Paul L. Caron

Monday, April 25, 2022

More On The Anti-Semitism Controversy At NYU Law School

Following up on my previous post, Anti-Semitism Roils NYU Law School:  David Lat (Original Jurisdiction), Dean Trevor Morrison Speaks Out About Anti-Semitism Controversy At NYU Law:

NYU Law (2016)Last week, I covered a controversy at NYU Law School over allegedly anti-Semitic messages that went out over the law school listserv. The controversy has raged on since then, with more messages and more vitriol. ...

On Tuesday, a group of self-identified Jewish anti-Zionist students sent an open letter to Dean Trevor Morrison (just as their ideological opponents sent an open letter to Dean Morrison last week). In their letter, the anti-Zionist students expressed their “strong disagreement with the Jewish Law Student Association’s (JLSA) suggestion that all Jews feel unsafe on NYU Law’s campus as a result of political speech by other students”; declared that they “are deeply troubled that JLSA and others have condoned the targeting of anti-Zionist students and the calls for academic sanctions against them”; and argued anti-Zionism is not the same thing as anti-Semitism, since “criticism of the state of Israel is not anti-semitic, but rather, is a Jewish mandate.”

On Wednesday, Dean Morrison sent out another school-wide email, this one longer and more substantive than his message from last week. Here it is, in its entirety: ...

Two quick thoughts from me:

  1. Hosting conversations “focused on tools for having difficult conversations within our community” sounds like a great idea—and one that many other law schools (cough cough, Yale) could benefit from right now.
  2. Near the end of his email, Dean Morrison raises a valid question: are law school listservs the devil’s playthings? Many law school controversies have started on (or have been fueled by) listservs and similar modes of school- or class-wide communication. Communication and technology are generally positives, in my view—but it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. If controversies like those at NYU and Yale Law cause law school administrators and students to think more carefully about how to communicate with each other, then maybe they’ll have served a useful purpose.

Back in October 2021, well before this controversy erupted, Dean Morrison announced that he would be stepping down as dean this June. I’m sure he won’t miss having to mediate disputes like this one.

Being a law school dean in the year 2022 is not an enviable job. To Dean Morrison’s unnamed successor, I wish you the best of luck.

Tal Fortgang (Yale 2L), To the Antisemites Who Sit Next to Me at School:

To my law school classmate who tweeted, “my love language is marg bar [death to] Israel”: thank you. ...

All of you have done more than I ever could to convince my fellow Jews that the left doesn’t just have a Corbyn problem or a Tlaib problem or a Farrakhan problem. It has a big, fat Jew-hatred problem right in its ideological core. This time it happened to rear its head at one of the best law schools in the country. One where the name Steinhardt adorns the buildings and about a quarter of the students are Jews. Yes, even here. Especially here.

Thank you for starting one of those “courageous conversations” we’re always supposed to have. This one not about gender or systemic racism or climate change, but about the burning debate over whether it is fantastic or merely acceptable that innocent Jews are being murdered in Israel. ...

Calling your fellow Jewish classmates racist white supremacists will not save you from the viciousness of this movement. Excusing or downplaying celebrations of dead Jews will not make you less of an interloper, a bourgeois Shylock in the social justice worldview. You will always be an oppressor, even as you desperately want them to know you are oppressed.

I beg you to let this be a lesson, once and for all. An ideology that only sees systems, colors, abstractions—not people made, each one, equally in the image of God—is dehumanizing. Not just for us but for everyone.

David Bernstein (George Mason), Yosmin Badie, NYU Law Student and Antisemite

Daily Mail, 'The Left Has a Big, Fat Jew-hatred Problem': Jewish NYU Law Student Shames His Fellow Students For Vowing 'Death to Israel', Claiming That Jews Control the Media and That 'Zionism Is Islamophobic'

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