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May 13, 2019 5:06 pm

Israel Sign Defaced With Palestinian Slogans at UC San Diego Amid Reported Rise in ‘Hate Vandalism’

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The defaced Israel sign at the University of California San Diego. Photo: Tritons For Israel.

A sign celebrating Israel at the University of California–San Diego (UCSD) was vandalized last week, shortly after similar artwork at Brandeis University was defaced.

Located at the UCSD’s Graffiti Art Park, a space for student expression, the artwork was put up by the campus club Tritons For Israel with the help of Artists 4 Israel, which engages in advocacy through art. It featured the word Israel, on a background with a Star of David and the words “peace,” “coexistence,” and “love.”

The piece stood beside another artwork that featured a Palestinian flag and the words, “Justice in Palestine.”

“Our students wanted a conversation between the artwork and to share their viewpoint but to, deliberately, not do so in a way that would infringe on the right and the creation of those with whom they disagreed,” Artists 4 Israel said.

In a statement on Thursday, which coincided with Israel’s Independence Day, Tritons For Israel said many of its members had woken up to news that their artwork was vandalized.

Messages including “Free Palestine,” “F*ck settlers,” “No settlers,” “Palestine, not the settler state,” were written across the piece.

“We are unaware of who committed the vandalism, however we are very aware of what it has taught us,” Tritons For Israel stated, before reassuring community members who “may feel uncomfortable, unsafe, or even targeted by the vandalism” that it was “being handled communally and administratively.”

Artists 4 Israel noted on Friday that it was the second time that a mural it helped create on a US college campus was recently defaced.

On April 30, a panel erected at Brandeis University in Massachusetts as part of Brandeis Hillel’s “Israel Week,” which displayed the word “Israel,” was painted over with the slogan “Free Palestine” in black graffiti.

The following day, students reversed the defaced panel and painted the center with the word “coexist” and text calling for a two-state solution and “peace.” The panel was again vandalized, this time with a cardboard sign taped by the group IfNotNow Brandeis, reading, “Stop lying to young Jews #FreePalestine.”

Last Monday, a man reportedly identified as a student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee held a swastika sign in front of an Israeli Independence Day event co-sponsored by Artists 4 Israel. The man was recorded calling for segregation against black people and claimed that Jews were funding social ills.

“We have seen a rise of anti-Israel, anti-Semitic, and straight hate vandalism this academic year,” Artists 4 Israel said. “[We] aim to counter more of these hateful acts with our messages of Peace, Community, Expression, and Israel next year.”

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