A few dozen students and other community activists chanted, "No Zionists, no KKK! Resist the fascists all the way!" during a self- described "radical resistance" rally yesterday at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
A student leader from UIUC's chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) started the chant after repeatedly equating Zionism with white supremacy and fascism.
"If one opposes white supremacy, one must oppose Zionism," the student told the crowd. "It's time we … recognize that Israel is the epitome of fascism. It is our duty to resist fascism in all its forms, whether it's against white supremacy or Zionism."
JUF's Israel Education Center was on-the-ground at UIUC, partnering with their Hillel colleagues to monitor events and support Jewish students.
University officials will not make statement
When asked if a statement would be forthcoming, a UIUC senior official told JUF that no University rules or codes of conduct had been broken, therefore no statement was necessary.
"We call on the University to uphold its own values and condemn this ugly display of anti-Semitism and hold the organizers accountable as they would any other students that espoused any form of bigotry," said Michael Zaransky, chair of the JUF Board of Directors. "It is outrageous that taxpayer and tuition dollars are used to fund the student organizations behind today's display of bigotry."
"My beloved university needs to understand that the real goal of the hate-filled rhetoric was to marginalize Jewish students, make them feel unsafe," said Danah Kirsch, president of UIUC Hillel student board. "It is beyond comprehension that university leaders who saw, heard and read such hate remain silent. Their silence speaks volumes."
SJP statement condones violence
The rally organizers justified resorting to violence, both in the build up to the event and at the event itself.
A statement posted to SJP's Facebook page stated that "… violent resistance--whether it is a black bloc or full-scale armed conflict--also has its place. The struggle for liberation must exist on multiple levels and scales--it cannot, and will not, be confined...We will fight and we will win, by any means necessary."
One of the signs at the rally proclaimed that "the only good fascist is a dead fascist."
How did this happen?
The conflation of Zionism with fascism, racism, and white supremacy began with a statement posted to SJP's Facebook page last week promoting the rally.
A subsequent post alleged that, in the context of the controversy over the future of our country's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, "campus Zionists [will] record and report everything to the U of I and Urbana police if there are individuals who will not be attending for fear of their safety. There may be heavy surveillance at this event, and our Zionist and fascist adversaries will not hesitate to bring the weight of state violence down on marginalized people..."
Meanwhile, late last week swastikas and "I hate Jews" graffiti defaced Altgeld Hall on campus.
JUF President Steven B. Nasatir, himself a UIUC alum, noted "that for years, the battle against hate in this country made progress because there was a basic but critical consensus: hatred would not be countenanced or rationalized, regardless of its source or its target. Yet today on campuses across the country, a double standard has taken hold whereby hatred directed at all other minority groups will receive a swift and unequivocal denunciation. In contrast, too often, when Jewish students are targeted, silence or equivocation is heard. It is especially troubling when one's own alma mater has become tone deaf and tongue tied when anti-Semitism stares them in the face."