CUNY Commencement Address Sparks Firestorm Over Comments on Israel, ‘Fascist' NYPD

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A commencement address from a law school graduate of a New York City university is sparking a firestorm of criticism.

Lawmakers and politicians from around the country, as well as Jewish groups and more, are bashing a student speaker at the CUNY Law School for her remarks that were highly critical of Israel and blasted the NYPD as "fascist." Some trustees for the school are even calling the student's words "hate speech," and there are calls for the dean of the law school to be fired.

Many of the words from graduate Fatima Mousa Mohammed during her commencement speech bluntly criticized CUNY for failing to speak up against a list of perceived injustices.

"The self-serving  interest of CUNY Central. An institution that continues to fail us. That continues to train and cooperate with the fascist NYPD. The military!" Mohammed said in her speech. "Daily, Brown and Black men are being murdered by the state at Rikers...The law is a manifestation of white supremacy that continues to oppress."

And while those comments were enough to illicit reaction from some groups, it was her tirade against Israel that has drawn the fiercest backlash.

"As Israel continues to indiscriminately rain bullets and bombs on worshipers, murdering the old and young," said Mohammed. "As it continues its project of settler colonialism expelling Palestinians from their homes."

The comments drew swift condemnation from politicians across the political spectrum, from Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who said in a tweet that Mohammed "enthusiastically celebrates antisemitism," to Democratic Brooklyn Rep. Dan Goldman, who said "with antisemitism on the rise this kind of hateful and misleading rhetoric is unacceptable."

On Wednesday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams blasted the speech as well.

"If I was on that stage when those comments were made, I would have stood up and denounced them immediately because we could not allow it to happen," he said.

The Israeli military struck targets in the Gaza Strip early Friday and conducted airstrikes in Lebanon as tensions continue to rise.

At the conclusion of the student speech, the CUNY law dean clapped for the student — prompting some, including the president of the World Jewish Congress, to call for her firing.

Sudah Setty, the dean who has faced calls to be fired, did not immediately respond to requests for comment from NBC New York.

Not everyone has jumped at the opportunity to bash Mohammed. IN fact, some have turned and blasted the critics.

Several student groups, including a group made up of Jewish law students, said Mohammed was right to criticize Israel for its military policies and for her criticism of Mayor Adams. The Council on American-Islamic Relations and other groups have voiced support as well, saying the critics are Islamophobic who want to silence message in support of Palestinian people.

NBC New York was unable to reach the speaker, Mohammed, but she has declined comment to other outlets.

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