Holding Antisemites Accountable.

Close this search box.

U. San Francisco Social Media Platforms being Used to Spread Antisemitism

University of San Francisco Instagram page was deactivated mid May after a student behind the account published a post about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which was later condemned by the University president.

The Instagram account, which represents the university’s Urban Education and Social Justice master’s degree program, posted a screenshot of a tweet that read, “If ur going to say that u support Palestine, u must do so unconditionally. No two states, no coexistence, no criticizing our violent resistance. You’re either all in or ur not.”

The Twitter post was from an account called “d rose #SaveSheikhJarrah,” and its profile picture features a woman wearing a kaffiyeh holding a Palestinian flag and a pistol.

In another post, the USF account replied to an official White House tweet with a Twitter screenshot that read, “biden is a white supremacist with the highest ranking position in a white supremacist setter colonial nation. his continued support of genocide is fundamental to his job. the u.s will do ANYTHING (even fund ethnic cleansing) to protect their imperialist interests.”

After USF community members raised concerns about the Instagram posts, the account was removed.

In a community-wide email, university President Paul J. Fitzgerald said the posts were “disturbing, violent, and perceived as anti-Semitic.”

“These posts do not represent USF’s position, views, or values; on the contrary, they stand in stark contrast to our commitment to nonviolence, social justice, and the peaceful co-existence of all peoples and communities,” he wrote.

Fitzgerald said the university was investigating and would “hold those responsible” according to the university’s community standards.

At the same time, a program assistant at the University of San Francisco forwarded an email to a group of students in the School of Education promoting a Palestinian protest taking place the following day. The email, sent to students in the International and Multicultural Education master’s program, included details about the protest, which filled the streets in San Francisco’s Mission District on May 15, an annual day of grievance for Palestinians known as the Nakba.

The original email from the San Francisco Bay Area Palestine Action Network was forwarded along with its subject line, “Tomorrow: Solidarity with Palestine,” and described Israel’s recent actions in Jerusalem as “settler-colonialism” and condemned the Jewish state for “violent and illegal attempts to forcibly expel” Palestinians from their homes.

It marks the second time since the start of the violence in Israel and Gaza that the university’s official channels have been used to advocate for the Palestinian cause and raises questions about how an educational institution should be navigating the conflict.

Melissa Schneider, a Jewish student in the IME program who received the forwarded email, filed a bias incident report with the university naming the program assistant, charging that the content promoted “half-truths and outright lies to disparage the only Jewish-majority country in the world,” according to a copy of the report provided to Jewish News of Northern California.

“I was very disappointed,” Schneider, 44, told J. “In this very complex international conflict, my school had taken a side.”

Schneider said she was especially concerned over the email’s references to #Nakba73 — the Arabic word for “catastrophe” that Palestinians use to describe Israel’s founding. She said the forwarded email was promoting an event that declared “Israel’s existence as illegitimate.”

“I think there’s a difference between calling for solidarity with Palestinians and referring to May 15 as Nakba73, a term that was used twice in the USF email,” Schneider wrote to J. “The delegitimization of Israel is what is contemptible here, not solidarity with Palestinians.”

Schneider is one of about 150 students in the IME program. She addressed her concerns in an email to Fitzgerald, saying “I will not continue my studies at an institution that blindly takes a side in an international conflict — notably the side that happens to malign the largest Jewish community in the world.” She included examples of antisemitic incidents that have occurred since the Israel-Hamas conflict, even after the May 20 cease-fire.

Fitzgerald replied that the program assistant who had sent the email to the student listserv “made a mistake in passing along this message.… The way towards such a hopeful future is through non-violence and dialogue. For this reason, I oppose the BDS movement,” the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.

Fitzgerald also shared Schneider’s concerns with Shabnam Koirala-Azad, dean of the School of Education, who in an email exchange told Schneider she was “sorry for the distress the message caused” and proposed that the two of them meet virtually. “Your perspective is important to me,” Koirala-Azad wrote.

Source: https://jweekly.com/2021/06/02/jewish-usf-student-files-complaint-over-email-promoting-pro-palestine-protest/