At Jewish Heritage Reception, Adams Blasts CUNY Law Commencement Speech

By Matis Glenn

Mayor Eric Adams at a gathering of Jewish community members at Gracie Mansion Wednesday, June 1. (Benny Polatseck/Mayoral Photography Office)

At Wednesday’s annual gathering of hundreds of Jewish community members and leaders at Gracie Mansion, New York City Mayor Eric Adams denounced a CUNY Law commencement speech, in which an elected speaker accused Israel of genocide.

At the May 12 speech, Fatima Mohammed was chosen by her fellow students to address CUNY Law. She accused Israel of “murdering the old and the young,” and called for the end of capitalism and Zionism by means of a “revolution.” She also called the NYPD “fascist” and said that American law is a “manifestation of white supremacy.” Her remarks were met with loud cheers from the crowd.

Including Zionism in a list of societal problems, Mohammed called on bringing about her vision of a new society “by any means necessary.”

Adams spoke at the CUNY Law event before Mohammed’s speech, and was booed by the students after the mayor mentioned that he is a former police officer.

“The graduates, some of them stood up, and they turned their backs because I was a former police officer,” Adams said at the Gracie Mansion gathering on Wednesday. “I left before the keynote speakers. And I later learned what was her speech. One of the most devastating parts of our history is when people remain in the room and allow people to desecrate others. I would tell you, if I was on that stage when those comments were made, I would’ve stood up and denounced them immediately, because we cannot allow that.

“And now I know why they turned their backs on me, because I will never turn my back on you. I will never turn my back on the men and women of our military service. I will never turn my back on the men and women who are part of the New York City Police Department. I will never turn my back on people who are in this city, and make this city what it is. The silence that we are seeing in the midst of the hate we are experiencing will never be the silence that will be in City Hall, as long as I’m the mayor of New York City, that is not acceptable.”

Mohammed’s words, released Tuesday by the antisemitism advocacy group SAFE CUNY after the organization filed a Freedom of Information request, were met with condemnation from elected officials from across the political spectrum and Jewish organizations, as well as CUNY top brass, labeling the address hate speech.

Adams highlighted his trip to an international mayors’ event in Greece last year to address antisemitism, and said he believes that “for the first time in history, there’s an army of people that says we are not going to surrender to hate. We’re not going to allow hate to define us. We are united. And that unification is going to determine who we are going to be as a nation, the greatest country on the globe because this is the greatest city on the globe.”

Jewish singer Benny Friedman with Mayor Adams (Benny Polatseck/Mayoral Photography Office)

Photos by Reuvain Borchardt/Hamodia

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