By Snejana Farberov and Ronny Reyes | New York Post Published Jan. 25, 2024 | Updated Jan. 25, 2024
Photo Credit: Screenshot
An NYU adjunct professor and firebrand pro-Palestinian activist told a group of students at a recent “teach-in” that allegations that Hamas beheaded Israeli babies were “not true” — and denounced New York City as “Zionist,” according to a video from the event.
Amin Husain, 48, led a foul-mouthed discussion about the war in Israel at The New School, organized by the radical group Students for Justice in Palestine, on Dec. 5, during which he defended the Palestinians’ right to fight for their liberation — and played down claims of Hamas atrocities.
“They’re trying to say … ‘Oh my God, you support rapists and people that behead babies,’ both of which, whatever, we know it’s not true,” Husain says in a 2-minute clip taken from the livestream of the event that was first obtained by the Free Press.
The professor’s claims sparked outrage in the local and international Jewish community regarding the growing incidents of antisemitism in NYU and US college campuses.
Roz Rothstein, co-founder and CEO of StandWithUs — an international nonpartisan education group that supports Israel and fights antisemitism — said Husain’s comments were anti-Jewish and condemned any school that would hire him.
“Shame on this professor for collaborating with the internationally recognized terrorist group, Hamas, by denying the documented rapes, beheadings, kidnappings and murders of over 1400 human beings,” Rothstein said in a statement to The Post. “He is harming civil society by promoting lies and justifying barbaric attacks against the Jewish people, and by being proud of being called an antisemite, which he is.
“It is deeply concerning and unfortunate that any academic institution would have such dangerous staff serving as role models,” he added.
Eitan Gutenmacher, 21, a Jewish student at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study where Husain taught, said he was horrified by the professor’s statements but not surprised.
Gutenmacher, leader of the New Zionist Congress nonprofit group, said Husain has been notorious at the Gallatin School for his antisemitic views, adding that Jewish students know not to take any of his classes.
“He’s proud of being called an antisemite and it’s extremely concerning to see that in a seemingly progressive liberal arts college,” Gutenmacher said.
In the recording, Husain, a part-time faculty member of NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, is seen seated behind a desk, wearing a traditional Arabic keffiyeh headdress and facing his audience.
“We live in a Zionist city,” Husain proclaims. “Let’s be f—ing real … these people can come up and say because of keffiyeh, you should go back to your country.”
One of the students chimes in: “We’re trying.”
Husain decries the purported discrimination against Muslims as “bulls–t” — before mocking a petition started by an NYU alum last year calling for his firing.
“I have a petition going around, right, because I’m antisemitic. I won the honors of antisemitic multiple times, by the way,” the NYU staffer says.
Husain goes on to say that his profile on the website Canary Mission — which documents professors, student activists and organizations that promote hatred of the US, Israel and Jews on college campuses — “is one of the best biographies I have.”
“It’s endless. The citations are better than I could ever imagine,” he quips, drawing laughter from his listeners. “And everything they cite is true.”
Husain’s pages-long entry on Canary Mission’s portal states that he “has organized multiple violent New York City disruptions, promoted hatred of America and the police and incited hatred against pro-Israel supporters with Within Our Lifetime (WOL), an anti-Israel activist group in New York.”
The educator’s online dossier further states that Husain has claimed to have participated in a series of violent protests and riots staged by Palestinians between the late 1980s and early 1990s, known as the First Intifada, “and personally visited a leader of the terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”
“He has also expressed support for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror group and glorified its leaders, promoted other terrorists and spread hatred of Israel,” the watchdog group’s introduction reads.
Husain is the founding member of the radical activist group Decolonize This Place, which praised the Palestinian resistance as “heroic” a day after the deadly Oct. 7 attack by Hamas, and previously made headlines by causing disruptions in the New York City subway system.
During the “teach-in” at The New School, Husain openly defended the various factions involved in what he called the Palestinian “liberation struggle.”
“These groups are fighting for the liberation of their people and the land. That’s a right. You do it,” he says in the video. “If you don’t like Hamas, right? Free the land and the people.”
The Post reached out to Husain on Thursday seeking comment on the inflammatory content of his “teach-in.”
The New School said in a statement that Husain had not been affiliated with the institution since 2019, but he has been previously invited to speak on campus by the university’s Students for Justice in Palestine group.
“The New School chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is entitled to use university space, as are all New School student organizations, for educational activities, and has the right to invite speakers representing various points of views to the university,” a spokesperson for the school said.
“The remarks made by Husain at these events are outrageous and offensive. Antisemitism has no place on our campus or anywhere else,” the school added.
The New School added that Husain was invited to speak at the event by the student group. The New School SJP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
NYU spokesperson John Beckman told The Post that Husain is no longer teaching at the school, but did not specify if he was fired or when the university made its decision.
“To be clear, Mr. Husain has been suspended and is not currently teaching any classes at NYU,” Beckman said. “All members of our community must adhere to the University’s discrimination and anti-harassment policies. We investigate all complaints we receive and take appropriate action, which may include taking measures, such as suspension.”
The New York-New Jersey chapter of the Anti-Defamation League said it was glad the university suspended Husain for his rhetoric against Israel and The Big Apple.
“[We’re] horrified by NYU professor Amin Husain denying Hamas’ indefensible atrocities and calling New York a ‘Zionist city,’” the ADL tweeted. “His statements are reprehensible.”
The Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRC-NY) said that while they welcomed the suspension, NYU must do more to combat antisemitism on its campus.
“While we appreciate the steps NYU has taken to address the antisemitism problem on campus, there are still some who persist in using their platform to hate Jews, deny our humanity, and rejoice when we are killed,” JCRC-NY interim CEO Noam Gillboord told the Post.
“We need decisive action from college administrators to ensure discourse doesn’t become a breeding ground for bigotry nor continue to spread the poison of antisemitism,” he added.
Husain’s bio on NYU’s website states that he has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Valparaiso University, a law degree from Indiana University School of Law, and a master of laws from the prestigious Columbia University School of Law.
Between 2016 and 2022, Husain taught a course at NYU Gallatin called “Art, Activism, And Beyond.”