Jewish students living in an NYU dorm woke up to “eviction notices” posted on their doors, apparently by activists from the organization Students for Justice in Palestine.
“We regret to inform you that your suite is scheduled for demolition in three days,” read the notices, according to a Times of Israel blog post by NYU student Laura Adkins.
“If you do not vacate the premise by midnight on 25 April, 2014, we reserve the right to destroy all remaining belongings,” the notices continued. “We cannot be held responsible for property or persons remaining inside the premises. Charges for demolition will be applied to your student accounts.”
One Jewish student, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the notices “made me feel targeted and unsafe in my own dorm room and I know others feel exactly the same as myself. I understand free speech rights, but if this was targeted solely to Jewish students then this appears to be of a more threatening nature rather than informative.”
According to United Nations figures, more than 1,000 people were displaced in 2013 in the West Bank and annexed East Jerusalem by demolitions on the grounds that homes had been built without Israeli permits, which, according to critics, are very difficult to obtain.
The NYU notices charged that “Palestinian homes are destroyed as part of the state of Israel’s ongoing attempts to ethnically cleanse the region of its Arab inhabitants and maintain an exclusively ‘Jewish’ character of the state. By destroying Palestinian homes, the state makes room for illegal Israeli settlements.”
Israeli security forces also routinely demolish illegally built structures in some unauthorized Jewish outposts in the West Bank.
The notices stressed that “this is not a real notice. This is intended to draw attention to the reality that Palestinians confront on a regular basis.”
At the time, the Anti-Defamation League condemned the Harvard notices as hostile and anti-Israel.
“This tactic is designed to silence and intimidate pro-Israel advocates at Harvard and campuses around the country,” Robert Trestan, acting director of the ADL’s New England region, said in a press release. “Free expression has a place on campus; however targeting the dorms of Harvard students lends itself to creating tension, isolating students and fomenting hostility.”