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April 10, 2017 1:57 pm

Jewish Community ‘Hurt, Angry’ as Tufts Student Senate Passes BDS Motion in Landslide on Eve of Passover

avatar by Rachel Frommer

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Illustrative. A protest in support of the BDS movement. Photo: FOA / Facebook.

Members of Tufts University’s Jewish community told The Algemeiner on Monday they were “hurt and angry,” after the school’s student senate passed a boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) resolution in a landslide vote on Sunday night, just ahead of Passover.

Keren Hendel — affiliated with Tufts American Israel Alliance (TAIA) and Tufts Students for Two States, both part of the campus’s Zionist coalition, which also includes Tufts Friends of Israel (FOI) and J Street U — said it was surprisingly emotionally taxing to sit in the room for five hours as the Tufts Community Union (TCU) student senate discussed and ultimately passed the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)-drafted resolution by a vote of 17 to 6, with 8 abstentions.

“I’m more upset by the process than the outcome [of the vote],” Hendel noted. “I felt silenced, as there was no real debate taking place about the complicated issues, with our side denied the opportunity to fully respond to the talking points being made by SJP. It was frustrating.”

The resolution referred to the widely-denounced United Nations report published last month — which called Israel an “apartheid regime” — and stated, “Tufts should not financially support corporations that profit off the occupation of Palestine and the continued spread of settlements declared illegal under international law.” It specifically targeted four companies for divestment, including Israel’s Elbit Systems, Britain’s G4S and American’s Northrop Grumman and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

Chad Kramer — who sits on the leadership board of FOI and serves as a Jewish National Fund campus fellow — told The Algemeiner he “felt betrayed by many friends and acquaintances” last night and has had “a difficult time processing my senators’ insensitivity to us Jewish students,” who comprise some 25 percent of the undergraduate population.

“I have never been so ashamed to be part of this university,” Kramer said, pointing out that nearly 100 students “who could not make the hearing had emailed the senate with their thoughts, many pleading that the resolution be tabled due to its insensitive timing.”

Melissa Landa — who leads the Tufts chapter of Alums for Campus Fairness (ACF), a national network engaged in combating antisemitism and anti-Israel bias on campuses — said SJP acted “without integrity by launching an ambush resolution right before Passover.”

Landa also criticized the “stealth methods” behind the TCU senate’s choice to livestream the BDS discussion with only audio, and no video.

“Students need to learn that if they want to enter grown-up discussions, they need to behave like adults,” she said. “Activists don’t hide, they show their faces and put their names to their views.”

Hendel — one of the student leaders behind the failed attempt to get the resolution tabled for consideration at a later date — said it was “humbling to see how many students, Jewish and non-Jewish have come together over this [incident].”

“As bad as this vote was, I’ll be glad if it motivates us to build a more focused and organized pro-Israel movement,” she added. “Hopefully, this will unite us in building a stronger Jewish community going forward.”

Noah Cohen, a senior affiliated with TAIA, said part of the Tufts Israel coalition’s future strategy would be working on strengthening ties with student government, an area he encouraged the on-campus Zionist movement to focus on improving nationwide.

“We were at a disadvantage coming up against SJP, who had been working on getting close to the senate for years,” he explained.

A spokesperson for the Tufts chapter of  SJP — Jewish student Molly Tunis — told The Algemeiner that her group had been working on drafting the resolution for a “long time” and called the scheduling of the vote for right before Passover “unintentional and unfortunate, but necessary, as this was the last senate meeting of the year.”

Tunis added she believed sufficient time elapsed from when SJP introduced the resolution to the night of the vote to “educate the senate about the issues, because you don’t need to fully understand Israel-Palestine to vote on divestment.”

“The resolution wasn’t about Israel,” she continued. “It was about these four companies.”

The motion was titled, “A Resolution Calling for Tufts University to End Investments in The Israeli Occupation.”

The president of the TCU senate did not immediately respond to The Algemeiner‘s request for comment.

UPDATE: Tufts’ president released a statement Monday saying that the university has “made clear in the past our opposition to calls to boycott Israeli academic institutions,” referring to the school’s rejection of the American Studies Association’s 2013 passage of a BDS motion. The president added he was “concerned that the supporters of this resolution chose to place it on the Senate agenda immediately before Passover, a time when some students interested in this issue were away from campus.”

