Update: David Horowitz of the David Horowitz Freedom Center has taken responsibility for the posters in a recent interview.
Students at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) were greeted yesterday by inflammatory posters depicting Palestinian solidarity organizers as ‘Jew haters’.
At least five other universities have since reported similar posters on their campuses, including Amherst College, DePaul University, Drake University, and the University of California, Irvine. The University of Virginia was the latest campus to find them.
The posters were all part of a campaign by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, an organization known for its right-wing, anti-Islam, and anti-Islam positions. Founder David Horowitz claimed responsibility for the posters in an interview with the Jewish Journal.
Emblazoned on the top of each of the posters is the campaign’s target: Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a student group active on over 130 colleges and universities across the United States. At the bottom is the hashtag #JewHaters.
The images are designed to depict Palestinians as menacing. They “rely on Islamophobic and anti-Arab tropes to paint Palestinians as terrorists and to misrepresent Students for Justice in Palestine as anti-Semitic,” reads a statement by SJP at UCLA.
The statement goes on to say that “these posters are only the most recent manifestation of a larger, egregious pattern of anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab, and anti-Muslim bigotry that has gone unchecked throughout the UC system,” referring to past incidences at the public California campuses when Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims felt marginalized by the administration, by privately-funded lobby groups who try to sabotage their campaigns, and by invited speakers who defend, among other things, the continued military occupation and colonization of the Palestinian territories.
Horowitz defended the posters and identified them as the first stage of his organization’s latest campaign, “Jew Hatred on Campus”, which seeks to demonize as ‘Jew haters’ students and groups who organize against Israel’s oppressive policies — policies, it is worth noting, that have been condemned by agencies and governments around the world for their violation of the most elemental of human rights.
Horowitz intends to blitz campuses with further inflammatory material to both intimidate Palestine solidarity activists on campus and to applaud what he believes to be Israel’s squeaky-clean human rights record.
When confronted during the interview with the fact that even pro-Israel Jewish communities condemned the posters, Horowitz mockingly characterized them as “pathetic” and “afraid”
The goal of his campaign, he says, is to convince university administrators (by way of hateful posters that violated campus rules, no less) that SJP is a hate group.
SJP has made headlines lately for its instrumental role in successfully passing divestment resolutions in universities around the country. Most recently, students organizers at Northwestern University pushed a resolution through the student government that called on the administration to divest from companies and corporations profiting from Israel’s military occupation. The resolution passed with a final vote of 24-22-3 after five hours of back-and-forth deliberation.
Less than 24 hours earlier, Stanford University’s Undergraduate Senate voted 10-4-1 in favor of a similar resolution.
The David Horowitz Freedom Center has been known to print sensationalist and incitatory flyers, such as this 2011 ad in the New York Times. And as part of their latest campaign, the group urged supporters to stage mock hangings across campuses to chip away at SJP’s support.