New York University (NYU) student groups chose to punish Jews in a move to isolate Israel. This is not particularly new as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has implemented a strict policy not to engage with “Zionist organizations” on campus. Last semester, NYU Students for Justice in Palestine launched a campaign to isolate Jewish students by partnering with over 50 student groups in a boycott of pro-Israel groups. NYU Students for Justice in Palestine decided to shun NYU students simply because they support Israel. Their obvious objective was to silence Jewish students and isolate them from their peers. Groups such as SJP have been able to mask their anti-Semitism recently by targeting and boycotting Israeli groups.
According to the New York Jewish Week, SJP’s actions violated NYU rules. “The Rules for the Maintenance of Public Order prohibit interfering with or disrupting the university’s regular operations and activities. They also prohibit denying or interfering with the rights of others, including the right of academic freedom. NYU’s Policy on Student Conduct prohibits behavior that disrupts the university’s educational activities and the ‘suppression of ideas.’ NYU’s Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy prohibits ‘conduct that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive academic or residential environment or otherwise adversely affects academic opportunities or participating in an NYU activity or benefit.’ Prohibited harassment may include ‘hostile behavior’ such as insulting or degrading another person or group.” Despite SJP’s anti-Semitic behavior, NYU’s response was weak. NYU President Andrew Hamilton denounced the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. But he did not condemn the BDS perpetrators on his own campus or their boycott campaign targeting Jewish students.
As a result of Hamilton’s weak response and the administration’s failure to defend its Jewish students, NYU Students for Justice in Palestine continue to target Jewish students. This time in the form of an academic boycott of New York University’s (NYU) study abroad program in Tel Aviv. SJP gained support from more than 30 student groups for their boycott. Similar to the previous case, the move by SJP was meant to marginalize and isolate Jewish students.
In a time while Jews are grieving from a horrendous attack on their community, at NYU the Jewish students are still facing aggression from their peers. NYU Students for Justice in Palestine has decided to take their efforts one step further by launching a BDS campaign in NYU student government. The vote comes at the worst possible time for the NYU Jewish community. Jewish students across the nation are holding vigils and solidarity events, but *-Jewish students at NYU are facing yet another attack on their identity. Why won’t the administration defend its students? Who will support NYU’s Jews this time? What will it take to stop NYU Students for Justice in Palestine from attacking and discriminating against Jews?