NYC council member Inna Vernikov slams CUNY, Eric Adams for ‘anti-Israel’ anti-Semitism probe

A Brooklyn councilwoman is taking the city’s public college system to task for hiring a former associate of an anti-Israel BDS group to investigate a high-profile incident of anti-Semitism reported by a Jewish college professor.

“@CUNY appointing a former @CAIRNational representative to investigate allegations of antisemitism is like asking a sexual abuser to investigate allegations of sexual harassment/rape by a victim of such abuse.” tweeted Republican Councilwoman Inna Vernikov, a Ukrainian-born American Jew, on Thursday.

“Would @CUNY hire David Duke to investigate racism allegations? #endjewhatred,” she added.

Vernikov and SURE CUNY — a group of students and faculty fighting anti-Semitism on the CUNY campus — was referring to a report in the Daily Caller detailing the CUNY appointment of Chief Diversity Officer Saly Abd Alla, a former Council on American- Islamic Relations, an ongoing discrimination case was detailed in relation to Jeffrey Lax, a professor at CUNY’s Kingsborough Community College.

Inna Vernikov questions the city's public higher education system and New York Mayor Eric Adams.
Vernikov questions the city’s public college system and New York Mayor Eric Adams.
Stefan Jeremiah for the New York Post

CAIR is a well-known supporter of the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against the Jewish state.

Lax filed a complaint after learning that left-leaning faculty members at CUNY’s Kingsborough Community College in Manhattan Beach were allegedly planning to bar the more conservative, more orthodox Jewish Lax from attending a March 2018 meeting by deliberately scheduling it to be a Friday night scheduled – the beginning of the Sabbath – so he could not attend.

The meeting ultimately did not take place after complaints surfaced that it was being held on the Jewish day of rest.

Reports of “exploding” anti-Jewish incidents, and even a recent complaint with the US Department of Education, allege that CUNY has become a “hostile environment” for Jewish students.

Although CUNY has condemned the troubling incidents, the issue came to a head last month when CUNY Chancellor Felix Matos Rodriguez failed to attend a city council hearing on allegations of antisemetic on-campus harassment.

Vernikov told The Post Alla that the assignment is the final straw.

She said she tried to get Mayor Eric Adams on the case and condemned repeated reports of anti-Semitism on the CUNY campus – but accused him of delaying action.

“I’ve been speaking to the mayor’s office about antisemitism at CUNY for over two months now. I have requested an explanation and a meeting with the mayor to discuss this very important issue that affects thousands of Jewish New Yorkers. A new semester has started, but I made it through,” said Vernikov.

CUNY has reportedly become a
CUNY has reportedly become a “hostile environment” for Jewish students.
Alamy Stock Photo

“The delay on the part of the mayor’s office in addressing the problem of pervasive anti-Semitism on campus, where students are afraid to be openly Jewish or freely express their pro-Israeli views, is puzzling and frankly frustrating. I know the mayor cares about the Jewish community, but a statement recognizing and condemning antisemitism at the City University of New York is not complicated. I’m confident that the mayor will come to the table very soon,” she said.

Alla did not respond to an email requesting comment. CUNY responded on her behalf, and spokesman Joseph Tirella said, “CUNY is committed to cultivating a diverse and inclusive community, free from anti-Semitism and all forms of hatred, and safe for all individuals. All CUNY Chief Diversity Officers are professionals and trained to ensure that the university and its campuses comply with workplace rules and conduct fair and impartial workplace discrimination investigations when necessary.”

A spokeswoman for Adams told the Post in response, “Mayor Adams has been unabashed and uncompromising in his condemnation of anti-Semitism and campaigning against hatred in our communities. Hatred has no place in our city and in our state.”

The representative said the Adams administration is “actively working” with CUNY to find solutions that will hopefully bring peace of mind to Jewish students.

“New York City is a diverse landscape with many different cultures, languages ​​and nationalities that make this the greatest city in the world. As we work to combat a surge in hate crimes, particularly anti-Semitic, it is important to support and uplift all New Yorkers to ensure that no one becomes a target of hate,” said the Adams spokeswoman. NYC council member Inna Vernikov slams CUNY, Eric Adams for ‘anti-Israel’ anti-Semitism probe


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