Rutgers University
Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. Photo by Courtesy of The Forward
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The headline on the conservative news website WorldNetDaily was as compelling as they come: “Rutgers bars Jews from anti-Zionist gathering.”

Days earlier, the conservative blog Atlas Shrugged had exhorted readers to protest the pro-Palestinian presentation at Rutgers University, whose organizers the blog described as “Holocaust Deniers and Islamic Supremacists.”

But conversations with students and others who attended the January 29 event paint a far murkier picture. While pro-Israel students complained that event organizers initiated a sudden change in their admissions policy as a way to keep out Jewish protesters, the event’s supporters alleged that the protesters misrepresented the nature of the gathering in public calls to action, and that their protest grew ugly and threatening.