Northeastern Joins Zionist BDS Campus Attacks

by James M. WallBryan MacCormack, Left in Focus

Forget about the so-called Peace Process, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to use as a cover for Israel’s territorial incursions into Palestinian Occupied Territories.

Start worrying, instead, about Zionist incursions into American universities.

Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges reports on the latest example of how universities and colleges are kowtowing to Zionism by banning and blacklisting student groups that “challenge the official Israeli narrative”:

The banning of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at Northeastern University in Boston on March 7, along with a university threat of disciplinary measures against some of its members, replicates sanctions being imposed against numerous student Palestinian rights groups across the country.

The attacks, and the disturbingly similar forms of punishment, appear to be part of a coordinated effort by the Israeli government and the Israel lobby to blacklist all student groups that challenge the official Israeli narrative.

Northeastern banned the SJP chapter after it posted on campus replicas of eviction notices that are routinely put up on Palestinian homes set for Israeli demolition. The university notice of suspension says that if the SJP petitions for reinstatement next year, “No current member of the Students for Justice in Palestine executive board may serve on the inaugural board of the new organization” and that representatives from the organization must attend university-sanctioned “trainings.” 

Northeastern is, no doubt, a university of considerable merit. It, no doubt, has faculty members who understand communications.

In a delicious irony, Northeastern, a private institution which relies heavily on private and corporate funding, prides itself on its communications program. That reliance is not unlike that of the U.S. Congress, whose members survive on a diet of private and corporate campaign contributions.

So why does Northeastern need to ban a student group which communicates its opposition to Israel’s occupation policies. Instead of commending the students for their communication skills, the university has deemed SJP to be “guilty of advocating sanctions against the state of Israel?”

hedges_op_0-1Who or what prompts Northeastern’s actions? Hedges (pictured  here) talked to Max Geller, a law student and a SJP member at Northeastern.

Geller accused the university of responding “to outside pressures,” including that of alumnus Robert Shillman, who is the CEO of Cognex Corp., and hedge fund billionaire Seth Klarman, both supporters of right-wing Israeli causes. Geller said:

“To prohibit students from holding leadership roles and student groups simply because they engaged in a peaceful political protest is antithetical to the university’s mission to educate students,” he said. “It erases any pedagogical value disciplinary process might seek.”

“In the last year,” Geller went on, “I have received death threats, been publicly and unfairly maligned, and have been threatened with disciplinary measures. This has made engaging in speech about an issue about which I care deeply, both as a Jew and an American, a fear- and anxiety-causing prospect.”.

Hedge fund billionaire Seth Klarman, referenced above by Geller, is a relative newcomer to Zionist cause. He made his first trip to Israel seven years ago.

Seth-A.-KlarmanHowever with the establishment of his new Jerusalem-based on-line newspaper, The Times of Israel, in 2012, Klarman (shown here) established himself as a major Zionist player in both the U.S. and Israel.

His possible role in influencing Northeastern University reflects his strong pro-Israel position, which has also prompted him to give major political support to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

And where does the Prime Minister stand on the worldwide Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement?

Speaking to AIPAC in Washington, March 4, Chris Hedges reports that Netanyahu spent a surprisingly large amount of time attacking the nascent BDS movement, which he said stood for “Bigotry, Dishonesty and Shame.”

Hedges also notes that in his AIPAC speech, Netanyahu called for BDS supporters to “be treated exactly as we treat any anti-Semite or bigot.”

Despite this heavy array of opponents lined up against them, the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at Northeastern University are not going down without a fight.  They have continued to protest against their banning by Northeastern.

Which brings us finally to two comments Robert Stiver wrote to Wall Writings. The first appeared at the end of an earlier posting, Does The IDF Target Palestinian Soccer Players?, which may be read in the comments on that posting.

Stiver has now sent Wall Writings a second comment pertinent to the Israeli campaign against Palestinian sports teams. This comment is also relevant to U.S. student organizations like the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).

With Bob Stiver’s permission, I am including his second comment as a conclusion to this Wall Writings posting.

Jim, your posting focuses powerfully on an important subset of the Zionists’ frenzy to commit culturecide-cum-genocide against the Palestinians. I’ve been increasingly convinced for years that the Zionists are engulfed in a massive psychosis, and I postulate that guilt is a major part of its root causes.

