A radical campus group “legitimized anti-Semitism, but it’s the university that enables them and emboldens them by their inaction” charges a targeted Jewish professor at CUNY.
By Atara Beck, World Israel News
Michael Goldstein is an administrator and an adjunct professor of communications and government relations at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn – a part of City University of New York (CUNY). His father, in fact, the late Leon Goldstein, was the school’s president for 29 years and the man who built the college’s modern-day campus.
Yet, as Goldstein wrote in an article published last week in New York Daily News, he is the victim of “a systematic and pernicious campaign in which I have been targeted and harassed because of who I am and what I believe.” In this case, the “reason” for the attack, he says, is that he is “Jewish, politically conservative and I believe in Zionism, the civil rights movement of the Jewish people.”
In an attack in February 2018, the assailants, he explains in the Daily News piece, defaced a photo of his father with anti-Semitic graffiti, and he later learned that the incident occurred a day after Kingsborough Professor Katia Perea, a member of the radical Progressive Faculty Caucus (PFC), apparently told an administrator who refused her request to fire him, “I guess I will have to handle this myself.”
“This was my jarring introduction to the PFC and its unending campaign of harassment… It was also my introduction to the inertia of the Kingsborough and CUNY administrations,” he wrote, adding that the college refused to classify the incident as a hate crime and denied his requests for added security.
“This was just the beginning of an orchestrated, aggressive movement to destroy me,” he said.
Attackers circulate photo of 13-year-old daughter
In another attack – on May 31, 2018 – anarchists were banging on his office windows, he told World Israel News in an interview. They papered the campus with 1,000 flyers, sharing posts from his private Facebook page, including a photo of his 13-year-old daughter. They likely got hold of the material from students who are also Facebook “friends,” he surmises.
“I was literally in tears,” he said.
According to Goldstein, a self-described Communist newspaper published an anonymous article from PFC that included “horrific, anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist tropes against me…They published a series of articles about me, calling on students to rise up against me. They’ve been training students on campus.”
‘They’re not teachers. They’re indoctrinators’
“They’re not teachers. They’re indoctrinators,” he declared.
“The leader is Anthony Alessandrini, one of the founders of Students for Justice in Palestine,” Goldstein explained. They held a significant meeting on a Friday night. Some Jewish faculty members could not attend, because of the Jewish Sabbath, and had asked them numerous times to make it on another evening but to no avail, he said.
Indeed, Alessandrini has been called out by Canary Mission, which, according to its website, “documents people and groups that promote hatred of the USA, Israel and Jews.”
Only after a Christian colleague experienced a vicious attack and demanded added security did the college finally agree to do the same for him, Goldstein said. “She feared for her life.”
It is not clear to Goldstein whether CUNY has opened an official investigation, although he has filed numerous complaints with the school since February of 2018. Some have been filed with the office of Public Safety for threats to his life and destruction of his property, and others with the Chief Diversity Officer, the administrator charged with handling discrimination complaints. Goldstein has not been informed by the school which, if any, complaints have been opened for investigation or what the status of his complaints is.
Since August of 2018, the Lawfare Project, a non-profit legal advocacy group that defends “the civil and human rights of the Jewish people and pro-Israel community, and fighting discrimination,” has sent multiple letters to the CUNY chancellor, CUNY’s deputy general counsel and Kingsborough’s president informing them that their actions regarding Goldstein are violating school policy, state law and federal law.
“They have refused to meet with us, and they continue to violate Mr. Goldstein’s rights under CUNY policy, state law and federal law,” Lawfare told World Israel News.
Asked why the college allows the abuse to continue, Goldstein said that “they’re afraid of litigation. As long as they can get away with delaying the issue, they’ll do that.”
‘I’m not anti-Muslim. I’m against Islamic extremism’
As for his personal views, “I’m not anti-Muslim,” he stressed. “I’m against Islamic extremism. Most people who are good Muslims are against these crazies who bomb, stab. I’m against them attacking Jews, Christians, homosexuals – anybody.
“They’ve stripped me of my humanity this year. They destroyed me. I’m half the man that I was. I have sleepless nights. Every student I look at, I think they’re going to attack me. I don’t even leave my office. They’ve isolated me. I have to walk around campus with a public safety officer. I’ve gained 50 pounds. I used to wear a suit and tie every day, but now I just don’t have what it takes anymore.
“They’ve legitimized anti-Semitism,” he said. “If I was black, gay, Muslim, Latino or disabled, the university would have come to my rescue. It’s they who have attacked me, but it’s the university that enables them and emboldens them by their inaction…
“My father built the college. He, like I did, loved the university and the students. He’s rolling in his grave now, seeing how these haters have been allowed to thrive and multiply.”
PFC’s “activities are not only directed towards me,” Goldstein notes. “Over the past year alone, at least five complaints by Jewish staff members have been filed against them internally with CUNY.”
Goldstein said he has non-Jewish friends who were members of PFC but left because of the anti-Semitism. “They informed me about it, said it was set up like a Communist cell. They told me what was being said against Jews. They use the word Zionist but it means Jews.”
‘Something is going to happen to me’
“I’m 55 years old. I have another 10 years before I retire. I think this abuse will continue for the next 10 years. I think something is going to happen to me.”
Despite the seemingly hopeless situation, Goldstein has no immediate plans to seek employment elsewhere.
“I don’t think anyone will hire me in academics because I went public with this,” he said. “I’ve also lost my enthusiasm. I’m dead.”
Does the situation on U.S. college campuses indicate the future for America in general?
“It’s over,” he replied. “We’re going the way of France and Great Britain. We saw what happened with [Congresswoman Ilhan] Omar this week, what’s going on in the Democratic party. I think many of the faculty on this campus and across the U.S. are becoming far-left and have sympathies that are anti-Jewish and anti-Israel.”
However, “I believe there are still many, many Americans who are very supportive of Jews and the State of Israel, but every day I see a rising, stronger left whose ideology is spreading to the young. I think we’ve lost this generation.
“Many Jewish students don’t have that attachment to Israel that previous generations had. Even 10 years ago. They believe what they’re taught.”
‘I’m the canary in the coal mine’
Goldstein mentioned a recent campus event, organized by Alessandrini, where 15 students told “a full house – 300-400 kids” – that Israel is the greatest threat to world peace.
As for the Jewish future in America, “they’ll assimilate or leave,” he predicts.
“I’m the canary in the coal mine. I see what’s happening,” he said, citing five anti-Semitic incidents in Brooklyn last week.