(JTA) – New York University said it opposes boycotts of student groups after 51 campus organizations pledged to boycott pro-Israel groups.
“The University opposes any kind of boycott or official refusal by some student groups to interact with other student groups because of differing points of view. It is at odds with our traditions and values, especially our core belief in the free exchange of ideas,” university spokesman John Beckman said in a statement on Monday. Last week, 51 student organizations signed a resolution in which they pledged not to co-sponsor any events with two Israel advocacy campus groups – Realize Israel and TorchPAC – as well as eight off-campus groups, including Birthright-Taglit, AIPAC and ADL. The groups also promised to boycott Israel and expressed support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against the Jewish state.
NYU’s chapters of Jewish Voice for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine organized the resolution, and its signatories included groups such as the African Student Union, the Black Students Union, College Libertarians, the Mexican Student Association and the Muslim Students Association.
In its Monday statement, Beckman said NYU encourages conversations between groups with opposing opinions. “We would suggest that student groups proposing the boycott to find a pathway forward to engage in constructive dialogue. The University, as always, stands ready to facilitate this,” he said.
On Friday, leaders of the two pro-Israel groups singled out in the resolution told JTA that they were surprised by the momentum it had gained. Realize Israel President Adela Cojab, 21, described the climate surrounding Israel at NYU as “one of animosity.”