CUNY’s Law Faculty Unanimously Endorsed a Student-Led BDS Resolution—after CUNY’s Chancellor Unequivocally Rejected It

Last December, the student government of the City University of New York (CUNY) Law School adopted a resolution endorsing, “proudly and unapologetically,” the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. At the time, CUNY’s chancellor Felix Matos Rodriguez cited a 2016 executive order from then-Governor Andrew Cuomo, which, he argued, precluded the public law school from participating in or supporting BDS. The matter might have ended there, Steven Lubet suggests, noting that many similar BDS initiatives at schools across the country have produced little practical effect. Last month, however, the law-school faculty council unanimously endorsed the student resolution, a move that Lubet argues “might jeopardize the law school’s legitimacy.”

The student government’s impressively researched boycott resolution covers six pages, with twenty paragraphs of accusations against Israel and 26 footnotes. It protests every conceivable university connection to Israel, from using Dell computers (because CEO Michael Dell “is an Israel backer”), to free tuition for NYPD officers (because of their exchange programs with Israel), to serving Sabra hummus.

It gets worse. . . . The scope of [the student government resolution] is only revealed by a link in a footnote, which leads to an extensive BDS website. A few clicks will then take readers to the “Guidelines for the International Academic Boycott of Israel,” which include “the cancellation or annulment of events, activities, agreements, or projects involving Israeli academic institutions or that otherwise promote the normalization of Israel in the global academy, [including] conferences, symposia, workshops, book and museum exhibits.”

If honored by any law school, these limitations would constitute a blatant violation of academic freedom for future teachers, scholars, or students interested in understanding Israel—beyond its purported crimes—in their research or education. At a public law school, such sweeping viewpoint restrictions on conferences, symposia and book exhibits—prohibiting anything that “normalizes” Israel—also violate the First Amendment.

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Read more at The Hill

More about: Academia, BDS, First Amendment

 

How China Equips the Islamic Republic to Repress Its People

In its dedication to bringing totalitarianism into the 21st century, the Chinese Communist party has developed high-tech forms of surveillance using facial-recognition software, a vast system of “social credit,” and careful control over its subjects’ cellular phones. Even stricter and more invasive measures are applied to the Uyghurs of the northwestern part of the country. Beijing is also happy to export its innovations in tyranny to allies like Iran and Russia. Playing a key role in these advances is a nominally private company called Tiandy Technologies. Craig Singleton describes its activities:

Both Tiandy testimonials and Chinese-government press releases advertise the use of the company’s products by Chinese officials to track and interrogate Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in China’s Xinjiang province. According to human-rights groups, Chinese authorities also employ Tiandy products, such as “tiger chairs,” to torture Uyghurs and other minorities.

Iran has long relied on China to augment its digital surveillance capabilities, and Tehran was an early adopter of Beijing’s “social-credit” system, which it wields to assess citizens’ behavior and trustworthiness. . . . Iranian government representatives have publicized plans to leverage smart technologies, including AI-powered face recognition, to maintain regime stability and neutralize dissent. Enhanced cooperation with China is central to those efforts.

At present, Tiandy is not subject to U.S. sanctions or export controls. In light of Tiandy’s operations in both Xinjiang and Iran, policymakers should consider removing the company, its owner, and stakeholders from the international financial system and global supply chains.

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Read more at FDD

More about: China, Human Rights, Iran, Totalitarianism, U.S. Foreign policy