update deskSchools & Higher Education

Inspired by CUNY law grad, California student delivers anti-Israel speech

Jana Abulaban of El Camino College accused the Jewish state of “killing and torturing Palestinians as we speak.” The community college claims that she was only authorized to introduce a speaker.

El Camino College in Torrance, Calif. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
El Camino College in Torrance, Calif. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

“I gift my graduation to all Palestinians, who have lost their life and those who continue to lose their lives every day due to the oppressive apartheid state of Israel killing and torturing Palestinians as we speak,” said Jana Abulaban in her commencement address at El Camino College in Torrance, Calif., south of Los Angeles.

Abulaban, 18, told the New York Post that she was inspired by a graduate of City University of New York School of Law, who delivered an antisemitic commencement address on May 12.

She told the Post that she doesn’t consider herself antisemitic. “I’m not talking about Jewish people torturing and killing Palestinians,” she claimed. “It’s the Israeli government that is killing and torturing Palestinians.”

Abulaban told the Post that an official at the community college reviewed her speech before she delivered it. The official, whom she wouldn’t name to the New York paper, “basically backed me up on it,” she claimed.

On June 9, the college tweeted a quote from Abulaban’s speech. Five days later, Brenda Thames, superintendent and president of the El Camino Community College District, stated that a student speaker “who was not authorized to speak other than to introduce another speaker, took it upon herself to make an anti-Israel statement” at commencement ceremonies.

“To be clear, her statement was not approved by El Camino College officials and does not reflect the values and views of El Camino College,” said Thamses, adding that “anti-Israel sentiments can lead to a rise in antisemitism.”

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