by Rabbi Seth Winberg (YCT ’11) for the Forward
Brandeis University recently decided to withdraw recognition of the campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. Removing a student group from campus should only be done as a last resort, and it’s not something to be celebrated. There must be space on campus for nuanced discussion about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and groups supporting terrorism should have no place in that conversation.
SJP is perhaps the most vocal and organized pro-Palestinian group on U.S. campuses. It also has a long history of blurring the line between non-violent and violent activism. In explaining its decision, the university pointed to SJP’s support for Hamas following the Oct. 7 terror attack and barbaric massacre of innocent women, men and children from several countries, including Holocaust survivors. Hamas is still holding at least 250 civilians, including children, hostage. Dozens of Arab citizens of Israel were also killed, hurt or captured.
Brandeis University’s decision to withdraw recognition from SJP on Nov. 6 shows unequivocally that supporting terrorism and creating a hostile campus environment has consequences. It also emphasizes that there’s a big difference between groups that meaningfully advocate for Palestinians without calling for violence against Jews and wiping Israel off the map, and groups that do.
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