Tufts Student Government Walks Back Impeachment of Pro-Israel Member

Braker Hall at Tufts University
Braker Hall at Tufts University / Wikimedia Commons
February 27, 2021

Tufts University Students for Justice in Palestine withdrew their petition to have a Jewish student government leader impeached for defending Israel, bringing an end to a months-long conflict.

Last fall, the Tufts Community Union debated a resolution sponsored by the SJP, which blamed Israel for militarizing U.S. police. Max Price, a union member and Tufts junior, opposed the resolution, citing factual errors.

At the behest of the SJP, the union barred Price from further debate and moved to impeach him. After facing legal pressure from the Louis D. Brandeis Center, SJP withdrew their complaint Friday. 

The resolution Price opposed falsely claimed that Tufts University sent campus police officers to an antiterrorism training program in Israel conducted by the Israeli Defense Force. In reality, the Anti-Defamation League sponsored the event, which included both Israeli and Palestinian police officers, and invited officers to attend.

Tufts’s judiciary passed the resolution in December. 

After voicing his concerns, Price faced months of harassment from other students. He previously told the Washington Free Beacon that he had been called a "racist, a fascist, and a Nazi." Tufts largely ignored his series of complaints, Price said. The school once referred him to the Office of Equal Opportunity, which told Price that they don’t deal with allegations of anti-Semitism. 

Price told the Free Beacon he thought the office was uninterested in taking up his complaints because it could expose the university to liability for repeatedly failing to address anti-Semitic incidents on campus. In a Feb. 23 letter to school administrators, the Brandeis Center cited more than 30 recent incidents of anti-Semitism that had taken place at the university. 

Tufts did not step in on Price’s behalf despite the legal pressure. While Price said he’s "relieved" he’ll no longer face impeachment, he said he was "disappointed" in the university for yet again failing to stand up for Jewish students. 

"They tried to intimidate the Jewish community into silence, to force Jews to renounce their shared heritage, to exclude Jews from leadership," Price said in a Brandeis Center press release Friday. "They got caught. While I am relieved that my Judaism is no longer on trial, this change in course does not absolve SJP of their behavior. I am disappointed that university administrators failed to intervene, and have not yet reached out to me to address my concerns."

Students for Justice in Palestine and other Palestinian student activist groups have successfully pressured colleges to denounce Israel—often in the form of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions measures. At least 2,000 anti-Semitic incidents have been documented on U.S. college campuses since 2017, according to a recent study.

Published under: BDS , Israel , Tufts