On March 2nd, the Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at UMass held a vigil lionizing several Palestinians involved in terrorism against Israelis. Some even affiliated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, two groups that the US government classifies as foreign terrorist organizations, appearing on the same list as al-Qaeda and ISIS.

On March 10th, CAMERA on Campus Advisor Adam Gordon, a UMass alumnus, and Jewish community member, sent a letter detailing the event to the office of Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy. This letter can be viewed here.

Nearly a week later, Subbaswamy delivered the following disappointing response.

CAMERA on Campus Adam Gordon had this to say regarding Subbaswamy’s response:

“Subbawamy alleged that SJP’s celebration of terror was acceptable under the university’s commitment to “freedom of expression.” His“condemnation” of antisemitism is meaningless if he deems it appropriate to celebrate those who sought to harm or kill Israelis.

Further, Subbaswamy attempted to channel a quote from former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis. In essence, Subbaswamy argues that the  “antidote” to this display of hatred on campus is to inspire more of these heinous acts. Given Justice Brandeis’ background as a Jew and an outspoken Zionist, I believe Justice Brandeis would disagree with this faulty logic.

Subbaswamy’s response fails to consider the grave consequences of legitimizing violence against Jews and Israelis. Anti-Israel activism at UMass has left a cancerous mark on the university’s reputation. As antisemitism continues to be a serious issue facing colleges and universities in the United States, Subbaswamy shows an unwillingness to tackle this issue at its core.”

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