Update: February 27 - Yesterday, members of the University of North Carolina (UNC) SJP chapter, distributed hundreds of mock eviction notices in residence halls on the UNC campus. Just like at Northeastern University, where the students began to use the hashtag “#BostonMockEviction” on Twitter after posting them, at UNC they began to use “#UNCMockEviction.” The mock eviction notices were also used to promote UNC’s Israeli Apartheid Week, scheduled to take place on the campus from March 3 to March 7.
Mock eviction notices were slid under residence hall doors of many students at Northeastern University earlier this week. Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) took responsibility for the action and claimed that these notices were posted to kick off Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), which is taking place this week on dozens of college campuses across the United States.
The notices at Northeastern stated that the affected dorm rooms would be demolished in three days and that “eviction notices are routinely given to Palestinian families living under oppressive Israeli occupation for no reason other than their ethnic background…to cleanse the region of its Arab population, and create space for settlements.” In reality, some Palestinians in the West Bank receive eviction notices if their homes were built illegally or need to be demolished because of Israeli security concerns, not because of the residents’ “ethnic background.”
Language in the notice echoed many of the themes of IAW, including allegations of Israeli racism and apartheid, calls for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns against Israel, and claims that Israel is committing war crimes such as ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people. Northeastern SJP later issued a comment on Twitter that “some students don’t like facing uncomfortable facts about Israeli apartheid.”
The notice, various versions of which have been distributed at several other college campuses in recent years, was also made to appear as if it was issued by a municipal court, making the threat of demolition seem more real to the students who received them.
In the past year, anti-Israel student groups at the following universities have circulated mock eviction notices:
- University of Michigan, December 2013 – Over 1,000 students received mock eviction notices posted by members of the student group “Students Allied for Freedom and Equality” at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. These notices claimed that Israel evicts Palestinians from their homes for the purpose of “mak[ing] life so miserable for the Arabs that they leave.”
- Rutgers University, October 2013 – Students from the Rutgers-New Brunswick SJP chapter posted mock eviction notices in residence halls to “educate” students about the experience for some Palestinians whose homes are demolished. Text on the mock eviction notices read, “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.”
- San Diego State University, March 2013 – Mock eviction notices were posted on students’ residence hall room doors by members of the SDSU SJP chapter. The notices, which claimed that “$30 billion US tax dollars have been used to fund Israeli apartheid in the past decade,” were meant to raise awareness over Israel’s alleged human rights violations against Palestinians.