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February 27, 2014 0

Eviction Notices At Northeastern Kick-Off Israeli Apartheid Week

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.northeastern-iaw-eviction-2014-sjp

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.”northeastern-iaw-eviction-2014-2-sjp

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.

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December 11, 2013 1

University Of Michigan Latest School To Be Hit With Anti-Israel Mock Eviction Notices

Mock evic­tion notices were recently dis­trib­uted at the Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan by the pro-Palestinian stu­dent group “Stu­dents Allied for Free­dom and Equal­ity.” More than one thou­sand stu­dents report­edly received the notices on their res­i­dence hall room doors on Tues­day, Decem­ber 10, which warned them that their dor­mi­tory would be demol­ished by Decem­ber 13.michigan-mock-eviction-notice

The notices were made to appear as though they were issued by the university’s Depart­ment of Hous­ing and were designed to mimic the evic­tion notices received by some Pales­tini­ans in the West Bank if their homes were built ille­gally or needed to be demol­ished because of Israeli secu­rity con­cerns. The notices, how­ever, claim that Israel evicts Pales­tini­ans from their homes for the pur­pose of “mak[ing] life so mis­er­able for Arabs that they leave.”

Stu­dents affil­i­ated with SAFE also pub­lished a “View­point” piece on the uni­ver­sity newspaper’s Web site call­ing for Boy­cott, Divest­ment and Sanc­tions (BDS) cam­paigns against Israel and claim­ing that the evic­tion notices are a “tool of polit­i­cal satire.”

These notices, which have appeared on at least a half a dozen other cam­puses in the past few years, have pre­vi­ously made some stu­dents feel threat­ened or intimidated.

For exam­ple, after stu­dents at Rut­gers Uni­ver­sity received the notices in Octo­ber 2013, Esther Reed, the rabbi of Rutgers’s Hil­lel was quoted in the cam­pus news­pa­per say­ing, “stu­dents were made to feel that they were not safe in their res­i­dence halls.” Sim­i­larly, at Florida Atlantic Uni­ver­sity, stu­dents reported feel­ing con­fused or scared after receiv­ing evic­tion notices in March 2012, accord­ing to Palm Beach County Com­mis­sioner Steven Abrams, who spoke to a local news­pa­per shortly after the inci­dent occurred.

Other stu­dents have crit­i­cized the tac­tic for fail­ing to cre­ate dia­logue. At Yale Uni­ver­sity, stu­dents wrote an op-ed in the cam­pus news­pa­per and called the mock evic­tion notices “offen­sive,” claim­ing that there was not “even the faintest attempt at build­ing a con­struc­tive dialogue.”  

In the past few years, anti-Israel stu­dent groups at the fol­low­ing uni­ver­si­ties have cir­cu­lated mock evic­tion notices on campus:

  • Rut­gers Uni­ver­sity, Octo­ber 2013 – Stu­dents from the Rutgers-New Brunswick SJP chap­ter posted mock evic­tion notices in res­i­dence halls through­out the cam­pus 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.
  • Har­vard Uni­ver­sity, March 2013 – Mem­bers of the Har­vard Pales­tine Sol­i­dar­ity Com­mit­tee posted mock evic­tion notices on stu­dents’ doors in fresh­man and upper class res­i­dence halls. The notices, which warned stu­dents that their res­i­dence hall rooms were “sched­uled for demo­li­tion in the next three days” were posted in order to pub­li­cize “Israel Apartheid Week” on cam­pus and to raise aware­ness about Israel’s policies.
  • Florida Atlantic Uni­ver­sity, March 2012 – Mock evic­tion notices were posted on nearly 200 stu­dent res­i­dence hall rooms. The action, orga­nized by the FAU SJP chap­ter, warned stu­dents that their rooms were being demol­ished and that “any­one left inside is not our respon­si­bil­ity.” This episode attracted sig­nif­i­cant ire because the flier con­tained the offi­cial seal of university’s Hous­ing and Res­i­den­tial Life Department.  
  • Uni­ver­sity of Chicago, May 2011 – Over 200 mock evic­tion notices were dis­trib­uted by the SJP chap­ter on cam­pus. The notices stated that affected stu­dents would have their rooms demol­ished and that if they did not vacate them, “we reserve the right to destroy your hous­ing unit. We do not main­tain respon­si­bil­ity for any­one remain­ing inside.” 
  • Yale Uni­ver­sity, April 2011 – Mock evic­tion notices were dis­trib­uted by SJP at Yale Uni­ver­sity to crit­i­cize “the actions of the Israeli state” and to pro­mote the group’s upcom­ing events.

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October 10, 2013 13

Anti-Israel “Eviction Notices” Taped to Dorm Rooms at Rutgers University

The Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine (SJP)Rutgers_SJP_Mock_Eviction_Notice 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.

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