More than 200 Jewish students at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL found “eviction” notices posted on their dormitory doors Friday, unaware that it was part of a publicity stunt by Students for Justice in Palestine.
The organization's chapter president, Noor Fawzy, explained, "We want to raise awareness about the plight of the Palestinians...The intent is to expose Israel's illegal policies and give students a feel of what it's like to live under occupation. "The "notice" explained that more than 25,000 homes have been demolished since the "occupation of Palestine" began in 1967.
While SJP appears to have gotten university approval for the stunt (some members may have even been escorted by an employee official as they were posting the signs), the school has since removed the postings after many expressed their disapproval.
Charles Brown, the school's senior VP for student affairs, released a statement: “The recent mock eviction postings did not comply with the policies of University Housing and Residential Life or the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership concerning the distribution of printed material, and therefore the postings were removed.”
Jackie Klein, a student at the school, explained, "Free speech is good for everyone, but this is a bit intimidating...They should be able to promote their views, but in a respectful way."
Rayna Exelbierd, who received one of the notices, said, "We're taking it very seriously. We're considering it a hate crime. The flier promotes hate; it doesn't promote peace. People were scared by it. People felt threatened by it."
More than 50 students gathered at Hillel Wednesday to discuss the flyers, but have chosen not to contact "Students for Justice in Palestine" because its members have chanted anti-Israel slogans at their events in the past. Scott Brockman, Hillel's executive director, commented: "While protecting and ensuring free speech on campus, the tactic used by Students for Justice in Palestine is unacceptable."
And how do the "Students for Justice in Palestine" feel about their campaign, in retrospect?
"We made a great impact on the student body," the chapter president said. "Having a table (in the school's breezeway) is one thing, but we have to look for other ways to get people's attention."