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

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

The pro-Palestinian encampment at Northeastern University has come to an end, as Boston Police arrested about 100 people early this morning. Our student journalists have been doing a great job of covering the protest, not only for The Huntington News (on Twitter/X and on their live blog) but also for The Boston Globe, where several co-op students have been on the scene. Their work has been exceptional, presented fairly and without an agenda.

I was on campus Friday afternoon and walked around the perimeter a few times. I did not attempt to engage with any of the protesters. What struck me was how small the encampment on Centennial Common was, although there were plenty of people packed inside the perimeter. The Huntington News placed the number at about 200.

One development that no doubt hastened the end of the encampment was a turn toward explicit antisemitism on the part of at least some of the protesters. At 6:25 a.m. today, the News quoted a statement from Renata Nyul, the university’s vice president for communications:

Earlier this morning the Northeastern University Police Department (NUPD) — in cooperation with local law enforcement partners — began clearing an unauthorized encampment on the university’s Boston campus. What began as a student demonstration two days ago, was infiltrated by professional organizers with no affiliation to Northeastern. Last night, the use of virulent antisemitic slurs, including ‘Kill the Jews,’ crossed the line. We cannot tolerate this kind of hate on our campus.

The Globe report included this detail about rising hostilities between the protesters and pro-Israel counter-protesters: “At one point, a person called out, ‘Kill the Jews,’ while others yelled, ‘No right to exist,’ at the two counterprotesters holding the Israeli flag. Campus police later escorted the men away from the encampment.”

[Note: The antisemitic threat appears to have been uttered by a pro-Israel counter-protester. See update.]

At 8:30 a.m. today, the News posted another statement from Nyul:

As part of clearing the site, approximately 100 individuals were detained by police. Students who produced a valid Northeastern ID were released. They will face disciplinary proceedings within the university, not legal action. Those who refused to disclose their affiliation were arrested.

What none of us have any way of knowing is whether this ends the protest or if it will escalate. Northeastern is on a different schedule from most colleges and universities; classes and finals are now over. But commencement season is now upon us, with multiple ceremonies scheduled for the various colleges and two large university-wide celebrations at Fenway Park next Sunday, May 5.

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

1 Comment

  1. “Tori Bedford at GBH reports she actually heard a pro-Israel counter-demonstrator yell “Kill the Jews” but “seemingly as a provocative joke in response to the group’s pro-Palestine chants.”

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