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About two dozen offensive posters were found outside the Hillel building at Tufts University in Massachusetts on Tuesday morning, including one calling for a “Free Palestine” and the destruction of Israeli forces and American “pigs.”
The posters — which were not spotted anywhere else on campus, according to Hillel — featured anti-imperialist pig cartoons that were initially published by the Black Panther Party in the 1960s.
One of the images was accompanied by the text, “DESTROY ISRAELI APARTHEID FORCES AND AMERIKKKAN [sic] PIGS WHICH FUND IT. FREE PALESTINE.”
Another poster read, “What is a pig? A low natured beast that has no regard for law, justice, or the rights of people; a creature that bites the hand that feeds it; a foul, depraved traducer, usually found masquerading as the victim of an unprovoked attack.”
Rabbi Naftali Brawer — Tufts’ Jewish chaplain and executive director of the campus Hillel — condemned the incident as “a cowardly and shameful act targeting the Jewish community” in a statement sent to The Algemeiner.
He indicated that some of the posters were tacked on the glass of the windows while facing inward, as though to send a message to the building’s occupants.
“We were clearly targeted as a Jewish center,” Brawer told the student-run Tufts Daily.
He took down the posters with other Hillel staff members before contacting campus police, which have launched an investigation.
In an emailed message to the Tufts community on Tuesday, President Tony Monaco denounced the “derogatory images and symbolism” in the posters as “profoundly disturbing and hurtful,” but stopped short of attributing the incident to antisemitism.
According to a Tufts spokesperson, Monaco only became aware of “additional information on one of the flyers” — seemingly the added text denouncing Israeli forces and American “pigs” — after sending the statement.
While the Tufts chapter of Alums for Campus Fairness, which aims to counter antisemitism, expressed appreciation for Monaco’s stance, they noted in a comment sent to The Algemeiner that he “stopped short of characterizing these posters for what they are — they are not just general ‘act[s] of intolerance’ but specific expressions of anti-Semitism.”
Speaking to the Daily, one Jewish student similarly expressed that although “the content of the posters is directly related to Israel and anti-Zionist sentiment, the fact that they’re only targeting the Jewish community with the sentiments feels anti-Semitic to me.”
It is currently unknown who is responsible for the posters targeting Hillel, which has in the past spoken out during campus controversies surrounding Israel.
In August, Hillel condemned a fall semester class offered by Tufts titled “Colonizing Palestine” as “prejudicial and unnecessarily provocative.” Critics warned that the course — taught by Thomas Abowd, who has advocated for boycotts of Israel and claimed that “Israeli military occupation” of Palestinian land began with Israel’s establishment — would likely advance an anti-Zionist political ideology while denying Jewish indigeneity to the Levant.
In April 2017, Hillel also faulted the school’s student government for voting in favor of a resolution supporting the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel on the eve of Jewish holiday of Passover. The resolution’s language, which “was deliberately vague enough to allow for an interpretation that meant there should not be a state of Israel, is antisemitism,” one student senator said after it passed.
That year, an unauthorized “Disorientation Guide” was published on the Tufts class of 2020 and 2021 Facebook pages, which called Hillel “an organization that supports a white supremacist state,” and accused it of “exploit[ing] black voices for their own pro-Israel agenda.” The administration condemned and removed the document after facing complaints.