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Hochul appoints former chief judge to review antisemitic incidents at some public colleges

Gov. Kathy Hochul addresses the growing number of antisemitic incidents in New York in a speech on Oct. 31, 2023.
Susan Watts
Office of Gov. Kathy Hochul
Gov. Kathy Hochul addresses the growing number of antisemitic incidents in New York in a speech on Oct. 31, 2023.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Tuesday that she’s asking a former chief judge of the state to conduct a study of antisemitic incidences at some public colleges and universities to see if policies and procedures need to be changed to curb a rise of hate speech on campus.

In a speech, Hochul addressed the rising number of incidents of hate speech and anti-Jewish threats since the conflict between Israel and Hamas militants began in early October.

“Today, Jewish New Yorkers are experiencing the greatest increase in antisemitic hate crimes in decades,” Hochul said. “And I must ask, where are their allies now?”

Hochul, a staunch supporter of Israel who visited that country soon after the initial Hamas attack on Oct. 7, said it’s possible to be critical of military actions by Israel without engaging in antisemitism.

“You can vigorously oppose Israel's response following the attack on their people, but still be vigorously opposed to terrorism, Hamas, antisemitism and hate in all of its forms,” she said.

Hochul said she’s asked former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippmann to look into reports of antisemitism at the City University of New York college campuses that began even before the recent violence in Israel and Gaza.

“It's been growing on a number of campuses and seen most acutely in the City University of New York,” Hochul said. “At my request, Judge Jonathan Lippman, former chief judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, has agreed to conduct an independent, third-party review of CUNY's policies and procedures related to antisemitism and discrimination.” 

She said while the review will be limited to CUNY, she hopes the recommendations will provide a roadmap for other public and private colleges in New York.

Hochul also announced that a suspect is in custody in connection with the violent threats to a kosher dining hall and the Center for Jewish Living at the Cornell University campus.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of public radio stations in New York state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.