On Friday, April 17th at 8:54 am, our signboard was found with its contents completely ripped. The signboard contained a large flyer of Jewish Voice for Peace at UCLA's upcoming event with Rabbi Brant Rosen, which we had attached to our signboard and put outside of Kerckhoff, along with the row of other student group signboards on the afternoon of Thursday April 16th. We have contacted administration and filed a campus incident report. These repeated attacks of harassment and intimidation are part of a larger problem on this campus, where groups such as SJP-UCLA are prevented from their organizing work. This is the second instance that our signboard has been vandalized. SJP-UCLA had put away our signboard for repairs since the last incident. If our signboards are torn down and torn apart every time that they are placed for publicity, along with the countless other student organization signboards, then we effectively do not have the same rights to free speech that other groups on this campus enjoy.
On April 16th, around 12:15am, new posters from an anti-SJP campaign run by a fringe conservative radical David Horowitz were found on UCLA's campus in the DeNeve dormitory area. Additional posters were found by the Engineering building at 8:00 am on April 16th, posted along walls in Bunche Hall, and on bulletin boards along with other official announcements. This is the second incident of these kinds of posters. The earlier one was documented here.
These posters are part of a larger campaign that directs hate speech against Students for Justice in Palestine, as well as supporters of Palestinian freedom and equality. They rely on Islamophobic and anti-Arab tropes to paint Palestinians as terrorists and to misrepresent Students for Justice in Palestine as anti-Semitic. By defacing school property and intimidating a specific group of students, these posters fuel a harmful campus climate and these posters aim to divide and polarize students, instead of creating meaningful discussion. It hardly bears repeating that SJP at UCLA is an organization that prides itself on its opposition to all forms of racism and bigotry, and which is open to and promotes the membership of students from all walks of life. These posters are an attempt to delegitimize and slander the work that we have done to pass divestment and raise awareness about the occupation in Palestine. Coupled with the recent uprise in Islamophobia on a national scale, and the conflation of SJP and ISIS and the labelling of SJP as “Hamas on Campus”, we are rightfully concerned about how dangerous this rhetoric can be and about the safety of our fellow students and student organizers.
The timing of these posters falls around Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is usually commemorated on April 15th. It is a shockingly gross and appalling method that Horowitz and his supporters have chosen to pursue remembering the Holocaust by actively targeting and propelling hatred towards another minority group, especially student activists who are already marginalized and lack resources.
Hate against any community is unacceptable and must be swiftly - and publicly - condemned. UCLA’s chancellors have left SJP-UCLA, its members, and organizers - student activists - without resources or protection of our own safety. After the last instance of posters, we reached out to administration and were met with inaction. Administration actively chose not to prioritize the safety of students then, even after it was made public that David Horowitz was launching a self-titled “Jew Hatred on Campus Awareness Week” and that UCLA was Horowitz’s primary campaign target. Having access to this information, administration has still chosen not to take action and leave the safety of its students unprotected.
If students witness other incidents of hate speech, please note the time and location of the occurrence, and contact UCPD by phone at (310) 825-1491 or by email at email@example.com. SJP at UCLA is archiving these incidents and would appreciate help with the process. Please send in documentation to firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, we encourage students to utilize the following services:
CSO escorts are available from dusk until 1 AM to walk students from any location on campus. Students should call 15 minutes before they need to leave. The number to contact them is (310) 794-WALK.
CSO evening vans run from Monday through Thursday, from 6pm to 11pm and will drop students off at the nearest intersection to their apartment. The number to contact them is (310) 825-1493.
More information on these services is available here.
See more news at the Daily Bruin.