Anyone who has been paying attention knows the sad reality — Jewish students on college college campuses face hostility, discrimination, and even smear campaigns at the hands of their peers.
That is exactly what happened to Max Price at Tufts University. Price is a member of the Tufts Community Union Judiciary (TCUJ), an organization in charge of fact-checking legislation before the student government. When he spoke out against the misleading nature of a so-called “deadly exchange” referendum, he became the victim of a full frontal assault on his character. Price fought back, and the group that led the charge, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), ultimately dropped its campaign to have him removed from his position. But this should not be the end of the story. Tufts must condemn Price’s harassers and do everything it can to protect Jewish students from retaliation for their Jewish identity.
Price was simply doing his duty when he objected to the SJP-proposed referendum. The campaign is rooted in falsehoods that blame a law enforcement exchange program with Israel that originated in the 1990’s for centuries-old police racism and brutality in the United States. American policing is undoubtedly in need of reform. Can any serious advocate for change really argue that this trend began less than 30 years ago because of a small training program with a foreign country? Price raised this obvious point, in line with his responsibilities as a member of TCUJ. But his reward for fulfilling his duty was a months-long intimidation campaign that culminated in SJP filing an impeachment complaint against him in an attempt to remove him from the student judiciary.
It must be said that blaming Jews and Israel, instead of 400 years of institutionalized racism for police brutality is a blood libel. It’s also a distraction from the real problem.
According to reporting by JNS, Price “was harassed, targeted and marginalized; slandered in the student newspaper; interrogated as to whether he is fit to hold office; muted for an entire student government Zoom meeting that he was elected to participate in; and attacked with age-old anti-Semitic tropes about money and power.” In a letter to Tuft’s President, General Counsel, and Provost, Price’s lawyer alleged, “Mr. Price has been subjected to anti-Semitic harassment targeting him on the basis of his ethnic and ancestral Jewish identity.”
No student should have to live in fear on campus. No student should have to retain legal counsel to fight a targeted smear campaign based on his or her religious or ancestral identity. SJP has finally dropped its impeachment complaint against Price, but that does not erase the months of harassment he was forced to endure. If the matter is left at that, it will not prevent other students from suffering the same fate for their beliefs or identity.
It is established beyond any doubt that BDS votes on college campuses have no effect on Israel. BDS does effect Jewish students, who are always accused of dual loyalty, policed for their connection to the holiest sites in their culture, and separated into “good” and “bad” Jews.
Tufts leadership owes its entire student body an unequivocal condemnation of intimidation campaigns like the one Price was subjected to and a commitment to preventing any of its Jewish students from being the target of anti-Semitic harassment. This should be a cautionary tale for the harassers, not the victims.