Posters found on campus Wednesday portrayed the Students for Justice in Palestine as terrorist supporters and called Vice Chancellor Jerry Kang an advocate of terrorist supporters.
The posters included the hashtag “JewHatred” below a caricature of the equity, diversity and inclusion vice chancellor and a drawing of a man holding a sign that says, “SJP: Jews are Nazis.”
The David Horowitz Freedom Center, led by conservative writer David Horowitz, claimed responsibility for the posters in a press release Wednesday. In the release, Horowitz said Kang and SJP harassed former Graduate Students Association president Milan Chatterjee for threatening to prevent funding for an event if it took sides on the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.
The BDS movement calls on universities, including the University of California, to divest from companies that they say contribute to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Horowitz’s organization placed the posters behind Powell Library and near Janss Steps. The center has also placed similar posters at UCLA in April and November. Horowitz’s campaign, called Stop the Jew Hatred on Campus, has targeted multiple universities other than UCLA, according to the center’s press release.
UCLA spokesperson Ricardo Vazquez said the posters were found Wednesday, and were promptly removed by UCLA. He added the posters’ removal was in accordance with university policy and that any unauthorized posters placed by a non-UCLA-affiliated person are subject to removal, regardless of content.
Dean of Students Maria Blandizzi said in a statement that the content of the posters was inflammatory and attempted to incite fear and mistrust among the campus community.
“We have seen tactics like this before and, sadly, we may see them again,” Blandizzi added in her statement. “But these tactics underestimate the strength and high character that are core values of our students.”
In her statement, Blandizzi urged UCLA community members to promote respect for all UCLA members rather than be intimidated by provocation.
“Others may try to coarsen political discourse, but I am confident in…our students’ ability to elevate it,” Blandizzi said. “As Bruins, we value ideas over insults.”
SJP said in a press release Thursday that the connections between SJP and terrorist organizations depicted in the posters are false. SJP stated they think Vice Chancellor Kang was targeted because he denounced the posters in the past.
“Our sympathies go out to every student that was offended by Horowitz’s poster campaign and we urge any and all students who would like to learn more about the issue to contact SJP,” the organization said in the press release.
Omar Mansour, the outreach director of SJP and a third-year anthropology transfer student, said he is concerned because the posters have appeared multiple times. Mansour added he thinks administration should do more to prevent similar cases from arising.
“The fact that it’s still going on shows that nothing serious has been done to stop it,” Mansour said.
Yacoub Kureh, SJP chair and a graduate student in mathematics, said he thinks administrators should provide mental health resources to students who were negatively affected by the posters.
He added SJP is not interested in giving Horowitz more attention, but they would like to engage the student body in conversation and debate about issues relating to Palestinian human rights.
“It seems that Mr. Horowitz will characterize anyone who disagrees with him or stands up to him as a terrorist or terrorist sympathizer,” he said. “It is both pathetic and disgusting.”
Contributing reports from Shweta Chawla, Daily Bruin contributor.