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Northeastern U Suspends Aggressive Anti-Israel Group

Northeastern University's Students for Justice in Palestine group has been suspended for the rest of 2014

Northeastern University's Students for Justice in Palestine group has been suspended for the rest of 2014

Northeastern University has been criticized for several years for harboring deeply anti-Semitic professors and enabling anti-Israel student groups on campus.

Last week the school administration finally had enough and suspended the school’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. This group, one of the most aggressive in its hostility towards and intimidation of pro-Israel students and events on campuses, has met with some setbacks over the past year.

The final straw at Northeastern – after a long list of previous out of bounds acts – was the distribution to students of mock eviction notices, pretending to mimic what Arabs receive from Israelis. The same tactic has been tried and received reprimand on many campuses, including at Pitzer College in California, Yale University, Ohio State University and Florida Atlantic University.

The eviction notices distributed at North­east­ern on February 24 stated that the recipients’ dorm rooms would be demol­ished in three days and that “evic­tion notices are rou­tinely given to Pales­tin­ian fam­i­lies liv­ing under oppres­sive Israeli occu­pa­tion for no rea­son other than their eth­nic background…to cleanse the region of its Arab pop­u­la­tion, and cre­ate space for set­tle­ments.”

In reality, both Arabs and Israelis receive Israeli eviction notices if their homes were built without the requisite permits or if an imminent security threat exists, such as when terrorism smuggling tunnels are positioned below the homes. Security, not ethnicity, is the driving force behind Israeli eviction notices.

Northeastern’s SJP organization received a letter from the school’s Director of the Center for Student Involvement, Jason Campbell-Foster.  The letter referred to prior inappropriate acts by the groups, including vandalization of university property and a repeated “disregard for university policies over an extended period of time.”

“You have not shown a concerted effort to improve your practices and educate your members on how to properly operate your organization within the boundaries of university policy,” Northeastern’s Campbell-Foster wrote.

According to Campbell-Foster’s letter, all current members of Northeastern SJP’s current executive board are permanently banned from serving on any future board in the organization and the organization itself is disbanded until December, 2014. Further, SJP members must undergo a strict regimen of trainings led by university administrators as a condition for reinstatement.

Dima Khalidi, director of Palestine Solidarity Legal Support and legal advisor to to SJP since last spring, when the administration put SJP on probation, said that two female members are being investigated by the Northeastern University Public Safety Division (NUPD) in addition to the suspension. They were summoned to the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (OSCCR), according to a school newspaper.

The president of the SJP is a third year law student at Northeastern, Max Geller. He claimed that the SJP eviction notices were singled out because of their content, and not because the SJP failed to observe some minor rules regarding appropriate leafletting procedures. In this way he is attempting to make out a claim for a violation of the SJP’s Free Speech rights, where the content of a protest may not be restricted, but only the time, the place or the manner of protest.

“The issue here is not one of free speech or the exchange of disparate ideas,” the university asserted. “Instead, it is about holding every member of our community to the same standards, and addressing SJP’s non-compliance with longstanding policies to which all student organizations at Northeastern are required to adhere.”

Geller claimed that he and the members of SJP are hurt by the response from Northeastern.

“Being a part of the Northeastern community is really important to us and being told as an organization that we’re no longer welcome hurts our feelings and is disappointing,” Geller told a student newspaper. “It doesn’t have to be this way.”

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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14 Responses to “Northeastern U Suspends Aggressive Anti-Israel Group”

  1. This happened last year at U of Michigan Ann Arbor as well. Just disgraceful.

  2. Cindy Bazis Dunn says:

    Awwwww their feelings are hurt and they are disappointed….if it was up to me they all would have been expelled from the college as well. Go find another place to spew your hate and myths…the least they could do was get the facts first.

  3. Lani Lowell says:

    I called the presidents office to thank them for taking action. A few days later I read the ZOA letter sent last year to the University about prof Sullivan an and his anti semitic teaching that has bee harassing pro Israel students for years. I encourage everyone to call

  4. Lani Lowell says:

    Right on. For the rest of 2014!!!!!!

  5. It’s not aggressive. It’s the same as white racist immitating a “Lynching of Black People” its just pure hatred! The Haters are just that, Hateful!

  6. Andy Smith says:

    good kick out all the anti semites

  7. it’s about time, Northeastern needs to re-think its student’s organizations and what they stand for!

  8. Stu Katz says:

    Well a university with a pair of Batzem

  9. Arthur Werner says:

    Max Geller? Sounds like he would have made a great Kapo in the 1940s. Very sad.

  10. Alan Kardon says:

    Better late than never. Unfortunately if it took them this long to get it, what are they teaching the students?

  11. finally. this took way too long!

  12. Paul Rich Thank you Paul.

  13. Maynard Miller says:

    Oh Mr Geller, I feel so very sorry for you and your Nazi group. I'll cry myself to sleep tonight.

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