CUNY Board Member and Professor Tied to Settler Charity With ‘No Arabs’ Policy

Now that the board of the City University of New York has had time to reconsider, and reverse their ill-fated decision to deny playwright Tony Kushner an honorary degree for his criticism of Israel, attention is shifting to CUNY board member Jeffrey Wiesenfeld who led the charge against Kushner.

Wiesenfeld, who described Kushner as a “Jewish anti-Semite,” might have his own explaining to do about his fundraising for Mishmeret Yesha, an organization which assists settlements in organizing security and whose security chief said, “We don’t want to have anything to do with any organization that employs Arabs,” in a 2008 interview.

A YouTube video of the group’s training can be viewed here:

Wiesenfeld helps fund Mishmeret Yesha through the Israel Independence Fund, where he serves as a director along with CUNY faculty member Judith Friedman Rosen (who also sits on the board of Daniel Pipes’s Middle East Forum), but their names aren’t listed anywhere on the organization’s website (990 tax filings can be viewed here and here). The website does, however, proudly list Mishmeret Yesha as a recipient of the Fund’s financial support.

Back in 2008, Phil Weiss excerpted from a Jerusalem Post article about Mishmeret Yesha:

[Moshe] Hager-Lau [a rabbi and colonel who chairs “Premilitary Religious Academies” in the West Bank] asked Mishmeret Yesha , an organization that has trained more than 100 rapid response teams throughout Judea and Samaria, to help train the yeshiva students.

Israel Danziger, head of operations at Mishmeret Yesha, said he had been asked by Hager-Lau to put together a general plan for educational institutions that would improve their preparedness to deal with terrorist infiltrations.

Danziger said the plan included an early-warning system; drills that would teach every settlement resident where to go in case of an attack; coordinating and practicing communications between emergency organizations and residents; and conducting periodic mock attacks.

However, one of Mishmeret Yesha’s central security demands is a no-Arab policy.

“We don’t want to have anything to do with any organization that employs Arabs,” said Danziger. “There is no sense in training a rapid response team in a settlement or an institution where you have a bunch of Arabs walking around gathering information.”

While Wiesenfeld might be regretting his decision to accuse Kushner of anti-Semitism, that scandal appears to be in the process of blowing over. But Wiesenfeld’s own apparent connections to bigotry and organizations which actively promote intolerance and racism in Israel and the occupied territories might not go away as easily.

Eli Clifton

Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. He is a co-founder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Eli previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.



  1. I am so glad that I returned to your site and review your willingness to post my original comments. I am no less pleased by the replies my post illiciited.

    I am pleased in particular because now your reaers are well exposed:

    “No cure for the studid”…quite right my British friend, clearly why you have the temerity to state and opinion without relating to any points of fact.

    Fact:in Iran gay teenagers are literally hung from lamposts,

    Fact: Jordanian and Palestinian constituions punish anyone selling property to a Jew with the death penalty,

    Fact:Israeli Arabs own more private property per capita than Israeli Jews and have higher income levels that Jews who fled Arab countries after the anti Jewish porgoms of 1949

    Fact:US servicemen and women in Saudi Arabia may not openly celebrate Christian hoidays.

    Any rebutal? Arab spring comments?

    “Between NY and Florida Jewish strongholds is a whole other country of 300 million”. Guess what you closet racist…the US is not mid town Manhattan…go to San Antonio or Waco and try your anti Zionist garbage on Americans and see how quickly they send you back to SoHo.

    “the Warsaw Ghetto comes to mind”…Have you ever been to Arab towns or villiages in Israel, or are all your opinions set by op ed pieces in looney blogs you read without vetting. Historically you are a fool, most likely using Holocaust imagery to asuuage a guilt deep and real. On behalf of six million innocent murdered Jews…rot in hell!

    “You write of Itamar, and seem to know all the facts, though those seem to be quite nebulous. I understood that some imported workers (Thai) were considered suspects”…well I do have the facts, and the butchers who committed the murders have admitted their guilt and expressed their regret at having missed afew toddlers in their bloody rampage…do you bother to follow the news at all?

    Your collective use of imagery is clear, your comments of no import as they state no fact that mitigates your ignorance of the truth. You are in fact lemmings, following the flavor of the month, with little or nothing to seperate you from the masses in a Roman arena calling for blood in orgiastic pleasure achieving oneness with the ignorant mob! Enjoy pleasuring yourselves…Israel will continue to be victorious over the Islamic-Leftist alliance (Molotov-Ribbentropish isn’t it?)…you continue to wail your well heeled reavings…oh and a Bronx cheer to all!

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