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Northeastern University Israel advocates applaud suspension of SJP chapter

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Israel advocates at Northeastern University are showing full-throated support for the school’s suspension of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) over mock eviction notices.  A letter published by Huskies for Israel, a campus pro-Israel group, applauded “the university for taking a stand in holding students accountable for their actions, and creating an environment that sustains open dialogue.”

As Max Blumenthal reported here last week, Northeastern’s administration made the move to suspend SJP for a year because the group’s members distributed clearly marked fake notices meant to simulate what Palestinians face when Israel prepares to demolish homes. Northeastern says the students violated university policies by leafleting without permission. Members of SJP say that many students flyer without permission–but don’t receive the same penalty.

The suspension of SJP marks the high point in a long-running campaign by Israel lobby groups in Boston targeting SJP and Northeastern professors who speak up for Palestinian rights.  One major donor to Northeastern is Robert Shillman, who is also a big backer of the Zionist Organization of America–a group that has called for punishing Palestine solidarity activists and  claimed that Jewish students at Northeastern feel threatened.  As Blumenthal reports, anti-Muslim activist Charles Jacobs, along with the pro-Israel Scholars For Peace in the Middle East (SPME), have spearheaded the anti-SJP campaign. In a statement released yesterday, Jacobs and SPME President Richard Cravatts lauded the administration’s decision.

“In a series of three videos, the [Jacobs-founded group Americans For Peace and Tolerance] documented its investigation into Islamic extremism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Zionism at Northeastern University,” the statement reads. “For the first time since these videos were released, NEU has taken some serious steps to deal with this insidious behavior.”

Now, those groups’ student allies are likewise supporting the administration’s moves.

Three current and former leaders of Huskies For Israel posted a letter addressed to the “Northeastern Community” on their Facebook page last week.  “SJP’s recent methods of engagement…are based on intimidation tactics, publicity stunts and walk-outs which do not leave space for open discussion or reasoned debate,” wrote Max Klapholz, Samara Per and Noah Goldstein.  Klapholz and Per are identified as the current co-presidents of the group, while Goldstein is a past president of the group.  Facebook messages requesting comment sent to the Huskies For Israel page and Klapholz were not returned.

Klapholz is a 2013 Hasbara Fellow, a project of Aish HaTorah, a group that spreads revanchist Israeli propaganda and supports radical Israeli settlements. Co-founded with the Israeli government in 2001, Hasbara Fellowships take Jewish American students to Israel and fund and train pro-Israel activists on campus.  As Tom Pessah, an Israeli activist for Palestinian rights, wrote here, the “organization tells its members that the occupation is nothing more than a ‘myth,’ and disseminates hardcore Islamophobic materials, like the films Obsession and Third Jihad (which were produced in millions of copies by an offshoot of Aish International).

Goldstein has received training from another group, The David Project, which was started by Charles Jacobs and is one of the main Israel lobby groups that focuses on campus activism.  As Ali Abunimah documents in his new book The Battle For Justice in Palestine, The David Project’s strategy has called for combatting “anti-Israelism”–a “specific form of bigotry”–by building coalitions with leading student groups on campus and targeting professors by claiming their pro-Palestinians views constitute “academic malpractice.”

Northeastern’s Hillel has also shown support for the suspension of Students for Justice in Palestine.

Meanwhile, a coalition of activists are mobilizing in support of the chapter. Two members of Northeastern University’s Students for Justice in Palestine–both women of color– are facing disciplinary charges today because of the distribution of mock eviction notices.  Hundreds of people are set to rally at Northeastern this morning to voice support for free speech on campus.

Alex Kane
About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist who focuses on Israel/Palestine and civil liberties. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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12 Responses

  1. Woody Tanaka
    Woody Tanaka
    March 18, 2014, 12:36 pm

    “Northeastern University Israel advocates applaud suspension of SJP chapter”

    And once again proving that zionists hate free speech.

    • March 18, 2014, 2:35 pm

      “SJP’s recent methods of engagement…are based on intimidation tactics, publicity stunts and walk-outs which do not leave space for open discussion or reasoned debate”

      Zionists suffer from the most obvious case of the phenomena of projection that I have ever seen. They are always accusing the other side of exactly what they do. Imagine, accusing Iran of a nuclear weapons program when Israel has one itself built on raw material and technology stolen from their protector, the USA

      • March 18, 2014, 4:22 pm

        recently the american psychiatric association has monumentally revised a long standing holding about psychosis. previously it had been considered only on an individual basis but know groups can be diagnosed as psychotis
        israel is cetainly a psychotic state!

    • seafoid
      seafoid
      March 18, 2014, 5:27 pm

      “And see the land: what it is and the people that dwelleth therein”

      Numbers 13:18

      And see what a clusterfu#k it is now

  2. ritzl
    ritzl
    March 18, 2014, 12:56 pm

    Tyranny of a minority?

    I don’t like where this is heading.

    Israel is bad for everyone involved.

    Keep speaking up MW.

    Please.

  3. kma
    kma
    March 18, 2014, 1:15 pm

    “In a series of three videos, the [Jacobs-founded group Americans For Peace and Tolerance] documented its investigation into Islamic extremism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Zionism at Northeastern University…”

    first, if they dropped the term “anti-zionism”, wouldn’t this sound rather nutty being directed at SJP? is “anti-zionism” not allowed at Northeastern? will they state that? it is obvious that zionism is the question!

    second, all the coverage of this claims that the TACTICS of the SJP group are what is being punished, while ONLY the pro-zionist organizations that disagree with the CONTENT of the SJP message are going nuts with support for punishing SJP.
    the students at Northeastern must have a pretty clear idea of what’s going on, and let’s hope some of them learned something from the flyers too!

  4. Jan
    Jan
    March 18, 2014, 1:27 pm

    I guess that the Huskies for Israel really don’t like to hear the truth about Israel. I made two comments on their Facebook page. One comment noted that since 1967 Israel has demolished over 27,000 Palestinian structures, many of them multi-family homes, which rendered thousands of people homeless. I said that the Huskies for Israel should be proud of the way that these homes are demolished often with Caterpillar bulldozers and if they are truly proud of Israel they should make this fact known.
    The second comment was from today’s 972mag website citing the fact that thousands of Palestinian olive trees were stolen by settlers while the IDF stood by. I wrote that the Huskies for Israel should be proud of this feat as well.
    I guess they are too ashamed of letting their supporters know what Israel is doing. They removed both comments.

    • March 18, 2014, 4:25 pm

      but nice try! i’m proud of you. if only everybody could do similar things.

  5. Balfour
    Balfour
    March 18, 2014, 3:22 pm

    “SJP’s recent methods of engagement…are based on intimidation tactics, publicity stunts and walk-outs which do not leave space for open discussion or reasoned debate,” wrote Max Klapholz, Samara Per and Noah Goldstein.

    Nothing more than 5th Column flacks and hacks in training.

  6. The JillyBeans
    The JillyBeans
    March 18, 2014, 3:35 pm

    “…….creating an environment that sustains open dialogue.”

    Please someone clue me in on when “open dialogue” was redefined.

  7. dbroncos
    dbroncos
    March 18, 2014, 8:20 pm

    I hope there’s a big turn out on the NEU campus to support SJP members and that SJP ignores the ban on their activities so that this ends up in court. Just the threat of losing a First Amendment lawsuit may be enough for NEU administrators to back down.

  8. SQ Debris
    SQ Debris
    March 19, 2014, 2:48 pm

    This sure looks like a Title IX suite in waiting. With any luck NEU will lose more money than all their zionist contributors can throw at them. NEU SJP SUE!

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