STORY BY MORGAN GSTALTER
A number of Anti-Semitic posters with the hashtag #JewHaters were found at various locations on Wednesday, Feb. 23, citing to be from the organization Students for Justice in Palestine.
The posters were seen at a handful of other universities across the country including University of California, Los Angeles and University of Massachusetts, Amherst, creating controversy from coast to coast. They have been taken down since the photos were taken.
Both the Jewish and Middle Eastern communities on campus condemn the act of the posters, calling it “hateful.”
A majority of the members of Drake Hillel, the Jewish organization on campus, are in Washington D.C for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual policy conference.
Former Hillel President and senior public relations student Randy Kane called the posters ‘ridiculous and extreme.’
“We understand the right to free speech and the right to form your own political views but we will not stand hating us as a people,” Kane said during a phone conversation.
The poster said “Students for Justice in Palestine” and Kane believes they may actually be from extreme supporters of Israel.
“I think, as unfortunate as it is, they were created by supporters of Israel that aren’t us (Hillel) obviously,” Kane said. “To be blunt, you’re going to have extremes on every conflict. You’ll have the far left and the far right. Pro or anti-Israel. Some radical people think that anyone who doesn’t support Israel is anti-Semitic. The average Jewish student at Drake is no where near that extreme.”
It is unclear where the posters came from because students that work with the National Students for Justice in Palestine (NSJP) have also condemned the posters and claim no affiliation with the “hateful propaganda.”
Ali Jandal, a representative of Middle Eastern Peace and Prosperity (MEPPA), wrote a letter to the editor, on page five of
this week’s issue.
Jandal was worried that this “national slander campaign,” as he calls it, would reflect negatively upon his organization and that an affiliation between the posters and MEPPA would be assumed. MEPPA works closely with the National Students for Justice in Palestine (NSJP) as a taskforce that focuses on cultural education.
“Our goal with the letter was to make sure that people don’t think we did this,” Jandal said. “We don’t discriminate. We want people to see us for what we really are. Our goal is to walk away and use this incident to our advantage and showcase MEPPA and our true colors.”
“My first reaction was initial disbelief,” Jandal said. “I don’t know who would put up such a negative thing. Why at Drake? What group or person would do this?”
Jandal said he had two main concerns when he first discovered the posters.
“First, I was worried that people would believe that the poster came out of MEPPA,” Jandal said. “Secondly, I also know of the growth of Islamophobia and anti-Arab thoughts, and I was worried on behalf of the safety of my members. People can be dangerous when they have that mentality. It seemed insensitive and ill-timed.”
Jandal stressed that MEPPA and NSJP are educational groups. “NSJP is not anti-Israel,” he said. “It is just pro-Palestine. People might have assumed we are automatically pro-Palestine just because we discuss Middle Eastern topics. A majority of people look for something that pins people apart and we hope to work with NSJP to rehumanize Palestinians. We care about human rights.”