White Christians to blame for campus antisemitism, says CUNY official

University official downplays rampant left-wing antisemitism on campus, fails to mention that commencement speaker at graduation supports a “globalized intifada.”

By Adina Katz, World Israel News

During a discussion about managing rampant and widespread antisemitism on the campuses of New York state universities, a senior official from the City University of New York (CUNY) attributed the phenomenon to “white Christian nationalism” and downplayed how left-wing movements have repeatedly threatened Jewish students’ physical safety.

Professor James Davis, who heads the Professional Staff Congress which represents 30,000 faculty members and staff at CUNY and its research foundation, participated in a Zoom conference about combating antisemitism at the school, which recently passed a BDS resolution and has seen frequent harassment of pro-Israel students and Jewish groups on campus.

“Nobody has spoken about the rise in white Christian nationalism and that contribution to antisemitism, which is a domestic context we need to be thinking about if we’re really serious about tackling antisemitism in New York City.

“I take your point about the contribution of the [BDS] resolution to that [campus antisemitism,] but I would just place it in the context of a number of other very important and pervasive factors in the social fabric,” he said.

Conference participant Kalman Yeger, a New York City Councilman and Orthodox Jew, quickly challenged Davis on his assertion.

“I’m a New Yorker, born and raised, and frankly, with due respect, I don’t believe that white nationalism is a big problem on CUNY campuses and if you think it is, you need to take another look at those campuses,” he said.

“That’s not what’s happening here.”

Pro-Israel advocate Adam Milstein posted a clip of the exchange between Davis and Yeger on his Twitter account, adding a caption which read, “This is outrageous. [CUNY’s] commencement speaker was a Palestinian terror supporter who called for ‘globalizing the intifada’ outside of Jewish orgs.”

In May 2022, Nerdeen Kiswani was selected as the commencement speaker at the graduation ceremony for CUNY’s School of Law, a choice that drew backlash from Jewish groups concerned about her history of anti-Israel statements and past comments calling for the murder of Zionists.

Rather than acknowledging her critics’ concern over her membership in a group that calls for a “globalized intifada” and that her demonization of Israel has created an environment on campus that is not safe for Jewish students, Kiswani complained that she was being silenced for political reasons.