On Monday, NYC Councilwoman Inna Vernicov slammed the city’s public college system for assigning a former employee of an anti-Israel BDS group to investigate a high-profile incident of antisemitism.
In a Tweet, the Jewish Councilwoman said, “@CUNY assigning a former @CAIRNational rep to investigate allegations of Antisemitism, is like asking a sexual abuser to investigate the sexual harassment/rape allegations of a victim of such abuse. Would @CUNY hire David Duke to investigate claims of racism? #endjewhatred.”
Vernikov, in her rebuke, was referring to a report in the Daily Caller detailing CUNY’s assignment of chief diversity officer Saly Abd Alla, a former employee of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, to an ongoing discrimination case tied to CUNY’s Kingsborough Community College professor Jeffrey Lax.
The case took off when Lax filed a complaint after learning that left-leaning faculty members at CUNY’s Kingsborough Community College, in Manhattan Beach, were allegedly plotting to exclude the conservative, orthodox Jewish professor from appearing at a March 2018 meeting by deliberately scheduling it on a Friday night – the start of the Sabbath – so he couldn’t attend.
Although CUNY condemned the numerous troubling antisemitic incidents that happened on campus, the issue came to a head last month, when Chancellor Felix Matos Rodriguez failed to attend a City Council hearing on allegations of antisemitic harassment on campuses.
But in response to assigning a known proponent of the pro-Palestine, BDS movement – Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, Vernikov said she’s been trying to get Mayor Eric Adams on the case and to condemn repeated reports of antisemitism on CUNY campuses, and accused him of delaying taking action.
“I’ve been speaking to the mayor’s office about antisemitism at CUNY for over two months now. I’ve requested a statement and a meeting with the Mayor to discuss this very important topic that impacts thousands of Jewish New Yorkers. A new semester has begun but I’ve been given the runaround,” said Vernikov.
In response, an Adams spokeswoman said, “Mayor Adams has been unabashed and unapologetic in condemning antisemitism and fighting against hate across our communities. Hate has no place in our city and in our state.” She added that the Adams administration is “actively working” with CUNY to come up with solutions that will hopefully make Jewish students feel safer.