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Suffolk Law School Commencement Speaker Abraham Foxman Draws Controversy

Boston, MA - 10/07/10- National Director of the ADL Abraham H. Foxman (cq) delivers the keynote address during the ADL national meeting at the Sheraton Hotel. (Globe staff photo/ Bill Greene) section:metro, reporter:abel Library Tag 10082010
National Director of the ADL Abraham H. Foxman delivered the keynote address during the ADL national meeting at the Sheraton Hotel.The Boston Globe

Abraham Foxman, long-time Director of the Anti-Defamation League, spoke at Suffolk University Law School’s commencement ceremony on Saturday.

Foxman’s opposition to US congressional recognition of the 1915 massacre of Armenians as genocide sparked reports of a planned protest, the Armenian Weekly reported.

But Foxman did refer to the mass slaying in Armenia as genocide during the graduation ceremony, according to a press release from the Suffolk University Office of Public Affairs.

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"Had there been people of courage in 1915 when the Armenian genocide was happening," when the bricks of Krystallnacht presaged the Holocaust and during genocides in Cambodia and Rwanda, millions of lives might have been spared, said Foxman.

Because of his previous stance, some students at Suffolk University created an online petition in April urging the university to reconsider Foxman, The Boston Globe reported.

Foxman has also been criticized for opposing the building of an Islamic community center and mosque near the World Trade Center site.

“Suffolk claims to embody diversity and be a place for all people, but this clearly is a speaker who does not embody those values,” Amy Willis, president of the Suffolk Law’s chapter of the National Lawyers Guild told The Boston Globe in April.

Despite the uproar, the university showed no intention of reversing its decision.

Foxman also received an honorary law degree at the ceremony, which took place at Citi Wang Performing Arts Center in Boston.

Correction: An earlier version of this article referenced a crowd of protesters outside of the commencement ceremony. It is unclear if a protest took place or not.

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