FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 2nd, 2016
Last night and throughout the day today, fliers were found around the University of Minnesota campus accusing Students for Justice in Palestine of being both a front for Hamas and an anti-semitic terrorist organization. The fliers were produced by the Horowitz Freedom Center, an extremist hate group, which also released a press release with the same unfounded accusations.
Some posters used images of people in kuffiyeh (Palestinian scarf) with guns, standing in pools of blood with captions such as “Jew Hatred.” Others portrayed a person in a kuffiyeh against a blood splattered Palestinian flag with the words “Hamas Terrorists.” These images harm Palestinians, and more specifically SJP members, by painting us as violent, anti-semitic terrorists—playing on vivid Islamophobic stereotypes. Stereotypes which are not only harmful to all Muslims but wrongfully conflate Palestinian with Muslim, ignoring and marginalizing Palestinian Christians and other non-Muslim Palestinians. These posters grossly misconstrue SJP’s mission as an organization that stands against all forms of oppression and advocates for justice. Instead, these posters portray SJP as a violent hate group. They paint all Palestinians and all activists for Palestine as Muslim terrorists, and thus erase our diversity, struggle and efforts.
In the wake of an election wrought with Islamophobic statements, this act of hate speech should be taken very seriously. It is no secret that acts of violence targeting Muslims and other groups mistakenly identified as Muslim have increased because of Islamophobic rhetoric. By distributing these posters around campus, SJP members, Muslim students, and other students of color are put at risk.
We strongly condemn this act of Islamophobic hate speech. We recognize that such acts seek to do nothing more than engage in practices of fear mongering that divide our campus and harm students. We stand against this attempt to create a hostile campus climate and call on the support of the campus community to remove these posters and speak up against this act of hate speech. We also demand that the University of Minnesota release a statement condemning these posters, publicly affirm their support of SJP, and conduct a thorough investigation of the individuals responsible.
Students for Justice in Palestine
Al Madinah Cultural Center
Asian-American Student Union
Muslim Students Association
Queer Student Cultural Center
Here is the campus climate response.