Earlier this week, posters appeared on this campus produced by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a hate group. Using McCarthy-like tactics, these posters named and intimidated Tufts students and a faculty member with the aim to end our organizing using wildly offensive language and defamatory attacks. These posters breached student privacy and should be treated as libel.
We are happy that Tufts administration has condemned these posters and offered support to named students as they should. Still, most of the posters were removed by students, including students who the posters defamed. Days later, legible scraps of the posters remain throughout campus, when they should have been removed immediately. Students should not have to remove the very hate speech that targets them. In the wake of these events, we demand support for our right to organize on campus as it systematically comes under threat by right-wing hate groups.
These posters targeted members of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) using anti-Palestinian and anti-Arab imagery and text. For those of us targeted by these posters who are Jewish, the use of anti-Semitic tropes was especially disturbing, given how the posters appropriated anti-Semitic graphics to serve an Islamophobic, anti-Arab organization, while, ironically, claiming to seek an end to anti-Semitism. As members of SJP and JVP we reject the conflation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, and are devoted to fighting all forms of oppression including Islamophobia, anti-Arab racism and anti-Semitism.
We will not be silent when extra-judicial killings occur regularly in the West Bank. We will not be silent when over 700 Palestinian children are imprisoned, many without being charged with a single crime. We will not be silent when Palestinian poets like Dareen Tatour are imprisoned for their writings.
And we will not be silent when hate speech targets members of the Tufts community. Because we know that what happens over “there” and what happens “here” cannot be divorced. We know that the repression faced by Palestinians — though much more distant and violent — and the repression faced on this campus are underpinned by the same violent ideologies: racism and apartheid.
These posters are only a reminder of how the silencing of resistance is a staple of upholding oppression. We are speaking back to show that we will continue in the struggle. The only thing that will stop our work is the end of Israeli apartheid.
Students for Justice in Palestine at Tufts University