In a March 12, 2014 post on the Israel-bashing website Mondoweiss.net, extremist Max Blumenthal condemned Northeastern University’s recent decision to suspend the so-called “Students for Justice in Palestine” (SJP) group, after the SJP put mock eviction notices under students’ doors in several Northeastern residence halls. The notices contained false and demonizing information about Israel and were calculated to incite hatred of the Jewish State.
Blumenthal blamed Northeastern’s decision to finally crack down on the SJP on “a long-running campaign” against the SJP led by “powerful pro-Israel outfits.” In particular, he pointed to the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) and Boston activist Charles Jacobs and his group, Americans for Peace and Tolerance (AFPT).
Specifically, Blumenthal wrote the following against the ZOA and its supporters:
- “On July 5, 2013, Northeastern University President Joseph Aoun received a breathless twelve-page letter from the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) demanding an investigation of three professors – Dennis Sullivan, Berna Turam, and M. Shahid Alam – accused by the organization of fostering a ‘hostile environment’ for pro-Israel and Jewish students. Further, the ZOA demanded a review of course material to ensure it adhered to a strictly pro-Israel ideological line, and that the school punish ‘wrongdoers’ for political activities both on and off campus. ‘Many Jewish students are feeling marginalized and even threatened on campus, afraid to express they are Jewish and pro-Israel,’ ZOA President Morton Klein claimed in the letter, which was promptly reproduced and promoted on the website of Jacobs’ AFPT.”
- “The Anti-Defamation League bolstered the ZOA and Jacobs’ crusade against Palestine solidarity at Northeastern by sending a letter of its own to Aoun demanding action against the ‘anti-Israel’ professors.”
- “The ZOA is a far-right organization that supports continuous, unrestricted Israeli settlement activity and the annexation of the occupied West Bank.”
- “CC’ed on the ZOA letter to Northeastern was Robert Shillman, the multi-millionaire CEO of Cognex Corporation. A graduate of Northeastern, Shillman is identified in the ZOA’s newsletter as ‘a major supporter’ of the organization.”
- “Shillman also happens to be a top contributor to Northeastern, having donating $3 million for the construction of a new classroom building in 1999 – Shillman Hall. Though Shillman is still alive, a statue of his likeness stands in the center of Northeastern’s campus, just outside the hall bearing his name.”
- “With the suspension of its SJP chapter, Northeastern University has awarded . . . pro-Israel outfits the prize they had been seeking. According to [one SJP supporter at Northeastern], the episode provides the clearest proof yet that Northeastern’s administration ‘is more interested in appeasing outside astroturfed Zionist groups than in fostering an environment where the vigorous exchange of ideas can take place.’”