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  • kikikins

    I am so sick of the persecution of Jews. I love Israel and the Jewish people and the land of Israel belongs to the Jews. The God of Abraham , Isaac and Jacob has given them the land. Jacob’s name was even changed to Israel..

  • jonesy53

    Tufts is overrated.

  • Joseph Feld

    Is a student senate motion binding on the university management?

  • Elise Ronan

    They are “hurt?” What are they 3 years old and someone pushed them in the sandbox on the playground? Is it not a wonder that Jew-haters can produce these hateful resolutions and antisemitic clouds pervade campuses around the country when all the Jewish community can produce is to talk in platitudes of psychobabble nonsense. They sound like a bunch of spineless namby-pamby-overindulged-yutzes.

    Use your brains.

    If there is something underhanded use the rules against them and sue. If these resolutions are antisemitic bring suit under TitleXI and the Civil Rights Laws. There is something to the saying, “don’t get mad, get even.”

    Do something productive that will bankrupt the bastards. Then they will stop after they run out of money, or once we have proof of where their money really comes from the Jewish community can go after the real power behind this Jew-hatred. But then again that would take the national Jewish organizations actually having a backbone and doing something constructive. So nothing but kvetching will get done.

  • Robert Gromelski

    SJP spokesperson disingenuous at best when quoted as saying the resolution “…wasn’t about Israel”.
    Maybe she should read the title of the resolution. Another example of twisted campus politics where the inmates are running the asylum!

  • Nanush

    So much of the response is framed in the language of “being hurt”. Get over it.
    Show your teeth, instead of seeking comforting.

  • c0mm0ncenz

    Every day, another US university proves they are not educating their students to research the facts before taking up a cause. These BDS supporters are foolish, not able to discern propaganda and lies from truth. One of the very basic tools every university student should possess is the ability to check out their sources of information to determine credibility. No wonder the US is failing.

  • This is how it began in the 1930s in Germany. Single out the Jews for boycotts while the Arab nations are all Sharia enforcing dictatorships or theocracies. While gays are thrown of rooftops in Iraq and Christian churches are blown up on Palm Sunday in Egypt, these vermin go after the world’s only tiny Jewish state. 2000 years of singling out Jews and the Jew haters never get enough of our blood.

  • Cindyn1210

    Molly Tunis should be ashamed of herself and exemplifies everything wrong with Jewish youth in the US today. Let her tell us when she has ever heard the SJP decry the slaughter of innocents by Palestinians. When have they spoken up against the expulsion of over 800,000 Jews from Arab lands in 1948 and when will she denounce the apartheid in Palestinian territories—- She is a very stupid, yet very dangerous little fool.

  • Aleric

    Stupid Liberal thinking the Militant Muslims will love them if they help them destroy Israel, Jihadist will never be satisfied until ALL INFIDELS are dead.

  • Arafat

    Please go to the “Tuft’s Daily” website and write a comment condemning this act of shame.

  • Edward Brandwein

    Another school that Jewish students should scratch off the desirable list.

  • stannadel

    “called the scheduling of the vote for right before Passover “unintentional…” Unintentional my a…!

  • jane Blane

    This is sickening. Tufts University and too many other colleges welcomed anti Semitism onto their campuses when they allowed the terrorist organization know as SJP to grow and somehow become an acceptable part of their universities. This is happening on many campuses throughout America. The SJP are bullies who revise and distort history and they are very effective at intimidation and brain washing. I can not imagine ANY other group that promotes hatred against ANY other group of people the way The SJP targets Jews being acceptable. I truly hope that the many Jews who have supported and endowed that university pull their funding immediately.

  • Barbara

    It’s time for Jewish alumni to withdraw support for BDS friendly schools.

    The article tells us that “A spokesperson for the Tufts chapter of SJP — Jewish student Molly Tunis —…” Unfortunately, having a Jewish name isn’t enough to make one a Jew. It takes a Jewish heart, and loyalty to one’s people.

  • The timing is typical. The Palestinian Arabs love to launch terror attacks during Jewish holidays and their anti-Semitic allies like SJP disproportionately schedule offensive and hateful anti-Israel offensives and programs on Shabbat and other Jewish holidays.

