Cooper Union’s Great Hall was the launching pad for the birth of the NAACP, the women’s suffrage movement and the American Red Cross. A young Abraham Lincoln spoke there, as did Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. Unfortunately, Cooper Union is now proud to declare that joining the ranks of those luminaries is now Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas. While many were curious to hear what Abbas had to say, the students of Rambam Mesivta, coming directly from the rally at Lincoln Center to protest the Anti-Semitic “Klinghoffer” Opera, were seen protesting Cooper Union’s decision to gift him their prestigious name and platform of a respected university.
Chants of “Abbas Supports Terror,” “Shame On Cooper,” and “Stop the Lies, Stop the Hate!” could be heard for blocks, as the activist students spoke out against a man who has awarded medals to known terrorist and is a Holocaust Denier. Rambam spearheaded and arranged this rally in an effort to draw attention to Abbas’ duplicity as well as Cooper Union’s heinous decision to promote Abbas’ agenda. Numerous media outlets were there and the protesters attracted applause and attention from the onlookers.
Abbas was named “Anti-Semite of the Year” by the LA Based Simon Wiesenthal Center in 2011. He has been known to speak to Western audiences in their language of peace and cooperation while, when addressing Islamic groups in Arabic, he urges a Jihadist message. He has also painted Israel as a racist state when he declared, “Our efforts are not aimed at isolating Israel or de-legitimizing it; rather we want to gain legitimacy for the cause of the people of Palestine. We only aim to de-legitimize the settlement activities and the occupation and apartheid and the logic of ruthless force, and we believe that all the countries of the world stand with us in this regard.” As many know, the “Israel is an Apartheid State” campaign which Abbas promotes, tells a factuality inaccurate story that is gaining ground in many corners of the world.
While Abbas did speak at Cooper Union, it will not be his lies that will live in the memory of those who heard him, but hopefully the sounds of Jewish Youth speaking out against anti-Semitism that will reverberate for years to come.