University 'rejects' students' call to boycott Jewish campus organizations over Israel

The targeted campus groups include Tufts Friends of Israel (FOI), Tufts J Street, TAMID, and Tufts Hillel.

'We strongly oppose this renewed campaign at Tufts,' a university official stated.

Tufts University’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has released a new Boycott Sanction and Divestment campaign and pledge against Jewish organizations on campus. 

The targeted campus groups include Tufts Friends of Israel (FOI), Tufts J Street, TAMID, and Tufts Hillel. 

Patrick Collins, a university spokesperson, told Campus Reform that Tufts “rejects the BDS movement, elements of which we believe are rooted in antisemitism. We strongly oppose this renewed campaign at Tufts.” 

”It is particularly disappointing that the Students for Justice in Palestine have chosen to ask fellow students to boycott not just companies but other student groups on campus,” Collins continued. 

The demands also call for students to not “study abroad in Israel or participate in Birthright, not taking the Visions of Peace course, and not participating in the Tisch Summer Fellowship with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).”

[RELATED: Pomona College student government passes resolution supporting the defunding of clubs supporting Israel]

In its Mar. 14 Tufts Observer opinion piece, SJP claims that Tufts Friends of Israel “actively whitewashes history” and that J Street U Tufts chapter’s two-state solution “position fundamentally promotes the maintenance of the settler-colonial status quo.”

The group states in its opinion pieces that its aim is “to make it economically and politically unviable for [I]srael to continue its violent occupation and colonization of Palestinian land.”

“We see Palestinian liberation as a crucial part of our collective liberation from racism, capitalism, colonialism, sexism, and all other interconnected systems of oppression” SJP’s seven-page pledge states. 

SJP’s boycott was met with swift backlash by the Tufts Jewish community. 

Rabbi Naftali Brawer, the Executive Director of Tufts Hillel, and Allison Cohen, the Student President of Tufts Hillel, referred Campus Reform to the group’s statement in response to the boycott.

[RELATED: ‘Don’t take sh*tty Zionist classes’ student group warns] 

“We condemn the SJP boycott of Israel and Israel-related student programming on campus. The programs and student groups targeted in this boycott represent a wide spectrum of views on Israel whose main overlap is that they are committed to productive dialogue,” the statement reads. “Unlike SJP, we firmly believe that dialogue is the only route to deeper understanding between people of divergent views and a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”

Ian Kaplan, the political co-chair of FOI, condemned SJP in an email to Tufts Daily.

“FOI stands against this boycott and proudly affirms its commitment to Zionism and the state of Israel,” Kaplan reportedly wrote. “Allowing SJP to shut down nuanced conversation about Israel is both unproductive for diversification efforts and dangerous for Jewish students.”

SJP did not respond to Campus Reform’s request for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.