UIUC Jewish Leader Berates Student Government for Sign Equating Pro-Israel Activists With Nazis
A Jewish student leader at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign berated members of the university’s student government on Wednesday after she was called a Nazi while voicing opposition to an anti-Israel divestment resolution under consideration.
A sign held at the forum by members of the anti-Israel Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) said, “F*** Nazis,” she said.
“I was called a Nazi right in front of your eyes while the authors of this bill clapped in support of the statement,” freshman Nina Raab is seen telling the gathering in video footage from the event. “I’m sorry, but if that is not antisemitic, I don’t know what is.”
In response to Raab’s comments, audience members could be heard on the video yelling “that’s right!”
“Unlike my slaughtered family whose ashes lay in Auschwitz, we, the Jewish people, are finally free,” Raab continued. “We, the Jewish people, can defend ourselves. And this time we will not stand by as our people again are threatened with slaughter by Hamas and their national SJP supporters.”
Hours after Raab’s comments the student leaders passed the resolution supporting the anti-Israel Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement by a margin of twenty in favor, nine against, and seven abstentions.
The resolution was co-authored by Dunia Ghanimah, president of the university’s chapter of SJP, and calls on the university to boycott “companies that profit from human-rights violations in Palestine and other communities globally.”
“No matter what we do, no matter what we say, no matter how many Jews have to cry and express their feelings to the senators, clearly our voices are not being heard on campus,” Raab told The Algemeiner.
“This is beyond student government. This is SJP and their classic antisemitic tropes that they use across the country and around the world.”
Referring to another resolution last October that distinguished anti-Zionism from antisemitism, Raab lamented the verbal abuse and unfair treatment Jewish students had received at the time when the bill was passed without any consent from the Jewish community on campus.
“They did not ask us about it. We were not even a part of the drafting. Ultimately, they were defining what antisemitism was for us,” recalled Raab.
The bill was drafted during the Jewish high holidays, when the Jewish community and cultural and religious institutions such as Chabad and Hillel are typically unavailable for comment. SJP often holds anti-Israel events on Jewish holidays or on the same day as Holocaust awareness events. The group launched its first BDS campaign on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The October resolution set a precedent for last week’s vote, which went to the committee on Wednesday for debate and drew hundreds of Jewish students who spoke out against the bill.
A 2016 study by Brandeis University found that campuses with an SJP presence report significantly more hate crimes against Jews. Twenty percent of Jewish students surveyed said they were blamed for Israel’s actions merely because they are Jewish.
Watch footage of Raab’s remarks below:
A Jewish girl was called a Nazi last night at a BDS vote. Her response, “We, the Jewish people, can defend ourselves and this time we will not stand by as our people again are threatened with slaughter by Hamas and their National SJP supporters.”
— BDS Report (@BDSreport) February 13, 2020