Jewish students blockaded from attending classes at MIT, by antisemites that MIT refused to suspend

Jewish students blockaded from attending classes at MIT, by antisemites that MIT refused to suspend

Some Jewish and Israeli students were prevented from attending classes at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) by a blockade carried out by pro-Hamas/anti-Israel students. But MIT did not take any meaningful action against the pro-Hamas students who did this, even though the blockade prevented students from receiving the education they pay $60,000 a year for, and even though this likely created a hostile environment for Jewish students in violation of the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act, and even though this violated MIT’s own stated policies.

MIT has student conduct policies that forbid interference with classes. Its policies also forbid creating a hostile environment, based on religion, race, sex, sexual orientation, or national origin.  Yet failed to enforce those same policies against disruptive conduct by pro-Hamas leftists that created a hostile environment for Jews in violation of state law. It is happy to enforce those policies in favor of other minority groups — MIT has punished racist or sexual speech that offended blacks or feminists, labeling it as creating a hostile environment, even if civil liberties groups like FIRE view such speech as constitutionally protected. But it did nothing meaningful about the disruption by pro-Hamas groups.

Professor Retsef Levi shared a letter from the MIT Israel Alliance which condemned members of the MIT Coalition Against Apartheid for its acts of intimidation and harassment.

The CAA describes itself as focused on “advancing anti-colonial and anti-apartheid organizing” and the “support the liberation of all peoples, with a focus on the Israeli occupation of Palestine.”

The Israel Alliance letter laments that “Many Jewish students fear leaving their dorm rooms and have stated that they feel MIT is not safe for Jews. This message is compounded by the public and private warnings of Hillel and many faculty that Jewish students should not enter MIT’s main lobby today, November 9th.

“Instead of dispersing the mob or de-escalating the situation by rerouting all students from Lobby 7, Jewish students specifically were warned not to enter MIT’s front entrance due to a risk to their physical safety. The onus to protect Jewish students should not be on the students themselves.”

The letter goes on to observe that the CAA violated “recently announced” university guidelines on “illegal and unsafe” protest gatherings.

Four hours after the CAA’s “blockade” began MIT warned participants of possible suspensions if they did not disperse. Instead, “the CAA proceeded to invite more students and non-MIT protestors to join them in calling for a violent uprising (‘Intifada’) and justifying the terror attacks of Hamas on Israeli civilians.”

“The reality that MIT President wants to hide” is that “Jewish and Israeli MIT students were physically prevented from attending class by a hostile group of pro-Hamas and anti-Israel students,” said Professor Levi.

Ultimately, MIT opted to suspend no members of the CAA who perpetrated the blockade. “[University officials] have shown that actions against Jews at MIT do not have consequences,” the letter notes.

In a statement made the day after Hamas killed nearly a thousand Israeli civilians, the CAA said it and several other campus groups (including the MIT Black Graduate Student Association and MIT Reading for Revolution) “hold the Israeli regime responsible for all unfolding violence” and “unequivocally denounce the Israeli occupation, its racist apartheid system, and its military rule. ”

A later statement on October 30 “condemned the ongoing genocide in the Gaza Strip” and demanded that MIT sever its connections with a Lockheed Martin “seed fund” which allows MIT professors to collaborate with their Israeli counterparts.

Signers of the second statement include dthe MIT Black Students Union, the MIT Asian American Initiative Executive Board, the MIT Student Worker Alliance, and the Party for Socialism and Liberation.

LU Staff

LU Staff

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