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July 9, 2018 4:32 pm

University of Oregon Hillel Sign Defaced With ‘Free Palestine’ Graffiti

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The vandalized sign found outside the Hillel at the University of Oregon on July 6, 2018. Photo: The Oregon Hillel Foundation.

A sign belonging to the Jewish campus group Hillel at the University of Oregon was vandalized with pro-Palestinian profanity, the group said on Friday.

The sign — located in a parking lot and bearing the greeting “Welcome” in English and Hebrew — was defaced with messages including “Free Palestine you f*cks,” written using a black marker.

“We have removed the sign and will work to clean it off — there is no other damage or graffiti to any other parts of the building,” the group said. It also informed the campus Chabad and Akiva Jewish clubs of the incident, “and have offered to help keep an eye on all of our properties throughout the summer.”

Hillel expressed appreciation for the “immediate support” offered by the administration, including UO President Michael Schill, the Office of the Dean of Students, and the Division of Equity and Inclusion. “All have voiced their concern and support for our community and offered their resources,” the group said.

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Kevin Marbury, vice president for student life, called the graffiti antisemitic and “an unacceptable violation our university values.”

“Anti-Semitism and other forms of hate have no place at the University of Oregon,” he said.

The university’s officers have launched an investigation along with the local Eugene police department.

Before the end of the school year, the UO student senate adopted a resolution endorsing the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, and targeting several companies over their alleged complicity in “the Israeli occupation of Palestine.”

The measure was rejected by Schill, who noted that “to many Jewish people, myself included, the BDS movement not only seeks to criticize the policies of the current Israeli government, but also calls into question the very right of the State of the Israel to exist.”

One student who opposed the resolution, Elysa Gurman, wrote after its passage that “before and after the hearing, rumors were spread on social media that pro-Israel students were a ‘Super PAC,’ that we were getting paid to speak, that specific pro-Israel senators should ‘shut the f*ck up,’ and other nonsensical accusations and assaults.”

“Several times throughout the night, that same student spoke out of turn and targeted students on the other side of the argument,” she said. “Several times, pro-Israel students were interrupted by pro-Palestine students while speaking.”

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