The Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter at Rutgers-New Brunswick posted mock eviction notices in residence halls throughout campus this past weekend in an effort to “educate” students about the experience for some Palestinians whose homes are demolished. The notices were reportedly posted “on the residence hall doors on all five campuses as part of a campaign to raise awareness,” according to the campus newspaper.
Text on the mock eviction notices claimed: “Your suite is scheduled for demolition in the next three days. If you do not vacate the premise within this time frame, we reserve the right to destroy all remaining belongings…This may seem like unrealistically harsh treatment, but this is the actual state of affairs in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.” The notices also alleged that “the Israeli military occupation forces” evict Palestinians on a regular basis and that they have displaced over 160,000 Palestinians from their homes since 1967.
Mock eviction notices have been placed on the doors of dorm rooms on several other universities across the country. Most recently, the SJP chapter at Florida Atlantic University taped similar notices to more than 200 dorm room doors around campus in March 2012. Those notices contained a seal from FAU’s Housing and Residential Life Department, which caused widespread consternation because it appeared to give credibility to the message on the notices. In April 2011, notices were also distributed in student dormitories at Yale University to criticize the “actions of the Israeli state” and to promote SJP’s upcoming events on campus.
This tactic is the latest in a series of efforts by anti-Israel students to indiscriminately demonize Israel. While it is true that some Palestinians are evicted from their homes, Israel engages in home demolitions for legitimate security measures, because these homes were built illegally without proper permits or because they are not in accordance with zoning laws. Moreover, the evictions and demolitions take place following a years-long process and a variety of legal approvals, not with “three days” warning.
At both FAU and Yale, Jewish students reported feeling intimidated by the notices. Esther Reed, the rabbi at Rutgers Hillel, was quoted in the campus newspaper saying, “students were made to feel that they were not safe in their residence halls,” which she called “one of the most disturbing aspects here.”
SJP is a student organization with chapters on more than 95 university and college campuses. It is the leading organizer of anti-Israel events, programs and conferences on campus.