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Students who vocally call for the destruction of Israel have created a stir in Florida with their promotion of modern-day blood libels and lies demonizing the Jewish State. On March 30th, 200 mock eviction notices were placed on dorm-room doors by the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Boca Raton. “We regret to inform you that your home is scheduled for demolition shortly,” begins the notice, which can be seen here. “You have three (3) days to vacate the premise persuant (sic) to code no. 208.2A or you will be subject to arrest. If you do not leave, we reserve the right to destroy your home. Anyone left inside is not our responsibility.”
The notice continues: “Harsh? So is this reality: The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions reports about 25,000 homes have been destroyed by Israeli military forces since the Occupation of Palestine began in 1967.” Further down, the notice repeats the lie that Israeli forces deliberately murdered American peace activist Rachel Corrie.
For the legions of college students reliably ignorant of history, 1967 is the year of the Six Day War during which Israel neutralized the attempt by Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq to annihilate the Jewish State. As for Corrie, she was killed when she attempted to interfere with Israeli counter-terrorism operations taking place in a declared war zone. The zone was part of an area concealing weapon smuggling tunnels used to attack Israel. Corrie was acting as a human shield and was accidently crushed by falling debris. Yet her death remains a cornerstone of anti-Israeli propaganda.
SJP campus leader Noor Fawzy claims the notice was nothing more than an attempt to educate students. “The intent is to expose Israel’s illegal policies and give students a feel of what it’s like to live under occupation” she said, further noting that the notices were posted at random and Jewish students were not singled out. “We don’t discriminate, we’re here to raise awareness about the plight of Palestinians,” said Fawzy. “This was done randomly, we were escorted by a housing official as we distributed the notices.”
With respect to that last contention at least, Fawzy is telling the truth. The FAU Housing and Residential Life Department not only approved the notices, but provided a department employee as an escort when the anti-Israeli activists posted them on dorm doors and elevators. Initially, Charles Brown, FAU’s Senior Vice President for Student Affairs, contended the university did not condone the fliers. Yet FAU was eventually forced to accept responsibility. “The recent mock eviction postings did not comply with the policies of University Housing and Residential Life or the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership concerning the distribution of printed material,” said a released statement.
The notices also contained a mock Palm Beach County seal that PBC Commissioner Steven Abrams noted was illegal, even though it contained a disclaimer “not affiliated with county.” Abrams contended the posting was done “to scare or confuse students, which I am informed was the case in many instances,” he said.
Fawzy remained unrepentant. “We have the right to express ourselves,” she said. “There is no reason for the Jewish community to feel afraid.” Student Rayna Exelbierd, who had one of the eviction notices posted on her door, wasn’t buying it. “We’re taking it very seriously,” she said. “We’re considering it a hate crime. The flier promotes hate; it doesn’t promote peace. People were scared by it. People felt threatened by it.”
Students do have the right to express themselves, yet the point at which such expression crosses the line into outright intimidation–make that university-sanctioned intimidation–may in fact be a violation of anti-discrimination laws that do not allow for the creation of a hostile environment targeting specific groups. The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), a group that has led the charge to defend Jewish college students from campus hate, demanded that FAU condemn the notice. They contend the flyer was anti-Semitic, citing a 2005 study by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights recognizing that anti-Semitism “should be distinguished from legitimate discourse regarding foreign policy,” and that “anti-Semitic bigotry is no less morally deplorable when camouflaged as anti-Israelism or anti-Zionism.”
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