In response to viral video, CUNY Law denounces antisemitism then retracts

In the video, a man wearing an IDF sweatshirt is being confronted by a woman holding a lit lighter and in the background is a female voice saying “I hate your shirt. I’m gonna set it on fire."

CUNY Graduate Center (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
CUNY Graduate Center
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
After a video of law student Nerdeen Kiswani threatening to set fire to an IDF sweatshirt worn by an unidentified man went viral, CUNY Law School condemned antisemitism and then apologized for the denunciation saying that Kiswani was “exercising her First Amendment right,” according to the Algemeiner.
In the video, a man wearing an IDF sweatshirt is being confronted by a woman holding a lit lighter and in the background is a female voice saying “I hate your shirt. I’m gonna set it on fire. I’m serious.”
The video was posted to Twitter by the Stop Antisemitism advocacy group with a demand that CUNY Law investigate the incident. The video attracted online attention and  the law school responded condemning antisemitism.
The condemnation caused a rush of support for Kiswani and backlash. The student group Jewish Law Students Association said that the school’s comments “wrongly conflate anti-Zionism with antisemitism.” The group went on to say that Kiswani was “bombarded with vile, Islamaphobic, anti-Palestinian violence.”
Later, CUNY Law dean Mary Lu Bilek withdrew the condemnation and issued a statement apologizing and stating that Kiswami “exercised her First Amendment right to express her opinion.”
“In [the original CUNY post condemning the actions,] the header said that the Law School ‘stands against hate and antisemitism,” said Bilek, adding that “I know the difference between opposition to Israel’s armed forces (or Israel’s policies towards Palestine) and antisemitism, and that student’s post was clearly expressing the former.”
There is no evidence of acts of violence against Kiswami as a result of the video or CUNY’s initial denunciation, according to the Algemeiner.