Northwestern University's (NU) Jewish community was shocked to see on Monday that an op-ed about Jewish pride was turned into a big sign painted with the words "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free." The perpetrator has printed out copies of an op-ed titled "I am more proud of my Jewish identity than anyone can ever hate me for it," written by Lily Cohen, a student at the university in The Daily Northwestern, a student news source.
"On Monday morning, copies of the op-ed entitled 'I am proud of my Jewish identity more than anyone can ever hate me for it' were taped together and painted over with the words 'from the river to the sea Palestine will be free,'" Hillel Northwestern wrote in response on social media. They added that "the banner was displayed outside Deering Meadow on Sheridan Road in the heart of campus, on a major thoroughfare for all to see. We condemn the use of hateful rhetoric and the public, targeted attack on Jewish identity."
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"In response to Lily Cohen’s thoughtful op-ed about her Jewish pride, this was put up on the fence facing Sheridan Road, the background to the [sign] is multiple copies of Lily’s op-ed," executive director at Northwestern University Hillel Michael Simon wrote on Facebook. "There are times when the line between anti-Zionism and antisemitism is blurry. This is not one of them. This is antisemitism, it is public bullying and it is shameful," he wrote.
"The Israeli Consulate has been in close contact with the student body and with Northwestern faculty and administration," Consul General of Israel to the Midwest Yinam Cohen told The Jerusalem Post. He added that "university campuses must be a safe space for all students, including Jewish students."
"There are times when the line between anti-Zionism and antisemitism is blurry. This is not one of them. This is antisemitism, it is public bullying and it is shameful,"Executive director at Northwestern University Hillel Michael Simon
What did she write in her op-ed?
In Cohen's op-ed, she wrote that "the NU administration should consider 'From the River to the Sea' as a hateful slogan and treat it as such." She wrote to her fellow Jewish friends and said: "My fellow Jewish students: Take pride in your Judaism. Call on the University to condemn a terrorist organization’s tagline. Speak up when you too take offense, feel hurt, or get angry."
She also wrote to those who "subscribe to the harmful messaging that frequently covers this campus," to "come to talk with me. Ask questions. And, maybe at some point, join me for a Shabbat dinner."
"I hope every NU student gets to feel just as connected with their identity and as proud to be who they are," she concluded. "I hope this campus can become a model for campuses across the country in how to appreciate one another and their causes while fighting for one’s own. And I hope we can eliminate hate and build one another up along the way."