Demand NYU Protect Palestinian Speech and Divest from Israeli violence
New York University
Yesterday, a Dissenter was targeted by racist agitators and is now facing doxxing, harassment, and public calls for expulsion from NYU, where she is a freshman. Hafiza and another student were photographed removing inflammatory posters that promoted violence against Palestinians from NYU’s walls. As a result, she’s facing serious and frightening threats that no student exercising their right to free speech or advocating for an end to ethnic cleansing should ever have to face. NYU is complicit in this violence, not only for allowing a culture of harassment to permeate campus, but for their material, economic and cultural relationships to Israel’s occupation that must end.
Hafiza’s experience of harassment comes just a week after NYU Law student Ryna Workman was personally exposed by one or more members of the NYU community to online harassment for their support for the Palestinian struggle. While Ryna faced death threats and lost their job offer, the university publicly condemned and abandoned them. But Ryna has refused to back down, and neither will Hafiza.
As countless Jewish leaders have made clear for decades, there is nothing anti-semitic about criticizing the Israeli state’s violence and occupation of the Palestinian people. Calling actions that criticize Israel anti-semitic is a tired practice that Zionist forces have invested significant resources in, creating entire websites and platforms that silence and intimidate anyone showing sympathy with the Palestinian cause. We can’t let it stand at NYU, especially right now. NYU has a responsibility to divest from its support for Israel’s apartheid and occupation. Right now, the racist, violent character of the Israeli occupation and siege of Palestinian land and peoples could not be more clear. NYU, as an educational institution, must fully divest from weapons’ corporations with arm Israel’s genocide in Gaza, and end partnerships and programs which normalize Israel’s violence.
Let’s follow the lead of students calling on NYU to end their support for Israel’s violence, and show Black and Palestinian students we have their backs. It’s righteous to be loud and bold in organizing to end occupation and genocide.
Unfortunately, Ryna and Hafiza aren’t alone. As a coalition of student and Palestinian organizations have made clear in their call to action this week: “Across the U.S. and Canada, students–primarily Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim– are facing racist and islamophobic attacks by faculty, administrators, students, and community members alike for demanding justice for Palestinians. From Columbia admin calling for death to pro-Palestine student protesters, to University of Washington professor calling Palestinians subhuman, students are navigating vicious, oftentimes violent, backlash for speaking out against Israel’s bombing campaigns against Gaza. Despite the growing threat to student safety, universities across the country have issued one-sided statements which ignore and dehumanize the Palestinian people while intentionally mischaracterizing pro-Palestine student organizing as violent. Through these statements, our universities stoke the flames of anti-Arab racism and Islamophobia, abandoning Palestinian and Arab students while affirming their unwavering support for Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Whether through classes, lectures, teach-ins, campaigns, events, or organizations, free speech on Palestine must be protected on college campuses. Therefore, we call on our universities to institute policy which affirms that pro-Palestine speech and activism, including the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement, is protected on campus.”
It is within this context that we call on NYU to not only affirm Hafiza’s right to an education, and rights to express dissent on campus just like any other student, but to denounce the proliferation of anti-Palestinian, anti-Muslim and anti-Black doxxing and harassment that they are currently enabling. NYU has the responsibility to keep all students safe regardless of their political differences with University administrations, who have vested interests in maintaining the status quo. We call on NYU to immediately withdraw their support for Israel’s genocidal violence by divesting from weapons corporations and ending programs and partnerships that whitewash Israel’s settler colonial violence.
Please sign your name here to show NYU that Hafiza deserves protection and support, not harassment and threats, as a new, young, marginalized student on their campus, and that we too want to see an NYU that promotes dignity and justice over occupation and apartheid.
US Campaign for Palestinian Rights
NYU National Lawyers Guild (NLG)
Abolition Lab at NYU
Detroit Area Youth Uniting Michigan
Advocates for Youth
New York University
From: [Your Name]
We demand NYU protect and affirm Hafiza’s right to an education, and rights to express dissent on campus just like any other student. We demand NYU denounce the proliferation of anti-Palestinian, anti-Muslim and anti-Black doxxing and harassment that they are currently enabling!