Rutgers becomes latest university to suspend anti-Israel student group

There is reason to believe that Students for Justice in Palestine “poses a substantial and immediate threat to the safety and well-being of others,” said the school.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Rutgers became the latest American university to suspend anti-Israel group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) Monday for its violent activism on campus that has threatened Jewish students.

In Associate Dean of Students Michelle Jefferson’s letter to the group, she wrote that unacceptable SJP actions on the New Jersey public institution’s campus included “disruptive or disorderly conduct,” that there were “allegations of vandalism” at the business school, and that students had complained that group members had disturbed “classes, a program, meals, and students studying.”

There is therefore “a reasonable basis to conclude that the continued activities by the student organization pose a substantial and immediate threat to the safety and well-being of others, or the suspension of organizational activities is needed to maintain preservation of the University,” the letter stated.

While neither the university’s statement on the suspension, nor the dean’s letter, went into details, two weeks ago the head of the local Jewish Federation, Dov Ben-Shimon had written an open letter stating that Rutgers’ SJP as well as other student organizations “have called Hamas’ massacre of Jews in Israel ‘justified,’” and that “Their actions against Jewish students on campus have moved far beyond microaggressions.”

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According to the school’s Hillel group that encourages Jewish life on campus, Rutgers has the largest Jewish undergraduate population in the U.S., with approximately 6,000 Jewish students.

In a wholescale move that has yet to be copied in other states, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, who is running for the Republican nomination for president, ordered that his entire state university system should ban SJP altogether due to its “harmful support for terrorist groups.”

All the chapters follow the national SJP line that it was “a historic win” when Hamas terrorists invaded Israel on October 7 and massacred 1,200 people, most of them civilians, in heinous ways such as burning whole families alive and beheading babies. Most of their protests include falsely charging Israel with genocide for its subsequent war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Private universities have also suspended or outright banned their SJP chapters.

George Washington University suspended their group for 90 days last month after it broke school policy following the outbreak of the Hamas-Israel war by projecting on the library wall such statements as “Free Palestine From the River to the Sea,” which is a call for Israel’s destruction.

Columbia University has suspended SJP and Jewish Voice for Peace until the end of the fall semester for their actions on campus that included “threatening rhetoric and intimidation.” This came after an assistant professor had called the school’s president a “coward” in October for refusing to condemn Hamas apologists and anti-Israel demonstrations on campus.

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Brandeis University had been the first private university to ban SJP completely, in early November, due to its “support of Hamas” and members “engag[ing] in conduct that harasses or threatens violence, whether individually or through organized activity.”

Most if not all the schools, including Rutgers, mentioned that this kind of behavior ”violates the University Code of Student Conduct.”

University codes of conduct became an item of intense controversy last week, when the heads of three Ivy League institutions could not answer “yes” to the question whether calling for the genocide of Jews on campus violates their codes.

The presidents of MIT, Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania told Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) in a Congressional hearing that “it depended on the context” of the calls, leading to widespread outrage. UPenn head Liz Magill resigned as a result, but the other two were backed by their boards of trustees and have remained in place.