A City University of New York (CUNY) professor criticized a graduating law student’s “horrifying” commencement speech that called for the dismantling of capitalism and Zionism, and called laws “White supremacy.”
“I have to say, it was the most disturbing commencement speech I’ve ever heard in my entire life, and I’ve been doing this a long time,” said Jeffrey Lax, who co-founded the group Students and Faculty for Equality at CUNY. “To my ears listening to this, it was a blatant call for American insurrection.”
Fatima Mousa Mohammed, who was born in Yemen and raised in Queens, in her May 12 speech called for a “revolution” against America’s “oppressive” institutions and for her graduating class to “fuel the fight against capitalism, racism, imperialism and Zionism around the world.”
CUNY PROFESSOR ON ‘HORRIFYING’ COMMENCEMENT SPEECH:
Lax, who has taught at the school for over 20 years, said “Fatima Mohammad doesn’t stop at firing the typical anti-Semitic tropes against Israel and Zionist people. She actually asks for rage to be the fuel for the fight against capitalism … against Zionism.”
“When you do that, you’re coming very close, and I think a lot of academics would say you’re already there, on inciting violence,” he added.
Lax said “the most horrifying part” of the speech was that the school likely reviewed the speech beforehand and allowed it to be given.
“The problem is not her. The problem is not that you have a 22-year-old, or however young she may be, making mistakes and saying horrifying things,” he said. “The problem is that you have faculty condoning, okaying and pushing this forward.”
“The administration itself is much more to blame than an ignoramus student, which she clearly is,” Lax added. “These are legal academics. They’re supposed to teach her the difference between incitement and free speech — and there is a very crucial difference — and she was toeing that line not very well, in my opinion.”
CUNY Law told Fox News in a statement: “[S]tudent speakers … offered congratulatory remarks and their own individual perspectives on advocating for social justice. As with all such commencement remarks, they reflect the voices of those individuals.”
The school initially took down the speech on YouTube, but then released it after SAFE CUNY submitted a records request and following a public outcry from both pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel groups.
“If the school has taken the position that it’s a student’s own belief system and it’s their own words and it’s their own language and they are a hands-off institution, why would they take it down? Why would they conceal that speech from the public?” Lax said.
The professor said he believes the school took down the video to protect itself amid an ongoing New York State Division of Human Rights probe investigating whether CUNY Law discriminated against Jews when its faculty council passed a resolution last year supporting the pro-Palestinian movement to boycott, divest and sanction (BDS) Israel.
“I believe very strongly that they took it down immediately” because “they didn’t want the investigators to see that video, because in that video, this student admitted that not only is BDS actively being implemented, she gave examples of BDS being actually actively, proactively implemented at CUNY Law School.
In her speech, Mohammed said she wanted to celebrate CUNY for being one of the few law schools to defend “the rights of its students to organize and speak out against Israeli settler colonialism.”
“This is the law school that passed and endorsed BDS on a student and faculty level recognizing that … as Israel continues to indiscriminately rain bullets and bombs on worshipers, murdering the old, the young, attacking even funerals and graveyards, as it encourages lynch mobs to target Palestinian homes and businesses as it imprisons its children … that our silence is no longer acceptable,” she said.
Neither Mohammed nor CUNY immediately responded to a request for comment.
Fox News’ Hannah Grossman contributed to this report.
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