At least 50 CUNY professors have resigned in protest from their faculty union after it passed a one-sided resolution condemning Israel for recent attacks on Palestinians and threatening to support the movement to boycott and divest from the Jewish state, The Post has learned.
The controversial resolution approved by delegates of the union, the Professional Staff Congress, outraged many professors — some of whom are descendants of Holocaust victims and have relatives in Israel.
“With the PSC CUNY resolution you have chosen to support a terrorist organization, Hamas, whose goal (`From the River to the Sea’) is to destroy the state of Israel and kill all my relatives who live there,” seethed Professor Yedidyah Langsam, chairman of Brooklyn’s College’s Computer and Information Science Department and its faculty council, in a letter of resignation to PSC President James Davis.
Langsam likened the situation to how Jewish professors in German universities felt during the infamous Nazi reign during the late 1930s.
“I personally have an uncomfortable feeling interacting with these faculty, and as many students have written, feel exceedingly uncomfortable on campus,” Langsam wrote of those supporting the resolution.
“For that reason, I have resigned from the PS-CUNY Union effective immediately, after being a member for over 40 years. I have urged my fellow faculty to immediately resign as well. You do NOT represent us and I will not be a part of an organization that supports those who wish to destroy us.”
The PSC told The Post that at least 50 members have resigned or sent notices of their intention to do so.
The protest comes amid a backlash against Vermont-based ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s for announcing that it will no longer sell its products in the Israel-occupied Palestinian territories.
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has warned Ben & Jerry’s parent company, Unilever, that New York might restrict investments in the firm over the move.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo also is facing pressure to enforce his own 2016 executive order to suspend doing business with any company engaged in the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel.
Davis, who just took over as PSC president, acknowledged to The Post that the union’s anti-Israel resolution has caused “distress” among members but also claimed that conservative forces are attempting to exploit the controversy and damage the group by urging people to resign.
“We are in active dialogue with members who have expressed concern over the resolution. Some have decided to remain, some to resign, and some to take time to think it over,” Davis said.
“Many members are absolutely sincere in their distress, but we also know that a pressure campaign has been launched by people who were not PSC members in the first place and have been waiting eagerly, since the 2018 anti-union Janus v AFSCME Supreme Court decision, for an opportunity to peel members away from the PSC.”
But professors enraged over the PSC resolution argue that it ignored key facts — for example, that Hamas was shooting rockets into civilian population centers in Israel during the recent dispute with the Jewish state.
Instead, the resolution says, “PSC-CUNY condemns the massacre of Palestinians by the Israeli state’’ — while decrying Israel’s “expansionism and violent incursions into occupied territories.”
PSC-CUNY “cannot be silent about the continued subjection of Palestinians to the state-supported displacement, occupation, and use of lethal force by Israel,” it says.
The resolution adds that the Palestinian struggle for “self determination” is akin to the struggles of “indigenous people and people of color in the United States” and blacks in apartheid South Africa.
The PSC missive added that this fall, it will “facilitate discussions … and consider PSC support of the 2005 call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS)” against Israel.
Langsam raged in his letter to the union, “Your unbalanced motion fails to address the over 4000 rockets fired from Gaza into residential areas.
“You fail to address the apartheid behavior of the Palestinian government (not a single Jew is permitted to be in Gaza) while neglecting to mention that Palestinians are members of the Israeli Knesset and are now part of the ruling coalition.
“You equate the careful bombing by the Israeli Air Force in order to minimize any collateral damage with the actions of the Palestinians who use their own civilian women and children, hospitals, and schools as shields for their launching sites.
“By endorsing this resolution you have made many Jewish faculty and students uncomfortable with being associated with Brooklyn College and CUNY to the point of fearing for our safety. Have you and your colleagues forgotten the exponential increase in anti-Semitic attacks against Jews in the NY City area?” Langsam said.
“Where is your resolution in support of your fellow faculty and students?”
Langsam said Israel is fair game for legitimate criticism but that the resolution was “one-sided” and is “nothing more than plain Anti-Semitism, disguised in the PC `woke’ terminology of today as Anti-Zionism.”
A group called “PSC Exit” has launched a campaign to show professors how they can legally quit the union.
“Our union has evolved over the last many years in ways that make it unrecognizable,” the anti-PSC group said. “They now spend money and time on activities that have nothing to do with our careers. Instead they focus on foreign politics even when much of the membership has no interest in these activities.
“We have therefore decided to no longer fund this union with our wages. We can no longer remain members of this union.”
The growing exodus will hurt the union’s pocketbook. A professor whose gross pay is $100,000 kicks in $1,050 a year to the PSC, or 1.05 percent of salary.