A pro-Palestinian group slipped fake eviction notices under the doors of 2,000 NYU students on April 24, according to Gothamist. While the group claims it did not target Jewish students specifically, many of the papers were distributed at Palladium—the dorm known to have the largest population of Jews.
While some saw the stunt as a legitimate political protest, others felt it was an explicitly anti-Semitic action. "Being very straightforward, this made me feel targeted and unsafe in my own dorm room and I know others feel exactly the same as myself," a Jewish student told Times of Israel.
The Anti-Defamation League condemned the action in the following public statement:
Mock eviction notices are a disturbing tactic designed to silence and intimidate pro-Israel advocates on campuses around the country rather than promote meaningful dialogue. While students have a right to express their views on campus, targeting students in their residence halls is an unsettling intrusion.
We appreciate that NYU’s administration has spoken out against such hateful actions, and we urge them to take steps to reassure students that their personal space is secure.
The anti-Israel activists who passed out these notices are creating tension, intimidating students and fostering a hostile atmosphere on campus. The academic environment should be a place where constructive dialogue and discourse about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can thrive.
While the group, NYU Students for Justice in Palestine, justified the stunt on their website.
Over 2,000 students at New York University received mock eviction notices on the morning of April 24th. Every resident in the Lafayette and Palladium residence halls was told to evacuate their dorm, which would be demolished within three days. The flyers were clearly fake - with the words “THIS IS NOT A REAL EVICTION NOTICE” scrawled across the bottom - yet they are grounded in a disturbing reality: since 1967, approximately160,000 Palestinians have received similar notices, only to witness their homes destroyed by Israeli forces shortly after. The purpose of this action, led by New York University’s Students for Justice in Palestine, was to draw attention to this reality Palestinians face daily.
Through its policy of housing demolitions, Israel aims to ethnically cleanse Israel/Palestine of its Arab inhabitants in a systematic manner. The rate at which this policy is carried out is astonishing. In 2012 alone a total of 600 Palestinian structures were demolished by the Israeli authorities, including at least 189 homes displacing 880 Palestinians, 468 of whom were children. Thousands more are displaced due to the demolitions of animal shelters, water cisterns, and other structures related to their livelihood or because of the destruction of infrastructure, including roads. These demolitions are illegal under international law, breaching article 53 of the 4th Geneva Convention.
Accusations leveled against SJP claimed that the action targeted Jewish students; this is erroneous and no objective evidence has been cited to support these allegations. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. At its very core, SJP is a group opposed to ethnic discrimination and institutionalized racism. Racism is not limited to the practices of the Israeli government, and opposing policies and racist rhetoric, including anti-Semitism, is vital. The students in SJP and the participants in this action come from diverse, including Jewish, backgrounds. This action addresses only one of the many horrific aspects of the occupation that Palestinians face daily. NYU SJP will continue working towards ending these injustices.
Seeing both sides, it's hard to tell who is in the right here. One thing is clear, however: The group clearly wanted to create controversy, and they surely succeeded.