CUNY drops administrator with ties to Hamas from investigation into anti-Semitism

The City University of New York ]allegedly removed Saly Abd Alla from an investigation into anti-Semitism due to concerns about her affiliation with a Hamas-tied organization.

Jeffery Lax voiced concern about her record in a Sept. 12 email to Alla, in which he called CAIR 'an aggressive anti-Zionist movement and a vocal supporter of [boycott, divestment, sanctions].'

The City University of New York (CUNY) allegedly removed Saly Abd Alla from an investigation into anti-Semitism due to concerns about her affiliation with a Hamas-tied organization, emails obtained by Campus Reform show.

Alla, who currently serves as CUNY's Chief Diversity Officer, was the former Civil Rights Director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Jeffery Lax, Department of Business Chair at Kingsborough Community College (KCC), voiced concern about her record in a Sept. 12 email to Alla, in which he called CAIR “an aggressive anti-Zionist movement and a vocal supporter of [boycott, divestment, sanctions].”

KCC, located in Brooklyn, is affiliated with CUNY.

CAIR has also lobbied against the existence of the 100-year-old Jewish Civil Rights organization the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and has supported and defended comments from Ilhan Omar and Linda Sarsour that most Jews believe to be deeply antisemitic,” Lax alleged. “It has also aligned and worked with groups like [Students for Justine in Palestine], which are avowedly antizionist (and who most Jews view as antisemitic).”

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Lax then questioned whether Alla could “investigate such claims without bias.”

Doriane Gloria, CUNY Vice Chancellor, told Lax that the university would pursue “alternative approaches to conduct such an investigation” on Sept. 22.

“CAIR was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Case, the largest US terror-finance case in US history. It was tied to funneling money to Hamas,” Lax told Campus Reform. “It’s director should not be a Chief Diversity officer overseeing 25 campuses at CUNY, let alone investigating my complaint based on discrimination based on being a Zionist Jew.”

On Aug. 16, Lax filed a “discrimintation, retaliation, and hostile work environment complaint” against college President Claudia Schrader that alleged the college discriminated against Jews during its search for an Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

The seven-member search team reportedly consisted of several BDS supporters, but did not include any Jewish faculty.

Lax responded to Gloria on Sept. 23 and requested to be included in “selecting an outside, neutral, agreeable, and pro-bono third party to investigate.”

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He also accused the university of exercising “poor judgement in appointing the former director of an admittedly and openly antizionist organization to investigate claims based on Zionism discrimination.”

“We should really have the same goal here: stamping out antisemitism at our university and arriving at the truth,” Lax wrote.

In 2007, a trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development linked “CAIR leaders to Hamas,” which is recognized by the United States Department of Justice as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

Lax’s complaint drew national attention, prompting New York Congressman Lee Zeldin to release a statement on Sept. 20.

“If you are appointing someone who held a leadership role in a known antisemitic organization to lead an investigation into antisemitism, there may as well not be an investigation at all,” he wrote.

Campus Reform contacted all other parties mentioned. This article will be updated accordingly.

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