By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Antisemitic hate speech at NU appears to have come from a counter-protester

Three media-related follow-ups to this morning’s post on the arrests of pro-Palestinian protesters at Northeastern University.

• As I noted earlier, university spokeswoman Renata Nyul issued a statement in which she cited “virulent antisemitic slurs, including ‘Kill the Jews’” as a precipitating factor in ordering that the encampment be dismantled and the police be brought in. Now there are reports that “Kill the Jews” might actually have been uttered by a pro-Israel counter-protester.

GBH News reporter Tori Bedford tweeted, “I did hear ‘kill the Jews,’ said by a counter-protester holding an Israeli flag, seemingly as a provocative joke in response to the group’s pro-Palestine chants. Not sure if that’s the specific incident @Northeastern leadership is referring to.” She also shared a video provided to her by Huskies for a Free Palestine.

Northeastern’s student newspaper, The Huntington News, acknowledged in an update at 12:15 p.m. today that the statement was indeed made by a counter-protester, and The Boston Globe has added this: “The student group behind the protests disputed that claim, saying that no one in the encampment shouted slurs, and that it was a counter-protestor who yelled ‘Kill the Jews.’”

• Earlier this morning, I read in the Globe that reporters had been asked by police to leave the scene. But when I went to write it up, that passage was gone. Sarah Scire of Nieman Lab, though, saved it and posted it on Twitter:

I don’t know why the Globe deleted that section from its story. Maybe a judgment was made that the officer was directing their statements to bystanders in general rather than journalists in particular. It also sounds like advice rather than an order. As for whether the Globe should have acknowledged the edit, I’ll just observe that it’s pretty standard for news outlets to revise and delete in their online running coverage without indicating whether any changes have been made. Good practice? Maybe not. But hardly unusual.

• Student reporters were told to back off from the immediate scene after police officers surrounded the encampment. In an update posted today at 5:30 a.m., the News published this: “Several members of The News’ staff were asked to move outside the barricade.” That does not strike me as inappropriate as long as the reporters were allowed to remain close enough to observe what was going on. Still, it’s worth noting.

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Our Northeastern j-students did great work covering the pro-Palestinian encampment


Friedman’s latest


  1. Stephen Walker

    Good coverage, Dan.

  2. Adam

    So … as I followed the students’ blog the night before, it sounded like there was already talk of a “gameplan” for police to shut down the demonstration (I happened to be in the area the day before and, frankly, the protest was so quiet and out-of-the-way I had a lot of trouble even finding it). All accounts seem to point out that the offensive comments were actually rhetoric from pro-Israeli counter-protesters, which seems to make the words on their face vastly different from being “hate” speech and actually a form of sarcasm. Third, if you take it all together, you have a very contained, mild and out-of-the-way (for people outside the university) Pro-Palestinian protest that was booted with the excuse being that a few outside people came in and yelled some offensive, but largely sarcastic and antagonizing statements. Good thing there were journalists — including student, activist and “official” — there.

    • Dan Kennedy

      Adam, the encampment was in the single most prominent part of the campus — not out of the way at all.

      • Adam

        I said out-of-the-way for non-university people, as in it wasn’t blocking a public way or street as far as I saw. Correct me if I’m wrong, which I could be, but it seemed contained to the campus. And it seemed virtually contained by security forces who encircled it.

        • Dan Kennedy

          Yes, that’s right. I thought you meant it was in an out-of-the-way part of the campus.

  3. Adam

    p.s. the Northeastern journalists did a great job covering it and I was glued to their blog.

  4. Bob Gardner

    Has the NU administration indicated that the counter protesters will be held accountable for their actions?

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