  • Peter Joffe

    The only thing that is worse than the fools that try to lead is the fools that willingly follow them.

  • Michael Garfinkel

    I have two comments, which hardly need to be stated, as they are so obvious.

    1. “Jewish student” Molly Tunis is the Tufts spokesperson for SJP.
    No surprise there – these virtue-signaling offspring of Jewish homes appear in the forefront of numerous anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic efforts.

    2. The timing of the vote was not at all ““unintentional and unfortunate” – in fact, the opposite is the case; the timing provided the guttersnipes who arranged this display on the eve of the Passover holiday a bonus opportunity – to insult the Jews twice with one motion.

  • Sonia

    Tehilim 2. Why do the nations rage against the L”rd and His annointed…” They are in rebellion against the one true G”d.. That is the root of the hatred the world has against Jews and Israel.

    I lived under Apartheid and left it for Israel as soon as I left school. I KNOW that Israel is not an Apartheid state.

  • Michael

    American Jews are passive. The organizers of the BDS are not passive. They are passionate and loud. They are also bullies. They have sold a false narrative to a community that will always side with the perceived underdog. The Jewish students at Tufts have done a poor job in communicating the truth on the ground….and now, they are angry and hurt.
    Memories of 1930’s Germany.
    So, what are you going to do about it???

  • NYDoc

    Tufts, along with many other US and UK colleges and universities, is running on antisemitism and Jewish self-hatred.
    This hatred is their only issue.
    Very fascist Islamic groups run these antisemitic protests, along with Jewish kapos. They prefer Hamas, which kills gays and subjugates women, executes men and women without trials, and uses foreign aid money to fund terror.
    Very hateful, uneducated protesters.

  • SteveC1

    I would not expect this “vote” by the school’s student union reps to actually make any difference whatsoever regarding the school’s (or its foundations’) financial investment decisions. What completely astounds me is that according to this article the spokesperson for the Tufts SJP group is a JEWISH student… I suppose it depends upon one’s definition of “Jewish”??? In any event, I would suggest that if so many of the OTHER Jewish students and their organizations really DO feel hurt and perhaps betrayed, that they make it VERY well known to all there that they now consider those who voted in favor to be their own personal “personae non grata.” Have the guts to MAKE IT PERSONAL.

  • Leslie Benjamini

    SJP is a hateful organization built on lies that can only succeed when proceeding using underhanded methodology such as waiting for day before Passover to pass this hateful legislation. Many colleges, universities & states across the United States have struck these kinds of hateful things down & called them unlawful. In the end they will not win. They are on the wrong side of morality.

  • Kwitcherbellyakin

    I am waiting for Tufts to make their announcement. If they back their vote, the school will lose a lot of support, and knows we can make thier name well known for this. Let’s see what the Academics deem acceptable in this world and why.

  • garry pollack

    How long R U going to do this? ie “pending”

  • garry pollack

    Pure Jew Hatred!

  • Pat

    And all this in Trump’s America.

  • jimmyk520000

    It is well known the elites colleges and universities elite student body hate Israel.

  • alex grossberg


  • eric.shwartz

    NO NEED TO “educate the senate about the issues, because you don’t need to fully understand Israel-Palestine to vote on divestment.”

    You have to love this reasoning from Ms. Tunis the Jewish SJP representative. Her reasoning is impeccable. How did she get into Tufts?

  • Reb_Yaakov

    If you identify someone as Jewish, then you should indicate what that means: what the person’s belief system is like, whether the person observes the Jewish way of life, etc.

    Jews, even those not so observant, should try to avoid attending events or activities scheduled on major holidays so as not to positively reinforce the practice among insensitive non-Jews of scheduling them thusly.

  • ricardo

    There are two reasons to support BDS, and Tufts students should ponder about that ..

    One is that the person is a complete idiot and had no understanding about the realities on the ground – BDS actually hurts the majority of Palestinians that want to work, and build something good and productive. It benefits the fewer Palestinians who just want to destroy Israel, and then oppress the others Palestinians.

    The second reason is the person is afraid of Muslim attacks here in US, and thinks that by showing support for the Palestinians as a form of appeasement, they somehow will be safe. Anyone that has been bullied, and can think for a minute about history knows that appeasement NEVER works.