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Doing the right thing

We are born ignorant of race and gender, unburdened by social constructs of identity of class. We interact eagerly with the world, taught to be respectful of others and to accept and embrace the diversity around us. Modern society emphasizes diversity, equity, and inclusion as fundamental to human interaction.

It should therefore be easy to accept that Jews are indigenous to the Middle East - and that the land of Israel has been our homeland for thousands of years.

It should be easy to accept that every minority community - including the Jewish community - is entitled to equal protection under the law, and to respect of our civil and human rights.

It should be easy to accept that no matter how we define our Jewish identity, we deserve to have our diversity embraced and to be fully included in society.

Doing the right thing, at a fundamental level, means showing the same level of respect for the Jewish community as for every other community.

But at the City University of New York (CUNY), doing the right thing is a challenge. A culture of Jew-hatred has blossomed on campus. From antisemitic fliers to meetings scheduled on the Sabbath to the denial of Jewish indigenous rights, Jewish students and faculty aren’t experiencing respect, or equity, or inclusion. What they experience is a hostile environment in which they feel unsafe, targeted, and excluded.

Jews are only “safe” and included if they agree to define themselves in a manner imposed upon them by others - and safety is illusory when Jewish identity is defined by Jew-haters.

CUNY’s administration has had ample opportunity to do the right thing. It should be easy, after all, to stand up for the Jewish community. But instead, Jew-hatred has been allowed to flourish on campus. Recently, the Law School’s faculty even endorsed a student resolution that is nothing short of discriminatory.

With this background, the City Council announced a hearing to address antisemitism on campus. As soon as the hearing was announced, it was targeted by groups wanting to cancel it. Who but a Jew-hater would oppose a hearing on antisemitism? These Jew-haters targeted the Council Members who announced the hearing - Eric Dinowitz and Inna Vernikov. But despite the pressure, they did not back down. The hearing will take place on June 30.

We commend Dinowitz and Vernikov for following through with this critically important hearing. Doing the right thing should be easy, but when it comes to fighting Jew-hatred, it requires moral courage in the face of antisemitism that has become so deeply ingrained in society as to have become systemic.

Now more than ever, it’s important to show appreciation - and support - for people who stand up and speak out to #EndJewHatred. Please join us in thanking the people who show the moral courage to do the right thing; click on the links to these Council Members’ profiles and thank them for fighting to expose and #EndJewHatred:

Together, we can #EndJewHatred in our lifetime!

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