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The Council on American-Islamic Relations is criticizing El Camino College for the way it responded to a speech at commencement this year.

“The administration’s attempt to conflate Jana Abulaban’s  legitimate criticism of Israeli human rights violations with antisemitism is both dishonest and misleading,” said a statement from Hussam Ayloush, executive director of CAIR–Los Angeles. “It is immoral for an institution of higher learning to misrepresent her position and join the bandwagon of unfair attacks against her. Abulaban’s comments in support of the Palestinian people’s right to freedom and her criticism of the Israeli government’s documented human rights abuses are not expressions of bigotry, but rather a courageous call for justice and equality.”

The college said the statement was inappropriate, but for different reasons.

“During our recent commencement ceremony, a student speaker who was not authorized to speak other than to introduce another speaker, took it upon herself to make an anti-Israel statement. To be clear, her statement was not approved by El Camino College officials and does not reflect the values and views of El Camino College. Anti-Israel sentiments can lead to a rise in antisemitism. Our commencement ceremonies seek to celebrate, uplift, and are never places where statements against any community will be tolerated,” said the statement by Brenda Thames, president of the college.