On May 12, 2023, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) activist Fatima Mousa Mohammed delivered a commencement speech at CUNY School of Law. In her speech, she said that American law is a "manifestation of white supremacy" and that she chose CUNY School of Law because it equips its students with the tools to protect "organizers" that are working to "confront the systems of oppression that wreak violence on them, systems of oppression, created to feed an empire with a ravenous appetite for destruction and violence." She celebrated the fact that the school endorsed BDS and enabled its students to fight "Israeli settler colonialism." She also said that Israel "continues to indiscriminately rain bullets and bombs on worshippers, murdering the old, the young, attacking even funerals and graveyards, as it encourages lynch mobs to target Palestinian homes and businesses." In addition, Mohammed also referred to the Holyland Five, five U.S. citizens affiliated with the Holyland Foundation who are imprisoned for having funneled millions of dollars to Hamas, as "political prisoners." She wished that the joy and rage that fills the auditorium will be "the fuel for the fight against capitalism, racism, imperialism, and Zionism around the world." Mohammed concluded: "No longer are we going to capitulate to the oppressors, no longer are we going to put our hope in their depraved consciousness… Greater empires of destruction have fallen before, and so will these."
At a rally in NYC in March 2022, Mohammed had urged the crowd to demand that "Zionist" professors be banned from college campuses and that "Zionist" students not be allowed in the same "spaces" as Palestinians. Mohammed also said that Zionism is a "genocidal threat to us." For more information, see MEMRI TV Clip No. 9471. According to the Twitter account of the SJP chapter at CUNY School of Law, the commencement ceremony was streamed live on the school's YouTube account, but was removed several hours later and was reposted on May 25, 2023.
Fatima Mousa Mohammed: "Like many of you, I chose CUNY School of Law for its articulated mission to be law in the service of human need, one of the very few legal institutions created to recognize that the law is a manifestation of white supremacy that continues to oppress and suppress people in this nation and around the world. We joined this institution to be equipped with the necessary legal skills to protect our communities, to protect the organizers fighting endlessly, day in and out, with no accolades, no cameras, no votes, no PhD grants, working to lift the façade of legal neutrality and confront the systems of oppression that wreak violence on them. Systems of oppression created to feed an empire with a ravenous appetite for destruction and violence.
"I want to celebrate CUNY Law as one of the few, if not the only, law school to make a public statement defending the right of its students to organize and speak out against Israeli settler colonialism. That this is the law school that passed and endorsed BDS on a student and faculty level, recognizing that absent a critical imperialism settler colonialism lens, our work and this school's mission statement is void of value. That as Israel continues to indiscriminately rain bullets and bombs on worshippers, murdering the old, the young, attacking even funerals and graveyards, as it encourages lynch mobs to target Palestinian homes and businesses, as it imprisons its children, as it continues its project of settler colonialism, expelling Palestinians from their homes, carrying [out] the ongoing Nakba, that our silence is no longer acceptable.
"And we did all of this in spite of the racism, in spite of the selective activism, the self-serving interests of CUNY central, an institution that continues to fail us, that continues to train and cooperate with the fascism NYPD, the military, that continues to train IDF soldiers to carry out that same violence globally. A larger institution committed to its donors, not to its students.
"Let us remember that Gaza, just this week, has been bombed with the world watching. That daily, brown and black men are being murdered by the state at Rikers. That there are Palestinian political prisoners like HLF [Holyland Five] in U.S. prisons.
"We leave our classes and we leave this school to a world that so desperately needs us who have given up for the sake of liberation far more than we can imagine. So may the joy and excitement that fills the auditorium here, may the rage that fills this auditorium, dance in the hallways of our elementary schools, in our home villages of Sheikh Jarrah, Aden, Yemen, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. May we rejoice in the corners of our New York City bedroom apartments and dining tables, may it be fuel for the fight against capitalism, racism, imperialism, and Zionism around the world.
"No longer are we going to capitulate to oppressors. No longer are we going to put our hope in their depraved consciousness, and as the great Malcom X said, we declare our right on this earth to be a man. To be a human being. To be respected as a human being. To be given the rights of a human being, in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.
"And we will protect the fight that brings us all closer to the fall of all oppressive institutions, a reality that is only myopic and unrealistic to the oppressors, but is the inevitable future for the oppressed people everywhere. For greater empires of destruction have fallen before, and so will these. So, to the class of 2023: the fight begins now."