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NYU Professor Tells Students of Hamas Atrocities: ‘We Know It’s Not True’

Amin Husain added that New York is a ‘Zionist city,’ and bragged about violence against Israel at an event at The New School last month.

An adjunct NYU professor denied reports that the terrorist group Hamas beheaded babies and raped women in Israel on October 7, telling a group of students last month: “We know it’s not true.” 

“We live in a Zionist city,” Amin Husain added at the December 5 “teach-in” organized by Students for Justice in Palestine at The New School, according to a video obtained by The Free Press. “No, let’s be real about this, let’s be fucking real.” 

He went on to joke about his reputation for being antisemitic, citing a petition launched by an NYU alumnus on October 17, 2023, calling for his dismissal: “I have a petition going around, right, because I’m antisemitic. I won the honors of antisemitic multiple times.”

In the video, taken from the livestream of the event, Husain sits behind a table, wearing a keffiyeh and woolly hat while speaking to a classroom of students who remain quietly attentive as he comments on what he calls the “Palestinian liberation struggle.” A former finance lawyer, Husain jokes that his profile on the site Canary Mission, which documents people and groups that promote hatred of the USA, Israel, and Jews, “is one of the best biographies I have.”

Husain’s Canary Mission bio 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.”

It continues: “Husain has claimed to have participated in the first intifada and personally visited a leader of the terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). 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.”

“Everything they cite. . . is true,” Husain, 48, says at The New School event, prompting laughter from the crowd. He goes on to offer praise for “Islamic resistance movements,” including the Palestinian political group Fatah, which once counted him as a member.

“These groups are fighting for the liberation of their people and their land. That’s a right. You do it,” Husain says. 

“If you don’t like Hamas,” he continues in the video, “free the land and the people. But if you don’t like Hamas, also read their charter in 2017.” (In 2017, Hamas removed the language from its original 1988 charter, which explicitly urges Muslims to kill Jews; it now states that “Hamas affirms that its conflict is with the Zionist project not with the Jews because of their religion.”)

“Don’t take what the media says,” Husain says in the video, which was shown to The Free Press by S.A.F.E. Campus, an organization that fights antisemitism at American universities. “It’s really important. . . . Because these kind of questions try to put you on the defensive. They try to say. . . ‘Oh my God, you’re supporting rapists and people that behead babies,’ both of which, you know, whatever, we know it’s not true.”

Born in the West Bank, Husain has boasted in the past of taking part in the First Intifada, which led to the deaths of at least 1,000 Palestinians and more than 100 Israelis from 1987 to 1993. At a Times Square rally in 2016, he declared, “Living 18 years in Palestine, I was fighting in the first uprising, I was throwing rocks, Molotov cocktails, the like.”

Husain is listed as a part-time faculty member at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where he taught a course called Art, Activism, and Beyond from 2016 to 2022. His course explores art that is “informed by ongoing histories of racism, colonialism, and debt,” and includes lessons on activist movements such as Black Lives Matter and Decolonize This Place (DTP), the New York–based group he founded in 2016. According to his LinkedIn profile, Husain is also an adjunct professor at The New School of Public Engagement, where he taught a graduate course called Race, Class, and Ethnicity in Media. 

A spokesperson for The New School told The Free Press in an email that Husain has not been affiliated with the university since 2019, but acknowledged Husain had been invited to speak by the campus’s SJP multiple times. 

“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,” the spokesperson wrote. “Individuals from The New School who choose to organize or attend these events are in no way speaking for, or representing, the university.” 

In an email to The Free Press, NYU spokesperson John Beckman said the university does not “discuss the details of an employee’s work records. 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 interim measures such as suspension.” When pressed on whether or not Husain is still employed by NYU, Beckman wrote, “He’s not currently in the classroom.”

Requests for comment to Husain went unanswered.

During another SJP-sponsored “teach-in” at The New School on November 17, posted on Instagram, Husain talks about a trip he made to the Middle East months before Hamas invaded Israel on October 7, killing at least 1,200. Sitting in a classroom wearing a black KN95 face mask, he says he understands why the date is “important” to Palestinians.

New School Students for Justice in Palestine on Instagram: “PALESTINIAN LIBERATION ON ALL FRONTS: Part 2 of the livestream 🇵🇸 Thank you to the organizers, speakers, and everyone who showed up!”
January 24, 2024

“This land isn’t for the Jews, I’m sorry,” he says in the video, referring to Israel. “This land is for a lot of other things that has to do with profit, that has to do with imperialism, that has to do with interests, geopolitical interests, so that’s something also to keep in mind.” 

“There is no perfect fucking victim,” he adds. “You’re either on the side of the colonizer or the colonized.” 

“You don’t want it to happen, deal with the bullshit. But it’s important not to denounce groups. Because you fall into the trap of focusing on the colonized,” he says. 

Decolonize This Place, the group Husain founded, is famous for its disruptive tactics. In 2020, the group led an assault on the New York City subway system, encouraging followers on social media to “fuck shit up.” The protests resulted in over $100,000 in damages, including vandalized police stations and turnstiles jammed with honey and glue, according to the New York Post

In the New School video from November, Husain endorses violence as a legitimate form of protest and resistance. “The best thing we can do right now is think of ungovernability as a strategy,” he says. “When you take the streets, when you break windows, when you care for each other, when money doesn’t mean what they want it to mean, when you figure out how to set different values, when you know how to say to a Zionist ‘no,’ when you take a position even though you know it’ll make your life a little bit more difficult, trust me, it’s worth it. It’s worth it, and it scares the shit out of them.” 

Sofie Braun, a Jewish student at The New School, told The Free Press she is disappointed that her fellow students hosted Husain, given the college’s historical support of the Jewish people. Founded in 1919 as a progressive alternative to traditional higher education, The New School was a haven for Jews in the 1930s, offering them jobs and visas to help them escape Hitler’s Nazi Germany. 

When she was first accepted to the school, Braun said the person she most wanted to tell was her late grandfather, a Holocaust survivor. But, after another Jewish student showed her the video of Husain speaking on her campus, she said, “I felt like I was in a different world.” 

“I was so proud of its legacy helping Jews,” she said of The New School. “Now I am reconsidering that.” 

UPDATE: Late on Thursday, NYU spokesperson John Beckman told The Free Press that Husain has been suspended from the university.

Francesca Block is a reporter for The Free Press. Read her investigation “NYC Public School Wipes Israel from the Map,” and follow her on Twitter (now X) @FrancescaABlock.

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