Two weeks ago in Boston, Northeastern University suspended a student group — Students for Justice in Palestine (NU SJP) – for an assortment of infractions against Jewish students and those who support Israel. The stunts that got them suspended were consistent with the strategy of anti-Israel forces at universities around the country: Campus enemies of Israel directly target the free speech of pro-Israel student groups by having their speakers disinvited, their members intimidated, and their events shouted down. So it is with a fair amount of gall that SJP has now launched a shrill campaign, aided by Massachusetts media, claiming that free speech is a value they cherish and that theirs has been abrogated by the University.
The reason this duplicitous campaign has gotten a warm response in some circles has to do with a double standard in academia and the media. When it comes to certain protected groups, free speech is trumped by “sensitivity.” Two-thirds of universities have speech codes meant to provide a safe environment for minority groups. The use of certain offensive words is forbidden and the use of certain offensive symbols can shut down a campus. However, these protections hypocritically do not extend to pro-Israel Jews.
Anti-Semitism is defined as treating Jews as you would treat no others. SJP attacks the only Jewish state. It does not deny post-WWII Germans or genocidal Sudanese or Rwandans their right to self-rule. Only the Jewish people may not have a state. SJP is an anti-Semitic organization and anti-Semitism is the only hatred still accepted on American campuses.
On February 16th, members of a Mississippi State University student group vandalized the statue of Ole Miss’s first black alumnus with a noose and a Confederate-type flag. Campus police posted a $25,000 reward for finding the suspects, the three students were caught and the FBI is planning to charge them with hate crimes. Their student group was suspended. The students’ actions were widely covered and roundly condemned in the national media.
Tori Porell’s “favorite thing ever.”
Among the infractions that got Northeastern SJP suspended was vandalizing the statue of a Jewish alumnus twice in two days by taping over the statue’s mouth with the message: “Zionism Racism” superimposed over a Jewish star. Upon seeing a photo of the vandalism posted to Facebook, the group’s president, Tori Porell, commented, “This is my favorite thing ever.” National and local media also covered the act of racist vandalism at Northeastern and SJP’s suspension, but in this case, media sympathy (led by the Boston Globe, of course) was not for the victimized minority group, but for the punished victimizer’s supposed loss of “free speech.”
In the current campus climate, ‘free speech” arguments are typically invoked on behalf of those who offend and intimidate Jews, Christians and conservatives. When NU SJP marched across campus a little over a year ago shouting …read more