On Monday, several posters with photos of Palestinian children below a bloody Star of David and the words “Murdered by Israel” were taped to trees and bulletin boards across campus.
The posters were originally created by an anonymous “small group of concerned citizens” based in Sydney, Australia, according to the website of a campaign titled #MurderedByIsrael. The website encouraged its audience to print and distribute as many copies of the posters as possible.
The College is not aware of the party responsible for the distribution of the posters on campus. Kenyon’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (KSJP) said that it was not involved in the incident, acknowledging in an email to students and employees that the posters “could reasonably be construed as containing anti-Semitic imagery.”
“This is a good opportunity to remind the campus that not every action/statement regarding Palestine and/or is “pro-Palestinian” is the work of KSJP as an organization,” KSJP wrote in an email to the Collegian. “We find the general tendency on campus to conflate all voices against the Israeli state’s actions into an amorphous “pro-Palestinian” group allegedly under our jurisdiction as KSJP to be [disingenuous] and unfair.”
The Office of Campus Safety removed the posters at the College’s request.
“We took those posters down because we felt that they were targeting a group,” President Julie Kornfeld told the Collegian. “We don’t tolerate any speech or postings on campus that are antisemitic or Islamophobic.”
Reports of antisemitism on college campuses across the nation have spiked in the last month as the Israel-Hamas conflict continues. On Oct. 31, a student at Cornell University was arrested after allegedly posting online death threats directed at Jewish students on Cornell’s campus.
In an email to students and employees on Monday evening, Director of Hillel Marc Bragin encouraged community members who felt “unsafe on campus” to go to the Rothenberg Hillel House for support.
“In this period of brokenness, I would hope that we would continue to respect one another — to choose our words carefully so that we do not disseminate any form of hate,” Bragin said in an interview with the Collegian.