Emory SJP calls for schools to 'discipline' Jewish student orgs after they react to 'anti-Semitic' flyers
- A Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at Emory University posted fake "eviction notices" on some students' doors.
- After backlash, the group is now calling for a campus-wide boycott of pro-Israel organizations.
Emory University’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter is calling on the school to "discipline" Jewish student organizations and for students to stage a campus-wide boycott of Jewish groups after those same groups publicly criticized flyers they said were "anti-Semitic."
SJP posted “eviction notices,” approved by the Office of Residence and Housing, on some doors in Emory’s residence halls. The flyers were posted in unapproved places, however. SJP says that the posters were aimed at bringing awareness to the “apartheid” going on in Israel.
“If you do not vacate the premise by midnight on April 5th 2019, we reserve the right to destroy all remaining belongings,” the posters read. “We cannot be held responsible for property or persons remaining inside the premises.”
“Palestinian homes are destroyed as part of the state of Israel’s ongoing attempts to ethnically cleanse the region of its Arab inhabitants and maintain an exclusively ‘Jewish’ character of the state,” they continued. “By destroying Palestinian homes, the state makes room for illegal Israeli settlements. The Israeli government describes this process as ‘Judaization.’” While the bottom of the poster clarifies that the sign is “not a real eviction notice,” some university students and officials were not pleased with the posters.
In an email to the campus community obtained by Campus Reform, Emory president Claire Sterk said that the posters demonstrate an issue with the approval process in the Office of Residence and Housing.
“I believe that this week’s events exposed several flaws in our process for the approval, authorization, and distribution of flyers,” Sterk said. “I don’t want to prejudge the outcome of our investigation or prescribe changes before we know all of the facts. But I’m confident we will balance the need to protect free speech and the security and dignity of all in our community.”
In a separate email, the director of the Emory Hillel told students, parents, and alumni that the group is working with the university to ensure “the safety our students deserve to feel in their homes on campus.”
One student in Emory Eagles for Israel told Campus Reform that she was not happy with Emory’s response, and felt more could have been done.
“The fact that the school does not condemn the anti-Semitic language in the third paragraph of the eviction notice is hurtful to Jewish and Pro-Israel students,” Melissa Harrari said.
“We, the undersigned, are saddened, but not surprised, that right-wing extremist groups are smearing student activists over their engagement of this difficult issue,” the Emory SJP chapter said in a statement.
“Other members of SJP were confused that groups like Hillel and the Zionist Organization of America were more upset about SJP raising awareness around these human rights abuses than the abuses themselves,” the chapter continued.
Additionally, the group called on students to boycott various Jewish and pro-Israel groups on campus.
“We call on Emory University to cease validating the bigoted smear campaign and to discipline students and other Emory community members that are complicit in the ongoing harassment,” the statement read. “We further call on all community members to avoid endorsing or co-sponsoring events and activities with Emory HIllel, the Zionist Organization of America, EIPAC, Emory Eagles for Israel, Emory Chabad or others complicit in this activity until they rescind and curtail their ongoing harassment campaign.”
The statement does note that Emory Hillel and Chabad “are organizations for Jewish life on many campuses.” But, SJP says that “students within or components of these entities that have propagated or have been complicit in the falsified smearing and targeting of SJP should cease this campaign immediately.”
The statement by SJP is signed by more than 17 pages of students, faculty, professors, and others at the time of publication.
UPDATE: Emory University President Claire E. Sterk issued a public statement on the signs on Friday, April 12, after publication of this article.
"All of us are aware that anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise on college campuses and throughout American society today," Sterk said. "It is in that context of escalating intolerance that our Jewish students found the mock-eviction notices — which incorrectly gave the impression that Emory endorsed the message on the flyers — on their doors. Although Jewish students were not singled out, they and their families justifiably felt targeted, given the world in which we live."
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