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Tufts Jewish Student Says He’s Harassed for Pro-Israel Activity

Jewish Journal

Aaron Bandler

February 24, 2021

A Jewish student at Tufts University is alleging anti-Semitic harassment over his involvement with pro-Israel groups.

Jewish Insider and Jewish News Syndicate (JNS) reported that the student, Max Price, currently serves on the Tufts Community Union Judiciary (TCUJ), which reviews referendums from the student government. During the fall of 2020, Price had concluded that a Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)-sponsored referendum condemning the university for participating in what’s been dubbed as the “Deadly Exchange Campaign” security program with Israel was riddled with factual inaccuracies. Price alleges that SJP then proceeded to question his bias on the matter given his involvement with pro-Israel groups.

“They wanted me to back down and to silence me, and when I didn’t, SJP expanded their campaign to slander me in the student newspaper, had me interrogated numerous times as to whether I was fit to hold office, attacked me with age-old anti-Semitic tropes about money and power, threatened me with impeachment,” Price told JNS.

In a February 3 statement to the university, Price, in conjunction with the Louis Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under law, wrote that SJP pressured TCUJ to recuse Price on multiple occasions. Each time, the TCUJ concluded that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to show that Price needed to recuse himself.

In a November 2020 meeting discussing the language of the referendum, Price claims that SJP brought a speaker who has promulgated anti-Semitic conspiracy theories to speak in favor of referendum uninterrupted, whereas he and his third-party speaker — pro-Israel activist Joshua Washington — were constantly interrupted; the TCUJ chair allegedly even muted Price on the Zoom call. The referendum language was subsequently approved, and the student body overwhelmingly voted in favor of it.

Price claimed in the statement that SJP is now attempting to remove him from office before they move forward with their Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) referendum in the spring. Price is being brought in front of the student senate on February 28 and faces possible expulsion from his position on the TCUJ. “I fully anticipate that if the university doesn’t stop this trial, that I’ll be unjustly removed from my position,” Price told Jewish Insider.

Brandeis Center President Alyza Lewin told JNS that what’s been happening to Price is “is the worst case of incessant, continuous, non-stop harassment of a Jewish student that I have seen on campus. Max happens to be a strong young man, and I commend him for his strength, but no student should have to go through this.”

She accused the university of abandoning Price. “They have abdicated their responsibility,” Lewin said. “It’s shameful. The university should reverse course, intervene immediately and start taking effective measures to address the anti-Semitism on campus.”

StandWithUs CEO and co-founder Roz Rothstein similarly said in a statement to the Journal, “We are outraged by SJP’s campaign of targeted harassment against a Jewish and Zionist student. No student should face such an inappropriate impeachment attempt solely based on identity. Let the record be explicitly clear: there is no conflict of interest for a Jewish member of student government to fight antisemitism and discrimination against their own. It is only fitting that this smear comes at the conclusion of SJP’s ‘Deadly Exchange’’campaign, which is itself an antisemitic conspiracy alleging nefarious Jewish influence.

“We call on the TCU Senate and Tufts administration to dismiss this reckless hearing, and commit to ensuring that Jewish and pro-Israel students can enjoy their campus experience free from antisemitic harassment and discrimination.”

AMCHA Initiative Director Tammi Rossman-Benjamin also said in a statement to the Journal, “Here we have yet another example of the growing number of Jewish and pro-Israel student government officials being maliciously bullied and silenced. An accusation of ‘bias’ now means being Jewish or having an affinity to Israel. As Price’s statement explained, the relentless harassment campaign by SJP at Tufts is an attempt to ensure that there are no Jewish or Zionist student representatives within the student government to challenge SJP’s anti-Semitic activities or rhetoric, and no one to represent the Jewish and Zionist student constituents on campus. When does the purge stop?”

A university spokesperson told Jewish Insider that the university takes “any allegation of discrimination” very seriously and that the student government, “like all student organizations, is subject to the university’s non-discrimination policies.”

Tufts SJP did not respond to the Journal’s request for comment.

Read the article here.


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