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The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News



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Jewish Affinity Group commends Northeastern administration for clearing pro-Palestinian encampment

Annika Sunkara
A “No Trespassing” sign hangs from a a barricade that blocked off Centennial Common following the clearing of the pro-Palestine encampment April 27. JAG expressed gratefulness to university leadership and the NUPD for ending the encampment in a statement emailed to the News.

In a statement emailed to The News April 30, Northeastern’s Jewish Affinity Group for Faculty and Staff, or JAG, said it is “grateful to the Northeastern University leadership and Police Department for bringing last week’s protest encampment to a swift resolution.” 

The pro-Palestine solidarity encampment started at roughly 8 a.m. April 25 and lasted through April 27 at 7 a.m., at which point police arrested 98 individuals, 29 of whom the school said are Northeastern students.

JAG’s statement, shared with The News on behalf of JAG’s leadership committee by Melissa Rubock, director of graduate student services at Northeastern’s College of Science, said many of the chants were in “direct violation” of university policy. Specifically, the group said that statements like “From the river to the sea,” “Zionists have got to go” and “Globalize the Intifada” are a call for “Israel’s destruction” and “violence against Jews.”

“These calls for aggressive resistance against Israel and those who support Israel created a hostile environment where many Jewish staff and faculty felt threatened and unsafe,” the statement read.  

JAG specifically thanked the Northeastern University Police Department, or NUPD, for “patiently answering … many questions” from the group and being “incredibly kind.”

“Senior leadership has been consistently supportive of our newly formed group this entire year, and we are grateful that continued during the past difficult week,” the statement says. 

The affinity group represents faculty and staff “with … shared history, traditions, culture, and heritage,” according to its website. JAG was established for Jewish faculty and staff “to connect with each other in celebrating holidays, educate our fellow Northeastern community about the Jewish people and be able to work with senior leadership on advocating to stop antisemitism.”

Jewish students were among those protesting at the encampment, and a Passover Seder was held on Centennial Common the evening of April 25. However, about 10 Jewish students counter-protested the encampment throughout its occupation, leading to tense interactions between them and some pro-Palestine demonstrators Friday evening. 

As reported by The News April 26, one of the tense interactions included a pro-Israel protester saying “Say that to my face” to an individual demonstrator multiple times, to which people in the encampment chanted, “Globalize the Intifada.”

JAG’s letter echoed sentiments Jewish counter protesters also expressed to The News during the encampment. 

“We want our campus back,” said Winston Alcufron, a fifth-year political science and philosophy combined major and active member of Chabad, on April 26. “Yesterday they were chanting things like, ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,’ and ‘Globalize the Intifada.’ We definitely interpret that, unequivocally, as a call for genocide against our people and an eradication of the Israeli people.”

In an email sent to the Northeastern community April 29, signed by Chancellor Ken Henderson and Provost David Madigan, the administrators said “the persistent use of intolerant and hurtful speech over the course of two days reached a crescendo late Friday night.” 

One case in particular that gained national attention occurred when a video captured a pro-Israel counter protester shouting “Kill the Jews” at the encampment in provocation the night of April 26. Media outlets who reported the incident did not initially specify who said the statement, incorrectly leading many to believe it was uttered by a pro-Palestine protester.  

Administration said that this incident, along with other reports of hate speech, played a role in the timing of the sweep of the encampment. 

“We are grateful to be employed by an institution that does not tolerate hate of any kind,” JAG wrote at the end of its statement. “We look forward to working together to further opportunities for dialogue and education with the hope that we can build greater understanding between students, staff and faculty holding diverse perspectives on campus.”

About the Contributors
Annika Sunkara
Annika Sunkara, Social Media Editor
Annika Sunkara is a second-year journalism major and audiovisual editor of The News. She aspires to continue producing accessible and engaging multimedia content. You can follow her @annika_sunkara on X/Twitter.
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