New York University has settled a complaint brought by a student after the school presented an award to Students for Justice in Palestine — an organization which has been repeatedly accused of anti-Semitism.
The settlement explicitly cited President Trump’s executive order from December, 2019 adding anti-Semitism to Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. It’s the first such settlement involving an American university since Trump’s order went into effect.
Then-NYU senior Adela Cojab Moadeb sounded the alarm to the federal Department of Education last year after the school granted SJP a President’s Service Award — an honor specifically reserved for “students or student organizations that have had an extraordinary and positive impact on the University community.”
But the SJP has been repeatedly implicated in anti-Semitic harassment on campuses across America.
In 2014 an SJP chapter at Vassar College caused outrage after sharing a Nazi propaganda poster on one of their social media accounts. Berkeley professor Hatem Bazian, who founded the group, was accused in 2017 retweeting anti-Semitic images — and was forced to apologize.
SJP “regularly demonizes Jewish students who identify as Zionists or proud supporters of the State of Israel,” according to the Anti Defamation League.
At NYU, the group attempted to shut down a Jewish student celebration of Israel’s 70th anniversary in 2018, and burned an Israeli flag in Washington Square Park. Flyers with assault rifles were also handed out. Two students were arrested.
NYU — which has been suspending students for social-distancing violations — offered little in the way of punishment, Moadeb said.
Moadeb, 23, said in her complaint that “giving a humanitarian award to SJP is equivalent to giving such an award to the Ku Klux Klan, or any other racist organization.”
Under the terms of the resolution agreement between NYU and the feds — in which the school admitted no fault, the university agreed to revise their non-discrimination and anti-harassment policy to create a more expansive definition for anti-Semitism.
“The University will take appropriate action to address and ameliorate discrimination and harassment based on shared ancestry and ethnic characteristics, including anti-Semitism that involves student clubs,” the agreement reads.
The school also promised to curb acts of anti-Semitism going forward.
“There will always be some dumb student doing a stupid thing but what becomes chilling is when leadership looks the other way; when it fails to step in to protect students. Clearly, the new policy out of Washington moved things in the right direction,” Yossi Gestetner, co-founder of the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council, told The Post.
Still, Moadeb said the devil was in the details and she was nervous about actual enforcement.
“The agreement itself doesn’t name SJP. They say it’s because they wanted to keep it general,” she told The Post. “They failed to mention where there was one specific group where the source of the grievance came from.”
A rep for SJP did not respond to a request for comment.
In a statement, NYU said they were happy to put the matter to bed, calling anti-Semitism “vile” and “at odds with the values of the NYU community.”
But University spokesman John Beckman repeatedly declined to answer whether they would curb Students for Justice in Palestine activities.
“The reason I filed the complaint is because I love NYU and it should be a safe place for all students,” Moadeb said. “I was an NYU student who was being treated differently and that’s something no student should face. I know NYU is not happy with me now, but I definitely think they can do better.”
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