Students post eviction notices across campuses to raise awareness
Students for Justice in Palestine hope to inform the public about more than 160,000 Palestinians who have been evicted from their homes since 1967.
Palestinians learn of this eminent domain when they discover document orders nailed to their front doors, forcing them to pack up and abandon their homes with just a few days’ notice.
The Rutgers-New Brunswick chapter of SJP posted eviction notices Sunday evening on the residence hall doors on all five campuses as part of a campaign to raise awareness.
The mock eviction notices state they regret to inform the resident that his or her suite is scheduled for demolition in the next three days. If residents do not vacate the premise within this time, they reserve the right to destroy all remaining belongings under Code 211.3B.
The eviction letters state while the information in the letter is sent purely for demonstrative purposes, notices like this are the norm in Palestine and have been since 1967.
University students were not the first to receive notes like these, as the national arm of SJP ran this same campaign at schools including Harvard College, Florida Atlantic University and The University of California, Berkeley. The Palestinian-style eviction movement originated at New York University and has trickled across the nation, said Rutgers SJP President Aman Sharifi.
According to articles in both The Harvard Crimson and The Sun Sentinel, notices on those campuses incited a controversy about how appropriate the actions of Palestinian student groups were.
“It just shows the realities that happen in Palestine when occupying forces extend their borders, extend their occupation, extend their territories,” said Sharifi, a School of Arts and Sciences senior. “Essentially what they do is send these notices out, give them a few days to move their livelihoods, and demolish everything.”
It was a simple way to demonstrate the realities in the conflict there, he said.
In another light, Rutgers Hillel Rabbi Esther Reed said she found the campaign alarming and reprehensible.
Students have been made to feel that they are not safe in their homes, and putting notices under doors in of students in residence homes violates University policy, she said.
“These were not approved fliers, and the information was factually inaccurate and vilified Israel,” Reed said. “The fact that students were made to feel that they were not safe in their residence halls is one of the most disturbing aspects here.”
Hillel released an official statement on Sunday night concerning the campaign.
“There are more positive ways to engage in a factual discussion,” Reed said.