Here in New York, the elected student commencement speaker at the City University of New York School of Law is facing death threats after she criticized the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians during her speech. Fatima Mohammed, who is Yemeni American, addressed the CUNY Law School’s graduating class in early May after being elected to speak by her classmates.
Fatima Mohammed: “Israel continues to indiscriminately rain bullets and bombs on worshipers, murdering the old, the young, attacking even funerals and graveyards, as it encourages lynch mobs to target Palestinian homes and businesses, as it imprisons its children, as it continues its project of settler colonialism, expelling Palestinians from their homes.”
Fatima Mohammed also spoke out against white supremacy and the New York Police Department. Mohammed has since faced a torrent of criticism from the New York Post and other right-wing media outlets and Republican politicians, as well as some Democrats, including Congressmember Ritchie Torres and New York City Mayor Eric Adams. On Tuesday, more than two weeks after Mohammed spoke, the CUNY Board of Trustees and the chancellor responded to the criticism by declaring Mohammed’s remarks to be a form of “hate speech.” However, Mohammed has received public support from the Jewish Law Students Association at CUNY and other groups. The New York City chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace issued a statement saying, “We decry the false characterization of her speech as anti-Semitic simply because she accurately describes the conditions Palestinians live under every day.”