Posters likening Students for Justice in Palestine to Hamas militants found across campus Monday

By Aviva Luttrell

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SJP

Posters likening Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a nationwide Palestinian solidarity activist group, to Hamas militants were found across the University of Massachusetts campus Monday and on other college campuses across the country.

The posters depict two masked men with guns in their hands standing over a kneeling man with a bag over his head with text reading, “Students for Justice in Palestine” and “#JewHaters” at the bottom.

Similar posters were found at the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Virginia.

Evan Scribner, treasurer for the UMass SJP chapter, said he believes the posters are meant to coincide with Israeli Apartheid Week, an international, campus-centered awareness campaign to support boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

Scribner said the posters were deeply troubling to the organization, which was founded by Jewish students.

“We’ve found that people who disagree with us consistently try to equate criticism of the State of Israel and criticism of Zionism with anti-Semitism,” he said when reached by phone Monday night.

“That’s a really big problem and it really bothers us, especially the Jewish students in our group because we feel that it trivializes actual anti-Semitism.”

Scribner added that the posters, which equate Palestinians with terrorists, have Islamophobic and racist undertones and make some SJP members feel unsafe on campus.

“We don’t like the implications that anybody who cares about Palestine or anybody who is a Muslim or a Palestinian or an Arab is a terrorist or is violent,” he said.

Scribner said SJP is taking the matter very seriously and will be bringing it to the attention of University officials.

He added that the organization is a religiously and ethnically diverse group open to anybody. Its main strategy is to get college campuses to divest from Israel.

UCLA students have been tweeting pictures of the poster and a second poster, which has not yet been found on the UMass campus, depicting a man on a motorcycle dragging a dead body through the street with the same text.

Nobody has claimed responsibility for the posters.

Aviva Luttrell can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @AvivaLuttrell.