What would the reaction be if a publicly funded law school officially endorsed the candidacy of Donald Trump?
Or officially supported white supremacy?
Or invited as graduation speaker an overtly anti-gay bigot?
Would defenders of such action claim free speech?
Or would they admit there is a difference between an individual expressing bigoted views and a state-sponsored institution officially endorsing such hateful positions?
That is the question posed, in reverse, by recent actions taken on behalf of the taxpayer-funded City University of New York School of Law.
That law school, part of the system where one of us attended college (Brooklyn College), has become the hotbed of anti-Americanism, anti-Zionism and antisemitism.
For at least two years now, the official graduation speaker, selected by the students and approved by the administration, has used the occasion to spout some of the most rabid hate speech against the American military, the American police, the Israeli army and the Israeli people.
This year’s speaker, Fatima Mohammed, called the police and the army “fascists.”
She railed against the people of Israel and the nation-state of the Jewish people.
School officials, including Dean Sudha Setty, applauded as Mohammed spat venom out at the May 12 ceremony.
Nor was this an isolated situation.
The faculty as a whole has endorsed the boycott movement against Israel, which is antisemitic to the core.
It prohibits any contact between American academics and Jewish academics in Israel and calls for Israel’s end, demanding it be replaced by a Palestinian state, “from the river to the sea.” Which includes Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem and all the rest of Israel.
Imagine being a CUNY Law student who supports Israel’s right to exist.
His or her belief is officially contradicted by the faculty, whose responsibility includes grading and recommending students.
It is wrong for a law school, especially one funded by taxpayers, to formally endorse such hatred against the Jewish citizens of Israel.
On a recent CUNY group chat, antisemites were warned not to shout “F–k the Jews” but instead to substitute “Zionists” for “Jews,” although the meaning remains clear.
Indeed one of the people on the chat then tweeted “F–k all the Jews.”
This reflects the feeling of many at CUNY and many of those who vigorously applauded the speaker’s vicious antisemitic vitriol.
The City University of New York law school should become a private institution and no longer receive public funds unless it ceases to be the academic loudspeaker for anti-Americanism, anti-Zionism and antisemitism.
This year’s graduation speaker described the law itself as “a manifestation of white supremacy” and called for “revolution” against the legal system.
She praised CUNY Law as the only institution that reflects her hatred.
New York City and state taxpayers should not be required to pay for this institutionalized hate speech. Let the marketplace of ideas prevail, and let students who agree with Fatima Mohammed’s view of American law and Jews attend a private law school that advocates such hatred without governmental financial support.
The government has no obligation or indeed legitimate right to lend its imprimatur to ideologically driven bigotry.
Cutting off government financing may help return CUNY law school to its proper mission of teaching students how to think about the law instead of propagandizing the students about who to hate.
CUNY Law is an embarrassment to the city university system.
It is not a credible place of learning. It is a propaganda mill for radical anti-American and anti-Israel students who should have the right to a real legal education that will prepare them to practice law rather than to spew hatred and foment revolution.
No one should try to prevent Fatima Mohammed from exercising her constitutional right to spread falsehoods about America, Israel or Jews.
But she has no right to have her hate speech receive the imprimatur of our government and the financial support of citizens who disagree with her bigotry.
The situation does not pass the shoe-on-the-other-foot test: No reasonable person would support a taxpayer institution that officially espoused hated against African-American or Arab-American students.
Yet that is exactly what CUNY Law is doing against patriotic American, Zionist and Jewish students, alumni and all decent people.
This double standard should not be accepted.
Alan Dershowitz is professor emeritus at Harvard Law School and the author of “Get Trump,” “Guilt by Accusation” and “The Price of Principle.” Andrew Stein, a Democrat, served as New York City Council president, 1986-94.