BOSTON — The posting of mock eviction notices on the doors of Harvard University students to publicize the campus Israeli Apartheid Week has sparked a campus debate.
The flyers, which said that the rooms were “scheduled for demolition in the next three days,” were posted on student's dormitory doors on March 2, the Harvard Crimson campus student newspaper reported.
The notices posted by the Harvard College Palestine Solidarity Committee were meant to make students think about what the committee believes is an unlawful displacement of Palestinians from their homeland at the hands of the Israeli government, according to the newspaper.
The mock eviction flyers also were posted in 2010, according to the Crimson, but did not generate as much controversy.
Students objecting to the publicity campaign sent emails complaining about the stunt through their dormitory lists. The emails generated more emails against the campaign but also some in support of it, according to the newspaper.
The Anti-Defamation League objected to the campaign.
“This tactic is designed to silence and intimidate pro-Israel advocates at Harvard and campuses around the country,” said Robert Trestan, ADL's acting New England regional director. “Free expression has a place on campus; however targeting the dorms of Harvard students lends itself to creating tension, isolating students and fomenting hostility.”
Trestan also voiced ADL's concern about the underlying anti-Israel message.
“We recognize and support free speech, but condemn the anti-Israel views expressed in the eviction notices as factually incorrect and intolerant,” he said. “This is an example of how anti-Israel activism on campus can cross the line by causing supporters to feel isolated and intimidated.
Israeli Apartheid Week activities began on March 7 on the Harvard campus. They include a screening of the documentary film 5 Broken Cameras, a lecture by Noam Chomsky and the construction of an “apartheid wall” in the Science Center Plaza meant to evoke images of Israel's security fence.