Lawful Teams Phone on IRS to Examine CUNY Law’s Tax-Exempt Position Above School Resolution Supporting BDS

Two lawful groups despatched a joint letter to the Inside Earnings Support (IRS) urging the agency to examine and perhaps revoke the Town College of New York’s (CUNY) Faculty of Law’s tax-exempt position about the legislation school’s faculty unanimously passing a resolution supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) motion final 12 months.

International Lawful Discussion board CEO Arsen Ostrovsky and National Jewish Advocacy Centre Director Mark Goldfeder wrote in the June 2 letter attained by the Journal that the Could 12 commencement speech given by Learners for Justice in Palestine (SJP) activist Fatima Mousa Mohammed “has garnered popular condemnation from federal, point out, and local lawmakers, as properly as civil society leaders, the Jewish local community, and even New York Mayor Eric Adams, because of to its extremist rhetoric, divisive nature, and explicit display screen of antisemitism.” On the other hand, Ostrovsky and Goldfeder argued that Mohammed’s speech “did not occur in a vacuum.” “While the CUNY Board of Trustees and CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez have denounced the ‘hate speech’ in Ms. Mohammed’s tackle and deemed it ‘unacceptable,’ we uncover their reaction to be not only late but also grossly insufficient,” they wrote. “This is specifically troubling thinking of CUNY’s effectively-documented record of antisemitism and its failure to acquire any significant motion in response.”

Ostrovsky and Goldfeder pointed to the professional-BDS resolution passed by the law school’s college in Might 2022. “This resolution right violates CUNY’s non-profit status as a 501(c)(3) non-earnings entity, which prohibits participating in significant political or lobbying actions. It also runs counter to its ‘educational’ mission, because there is a difference concerning education and indoctrination,” Ostrovsky and Goldfeder argued. They mentioned that the American Association of University Professors’ (AAUP) 1915 Declaration of Rules on Educational Freedom and Academic Tenure state that educators are not to offer “students with completely ready-designed conclusions, but to educate them to feel for themselves, and to provide them entry to people products [that] they require if they are to think intelligently” and that the 1957 Supreme Court case Sweezy v. New Hampshire concluded that “teachers and learners should generally continue being no cost to inquire, to analyze, and to evaluate … otherwise, our civilization will stagnate and die.”

“To our know-how, the CUNY Regulation Faculty is the only regulation school in the United States that has formally adopted BDS as a main element of its academic mission,” Ostrovsky and Goldfeder wrote. “Today, the CUNY School of Law has grow to be a staging floor for the systematic marketing of BDS functions, and anti-Zionist and antisemitic bias on campus, all of which are the reverse of ‘educational’, as very well as very clear violations of New York point out legislation and federal plan.”

Moreover, the two lawyers pointed out that in reaction to the passage of the BDS resolution, the New York Condition of Division of Human Rights began investigating CUNY Regulation in February and the New York Metropolis Council rescinded funding from the college. “CUNY’s recurring engagement in things to do that institutionally endorse a precise political viewpoint from Israel, like hosting several speakers, making an attempt to remove Jewish educators from senior management, and unwavering aid of the BDS motion, constitutes extreme lobbying and most likely jeopardizes its tax-exempt position,” Ostrovsky and Goldfeder wrote. Mohammed’s speech, for illustration, concerned her advertising and marketing “the boycotting of Israel, particularly acknowledging that this was a coverage supported and facilitated by CUNY Law School. By regularly inviting and supporting these kinds of speakers, CUNY actively promotes a specific viewpoint that aligns with the BDS motion. When considered in combination, these pursuits sort a sizeable section of CUNY’s total functions.”

They included that “students are even finding tutorial credit for watching anti-Israel films” and that there are allegations of attempts to purge “Jewish educators from senior leadership positions recommend deliberately targeting folks primarily based on their Jewish identification,” all of which indicate “lobbying activities to advance a precise political agenda.”

Circling back again to BDS, Ostrovsky and Goldfeder argued “that CUNY’s pro-BDS and antisemitic stance is opposite to general public policy: It is the longstanding coverage of the United States to oppose discriminatory boycotts against Israel, because such discriminatory tactics are deeply offensive to our countrywide morality.” “That is why U.S. anti-boycott regulations below the 1977 Export Administration Act, the Ribicoff Amendment to the 1976 Tax Reform Act, and the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act all contain provisions that arguably prohibit this sort of behavior, and violation of these and comparable polices can have heavy administrative costs as perfectly as perhaps legal penalties in state and federal courts,” they included. The two lawyers also contended that “there has been a significant physique of evidence indicating incontrovertible ties between the BDS movement and U.S. specified terrorist teams, this sort of as Hamas and the Common Entrance for the Liberation of Palestine.” “There is also mounting proof that BDS teams in the United States have turn out to be a front for terrorist companies, when lots of convicted terrorists hold senior management positions in the world-wide BDS Movement, in search of to use their world-wide community in order to progress their agenda to incite violence and pursue the destruction of the Point out of Israel,” Ostrovsky and Goldfeder wrote.

They later on concluded: “We get in touch with on the IRS to perform a complete investigation into the tax-exempt standing of CUNY Law University, dependent on the aforementioned good reasons, and exclusively no matter if their endorsement of BDS initiatives is a violation of federal law and laws.”

Ostrovsky reported in a statement to the Journal, “CUNY has become a hotbed of intolerable Jew hatred, such as Floor Zero for the BDS Motion on campus. It is absolutely unacceptable that CUNY Legislation Faculty management not only turns its back again to this sort of racial hatred and discrimination, but in fact requires an energetic component in major and encouraging this, which includes remaining the only legislation school in the region to formally adopt the BDS campaign. As a community establishment, with tax exempt standing, this also spots CUNY in potential violation of its lawful obligations, like the prohibition versus participating in political and lobbying routines.”

He included: “Enough is sufficient, in spite of CUNY leadership’s prior commitments to deal with antisemitism and anti-Israel hatred on campus, the situation has only bought worse, not better, and they will have to be held accountable for their actions.”

CUNY Law did not react to the Journal’s ask for for remark.

The letter will come amidst controversy above Mohammed’s commencement address. 

Agent Mike Lawler (R-NY) launched a bill to defund any faculty campus that promotes “antisemitism at an occasion on their campus.”

Likewise, multiple state Republican legislators are calling New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) to defund CUNY or any other school that “supports, condones or lets hateful, antisemitic and intolerant speech to take position,” for every The New York Post.

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