Jewish students stop antisemitic cartoons on campus

Diverse students unite to fight Judeophobic imagery posted in dormitories for 'Palestine Awareness Week.'

May 8, 2019 15:43
3 minute read.
DO THEY need outreach? A pro-Israel rally in New York in 2014.

A pro-Israel rally in New York in 2014. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Students at Stanford University in California successfully advocated the removal of antisemitic flyers this week. The student paper The Stanford Daily reported the flyers were originally posted by Jewish Voice for Peace at Stanford (JVP) and Stanford Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) for a speech by political cartoonist Eli Valley as part of Palestine Awareness Week.

“Many of our Jewish students expressed how shocking it was to return to their residence halls to discover inflammatory depictions of the Jewish community in their own homes,” stated Vice Provost for Student Affairs Susie Brubaker-Cole and Dean for Religious Life Tiffany Steinwert who met with concerned students. 

“Some of the posters invoked antisemitic stereotypes and tropes and undermined values we seek to foster at Stanford University. We continue to be disheartened and deeply disturbed by the recent presence of antisemitic images on our campus,” they wrote after the meeting.
"We witnessed the powerful hope of meaningful dialogue on campus," they said. "Members of diverse and often ideologically opposed groups met to share their own experiences of the posters and to listen to the experiences of others," the two Stanford officials noted.

The flyers were voluntarily taken down by the groups who posted them. 

Hillel at Stanford University praised the meeting with university officials stating it included "an amazingly diverse group of people, they each spoke their truth... to ensure that Jewish students do not feel vulnerable or targeted as they go about their lives on campus," they stated on Facebook. "We really appreciate how quickly Jewish students came together, and that Stanford University is taking our concerns so seriously."

Some of the flyers had been affixed over the flyers of other student groups in violation of campus policy.

The two groups later apologized in a Stanford Daily op-ed stating, "Stanford Jewish Voice for Peace joins Stanford Students for Justice in Palestine in apologizing for fliers that were put up around campus advertising our art exhibition with Eli Valley without due discussion and delicacy."

A strongly-worded op-ed in the Stanford Daily by law student Ari Hoffman compared the cartoons on campus to Nazi propaganda from the infamous Der Stürmer newspaper. "For those unfamiliar with Mr. Valley’s work, it ranges from the morally repugnant to ethically disgusting. Under the fig leaf of criticizing Israel, it depicts Jews and Jewish rituals in the most grotesque of terms; yellow stars, concentration camp uniforms, blood libels and the reliable hooked noses," Hoffman wrote. 

"Like most hate, it’s remarkably lacking in insight. It is crude and disgusting, and its ceaseless recourse to Nazi imagery is matched only by its slavish devotion to the age-old tropes of Jewish caricature," he added. 

"Days ago, many of us mourned the murder of six million Jews. Just last week, at a Chabad in Poway, a life and a hand were blown away solely because Jewish blood flowed through the," Hoffman continued. "Over 700 hundred missiles were launched by Palestinian terrorists at Israeli civilian centers last weekend, killing four Israelis... Let me be as clear as I can: the images are indefensible in any context. They are not justifiable, and they are not explainable. The sin is not against sensitivity. It is one of smearing a Jewish minority under attack here and abroad in the name of a skewed vision of a foreign conflict."

Last year a Stanford student has stepped down from his position as a resident assistant amid blowback from a controversial Facebook post which stated in part “I'm gonna physically fight zionists [sic] on campus next year."

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