In an attempt to stop a student divestment initiative, the president of Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) wrote student senators last week blaming the tactic of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) for the rise in white supremacist vandalism. Meanwhile, the administration took no action in response to graffiti threatening to “kill all Muslims on Friday.”
Palestine Legal wrote Cal State Long Beach warning that the false conflation of antisemitism with criticism of Israel is a favored tactic in the concerted effort by Israel advocacy organizations to suppress campus debate.
“The false accusations from Cal State’s president come straight from the Israel advocacy playbook on suppression,” Palestine Legal attorney Liz Jackson explained.
“We’ve seen this many times. Administrators respond to pressure from outside organizations trying to stop a sea change in sympathy towards Palestinians. The strategy is to distract from the human rights issues, and divert to baseless accusations of antisemitism. Meanwhile, administrators ignored a genuine threat of violence against Muslim students praying as a community.”
During the week of April 10th, graffiti threatening “We will kill all Muslims on Friday” was discovered on campus. The administration failed to inform the Muslim community, and excluded mention of the graffiti in statements condemning anti-Jewish vandalism on campus. The death threat was especially alarming, given that the campus Muslim community prays together in a public place on Fridays.
Palestine Legal’s letter also addresses how false accusations against Palestine activists undermines efforts to combat bigotry:
“To draw a causal link between BDS discussions and white supremacist attacks on your campus and other campuses – without any evidence except that they occurred during the same time period – is a logical fallacy that would earn a failing grade in any social science course.”
Read the full letter here.