For Comment: Rob Leikind
(617) 794-3279; email@example.com
April 10, 2017, Boston – AJC New England was dismayed to learn that the night before the Passover holiday, the Tufts Community Union Senate (Tufts Senate) approved a resolution calling for divestment from four companies doing business with Israel. The resolution was proposed only this past Thursday and brought to a vote at the Tufts Senate last night. As Passover begins tonight, many Jewish students had left campus before the debate to observe the holiday with their families. According to Jonathan Dorfman, President of AJC New England:
“Universities are supposed to be places where ideas are discussed and debated. Regrettably, the Tufts Senate allowed full discourse on this controversial subject to be suppressed, and hurriedly acted on the resolution—notwithstanding pleas from Jewish students and others to defer discussion until after Passover, when the Jewish student community could fully take part in the debate. We do not deny Tufts students their right to make this misguided political statement. We regret, however, the tactics that were used by the Tufts Senate and hope that in the future it will act in a way that respects diverse opinions on the Tufts campus.”
The resolution was introduced by members of the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), an avowedly anti-Israel organization, which has actively worked to suppress debate and discussion about the complex and controversial conflict between Israel and its Palestinian and Arab neighbors. SJP has a long record, nationally, and at Tufts specifically, of disrupting speakers and refusing to dialogue with people with whom they disagree. According to AJC New England Director Robert Leikind:
“SJP is an organization that has worked steadily, on campus after campus, against dialogue, understanding, and peace. Rather than demonstrate a commitment to the democratic process, the Tufts Senate became a mouthpiece for SJP. It was a betrayal of the values that have made American campuses a model for the world and a sad day for Tufts University. We hope that President Monaco will speak out in defense of the university and in support of liberal education.”
AJC New England is the local gateway to AJC’s global advocacy network that works to safeguard Israel and Jews around the world, and promote democratic values for all.