Florida Atlantic University Continues to Invite Campus Hate

In response to a new online video documenting the anti-Semitic messaging and extreme anti-Israel activism of a campus hate group at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is again demanding that FAU publicly condemn anti-Semitic bigotry on campus and take other steps to remedy the hostile environment. The video can be seen at www.exposingfau.com.

Less than a year ago, FAU was the site of a highly publicized incident, where the campus’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) organization posted hundreds of anti-Semitic fake eviction notices on student dorms. The fake notices made false and demonizing allegations against Israel.

Simulated bloody infant body bags at FAU – Feb. 7, 2013

At that time, ZOA warned that the FAU Administration’s improper handling of the incident would invite SJP to continue promoting anti-Semitic messages on campus. As expected, in one of several recent incidents, FAU’s SJP chapter set up a display of bloody infant body bags on campus that were intended to promote the falsehood that Israel massacres innocent babies. As the online video points out, such rhetoric constitutes a blood libel – a classic anti-Semitic tactic that is intended to demonize Israel and Jewish people. Nevertheless, FAU’s Administration has continued its refusal to condemn SJP’s anti-Semitic actions.

Joseph M. Sabag, Director of ZOA’s Florida Regional Office, stated: “We again reiterate that the situation at FAU has nothing to do with the SJP’s right to free speech. This is about the FAU administration’s right to free speech, and its obligation to exercise that right by forcefully and publicly condemning bigotry on campus. Whether intended or not, FAU is sending the message to naive and unsuspecting students that the SJP’s promotion of hateful lies about Israel is acceptable and not even worth mentioning.”

The ZOA reiterates its demand that Florida Atlantic University take several steps to safeguard against an anti-Semitic environment on campus, including:  (1) immediately speaking out and publicly condemning the anti-Semitic acts of Students for Justice in Palestine, which occur both on and off campus; (2) applying strict scrutiny to all of SJP’s activities; and enforcing appropriate disciplinary measures against the SJP under the University’s code; (3) implementing all necessary protocol and procedures to prevent any apparent endorsement by FAU of any of SJP’s hateful activities; and (4) providing education to administration officials and staff about the University’s obligation under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act to ensure a campus environment that is physically and emotionally safe and conducive to learning for Jewish students.

About FAU’s Legal and Moral Responsibilities

In November 2005, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights recognized that anti-Israel and anti-Zionist sentiment can cross the line into anti-Semitism, and in the Commission’s words, “should be distinguished from legitimate discourse regarding foreign policy.” The Commission clearly stated: “Anti-Semitic bigotry is no less morally deplorable when camouflaged as anti-Israelism or anti-Zionism.” The Commission specifically called on university administrations to publicly speak out and “set a moral example by denouncing anti-Semitic and other hate speech, while safeguarding all rights protected under the First Amendment and under basic principles of academic freedom.” The U.S. Department of Education’s Office on Civil Rights has made the same recommendation to university administrations.

About the ZOA

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is the oldest and one of the largest pro-Israel organizations in the United States. With offices around the country and in Israel, the ZOA educates the public, elected officials, the media, and college/high school students about the truth of the ongoing Arab war against Israel. The ZOA works to strengthen U.S.-Israel relations through educational activities, public affairs programs and our work on Capitol Hill, and to combat anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias in the media, in textbooks, in schools and on college campuses. Under the leadership of such presidents as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, Rabbis Abba Hillel Silver and Stephen Wise, and current President Morton A. Klein, the ZOA has been – and continues to be – on the front lines of Jewish activism.  www.zoa.org.