The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today commended the City University of New York (CUNY) and Chancellor James Milliken for taking steps to review allegations of anti-Semitism on several of its campuses, and for establishing a task force to foster a more understanding and respectful environment.

Several CUNY campuses have recently experienced anti-Semitic incidents and anti-Israel bias including John Jay College, Hunter College, and Brooklyn College. In November, ADL commended CUNY for making clear that bigotry, prejudice and anti-Semitism are inconsistent with its mission.

“We are pleased to hear that CUNY has appointed outside counsel to review the troubling allegations of anti-Semitism that have taken place across some of its campuses,” said Evan R. Bernstein, ADL New York Regional Director. “Over the past few years, students have expressed to us firsthand a growing concern over a climate of anti-Jewish animus on some of their campuses. We are also troubled by the manifestation of anti-Israel bias that has left some Jewish students feeling singled out.

“The formation of a task force composed of members of the administration, faculty and students is an additional step that indicates that CUNY is taking these allegations seriously,” Mr. Bernstein said. “We eagerly await the results and stand ready to work with the CUNY system to create an environment that is inclusive and fosters respect for all.”

Recent anti-Semitic and incidents of anti-Israel bias across CUNY campuses include:

Students at Brooklyn College allegedly demanded that “Zionists” leave campus and referred to a professor at a meeting as a “Zionist pig.” ADL commended the college for its strong condemnation of this incident. (February, 2016)

The New York City chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) in the lead up to the “Million Student March” rally at Hunter College invoked an anti-Semitic stereotype when it referred to those who run CUNY as a “Zionist administration.” (November, 2015)

Several hate messages, including anti-Semitic, anti-gay and racist graffiti were discovered in restrooms and a classroom on the campus of John Jay College. (March, 2015) Academic departments at John Jay have also sponsored anti-Israel events.
Since September 2014, ADL has been running its Words to Action program, an interactive education program for college and pre-college students designed to empower and equip them with constructive and effective responses to combat anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias.

The League’s latest report on anti-Israel activity on U.S. college campuses sheds light on the significant increase in Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns and other explicitly hostile programs against Israel during the 2015 academic year.