December 17, 2018

Poster campaign at UCLA targets vice chancellor, pro-Palestinian group

For the second time in half a year, the David Horowitz Freedom Center (DHFC) has launched an attack against Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at UCLA’s campus by spreading a variety of posters across the university — including one featuring a caricature of Jerry Kang, UCLA’s vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion, that labels him an “advocate of campus terrorist supporters.” 

Another poster revealed last week depicts a cartoon image of a Hamas terrorist and below it lists the names of particular SJP supporters at UCLA. 

Horowitz, a conservative author and activist, is the founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center based in Sherman Oaks, and has long asserted in books and speeches that free speech on college campuses is imperiled by political correctness and a liberal tilt among professors. 

“[The restrictions on free speech] are designed to suppress thought that dissents from the left and since the left is established now as the spearheads of anti-Semitism in the country, it should be particularly worrying for Jews,” Horowitz told the Journal. “The Jewish community has been slow to wake up from this threat but now you have rabid anti-Semitism in college campuses and UCLA in particular. Our campaign is designed to expose that.”

The center’s affiliated website, stopthejewhatredoncampus.org, announced its latest nationwide poster campaign in a post dated Oct. 4 stating, “UCLA was chosen as the first campus for this effort where dozens of posters linking Students for Justice in Palestine to their terrorist heroes were placed on campus.” The posters had been taken down by the next day.

The website explained that Kang was highly culpable for SJP’s harassment of Milan Chatterjee, the former president of the UCLA Graduate Students Association (GSA) who transferred out of the university’s law school, saying he felt unsafe on campus. 

Last year, Chatterjee, who is Hindu, made distribution of GSA funds for a UCLA Diversity Caucus event contingent on its sponsors not associating with the divest-from-Israel movement. SJP activists complained that by doing so, Chatterjee violated UCLA’s viewpoint neutrality policy. A June investigation by the UCLA Discrimination Prevention Office — which is overseen by Kang’s office of equity, diversity and inclusion — concluded that Chatterjee’s stipulation violated the policy; Kang later authored a July 19 blog post on the UCLA website titled “Viewpoint Neutrality.”

Horowitz told the Journal that Kang is “a disgrace.”

Neither Kang nor members of SJP could be reached directly for comment. 

UCLA’s Dean of Students Maria Blandizzi said in a statement Oct. 6, however, that the Horowitz campaign strategy goes against fundamental UCLA principles.

“These tactics underestimate the strength and high character that are core values of our students,” she wrote. “As Bruins, we are better than this fear-mongering. As Bruins we value ideas over insults. As Bruins, we will model compassionate debate and reasoned analysis without sinking to name-calling and demagoguery.”  

The DHFC also posted Oct. 5 what it believes to be the “top ten schools supporting terrorists,” with UCLA ranking seventh, for the Chatterjee incident as well as for allowing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) founder Omar Barghouti and Electronic Intifada founder Ali Abunimah to speak at the school. 

This isn’t the first time that Horowitz — who on the web called SJP “the most prominent pro-terrorist, anti-Jewish organization in America” — used posters to get attention. In April, DHFC spread posters that listed 16 UCLA students and professors by name, alleging those people have “allied themselves with Palestinian terrorists to perpetuate BDS and Jew hatred.”  As a response, Kang sent out a community-wide email condemning the campaign. 

Horowitz said newspapers are too orientated to the left to publish his ideas, so he is left with no choice but to hang posters around campus that hold people accountable.  

Students Supporting Israel President Inbar Goren said members of the campus group seriously disapproved of the campaign. 

“Although our organization does not agree with SJP, nor always see eye to eye with the actions of the administration, we do not tolerate individual attacks on students or administrators,” Goren said. “We strive to be a strong and confident pro-Israel voice on campus, but it is not our goal to do so by putting down others.”

Amanda Susskind, the Anti-Defamation League’s regional director, also denounced the campaign in an Oct. 6 statement, calling the posters “hateful.” She said it “underscores that the group responsible for their placement is not interested in productive discourse surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Horowitz said he is not sorry for hurting the feelings of people he considers anti-Semites. 

“You can criticize any government including Israel, but when you spread particular nasty lies designed to delegitimize and ultimately destroy the State of Israel and those lies come out of a Hamas machine, then you are a not a critic of Israel, but you are a Jew-hating genocidal enemy of Israel and the Jews.”