the homicide of Black males like Jordan Neely is … dignified by politicians” like Adams and Schumer. Earlier within the ceremony, Schumer congratulated graduates by way of video, encouraging them to “go for it.”

Mohammed was considered one of two audio system chosen by fellow college students. When she completed her remarks, many of the professors and directors on stage stood to applaud, and Mohammed blew kisses to the gang.

Whereas the criticism of Mohammed has been swift and vehement in some quarters, she has obtained help, together with from the the Jewish Regulation College students Affiliation at CUNY. A assertion, signed by the affiliation together with 20 different organizations, stated that Mohammed was being “focused by a racist hate marketing campaign” and praised her “brave work and her inspiring message.” It echoed lots of Mohammed’s views and argued that to “equate anti-Zionism with antisemitism is to erase the historical past of Jewish anti-Zionism.”

In the meantime the assertion from CUNY’s Board of Trustees and Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, its chancellor, stated that whereas “free speech is treasured” Mohammed’s remarks “had been a public expression of hate towards individuals and communities based mostly on their faith, race, or political affiliation.” It went on to say that “we can not and won’t condone hateful rhetoric on our campuses.” CUNY’s regulation faculty has not talked about the controversy on its web site or Twitter account and the varsity didn’t reply to requests for remark. Social-media accounts that appeared to belong to Mohammed had been taken down.

In June 2021, the regulation faculty issued a press release in help of a Palestinian pupil who had posted a brief video by which she held a lighter close to a person carrying an Israeli Protection Forces T-shirt and stated “I hate your shirt. I’m going to set it on hearth.” (Nothing was really burned within the video.) On the time, the regulation faculty stated it was dedicated to “strong neighborhood dialogue” and quoted a 2016 report from the CUNY Board of Trustees stating that “criticism of Israel is protected speech.”


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