CUNY Student Senate to Vote on Resolution Rejecting IHRA

The City University of New York’s (CUNY) Student Senate will be voting on a resolution that rejects the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism on April 11.

The resolution is being pushed by the CUNY Jewish Law Students Association and CUNY Students for Justice in Palestine in response to a March resolution adopting IHRA. The resolution states that the IHRA definition “has been used to create a false and dangerous polarity of interests between Palestinian/ pro-Palestinian rights students and Jewish students” and “endangers and defames those advocating for Palestinian rights as inherently antisemitic and has already been used to smear Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim groups and individuals at CUNY, and to stifle free speech and political debate on campuses.”

Additionally, the resolution alleges that “the equation of speech and activity opposing Israel and Zionism, and/or supporting Palestinians, as inherently antisemitic is a form of anti-Palestinian racism” and that “antisemitism is not an exceptional form of bigotry. People and systems that hate, discriminate and/or attack Jews, have also upheld structural racism, patriarchy, and white supremacy.”

The resolution instead urges the Student Senate to adopt a definition stating that anti-Semitism is “hostility, prejudice, vilification, discrimination or violence directed against Jews, as individuals, groups, or as a collective — because they are Jews. Its expression includes attributing to Jews, as a group, practices, characteristics or behaviors that are perceived as dangerous, harmful, frightening, or threatening to non-Jews.”

Roz Rothstein, co-founder and CEO of StandWithUs, said in a statement to the Journal, “StandWithUs is appalled by the promotion of an antisemitic resolution to CUNY USS to rescind the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism. Such despicable efforts must be called out for their true aims — to shield those who promote antisemitism from being criticized and to silence Jewish students.

“The reality is that the vast majority of Jews believe denying Israel’s right to exist is antisemitic. No amount of misinformation or disingenuous claims about the IHRA definition will change that. We stand with Jewish students as they stand up for their community and we call on CUNY USS to do the right thing and uphold the IHRA definition.”

“The reality is that the vast majority of Jews believe denying Israel’s right to exist is antisemitic.”

A petition against the resolution, which has more than 1,000 signatories, stated, “The Jewish students at CUNY strongly condemn this resolution. These groups do not represent the Jewish community. Jews should have the right to define what is and is not antisemitic just like other communities have the right to define what constitutes bigotry against them.”

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