Signs calling members of pro-Palestinian student groups “fake Jews” and “anti-Semitic” were found on campus Sunday, less than 24 hours before the Student Association Senate debates a contentious resolution on Palestinian human rights abuses for the second time.
Signs calling the pro-Palestinian student group Jewish Voice for Peace “fake news, fake Jews,” and labeling Students for Justice in Palestine “anti-Semitic cowards,” were found late Sunday night and posted on Facebook by JVP and Divest this Time at GW Monday. The messages targeted the organizations ahead of a highly anticipated SA meeting Monday, during which a group of senators will call for the University to divest from companies that allegedly contribute to Palestinian oppression.
Members of Divest this Time, SJP and JVP reported the signs to the University Police Department, saying the incident was “harmful” to their well-being, according to Divest this Time’s statement.
University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar confirmed Monday that “flyers and stickers” were reported to and removed by UPD.
The note addressed to SJP, which was found near Gelman Library, called for a public vote on Monday’s resolution, saying “be proud, anti-Semites! Don’t vote BDS in secret.” A public vote would force each senator to say for the record how they voted on the resolution.
The poster referred to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, a Palestinian-led movement that has been accused of anti-Semitism and delegitimizing the Israeli state, which opponents of the SA resolution have linked to the legislation.
SJP called the posters “threatening” in a Facebook post Monday, and JVP described the incident as “an attempt to scare pro-Palestine Jews and stifle our voices.”
“These stickers are a virulent, anti-Semitic attack which specifically target a small minority of pro-Palestine, pro-divestment Jewish students on campus,” the JVP statement reads. “The assertion that Jewish Voice for Peace members are ‘Fake Jews’ perpetuates a racist, false narrative which asserts that all Jews must stand in support of the state of Israel, and those who do not are ‘fake’ or not Jewish.”
The signs also allegedly featured a logo from the website Canary Mission, – an organization that anonymously identifies students and public university figures who moderators say are anti-Semitic and racist – but it is unknown who hung up the posters.
After SA senators debated the pro-Palestinian resolution for the first time last year, supporters said they were publicly targeted by Canary Mission. Members of Divest this Time recommended in their statement that senators cast paper ballots Monday to avoid accusations of anti-Semitism posted on the website.
“This incident makes the intention of such blacklists clear: the rhetoric employed by ‘Make BDS vote public,’ is used to silence the voices of justice each time a divestment bill is presented to the senate, on any college campus,” Divest this Time’s statement read.
GW for Israel responded to the posters in a Facebook statement Monday, condemning Canary Mission for intimidating students with a “smear campaign” against pro-Palestinian students and recognized JVP as “very much real” Jewish people.
“An attack on their organization, solely based on the fact that they are Jewish students who support the Palestinian cause, is an anti-Semitic attack,” the group’s statement read.