On October 17th, I attended an interfaith event titled “Two Visions One Culture” hosted by Professor Robert Cherry. I experienced first-hand the way Professor Cherry uses his influence as a donor at Merchavim, a Non-Governmental Organization working to eliminate cultural barriers in Israel.
Its Executive Director highlighted their five-year plan to integrate 500 Arab teachers in English, science, and math into Jewish schools there. The audience watched clips from the award-winning documentary “A Dove’s Cry” highlighting the impact of an Israeli-Arab teacher on the attitudes of Jewish students whom she taught.
We saw a teacher play “Allah Akbar” on her radio to crush stereotypes by teaching Jewish students about her peaceful religion. I asked Professor Fishman, a history professor who has written extensively on the plight of the Palestinians, about what he perceives as the anti-Arab behavior of the Israeli government and what he thought about Merchavim. He said, “Building cross-cultural connections is a step in the right direction.”
Professor Cherry noted how affirmative action is necessary to overcome the often inadvertent discriminatory hiring process when perceived group characteristics are used to screen applicants.
Professor Cherry has spent his life working to end discrimination in the United States and abroad. He has written a book about social policy, Moving Working Families Forward Third Way Policies That Work (NYU Press). Additionally, Professor Cherry has been publishing extensively on the plight of black men and policies that can move them forward. He just released a study on government efforts to aid prison reentry, identifying the most effective programs available. In class, I can attest that Robert Cherry always stands up against discrimination and discusses inclusive laws to end discrimination in the United States and abroad.
For example, Professor Cherry noted how affirmative action is necessary to overcome the often inadvertent discriminatory hiring process when perceived group characteristics are used to screen applicants. He pointed to how wage incentives targeted to disadvantaged groups can be effective. One example given was how the Israeli Government incentivizes businesses to hire Ethiopian immigrants by paying 30% of their salaries for up to two years, just as they are doing to incentivize Jewish schools to hire Israeli-Arab teachers.
Recently, the David Horowitz Centers posters around campus incorrectly claimed that the identified professors supported terrorism. While Professor Cherry condemned the poster, Professor Cherry took one of the identified faculty to task for supporting a radical hate group, SJP, by pointing out specific instances of anti-Semitic behavior by the organization on campus and the statement of the Chancellor of the University of Illinois that called out the anti-Semitism of SJP. A quintessential example of the perpetuated anti-Semitism of SJP is that of Ayah Aly’s, Brooklyn College President of SJP. She was quoted as posting on twitter the top ten things she hates. In that list, Jews.
Students for Justice in Palestine PRESIDENT said she hates Jews. https://t.co/7i8QgfWFhv pic.twitter.com/O85vRUNtma
— Canary Mission (@canarymission) October 30, 2017
The anti-Semitism is a disgrace to Brooklyn College and the inclusivity that CUNY represents. The SJP also crudely drew an anti-Semitic cause and effect relationship between tuition hikes and Zionists. Previously, when Professor Langsam was called a “Zionist Pig” at a faculty council meeting by SJP, he said, “We give lip service to freedom of speech, but we don’t talk about hate speech.” Karen Gould, former President of Brooklyn College, responded to “Zionists off Campus” chants by stating, “We find this disruptive behavior unacceptable and the hateful comments especially abhorrent.” Gould called for an investigation into the students’ conduct and for appropriate actions to be taken. Students were brought up before a disciplinary hearing at which some faculty like Chopra pleaded their case. No one could identify the student who made the anti-Semitic comment and it was disputed what the full phrase was. Essentially, SJP escaped disciplinary action.
The President of SJP recently responded to Professor Cherry in the Brooklyn College Kingsman news. On two articles I have read that defend Jewish students, the Kingsman made sure to specifically note that the article does not reflect the views of the paper. However, when Ayah Ali, President of SJP, attempted to defame Professor Robert Cherry, there were no disclaimers stating anything of the sort.
“To Professor Cherry I say; you are not the first. You are not the first to have countered our organization with chants of islamophobia and discrimination. You are not the first to have sympathized with an oppressor and victim-blamed. …You are not the first to have derailed our motives, silenced our voices, and pledged your support to a white supremacist group.” (Ayah Aly, Kingsman)
Six million Jews have been targeted as victims from Nazis and White Supremacists; the associations and accusations are false and insulting. We demand that you stop these hateful assaults on both students and faculty alike. Professor Cherry has actively been working to end discrimination in the United States and in Israel. President Michelle Anderson has launched a successful “Stand Against Hate” campaign to foster inclusion and bring an end to discrimination at Brooklyn College. My question is, before calling out a generous donor working to build an inclusive utopia in Israel and a President spending her term working against hate to foster inclusion, what steps are you taking to achieve these goals?
Contributed by Brooklyn College CAMERA Fellow and Treasurer of CAMERA-supported group Bulldogs for Israel, Fay Yanofsky.
This article was originally published in Night Call News.