Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

CUNY Students Turn Out in Support of Palestine

On Friday, May 28, students and allies demonstrated at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in solidarity with Palestine. This is just the latest manifestation of growing support for the Palestinian cause that has seen many rallies in NYC throughout the month.

Olivia Wood

May 30, 2021
Facebook Twitter Share

Students and allies gathered in front of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice on Friday afternoon to denounce their school’s relationship with the Israel Defense Force (IDF) and demand that both John Jay and the whole City University of New York (CUNY) system cut all ties with Israel. 

More than 600 students, faculty, and allies of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice have signed onto a statement written by a coalition of students calling for solidarity with Palestine, and for the school to join the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. Hundreds more have signed a similar statement at Hunter College and another letter that encompasses all 25 campuses of the City University of New York (CUNY).

John Jay is particularly complicit because its focus on law enforcement-related majors entails significant collaboration with the NYPD and the IDF. As one student speaker who had majored in international justice pointed out, some faculty are former members of the IDF or have trained with them, and many law enforcement techniques taught in John Jay’s classes have been imported from Israel, where they were first tested on Palestinians. 

Student body president Amber Rivero explained more about CUNY’s relationship with Israel in her speech:

Another student criticized Karol Mason, the president of the university, for empty rhetoric around support for Muslim students. “Don’t send us an email about Islamophobia,” the student said, “Don’t tell us to go to the Wellness Center. We will not be well until Palestine is free.” 

In addition to the students from John Jay, other speakers included students from Hunter College, City College, the College of Staten Island, and the CUNY School of Law, a John Jay faculty member, and representatives from multiple Jewish student groups. 

“Our safety will never come through ethnic cleansing,” said the president of CUNY’s Jewish Law Students Association, “It will never come through apartheid…Israeli oppression isn’t Jewish, and Judaism rejects it.” A speaker from City College shared stories of several recent instances of discrimination against Palestinian students, which the university had refused to address, and another John Jay student spoke about the relationship between the oppression of Palestinians and the oppression of Black people in the United States. 

While many individual faculty and staff members were present at the rally, the faculty and staff union was notably absent. In fact, the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) has made no statement about Israel/Palestine at all — a sharp contrast to other unions, such as the United Teachers of Los Angeles, who passed a resolution calling for an end to all U.S. aid to Israel. Just as it is important for unions to explicitly and militantly support Black Lives Matter, the labor movement must also take concrete actions to support fellow workers in Palestine. For workers in the education sector, it is also a matter of supporting the students and their families. “CUNY tells me I should feel accepted,” said one student, “But how can I feel accepted at a university that funds the oppression of my people?” 

Facebook Twitter Share

Olivia Wood

Olivia is a writer and editor at Left Voice and an adjunct English lecturer in the NYC metropolitan area.

Middle East-Africa

Sudan’s Prime Minister Resigns after New Mass Protests

Protests against the Sudanese military’s restoration to power of the very prime minister it overthrew in a coup have driven him from office again. Now protesters are aiming at taking down the military junta itself.

IDF soldiers with weapons drawn

Israel Will Now Officially Shoot to Kill Palestinian Rock Throwers

It has recently come to light that the Israeli Defense Forces, the military branch of the repressive Zionist state, has changed its Rules of Engagement to allow soldiers to kill unarmed Palestinians with abandon. In Israel, the war crimes just keep racking up.

Scott Cooper

December 30, 2021

Israeli Army Uses Live Ammunition to Repress Palestinian Revolt in West Bank

After provocations by Israeli settlers claiming territories in the West Bank, the Israeli army violently repressed the Palestinian mobilization over Christmas weekend. At least seven demonstrators were shot and wounded, and dozens were repressed.

Kenza Adel

December 29, 2021

34 Years After the First Intifada, Israel Continues its Brutal Occupation of Palestine

The First Intifada, a massive and radical uprising of Palestinian youth against the racist, colonialist state of Israel, began on this day in 1987.

Scott Cooper

December 9, 2021

MOST RECENT

2022 Must Mark a New Stage for the Climate Movement

After a year packed with climate disasters and blatant disregard by capitalists, the climate movement cannot afford to be apathetic or repeat a failed strategy.

Sam Carliner

January 11, 2022

Two Stores and Counting: Starbucks Unionization Wave Picks Up

Following the unionization of one Starbucks store in Buffalo, NY, over half a dozen stores around the U.S. have filed with the National Labor Relations Board for elections of their own.

Rose Lemlich

January 11, 2022
Server in a mask looks at maskless customers.

“I Can’t Afford Not to Work”: Workers on the Omicron Surge

Workers tell Left Voice about safety measures at their workplace

Left Voice

January 11, 2022
Teachers protested against unsafe conditions in schools on January 5 outside Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

“No One Is Coming to Save Us”: Brooklyn Teachers Organize Sickout

Teachers at a Brooklyn middle school organized a sickout in response to the surge in Omicron cases. We interviewed one teacher who emphasizes the importance of education workers having the agency to determine whether their workplaces are safe.

Left Voice

January 10, 2022