COLLEGE PARK, Md. (DC News Now) — Many Jewish students at the University of Maryland (UMD) are frustrated after they said antisemitic messages were written on campus during a pro-Palestine protest Thursday.
The event, hosted by UMD’s “Students for Justice in Palestine,” was a demonstration calling for a ceasefire in Palestine. Dozens of people showed up at Hornbake Plaza to protest. In a video circling online, you can hear protestors yelling, “There is only one solution, intifada revolution.”
Jewish student Keren Binyamin said she has attended the group’s events before to hear what they have to say, but Thursday’s event was different.
“There was a lot more anger. They said ‘from the river to the sea’ a number of times unapologetically,” said Binyamin.
“You could just feel this like tension and anger, and as a Jewish student there in the crowd, and as an Israeli citizen, I was terrified,” she added.
Students apart of the group wrote several messages on with chalk on the ground of the plaza expressing their support for Palestine, but someone decided to also write antisemitic messages like “Holocaust 2.0.”
“I think there’s there’s a firm line between criticism of Israel that I might not agree with versus crossing the line into antisemitism. I think it is beyond question that yesterday crossed that line,” said Binyamin.
“Just to see someone so firmly believe things to an extent that they feel comfortable writing it down publicly, really just made me feel as a jew not welcomed,” she added.
In a statement, UMD spoke out against the antisemitic messages.
We are aware of the hateful, antisemitic sentiments expressed at today’s demonstration organized by Students for Justice in Palestine. We condemn it in no uncertain terms.
The offensive actions of a few should not reflect on the vast majority of protesters who were there to peacefully express their views, but there is no place for any antisemitic message, behavior or action at the University of Maryland.
The University of Maryland Police Department (UMPD) has launched an immediate investigation and continues to conduct real-time threat assessments. Responsible parties will be held accountable.Statement from the University of Maryland
The group Students for Justice in Palestine also released its own statement through Instagram, saying, “UMD SJP is a community for students to speak out against injustice and war crimes, we do not condone any antisemitism, islamophobia or hate speech that arises and we rest that students remember this at all points in times.”
Binyamin said she wants the University to step up and make their Jewish students feel safe.
“To make sure that Jewish students feel safe, you need to have a swift and proper response to anti-Semitic incidents, listen to Jewish communities when they tell you something’s anti-semitic,” she said.