update deskSchools & Higher Education

CUNY cancels ‘Globalizing Intifada’ panel from anti-racism conference

“The goal is to bring people together, not to cause harm or make students feel unsafe,” a school official said.

Pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel protesters gather in front of the Colorado Convention Center, the site of the opening plenary of the Jewish National Fund-USA annual conference, Nov. 30, 2023. Photo by Carin M. Smilk.
Pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel protesters gather in front of the Colorado Convention Center, the site of the opening plenary of the Jewish National Fund-USA annual conference, Nov. 30, 2023. Photo by Carin M. Smilk.

The City University of New York’s Lehman College has chosen to amend its schedule for Feb. 16’s “Engagement, Equity and Antiracism” conference, removing a session after receiving strong criticism.

The school had intended to feature a panel titled “Globalizing the Intifada! Mapping Struggles for Palestine Between the Streets and Our Classrooms” before canceling the planned discussion.

Lehman College spokesman Richard Relkin said the panel’s “polarizing title” did not fit with “the theme of the conference and does not align with campus policy.”

Jane Kehoe Higgins, director of Lehman’s Institute for Literacy Studies, told the New York Post that “the goal is to bring people together, not to cause harm or make students feel unsafe” and that “after discussion with the panelists, I do not believe we share the same goal.”

Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, a former CUNY trustee, had called the event “a ‘how to’ guide for junior terrorists,” adding that “supporting the intifada is not only antisemitism, it’s anti-civilization.”

Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) said, “Any event seeking to ‘globalize the intifada’ is an open invitation to violence against Jews across the globe. The glorification of antisemitic violence has no place in a public university, where all students have a right to be and feel safe.”

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