College Memorial for Synagogue Massacre Victims defaced with pro-Palestinian Messages

A mural at a Southern California college that pays tribute to the victims of the Tree of

 Life synagogue massacre has been defaced at least twice, the Jewish News Syndicate reported.

Just days after the Oct. 27 mass murder that took 11 lives at the Pittsburgh house of 

worship, the word "antisemitism" on the mural was erased; the phrase had read 

"Antisemitism exists. Acknowledge it," the outlet said.

Later, the memorial was vandalized with the phrase "Palestine exists. Acknowledge

 it" along with a painted Palestinian flag, the Syndicate reported.

The Claremont Independent noted that Walker Wall is considered a free-speech spot 

where messages are continually painted over with new ones.

What did students have to say?

"I find it frustrating that all Jewish issues have become so politicized on our campus," 

student Sam Lushtak — a member of Alpha Epsilon Pi, a well-known Jewish 

fraternity — told the outlet. "Students feel like they can't be active as Jews, even 

with something as simple as having Shabbat, without being forced into getting 

involved in politics, especially with this controversial issue that often gets very 

personal if you don't hold a certain narrow set of beliefs."

Lushtak added to the Syndicate: "It has a chilling effect on the Jewish community on 

a campus which prides itself on helping communities express themselves."

Student Hallie Goldstein added to the outlet that "aside from a handful of outraged 

Jewish students, nobody is talking about this. Not our administrations, not our school 

newspapers, not our campus minority groups; no one.'

"What stings the most is that whenever any other minority group is targeted in some 

way, all five of our colleges are buzzing with conversation, with statements of 

condemnation, with student-written articles, and with support resources," she added

 to the Syndicate. "However, it is [always] a double standard whenever Jews are the 

subject of a hate crime or discriminatory act."

Goldstein also told the outlet that despite the vandalism happening within "an 

extremely well-educated, bright, passionate university demographic, people aren't 

giving this hate crime the attention it deserves. To me, that solidifies the fact that 

most of these students do not truly believe anti-Semitism is a problem, when in fact it 
surrounds us everywhere, both in implicit and explicit ways."

What did Students for Justice in Palestine have to say?

"It has come to our attention that, in the past few days, a pro-Palestine statement was

 written over the 'antisemitism exists' piece on Walker Wall. The Claremont College's 
Students for Justice in Palestine does not condone derailing conversations about anti-

semitism," the group said on its Facebook page.

 "We find this especially unacceptable given that the statement about anti-semitism 

has already been defaced once before, and was written in response to the Tree of Life

 mass shooting that occurred this past October. Furthermore, this act has perpetuated 

a false narrative that positions Palestinian people against, and outside of, the Jewish 

community. Jewish Palestinians exist."

Claremont Students for Justice in Palestine added that it "condemns all anti-semitism,

 and we stand proudly with our Jewish siblings." The Claremont Colleges include 

Pomona College, Scripps College, Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College, and Pitzer College.

What did Pomona College have to say?

A Pomona College spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment, the Syndicate said.

What did a group that fights anti-Semitism have to say?

"All too frequently, Jewish students are blamed and targeted for harm with actions 

such as vandalism, harassment, and even assault, simply because of their presumed 

support for Israel," Tammi Rossman-Benjamin — founder and director for AMCHA, 

a group that documents and fights anti-Semitism — told the outlet. "And 

frighteningly, this is a perfect example."

She added to the Syndicate that "what makes matters worse is that while the anti-

Semitism that comes from the extreme right is promptly acknowledged and 

condemned by university leaders, the anti-Israel anti-Semitism that comes from the 

extreme left, which is what we see a lot of on campus, is often excused as political speech and permitted."
College Memorial for Synagogue Massacre Victims defaced with pro-Palestinian Messages College Memorial for Synagogue Massacre Victims defaced with pro-Palestinian Messages Reviewed by Your Destination on December 19, 2018 Rating: 5

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