Judge Rejects UMass Students' Request to Force pro-Palestinian Panel Off Campus

Judge says he can't take action just because someone may say something 'that fits someone's definition of anti-Semitism'

File photo: UMass at Amherst, picture taken from the W.E.B. Dubois Library.
Lion Hirth/Public domain

A panel discussion about Palestinian rights at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst will be allowed to move ahead following a challenge by a group of Jewish students at the school.

A Superior Court judge on Thursday ruled against the students who argued the forum was anti-Semitic and should be forced off campus.

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The panel, titled "Not Backing Down: Israel, Free Speech, and the Battle for Palestinian Human Rights," is scheduled for Saturday and features Roger Waters, a member of the band Pink Floyd. The panelists are expected to argue pro-Israel groups have tried to silence Palestinian points of view.

Judge Robert Ullmann said he couldn't take action against the forum just because someone may say something "that fits someone's definition of anti-Semitism."

University officials say UMass is "committed to the principles of free speech and academic freedom."