Israel advocacy groups are weaponizing civil rights law to quell dissent. From the start of Israel’s bombing of Gaza, students at Columbia have organized numerous protests, vigils, and rallies in a show of support for civilians in Gaza. As part of a nationwide “Shut it Down for Palestine” walkout on November 9, SJP and JVP arranged an art installation and rally. One day later, the groups were suspended for the unauthorized event and “threatening rhetoric and intimidation,” making them ineligible to hold campus events or receive school funding for the remainder of the term. While university policy requires students to obtain a permit 10 days before an event, violations of policy usually result in a disciplinary proceeding against individual students, not an outright suspension of an entire organization, according to Katherine Franke, a law professor at Columbia University who has been serving as a faculty advocate for the sanctioned students.
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