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Tufts University Activists: Being Jewish Is Being Biased

“[Anti-Semitism] camouflages itself to assume the form of progressive activism.”
The Sackler family name is displayed on a sign about to be removed at the Tufts building at 145 Harrison Ave. in Boston on Dec. 5, 2019. Tufts University on Thursday became the first major university to strip the Sackler name from buildings and programs, after months-long conversations and a report that censured the school for its relationship with the family behind OxyContin, an opioid blamed for hundreds of thousands of deaths nationwide. The Sackler family gave Tufts $15 million over nearly 40 years and got its name prominently displayed throughout the universitys Boston health sciences campus - on the graduate school of biomedical sciences, on the center for medical education, and on laboratories and research funds. While there is no evidence that the financial relationship, which ended in 2016, materially affected academics, there was an appearance of too close a relationship between Purdue, the Sacklers, and Tufts, the outside report by former US attorney Donald K. Stern found. And the company was successful in exercising influence, whether directly or indirectly.
David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

A junior at Tufts University is facing a student government impeachment trial for holding pro-Israel positions.

Max Price has served as the president of the Tufts Friends of Israel group and is an elected member of the student government judiciary committee. In a scathing letter obtained by Jewish Insider, Price claims he has been “targeted and marginalized, called a racist, a fascist, a Nazi, [and] an enemy of progress” by his peers for holding pro-Israel views.

“I am a proud Jew and an outspoken defender of the right of all peoples to self-determination, as well as the Jewish right to live peacefully without fear of discrimination and prejudice,” Price wrote. “I have been slandered in the student newspaper and most recently, threatened with impeachment and removal from the student government.”

Price has fallen under fire for his pro-Israel position after the university’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter passed a non-binding resolution in the student government aimed at divesting the school from Israel. The resolution demanded that the university prohibit campus police from attending military-led trips to Israel and “apologize for sending the former Tufts police chief to a militarized training trip.”

SJP and the left-wing group Jewish Voice for Peace call international police exchange programs “The Deadly Exchange.” Jewish Voice for Peace claims that the programs “promote and extend discriminatory and repressive policing practices that already exist in both countries.”

As a member of the judiciary committee, Price is tasked with “eliminating biased, misleading or otherwise untruthful language” from any proposed student referendum text, including the resolution passed by SJP.

Following the passage of the resolution, SJP members asked Price to recuse himself from reviewing the text of the resolution. Price alleged in his letter that SJP members put pressure on student government leaders to mandate his recusal.

On Nov. 15, the judiciary committee held an emergency meeting to determine whether Price should recuse himself from reviewing the bill. The committee concluded that his identity and perspective were not biasing the process of reviewing the referendum in any way. The committee voted unanimously to recommend Price remain part of the process.

“[The judiciary committee] agreed that I had provided valuable and necessary insight throughout, that my comments had been fact-based, and that my background knowledge of the issue at hand was of a net benefit,” Price wrote.

When all other avenues failed, SJP filed a complaint seeking Price’s impeachment and removal from the student government. On Sunday, Feb. 28, Price will be subjected to the requested impeachment hearing.

Students started a petition demanding that the school stop the impeachment hearing from taking place. Both Price and pro-Israel activists claim that the impeachment is a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Acts, which prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, or other traits.

“Students for Justice in Palestine and the university administrators who enable them are undoubtedly violating [Price’s] civil rights by discriminating against him on the basis of religion,” the petition reads.

Price’s letter also details the rise of anti-Semitism on Tuft’s campus. He claims to have sent over 30 documented incidents of anti-Semitism to the administration, which has allegedly failed to respond. This includes an incident where a swastika was posted on the door of a Jewish student.

Price claims that such blatant anti-Semitism is not the work of white supremacists, but progressive activists.

“[Anti-Semitism] does not emanate from a secret cabal of white supremacists, nor an alt-right student collective. Rather, it camouflages itself to assume the form of progressive activism,” Price wrote.

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