Mock Eviction Notices Accusing Israel of Host of Crimes Plastered Across Dorms of Connecticut College by Pro-Palestinian Student Group
Students at Connecticut College were greeted with fake eviction notices Monday night in their residence halls, put up by an anti-Israel student organization accusing the Jewish state of a series of crimes, The Algemeiner has learned.
“My original reaction was shock, but this stunt was expected after last semester’s Birthright poster campaign,” Connor Wolfe, a Jewish student at Connecticut College who sits on the board of Hillel, told The Algemeiner, referencing a similar stunt last semester by Conn Students in Solidarity with Palestine (CSSP), in which the student group plastered posters across campus stating, “Taglit-Birthright is settler colonialism.”
“Myself and fellow Hillel board members talked to the administration last semester and warned them that the Birthright posters were the beginning of things to come. We were not sure what would come next: more posters or an apartheid wall like in other schools,” Wolfe said.
“It’s not something you really expect to see walking back to your room at 1 am,” said Wolfe. On the notice, Israel is accused of “occupying” and building “illegal settlements” so that it “can expand past its borders by appropriating Palestinian land.”
“Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes is RACIST, is part of a project of ETHNIC CLEANSING and COLONIZATION, and is ILLEGAL,” the notice states.
What is most frustrating about the incident at Connecticut College, according to Wolfe, is that both the Taglit and eviction posters were put up while students were preparing for their final exams. “To do this during finals week, when students are incredibly stressed and stretched thin, limits our ability to respond to a situation like this,” Wolfe said.
The latest anti-Israel poster campaign at Connecticut College employs a tactic that has been frequently used by pro-Palestinian groups across college campuses to harass Jewish and pro-Israel community members. CSSP’s faculty advisor, Eileen Kane, is the director of the Global Islamic Studies Program at the college and it remains unclear whether CSSP had departmental approval to put up the posters.
Wolfe told The Algemeiner that while CSSP “took an open approach and put up the notices in the hallways and not on any particular doors,” there were claims made by Jewish students of feeling singled out. According to Wolfe, “this was well thought out as it did not ‘directly’ attack Jewish students or students that associate with Israel, as seen on other campuses like NYU, Harvard and Northeastern.”
Wolfe and fellow Hillel board members contacted Connecticut College administration officials immediately after becoming aware of the notices. According to an email obtained by The Algemeiner sent out to the student body by the Interim Dean of Equity and Inclusion, David Canton, on Tuesday, the school has launched an investigation into the matter. The email stated, in part:
Last night, mock eviction notices appeared in the hallways of a number of student residences on campus. The notices are meant to call attention to certain Palestinian claims against Israel. Nearly-identical notices have appeared in residence halls at other colleges around the country in the past several years. Seeing these posters in residential common areas, particularly this close to final exams, has been disturbing to our students. I am writing to let you know that my office is carrying out an investigation of the incident.
While Wolfe said he does not personally feel overly threatened by the “small group of individuals carrying out these stunts, other students have expressed [to him] that they feel unsafe in a place they call home.” In addition, he did express his worry that incidents such as the mock eviction notices “always have the potential to incite something larger, which does bother me.”
“I don’t feel physically threatened at the moment, but my initial reaction was that I was ostracized and singled out for something I associate so personally with and defend each day – Israel. It throws your work in the mud when things like this happen,” Wolfe said.
Wolfe and his fellow Hillel board members are working to combat these posters and other anti-Israel campus campaigns by distributing educational material to fellow students about Israel.
Both Dean Canton and CSSP’s faculty advisor failed to respond to The Algemeiner’s request for comment by press time.