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April 26, 2020 8:42 pm

Jewish Organizations Praise Tufts University’s President for Condemning Award for Students for Justice in Palestine

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Eaton Hall at Tufts University. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Tufts University Hillel and major Jewish groups praised the university’s president and other top administration officials for condemning the decision to give an award to the campus branch of Students for Justice in Palestine due to its participation in a campaign many view as antisemitic.

The Tufts SJP won the Collaboration Award for its work on what it calls the “Deadly Exchange” campaign, which claims that Israel’s training of US police forces in anti-terror operations harms people of color. Critics have called the “Deadly Exchange” campaign openly antisemitic and a blood libel.

Last Thursday, Tuft’s President Anthony Monaco, Provost Nadine Aubry, and Deans James Glaser, Jianmin Qu, and Nancy Thompson issued a statement condemning the award.

“We strongly disapprove of this award in light of SJP’s concerning policy positions, including its association with the BDS movement, elements of which we view as antisemitic,” they said.

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“We will be reviewing the awards process, which currently does not involve academic deans or senior university leadership and this year did not include students, in order to ensure proper oversight and review going forward,” they pledged.

“We as senior leaders take responsibility for this outcome, which should not have happened, and recognize that the award has caused a great deal of pain and concern for Jewish members of our community and others who share concerns about SJP’s policy positions, particularly in light of rising antisemitism in the US and around the world,” the statement concluded.

Tufts Hillel said in a statement to The Algemeiner that it “was naturally very upset to learn that the Students for Justice in Palestine at Tufts received an award for their collaborative efforts in their ‘Deadly Exchange’ campaign.”

“As soon as this was brought to our attention, we worked closely with the university leadership, sharing our deep concerns about its implication for the integrity of the awards system and its negative message to the Jewish community,” the group said.

“In response to these constructive conversations Tufts released a strong statement that speaks for itself,” they added. “We appreciate President Monaco’s swift response and decisive leadership on this critical issue.”

Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, stated, “We appreciate the leadership from @MonacoAnthony & @Tufts here. It’s ironic for SJP to win an award for collaboration when they routinely alienate Jewish students and others who don’t submit to their rigid worldview and regularly foster #antisemitism.”

B’nai B’rith International also praised Monaco, tweeting, “Appalled @TuftsUniversity chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) won student Collaboration Award for what are false narrative accusations against Israel. SJP maligns Jewish students. We commend school leaders who disapprove of award to SJP.”

The American Jewish Committee tweeted, “Kudos to @TuftsUniversity President Monaco for making clear that @SJPtufts should not have received the school’s ‘Collaboration Award.’ The group promotes the antisemitic BDS movement and alienates Jewish students. They don’t care about collaboration.”

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