A swastika with the caption “free Palestine” was found drawn on a bathroom in San Francisco State University (SFSU) May 22.
SFSU student Daniel Yeluashvili, president of the SFSU pro-Israel student group I Team, told the Journal in a phone interview he found the swastika in the third floor bathroom of the Humanities building in between finals.
“The fact that it was a swastika with a Star of David in the center and the message ‘free Palestine’ under it, this is the most blatant, the most direct thing I’ve seen in awhile,” Yeluashvili said. “By a while, I mean since most of my time here.”
SFSU Director of News Mary Kenny told the Journal in an email that university police is investigating the matter.
“The swastika is a symbol of hatred, violence and anti-Semitism, and SF State strongly condemns this abhorrent act, which runs counter to University values,” SFSU President Leslie Wong said in a statement. “At SF State, we continuously strive to foster a welcoming environment and we encourage students, faculty and staff and the community to report any form of hatred or violence on campus.”
Anti-Defamation League Central Pacific Regional Director Seth Brysk told the Journal in an email that the graffiti “is anti-Semitism seeking to cloak itself as political discourse. Accordingly, we worked with our partners at Hillel and Jewish Studies to alert campus administration and law enforcement for their immediate action and investigation. We are pleased they are responding to this profoundly offensive and anti-Semitic act and expect they will take a series of steps to reassure students.”
Brysk continued, “Sadly, expressions of anti-Semitism are not new to SFSU, particularly those which conflate and confuse with legitimate criticism of Israel. Here we have an example of an apparent hate crime using a swastika; a symbol of the attempted genocide of the Jewish people. At this time of year, Jewish students most significant challenge ought to be studying for final exams rather than confronting a vandal’s offensive message of hate, intimidation and marginalization.”
Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action Agenda at the Simon Wiesenthal Center Rabbi Abraham Cooper said in a statement to the Journal, “No surprise about the swastika with Star of David embedded in it at SFSU. It is the same university where Jewish students had to file a lawsuit to force the administration to provide Jewish with basic protection. It is the same San Francisco State University that just a few days ago ‘gifted’ UCLA with their Professor Rabab Abdulhadi Arab and Muslim Ethnicities, who called Zionists white supremacists. So the only puzzle is why was the anti-Semitic slander drawn in a bathroom — could have posted it openly on the campus?”
StandWithUs CEO and co-founder Roz Rothstein, the daughter of Holocaust survivors, similarly said in a statement to the Journal, “This grotesquely offensive imagery illustrates the increasing blurred lines between anti-Israel rhetoric and outright antisemitism. We stand with Jewish students at SFSU and call on the university to use this hateful incident as a teachable moment for the entire campus community.”
American Jewish Committee Northern California director Rabbi Serena Eisenberg said in a statement to the Journal that the graffiti was “deplorable” and that the university needs to “make a serious effort to educate the campus about political expressions that cross the line into hate speech and anti-Semitism.”
Read the article here.