Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors was set to deliver a virtual commencement address for UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs as scheduled on Friday despite scrutiny of her past critical remarks concerning Israel, the school’s dean confirmed.
Cullors called for an end to the Israeli state while participating in a 2015 panel at Harvard Law School. Her remarks resurfaced in recent days following intense clashes between the Israeli military and Hamas militants in Gaza.
“Palestine is our generation’s South Africa,” Cullors said at the event. “If we don’t step up boldly and courageously to end the imperialist project that’s called Israel, we’re doomed.”
Several prominent Jewish groups questioned UCLA’s decision to host Cullors as a commencement speaker amid a recent wave of anti-Semitic attacks. UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs Dean Gary Segura defended the decision in a statement to the Jewish Journal.
“Respect for diversity of opinion on matters of public concern is a key tenet of the educational philosophy of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, and it’s important to remember that an invitation to speak does not represent an endorsement of all past or future statements by a given speaker,” Segura said in a statement. “We do not condone racism, sexism, anti-Semitism or any form of bias.”