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What does City University of New York controversy say about antisemitism, censorship?

Strong pro-Palestinian activism at the school has prompted an ongoing debate over antisemitism and criticism of Israel. One antisemitism expert says the rhetoric of pro-Palestinian activists is not necessarily bigoted.
Pro-Palestinian protesters face off with a group of Israel supporters and police in a violent clash in Times Square, New York City, May 20, 2021.

NEW YORK — The City University of New York (CUNY) continues to be embroiled in a controversy related to antisemitism and pro-Palestinian activism. Jewish students and faculty allege that discourse on campus related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict constitutes hatred toward them, while Pro-Palestinian activists say they are being unfairly maligned. 

The controversy has been ongoing since last year, the result of several displays of pro-Palestine and anti-Israel activism at the university. The situation erupted after a May commencement address at CUNY's law school that featured scathing critiques of Israel and its policies.  Most recently, in late July, a Jewish advocacy group called for a federal investigation into CUNY due to alleged antisemitism at the school. 

The issue at CUNY has captured the attention of local politicians and members of Congress and is indicative of the significant tension on US university campuses related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A campus divided

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