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Supporters of pro-Palestinian group suing Rutgers over funds to end Gaza blockade

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WASHINGTON (JTA) – Supporters of a Rutgers University pro-Palestinian student group are suing the New Jersey college, saying it froze funds the group had raised in its efforts to end the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

Manijeh Saba, an Iranian-born Rutgers alumna and lecturer, and Larry Romsted, a university chemistry professor, filed the class-action complaint on behalf of the 250 people who attended a fundraiser by BAKA: Students United for Middle Eastern Justice in November 2010. The U.S. Boat to Gaza event brought in $3,345 for an international protest of the blockade.

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court against the university, its executives and governing bodies.

BAKA used student activity fees to sponsor the event, which featured a buffet, according to The Record newspaper. The funds have yet to be distributed, according to BAKA.

According to the group’s website, the university has not released the money due to pressure from Hillel and other groups. Posted on the site is a letter from the Rutgers Hillel expressing “great concern” over the flotilla fundraiser.

The New Jersey regional office of the Anti-Defamation League reportedly contacted the university prior to the fundraiser to protest the event. 

The university agreed to allow the event but said it would look into whether the groups that make up the U.S . Boat to Gaza are eligible to receive tax-deductible donations.

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