Suffolk University students protest ADL director Abraham Foxman’s commencement speech

National Director of the Anti-Defamation League Abraham Foxman. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

( Some students at Boston's Suffolk University are protesting the decision by the university's law school to invite Anti-Defamation League (ADL) National Director Abraham Foxman to be its commencement speaker on May 17.

The students, who have launched a petition against the decision, cited Foxman’s opposition to U.S. congressional recognition of the 1915 Armenian massacre as a genocide, as well as his opposition to the building of a mosque and Islamic community center near Ground Zero in New York City.

“Suffolk claims to embody diversity and be a place for all people, but this clearly is a speaker who does not embody those values,” said Amy Willis, president of Suffolk Law School’s chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, according to the Boston Globe.

On the Armenian genocide issue, Foxman wrote in 2008 that ADL “has never denied the tragic and painful events perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians,” and that “all of ADL’s anti-hate programs classify genocide as the ultimate crime against humanity.” ADL said it opposed the congressional resolution because it believed it to be “a counterproductive diversion and will not foster reconciliation between Turks and Armenians.”

Regarding the mosque near Ground Zero, Foxman wrote, “In our judgment, building an Islamic center in the shadow of the World Trade Center would unnecessarily cause some victims more pain.”

The administration of Suffolk University President James McCarthy said in a statement provided to the Boston Globe, “We value the views of all of our community members, and have examined the concerns which have been raised. Mr. Foxman’s body of work is well deserving of recognition. ... It is our hope that Mr. Foxman’s personal story as a Holocaust survivor and attorney who has dedicated his life to public service will inspire our graduates as they embark on their professional careers.”

Posted on April 23, 2014 .