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February 9, 2017 2:05 am

Jewish Groups in Houston Rally Behind Local College Students After Peers Suggest on Social Media to ‘Kill All Zionists’

avatar by Lea Speyer

University of Houston campus. Photo: University of Houston.

University of Houston campus. Photo: University of Houston.

Jewish groups have banded together to support Houston college students, after it was brought to light that their peers were routinely threatening Jews online.

Local and national organizations, including the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston (JFGH) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), have expressed serious concern over the “disturbing” social media activity of 12 current and recently graduated University of Houston students, exposed by a covert campus watchdog group and exclusively reported by The Algemeiner.

Lee Wunsch, president and CEO of the JFGH, told The Algemeiner that the violent posts — which included praise for Hitler and a poll asking people if they would be willing to press a button to “kill all Zionists” if doing so would also murder “every Jew out there” — had the group’s full attention.

“The chairman of our board has been in close contact with the general counsel of the university and they have been very responsive in regards to any issues that would create a hostile environment for Jewish students on campus,” he said.

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ADL Southwest Regional Director Dayan Gross told The Algemeiner that the organization has been in touch with law enforcement, as it continues to closely monitor the situation on campus. The ADL is also “offering our resources to Houston Hillel, students and campus officials,” he said.

Gross made clear the ADL “respects freedom of speech,” but added that “we reserve the right to make sure people see hateful speech for what it is and counter it.”

Houston students say they are grateful for the support. Tatiana Uklist — president and founder of the university’s chapter of grassroots advocacy group Students Supporting Israel — said the Texan-Jewish community has “rallied behind us.” Uklist told The Algemeiner that many in Houston have a personal interest in the issue, as “several members of the community sit on the board of the university or are major donors.” 

Rabbi Kenny Weiss, executive director of Houston Hillel, noted that many groups have reached out to students to offer advice and guidance.

As The Algemeiner reported, Canary Mission — which anonymously monitors anti-American, anti-Israel and antisemitic activities on college campuses — revealed it uncovered a “disturbing degree of hatred” directed at Jews and Israel in posts from UH students. Some of these individuals are affiliated with the UH chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the Muslim Student Association (MSA), as well as with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

According to a Canary Mission representative, the group found a number of “antisemitic and threatening catch phrases repeated over and over again in various forms, such as ‘Jews are dogs’ and ‘Jews should be cursed.'”

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