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Identity/Crisis

Free Speech and Anti-Zionism at CUNY Law

How should we respond to speech that challenges our core commitments, beliefs, and even identities?
Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer is president of the Shalom Hartman Institute. Yehuda is a leading thinker and author on the meaning of Israel to American Jews, on Jewish history and Jewish memory, and on questions of leadership and change in American Jewish life. Yehuda led the creation of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America in 2010 as a pioneering research and educational center for the leadership of the North American Jewish community, and teaches in

How should we respond to speech that challenges our core commitments, beliefs, and even identities? In this episode, Yehuda Kurtzer unpacks recent events surrounding this year’s City University of New York (CUNY) Law School commencement, during which commencement speaker Fatima Mohammed denounced the State of Israel and Zionists and commended CUNY for protecting her fellow students’ right to “speak out against Israeli settler colonialism.” The events leading up to the speech, as well as the response to it both from the Law School and in the media, offer a gloomy prognosis for the future of discourse around Israel and Palestine. But what might it look like, he asks, to seek out real conversations with those who disagree with us—and do so vociferously—on the very issues that matter most to us?

Referred to in this episode: CUNY School of Law Commencement Speech 2023 Statement from the Board of Trustees and Chancellor of CUNY

 

Identity/Crisis: The Ideas Behind the News is a podcast of the Shalom Hartman Institute.

A transcript of this episode is available here.

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In a frenzied media cycle, Identity/Crisis delves into the big ideas behind the news from a uniquely Jewish perspective. Host Yehuda Kurtzer, president of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, talks with leading thinkers to unpack current events effecting Jewish communities in North America, Israel, and around the world, revealing the core Jewish values underlying the issues that matter to you.

You care about Israel, peoplehood, and vibrant, ethical Jewish communities. We do too.

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