I see all their actions deriving from the invasion by European Jewish Zionists of a land to which they did not belong. Trying to build an edifice of legitimacy where no such edifice is possible has led to a prime component, criminality bounded by crimes against humanity and war crimes, of the psychosis. The impunity given the psychosis and its practitioners is mind-boggling.

As I writhe in empathic frustration and anger with the Palestinians, I’d like to add just one more plank of an indictment of the Zionist enterprise — an indictment and then the follow-on trial that are long overdue.

I ask you, Jim, and your readership, to link to and read the March 12, 2014, article by the indefatigable Dave Zirin. It is entitled Israel, Palestine, Pinochet… and a Soccer Jersey?. It appeared in LatinOpen Magazine, and was referred to me by my friend Helen Marshall (who also had a Comment on the posting, Does The IDF Target Palestinian Soccer Players? .

Helen’s State Department career included significant service in South America. Please consider my extract from Dave Zirin’s article and reflect, inter alia, that this Zionist frenzy is ever-present, global, and evil beyond any attempt to define its scope and boundaries:

“…the (Chilean soccer club) team was charged by the Simon Wiesenthal Center with “fomenting terrorist intent.”

Finally, I must add a reference to another article by Dave Zirin, which appeared on November 19, 2012, Killing Hope: Why Israel Targets Sports in Gaza.

Its setting is during the 2012 latest act of Zionist Israel’s “mowing the grass” atrocities in Gaza. The article is also from the Nation magazine, the publication in which Zirin publishes so many outstanding sports and political articles.

The links supplied above by Bob Stiver to Dave Zirin’s articles should serve as an important reminder to the SJP students at Northeastern University–and their supporters–that they are not alone in their struggle against secular Zionism, a political ideology which has invaded their campus.

The photo at top is by Bryan MacCormack, Left in Focus. It appeared on the Boston Jewish Voices for Peace blog .

About wallwritings

From 1972 through 1999, James M. Wall was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, lllinois. He was a Contributing Editor of the Century from 1999 until July, 2017. He has written this blog, wall, since it was launched April 27, 2008. If you would like to receive Wall Writings alerts when new postings are added to this site, send a note, saying, Please Add Me, to Biography: Journalism was Jim's undergraduate college major at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. He has earned two MA degrees, one from Emory, and one from the University of Chicago, both in religion. He is an ordained United Methodist clergy person. He served for two years in the US Air Force, and three additional years in the USAF reserve. While serving on active duty with the Alaskan Command, he reached the rank of first lieutenant. He has worked as a sports writer for both the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, was editor of the United Methodist magazine, Christian Advocate for ten years, and editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine for 27 years. James M Wall died March 22, 2021 at age 92. His family appreciates all of his readers, even those who may have disagreed with his well-informed writings.
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3 Responses to Northeastern Joins Zionist BDS Campus Attacks

  1. Sami Joseph says:

    As enlightening as expected!

  2. Fred says:

    Zionists will do almost anything to protect Israel’s image and keep the truth of apartheid, house demolitions and other brutal treatment of Palestinians out of American discourse. They don’t care about justice, but about keeping Israel as a Jewish supremacy state. They have the influence, through wealth, to get their way.

    America is a plutocracy, rule by the wealthy. We are not a democracy as long as money runs everything, including the suppression of knowledge about Israel’s crimes.

  3. Patricia Pynchon says:

    This is getting very serious. The response by Northeastern is indicitive of people who cannot face the truth, who wish to persuade themselves that trying to suppress free speech and analytical accuracy is a proper response to criticism and assertion of truth. It is not in keeping with academic principles of objective and critical research.
    As well, the Israeli response is truly psychotic. They cannot see themselves objectively–they took the Palestinian land by criminal means, pointing guns at unarmed people and forcing them off rheir land. This is clearly a crime, and U.S. policy has done nothing but reward them for their crimes. The holocaust was indeed a terrible crime, and the fact that the Israelis want to suppress the truth about their own crime, is leading to a sick psychosis on their part. They must face the truth. One doesn’t take vengeance for the holocaust by committing another reprehensible crime against another group. The Israelis are first Humans, and then Jews. They must learn to face the truth of their own criminal actions, and follow principles of civilized human beings. All U.S. policy makers should help them see the horror and injustice of their own actions. They (the Israeli policy makers) do not seem to consider Palestinians worthy of any efforts to rectify their own criminal acts.

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