Police remove posters targeting pro-Palestinian group

September 29, 2017

Brandeis police removed two swastikas and posters targeting pro-Palestinian student groups early this week in seemingly unrelated incidents, according to a campus-wide email from Edward Callahan, Director of Public Safety. Both incidents are being investigated.

A community advisor called campus public safety officers around 7:30 p.m. on Monday after finding a small swastika drawn on a white-board outside a student’s room. Public safety officers removed another swastika from a white-board in the same residence hall less than an hour later.

Reports from staff Tuesday morning led to the removal of posters alleging a relationship between Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Hamas, a Palestinian militant Islamist group designated as a terrorist organization by the United States. The posters were removed for violating Brandeis’ rules about posted notices, which state that “Postings that violate other policy sections, including but not limited to, Non-discrimination and harassment, section 2.0…will not be approved and may be removed,” according to the 2017-18 Rights and Responsibilities guide.

Guy Mika ’17, a member of Brandeis SJP who recalled seeing a poster around 9 a.m. near Olin-Sang, described the poster as depicting three silhouetted figures of descending sizes, each larger figure puppeteering the smaller figure in front of them. The figures, from largest to smallest were labeled: Hamas, AMP (American Muslims for Palestine), SJP. The poster had a full sticker backside according to Mika.

Members of The David Horowitz Freedom Center hung the posters on campus, according to a press release from the group on Tuesday.

“Posters placed on the Brandeis University campus by the Horowitz Freedom Center expose student organizations, student activists and faculty who support terrorist propaganda campaigns,” read the release.
The David Horowitz Freedom Center is listed as hate group by The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for their anti-Muslim ideology.

“I was angry but wasn’t surprised,” Mika said about seeing the poster. “I had known [the Horowitz Freedom Center] were posting similar posters around campuses in North America. I’d seen them elsewhere, my friends from other SJP groups post pictures of them online.”

At Brandeis, most members of SJP are Jewish, according to Mika, who reiterated that SJP is not an Islamist organization and called the posters “baseless propaganda.”

The Freedom Center listed Brandeis University sixth on its list of “Top Ten Worst Schools that Support Terrorists,” which it released in conjunction with the posting of signage on Brandeis campus. University of California-Berkeley, DePaul University, the University of California-Irvine, San Francisco State University and the University of Chicago joined Brandeis on the Freedom Center’s list. Similar posters were also hung at these schools.

Anti-Muslim hate groups nearly tripled from 2015 to 2016, according to SPLC. The Freedom Center is one of the 67 new groups to be added to the SPLC’s list of anti-Muslim hate groups in 2016.

“These incidents remind us that Brandeis is not immune to the expressions of hate we see around the country and on other campuses,” Callahan said in his email to the Brandeis community.

The Horowitz Center has placed similar posters on other colleges, including Tufts University, and the University of California, Berkeley, which is also on the same top ten list.

This is not the first instance of anti-semitism at Brandeis, a school where nearly 50 percent of students on campus identify as Jewish. In 2015, someone drew a swastika in condensation on a window at the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity house, and in November 2016, a driver shouted anti-semitic slurs at students from South Street.

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