Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • Wednesday, March 12, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
From Max Blumenthal, writing in one of the few media outlets that still bother to publish him, Mondoweiss:

On March 7, members of Northeastern University’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) were informed by the school’s Center for Student Involvement that their chapter had been suspended for at least a year.

In a letter sent to the SJP chapter and provided to me by Max Geller, a second year Northeastern University School of Law student who actively campaigns with SJP, the school’s Director of the Center for Student Involvement, Jason Campbell-Foster, offered a litany of charges against the students. At the top of the list was the SJP’s February 24 distribution of notices across Northeastern campuses that mocked the sort of eviction notices slapped on Palestinian homes slated for Israeli demolition – an awareness-raising tactic increasing in popularity among SJP chapters nationwide.

“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. Further, SJP members must undergo a strict regimen of trainings led by university administrators as a condition for reinstatement.

On the morning of February 25, two days after Northeastern SJP members distributed mock eviction notices throughout campus dormitories, all Northeastern students received an email from Robert Jose, Northeastern’s Associate Dean for Cultural and Residential Life. “We do not condone any behavior that causes members of our community to feel targeted and/or intimidated,” Jose wrote.

Jose urged students to express “how this has impacted [them]” by contacting school administrators and the Hillel House of Northeastern, an explicitly pro-Israel Jewish communal organization committed to countering SJP-related activism.

A letter that appeared almost simultaneously on Northeastern’s Hillel’s website announced, “Rather than seeking to prompt dialogue, the fake eviction notices alarmed and intimidated students in their homes, in clear violation of Northeastern policy. We are in communication with Student Affairs regarding this incident, who have been quick to respond to student concerns. The administration is working with the Northeastern University Police Department to conduct a thorough investigation.”

At 10 AM that same day, members of Northeastern SJP received phone calls and visits from campus police officers. “All of the sudden the school was accusing us of an act of criminality for simply [an] act of leafleting,” remarked Geller. “A special investigation was launched for what the university claimed was a petty handbook violation and NYPD-style tactics were used against students. It was so disproportionate to what happened and a complete misappropriation of university funds.
Yeah, that's what is upsetting them. University funds.

The SJP Northeastern website's description of what happened is hysterical in its attempt to be treated as the victims in this incident, as they wildly spray accusations of racism and discrimination at their university:
With profound disappointment and righteous indignation Northeastern University Students for Justice in Palestine announces it has been suspended as an organization. SJP is disappointed because Northeastern’s claims of creating a diverse learning environment that encourages the free exchange of ideas and promotes Academic Freedom are impossible to reconcile with the university’s decision to suppress our speech and suspend our political group. As if banning our activities from campus and denying us all use of campus resources wasn’t outrageous enough, the university is pursuing expulsion-level sanctions for two students—all for participation in a mock eviction action. SJP is furious to report the only individuals to face our school’s opaque disciplinary process are two young women of color; none of the white or male participants have faced any charges. This unprecedented ban and appalling prosecutions are the latest attempt by the university to suppress pro-Palestine speech, and continues the university’s disturbing history of enacting injustice.

...The university claims to value academic freedom while suspending SJP, but its hypocrisy is nothing new. Consider how its actions have impacted others. Was the university fair to Roxbury residents, whose families –particularly families of color—have been displaced by student gentrification? When students from around the world are invited to gather on-campus, can they truly feel “welcomed” in the Raytheon amphitheater, named for a U.S. corporate war profiteer? Can the university claim to value all students’ health, when the student health plan explicitly discriminates against trans students? Is the university committed to just working conditions and wages, while it seeks to thwart the 800 adjunct professors who aspire to unionize? The university often promises fairness and impartiality, but its actions reflect truly disturbing values. Northeastern University consistently supports the interests of the dominant and powerful, at the expense of the marginalized—and rather than extend academic freedom to students who criticize these interests, SJP has been criminalized and censored.
Notice how they do everything possible to ignore or minimize the actual disgusting act that they did - putting out threatening leaflets, a gimmick that has already been widely denounced in other universities. Instead they try mightily to pretend that the university is a racist institution for protecting its students.

This has not been a good year for anti-Israel forces on campus. All indications are that this year's "apartheid week" events have been poorly attended and barely reported.

 The haters are now on the defensive, and revealing themselves as whiny crybabies rather than serious critics of Israel. Thanks to reactions like the SJP's above, this trend will only accelerate.

It is obvious that the Palestinian Arab habits of playing the victim, blaming everything on others and refusing to take responsibility for their own actions is attractive to a tiny minority of people who would join their bandwagon rather than actually working to bring a solution.  Only the most unstable student would ever consider joining a group that releases such a statement as the screed SJP-NE released.

(h/t Jaime)



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