As alumni of Rutgers University represented by Alums for Campus Fairness (ACF), we condemn strongly the recent statement from Rutgers Mutual Aid and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). Due to SJP’s history of making Jewish and Pro-Israel students feel unsafe through intimidation, violence, and veiled antisemitism, we see the purpose of this recent statement is to isolate Rutgers Hillel for embracing Zionism as a central part of Jewish identity.
In September 2018, the US Department of Education reopened a seven-year complaint against Rutgers SJP, alleging Jewish students were subject to a hostile environment. Now, we are witnessing another attempt by SJP to silence the Jewish community on campus.
While SJP brands itself as a progressive human rights organization, its actual impact is to undermine any hope for peace, justice, and human rights in the Middle East by delegitimizing, demonizing and applying double-standards to Israel. According to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism that has been adopted by the EU, United States Department of State, and many others, SJP’s history of activism often goes far beyond legitimate criticism of Israel, descending into outright antisemitism.
ACF is dedicated to combating antisemitism on college campuses. Rutgers and its community must work together to ensure fair and open dialogue, which should not be compromised for any group, including Jewish and Zionist students.
To this end, we call on Rutgers to:
Recognize SJP’s growing culture of intimidation and discrimination, and make effective changes to address this culture by investigating their statements;
Adopt the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism;
Meet with leaders of the Jewish and Pro-Israel community to understand challenges and discuss ways to improve the campus climate for the betterment of Jewish students.
ACF looks forward to hearing your administration's commitment to supporting Jewish and pro-Israel students and proving your leadership in rejecting bigotry in our campus community. It is our hope, as a united voice in countering antisemitism, that you will act expeditiously to ensure that our campus community remains safe for all students.