Imagine being a student this week at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and having an eviction notice placed on the door of your dorm room because you are Jewish. That’s what happened to some Emory students on Tuesday morning, when a group of students taped mock eviction leaflets to the dorm room doors with mezuzot on them. It occurred at Clairmont Campus and Emory Point dorms.
The ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES reported on the incident that left many students outraged and feeling unsafe in their rooms and at the school. Emory Unitersity’s Office of Student Conduct is conducting an investigation into the mock eviction notices, as is the Emory Police. The leaflets were distributed by Emory Students for Justice in Palestine (ESJP) during its Israel Apartheid Week. It was programmed to coincide with Emory Eagles for Israel’s Israel Week.
The Office of Residence Life and Housing Operations, led by Elaine Turner, the Senior Director of Housing Operations, actually APPROVED the fake eviction notices. But they said that they only approved the fliers to be posted around campus and not on the doors of students or the doors of students with Jewish mezuzahs. It is against their policy and core values of respect, integrity, and safety for anything to be posted on doors.
The university added tha tthey did not have evidence that only door with mezuzahs were targeted (although they removed the leaflets before an investigation).
Dave Cohn, Director of Emory Hillel, said that students were very disturbed and feared for their personal safety. The leader of Emory’s Chabad group told of his members that he was in contact with a notable lawyer who would gladly consider representing them in legal actions. Allison Padilla-Goodman, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League Southeast, wrote in an open letter to University President Claire E. Sterk on Thursday that the mock eviction notices are “disturbing.” She wrote that while students have a right to free expression, targeting their classmates in their residence halls is an “unsettling intrusion.”
Of course, not everyone was outraged by the eviction notices that targeted Jewish students. Emory’s J. Nikodym, an attendee of ESJP/Israel Apartheid Week events said she found the mock evictions impressive, good, and powerful. She added that people should not be made to feel comfortable. During the week, ESJP leaders made a point of holding protests near the tables and events of Eagles for Israel.
Paul Marthers, the Interim Vice President for Campus Life at Emory, wrote to students saying that while the university seeks to create an environment where the free expression of ideas and open, and vigorous debate and speech are valued, “we must also recognize that the manner in which we communicate can have consequences.” He wants the community to learn from this incident, and he directed students to resources, including the school’s counseling services. He did not mention whether the counseling is for those who were victimized, or those who were the intimidators and perpetrators.
The student President of the Center for Jewish Life at PRINCETON UNIVERSITY posted an open letter on the controversy over their Israel Shabbat.
The CJL is host of Israel Shabbat on campus. The Israel Week program includes lectures, discussions, comedy, “Hummus Making,” an ”Israeli Snacks Study Break,” and an “Israeli Elections Watch Party.”
While arranging it over the past several months, the CJL sought feedback from students with a wide variety of political opinions. However, last week, some students from the Alliance of Jewish Progressives (AJP) raised concerns that they would feel uncomfortable at an event that celebrated Israel, even though they were included in the planning process. The CJL even offered space and programming to include their needs. These offers were rejected. And, according to the CJL, the AJP blatantly misrepresented the Tigers for Israel (TFI) event with misleading messages
Two Shabbat dinners will occur at Princeton this evening, just a few hundred feet apart: one for Tigers for Israel (TFI) and its guests; another for members of the Alliance of Jewish Progressives (AJP) (follow them using #NotOurShabbat).
The AJP spokepeople said that the TFI event does not discuss Israel’s faults in their celebration. IMHO, if the TFI event is including a standup performance by comedian Joel Chasnoff, it will include lots about Israel’s faults.
AJP President Rafi Lehmann, a junior, accused the Center for Jewish Life of promoting Tigers For Israel and co-opting the campus Shabbat. He characterized TFI as a political group. To some in his group, celebrating hummus and snacks is an avoidance of the issue of their negative attitudes about the State of Israel and its leadership. Their open letter is HERE
IMHO.. the more Shabbat dinnerx, the better.
A few weeks ago, 69% of the nearly 3,100 Brown University students who voted, passed a referendum in support of Brown divesting its endowment funds from “all stocks, funds, endowment, and other monetary instruments from companies complicit in human rights abuses in Palestine.” In other words, it was a poorly worded BDS referendum to attack the State of Israel.
This week, Brown University President Christina Paxson said she will not act on the referendum.
In unrelated Ivy League news… three weks ago, Columbia University’s Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature Hamid Dabashi wrote in Al Jazeera that although Jews and Muslims and natural allies and should unite to fight anti-Semitism, that Jews are the victims, while Zionists are the “beneficiaries of anti-Semitism” and that Zionists use the anti-Semitism label to silence, “paralyze and neutralize” their political opponents. Professor Dabashi increased his internet celebrity a notch on March 30 when he tweeted that ISIS murderous thugs conquered parts of Syria and declared a ‘caliphate,’ no decent human being on planet earth recognized their armed robbery or their ‘caliphate’ – their ISRAELI counterparts meanwhile conquered parts of Syria and declared it part of their Zionist settler colony – no decent human being on planet earth recognizes their armed robbery. He continued that Israel has a “platoon of clean shaven and well coiffured [spelling error his] columnists at the New York Times propagating the cause of the terrorist outfit as the Zionists columnists do on a regular basis.”
And in related news from Columbia, some students were offended by the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which distributed posters on campus for their Israel Apartheid Week that used anti-Semitic topes in portraying Israeli soldiers terrorizing Arabs. A horned Jewish soldier, using medieval-like hate imagery was shown as a menacing hairy Jew with warts or measles. The SJP rejected this characterization and stated they were criticizing Israel and not Jews, and their partner in the event was the Jewish Voice for Peace.
On Friday, about a dozen Jewish protestors from IfNotNow were arrested on Manhattan Third Avenue for blocking the entrance of the offices of BirthrightIsrael. The protesters are against the group’s lack of tour programming that is critical of the State of Israel.