CUNY union President blames ‘white Christian nationalism’ for anti-Semitism on campus

Professor James Davis attributed "White Christian nationalism" to the rise of anti-Semitism at the City University of New York during an NYC Council meeting.

Campus Reform has reported on multiple instances of anti-Semitism on CUNY campuses this year.

During a June 30 NYC Council meeting regarding anti-Semitism at the City University of New York (CUNY), Professor James Davis attributed the issue to “White Christian nationalism."

The Council meeting came as a response to a number of anti-Semitic incidents at CUNY that Campus Reform has previously reported on, including a resolution passed in Dec. 2021 by the CUNY Law Student Government Association demanding that the university “cut all ties” with Israel and endorse the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

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In a video of the hearing posted to Twitter on Aug. 21 by SAFE CUNY, Professor Davis, who is also the president of a faculty union that previously condemned Israel, downplayed the impact of anti-Semitism from the Left, claiming instead that a “rise in white Christian nationalism” is to blame for the growing issue.

He also cited the “global war on terror” as tied to such anti-Semitism, but did not justify this purported connection.

Kalman Yeger, a New York City Councilman and Orthodox Jew, quickly responded to Davis’ remarks by explaining that he is “a New Yorker” and he does not believe that “white nationalism is a big problem in New York City CUNY campuses.” 

Yeger further asserted that if Davis thinks that white nationalism is a big problem, he should “take another look at those campuses.”

“That’s not what’s happening here,” he asserted.

On Aug. 23, SAFE CUNY posted a second video of Davis’s testimony, in which he was asked by Councilwoman Inna Vernikov if his union had ever passed a resolution condemning other countries widely recognized to have engaged in human rights abuses, including Iran, North Korea, and China.

Davis told Vernikov that his union had only passed resolutions condemning Russia and Israel, but none of the other countries.

SAFE CUNY claims, however, that Davis’s testimony regarding a resolution condemning Russia was “false.”

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After reviewing PSC-CUNY resolutions, Campus Reform confirmed that the union never passed a resolution between 2020-2022 that condemns Russia, revealing that Israel was singled out among all other countries for condemnation. 

Campus Reform has reported on multiple instances of anti-Semitism on CUNY campuses this year.

In May, for example, anti-Israel activist Nerdeen Kiswani was invited to the CUNY School of Law to deliver a commencement speech, in which she voiced support for the anti-Israel BDS resolution passed in December. 

Similarly, the Anti-Zionist Jewish Coalition at CUNY published a letter in August claiming that Israel “commits genocide,” “funds Nazi militia groups,” and is a “settler colonial regime.”

Campus Reform has reached out to the parties mentioned in this article and will update accordingly.