Brandeis University bans Students for Justice in Palestine for its support of Hamas
Brandeis University said Monday it will no longer recognize Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) on its campus.
The Brandeis SJP announced through its Instagram account that its “Vigil for Palestine” event planned for Monday was canceled after the group was “unjustly de-charted.”
“With heavy hearts, we would like to announce that our chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine has been unjustly de-charted. This comes as a part of Brandeis University, an institution that values social justice, trying to silence us from speaking our truth. We thank everyone who stood by us during this beautiful journey, and we encourage you to reach out to us if you need any kind of support. From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free. Until liberation, Students for Justice in Palestine,” the post read.
According to the Jewish Insider, Brandeis SJP was sent a letter that said, in a “decision [that] was not made lightly,” the group would be derecognized and no longer receive funding or be permitted to conduct campus events or use the Brandeis name.
“The National SJP has called on its chapters to engage in conduct that supports Hamas in its call for the violent elimination of Israel and the Jewish people. These tactics are not protected by the University’s Principles. As a result, the University made the decision that the Brandeis chapter of the National SJP must be unrecognized and will no longer be eligible to receive funding, be permitted to conduct activities on campus, or use the Brandeis name and logo in promoting itself or its activities, including through social media channels,” the letter reportedly read.
“Students who choose to engage in conduct in support of Hamas, or engage in conduct that harasses or threatens violence, whether individually or through organized activity, will be considered to be in violation of the University’s student code of conduct,” the letter continued, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
In a statement to Fox News Digital, Brandeis spokeswoman Julie Jette confirmed, “National SJP has called on its chapters to engage in conduct that supports Hamas in its call for the elimination of the only Jewish state in the world and its people. Such expression is not protected by Brandeis’ principles of free speech. Students are welcome to express their support for Palestinians in a manner that complies with our rights and responsibilities. The removal of recognition had nothing to do with a vigil.”
Jette further pointed to Brandeis University President Ronald Liebowitz’s Monday op-ed in the Boston Globe, entitled “How universities should confront antisemitism on campus,” to explain “his position on speech used to threaten or harass.”
In his piece, Liebowitz remarked that student organizations “should lose all privileges” if they took part in protests calling for violence or the “annihilation” of the Jewish State and detailed how his university would handle it.
“Most urgently, in this twilight zone moment when students and faculty seem to be enjoying their freedom to express grotesque language about Jews, Jewish life, and the Jewish state, Brandeis will uphold free speech rightly understood. Universities cannot stop hate speech, but they can stop paying for it. Brandeis will ensure that groups that receive privileges through their affiliations with the university, including using its name, will lose their affiliations and privileges when they spew hate,” Liebowitz wrote.
He added, “Contrary to the prevalence of the BDS movement on college campuses, Brandeis will pursue closer ties with Israeli academic and cultural institutions and will encourage more universities to follow suit.”
According to its website, Brandeis University was founded in 1948 by the American Jewish community as a nonsectarian research institution and was named after the first Jewish Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Louis Brandeis.
Brandeis Hillel executive director Rabbi Seth Winberg had previously addressed the Jewish student group about Monday’s “Vigil for Palestine,” offering support and discouraging engagement with SJP.
In a statement to Fox News Digital, Winberg praised the school’s decision, saying, “Brandeis University’s decision today shows unequivocally that supporting terrorism and creating a hostile campus environment has consequences, and acknowledges the reality that Jewish students are confronting more antisemitism on campuses. Campuses should be safe places for all students alike – Jewish and Muslim, Israeli, and Palestinian – to live, learn, and thrive.”
In October, Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., informed Fox News that he ordered state universities in Florida to disband organizations such as Students for Justice in Palestine for their open support for the Hamas terrorist organization. He appeared to cite federal law – 18 USC 2339b – that deems “providing material support or resources to foreign terrorist organizations” illegal.
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