Jewish Defense Groups Urge UC Davis Chancellor to Investigate Students for Justice in Palestine
Twenty-three advocacy groups have signed a letter to Linda Katehi, the Chancellor of the University of California, Davis, demanding an investigation into Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), an antisemitic organization that has continually harassed Jewish and pro-Israel students on campuses across the United States.
The letter, organized by the AMCHA Initiative, was triggered by instances of antisemitic graffiti on the UC Davis campus just days after the student government, on January 29, passed an anti-Israel divestment resolution written and promoted by SJP. Following the resolution’s passage, a Jewish fraternity at UC Davis was spray painted with swastikas. In addition, anti-Semitic graffiti was discovered at the Hillel House. Authorities said a janitor found the words, “grout out the Jews,” etched into the bathroom wall.
“While we commend you for already taking some important steps in addressing these problems, we urge the university to conduct a full investigation into the conduct of the registered student group called Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and one of its members, Azka Fayyaz,” the letter declared. “We believe that the investigation will reveal that both the SJP and Ms. Fayyaz have violated university policies and fostered divisiveness, hatred and bigotry on campus in violation of the Principles of Community. They should be held accountable for their misconduct.”
Fayyaz, a student senator, marked the resolution’s passage by taking to Facebook to proudly state, “Hamas and Sharia law have taken over UC Davis,” and “Israel will fall insha’Allah #UCDDivest.”
Her postings were, the letter continued, “particularly troubling, because they support and promote violence against Jews and the destruction of Israel.” The letter also noted that Fayyaz, on a separate occasion, “helped hold a sign depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with devil’s horns and an Adolf Hitler mustache and outrageously equating Gaza – which is controlled by the terrorist group Hamas, not Israel – with a concentration camp.”
The letter encouraged Katehi to issue “a strong public condemnation of SJP and the conduct of its members. With antisemitism rising at an alarming rate around the world and right here in the U.S., it is more critical than ever that you continue to send the message to the university community that while UC Davis supports free speech and the robust exchange of ideas, it will not tolerate antisemitism or any other form of hate and bigotry.”
Among the signatories to the letter are local chapters of the Chabad movement and a range of political advocacy organizations, among them the Zionist Organization of America and the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel.