An organization representing Rutgers University alumni from across the United States has slammed a recent anti-Israel statement by the campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Rutgers Mutual Aid, a group made up of students and alumni.
The statement by SJP and Rutgers Mutual Aid, released on July 26, referred to the Jewish State as “apartheid Israel,” claimed Zionism was one of the “real threats to Jewish safety today,” and also alleged that Zionism “purposely ties all Jews to the Israeli regime and, by extension, its crimes.”
The letter by Alums for Campus Fairness (ACF) was sent on Tuesday to Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway. It “strongly condemned” the statement from Rutgers SJP and Rutgers Mutual Aid.
“Due to SJP’s history of making Jewish and pro-Israel students feel unsafe through intimidation, violence, and veiled anti-Semitism, we see the purpose of this recent statement is to isolate Rutgers Hillel for embracing Zionism as a central part of Jewish identity,” they wrote.
They noted that in September 2018, the US Department of Education reopened a seven-year investigation into allegations that Rutgers SJP caused Jewish students to be subject to a hostile campus environment.
“Now, we are witnessing another attempt by SJP to silence the Jewish community on campus,” they said.
Noting the many instances of SJP’s activism going “far beyond legitimate criticism of Israel” and “descending into outright anti-Semitism,” they accused the group of undermining “any hope for peace, justice, and human rights in the Middle East by delegitimizing, demonizing and applying double standards to Israel.”
ACF called on Rutgers to ensure “fair and open dialogue” on campus for Jewish and Zionist students.
They asked the university to adopt the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, recognize “SJP’s growing culture of intimidation and discrimination, and make effective changes to address this culture by investigating their statements,” and to meet with leaders of the Jewish and pro-Israel community to discuss ways to improve the climate on campus for Jewish students.
Their letter concluded: “It is our hope, as a united voice in countering anti-Semitism, that you will act expeditiously to ensure that our campus community remains safe for all students.”
AS of August 27, the ACF letter had been signed by more than 400 Rutgers alumni and community members.
The Rutgers campus has long been noted as a hotbed of anti-Israel activity and for fostering an environment that feels hostile to many Jewish students.
In early August, Rutgers Hillel denounced a statement from pro-Palestinian groups that called for defunding Jewish organizations on campus.
In late June, New Jersey Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-D) wrote to Holloway to ask for clarification on a statement made by the part-time lecturer chapter of the Rutgers faculty union that accused Israel of being a “regime of legalized racial discrimination perpetrated against the Palestinian people” that it targeted with “military actions” that have “killed and maimed civilian populations.”
In April, a Rutgers Jewish fraternity was egged during a 24-hour reading of the names of Holocaust victims on Yom HaShoah.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)