Skip to content
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Strategic Alliances for a Secure, Connected, and Prosperous Region

Defeating Anti-Israeli and Anti-Semitic Activity on Campus: A Case Study: Rutgers University

Filed under: Anti-Semitism, World Jewry
Publication: Jewish Political Studies Review

Jewish Political Studies Review

Jewish Political Studies Review 17:1-2 (Spring 2005)

Since the beginning of the Second Intifada in the fall of 2000, anti-Israeli activity, in the form of rallies, divestment campaigns, and misinformation about the political situation in Israel, has increased significantly across American university campuses. Jewish students at Rutgers University, the State University of New Jersey, were intimidated by the extreme anti-Israeli sentiment that often crossed the line into anti-Semitic activity. In the months leading up to the Third Annual Palestinian Solidarity Movement Conference, scheduled to meet at Rutgers, pro-Israeli student activists mobilized to combat the anti-Israeli movement by creating a new, proactive campaign. Called Israel Inspires, this campaign had a major impact on student opinion toward Israel, prevailing over both anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic activity in the fall of 2004.


Background: Rutgers University

Rutgers University (RU), the State University of New Jersey, is located on three campuses in Newark, Camden, and New Brunswick/Piscataway, New Jersey. Established in 1766, Rutgers is attended by more than fifty thousand students. This case study focuses on the New Brunswick/Piscataway campus, which consists of smaller undergraduate and graduate colleges. The overall student population is very diverse, and many students are involved in student groups and tend to be politically liberal.1


Utilizing University Media: A Springboard for Political Awareness

Regarding political activism, Rutgers was a generally quiet campus in the fall semester of 2000, when the Second Intifada, or Palestinian uprising, broke out in the Middle East with a series of terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens. As the violence grew, information about these distant events began to flood the college campus, and students stepped forward with a variety of opinions about this outbreak of aggression. In the spring of 2001, Rutgers was an exception to the strident debates that erupted on college campuses across the country, as editorials on Israeli and Palestinian violence began to be featured in Rutgers’ campus-wide newspaper, the Daily Targum. The student-controlled media plays a large part in shaping student political opinion for several reasons, and these are discussed in Golub’s case study on Johns Hopkins University. Although student media, such as the newspaper, television, or radio station, are closely affiliated with their university, they receive no funding from the academic institution. As Golub notes:

“Hence, the independent campus media becomes the voice of the student body, but bears no accountability either to the school or the students (who usually do not pay a subscription fee).2 In other words, this media covers the university but cannot be limited or penalized by it. [In addition,] prospective students often look to the university newspaper to gain better understanding of the institution, and alumni tend to use the campus media to stay connected. Thus, the campus media acts as a link between many generations of students.3″

Pro-Israeli activists at Rutgers began to notice that negative student opinion about Israel could have a dangerous effect on the campus after an article that was published in October 2001. Written by an opinion columnist, the article states that “Israel needs to be dismantled, either politically or physically,” and it became a major issue on campus for weeks.4


Taking Sides: Pro-Israeli vs. Pro-Palestinian

A propaganda war soon erupted on campus. Particular “sides” emerged, where pro-Palestinian activists deemed a supporter of Israel “racist” or “anti-Palestinian,” and a supporter of a Palestinian state was labeled by pro-Israeli activists as “anti-Zionist” and even “anti-Semitic.” Some attempts, however, were made by both sides to bring down the walls that were being erected much too rapidly between students on the campus. This author was part of a group of student leaders that gathered to attempt reconciliation between the more vocal members of both sides of the campus conflict. These attempts did not, however, do much to ease the growing tensions. The majority of students at Rutgers and other American universities care more about missing the latest Dave Chappell Show on Comedy Central than about how many Jews or Palestinians were killed in the latest attack. The student activists, however, were very vociferous on the Rutgers campus.

Most pro-Israeli activists were Jewish, and most pro-Palestinian activists were Muslim. There were a few key exceptions, however. Much media attention has been given to Charlotte Kates, a former Rutgers undergraduate and current Rutgers Law student whose religious affiliations are dubious. According to the website Religious Freedom Watch,5 Kates is an “antireligious extremist.” She created a stir as leader of NJ Solidarity, a self-described pro-Palestinian organization that openly calls for the destruction of Israel. According to their mission statement:

“We are opposed to the existence of the apartheid colonial settler state of Israel, as it is based on the racist ideology of Zionism and is an expression of colonialism and imperialism, and we stand for the total liberation of all of historic Palestine. As a solidarity movement, we are committed to working fully in support of the Palestinian people’s resistance movement. We unconditionally support Palestinians’ human right to resist occupation and oppression by any means necessary.6 (emphasis added)”

Charlotte Kates has received media attention from papers such as the New York Times, which quoted her virulent attitude toward Israel, belief in the legitimacy of Palestinian suicide bombers, and denial of Israel’s right to exist.

In October 2003, NJ Solidarity, led by Kates, hosted both an off-campus pro-Palestinian conference four miles from Rutgers and an on-campus rally. According to the Anti-Defamation League:

“One of the conference supporters included a local chapter of Al-Awda, a movement that calls for the destruction of Israel, as indicated by its motto, “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free.” Other endorsers include the Islamic Association for Palestine, an anti-Semitic organization that, according to the FBI, has coordinated its activities with the terrorist group Hamas.7″

These events neither attracted the support nor the media coverage that NJ Solidarity had expected, although the emails that were sent out to the NJ Solidarity list-serve suggested otherwise.

Another key player in pro-Palestinian activity at Rutgers is a Jewish Rutgers student and former NJ Solidarity member, Abe Greenhouse. He is most renowned as the student activist who threw a kosher strawberry pie in the face of Israeli cabinet minister Natan Sharansky during his speaking engagement at Rutgers on 16 September 2003. Sharansky responded to the assault by nonchalantly wiping the pie from his face, making a small joke, and continuing his lecture to resounding applause from the audience.8

Despite his ties to anti-Israeli activity on campus, Greenhouse attended a weekly class given at Rutgers Hillel and was well known to members of the Rutgers Jewish community. Many attempts were made by both Hillel professionals and student leaders to bring him back into the Jewish community, but Greenhouse has not attended any Hillel events since the pie-throwing incident.

Many of the anti-Israeli events with anti-Semitic overtones that have occurred at Rutgers have been attributed to NJ Solidarity.9 The actual number of members of NJ Solidarity that participated in their events is minuscule. According to Andrew Getraer, executive director of Rutgers Hillel, there may have been 35-40 members of NJ Solidarity at the apex of their activism.

In comparison, there are a large number of pro-Israeli activists at Rutgers University. They belong to several pro-Israeli student organizations, of which the umbrella organization is Students United for Israel.10

Yet, despite the ratio of members of NJ Solidarity to Students United for Israel, these pro-Palestinian activists were a very vociferous minority during the peak of their anti-Israeli activity. The NJ Solidarity list-serve sends out several emails per week, boasts large membership numbers, and claims successful turnouts at events, but does not always provide accurate information. For example, an event that was scheduled for 4 December 2003 at the Center for Latino Arts and Culture never occurred. According to Getraer, he went to the widely advertised event at the Latino center and no one was there except for an older woman, who was also looking for the meeting. He mentioned that to the best of his knowledge, NJ Solidarity advertises all the time for events that do not end up happening, from movies to rallies.

This aforementioned event, the showing of a film called People and the Land, announced that the movie

“…takes viewers into the universe of the occupied people of Palestine, [with] unreeling images of a new form of apartheid based on ethnicity…that highlights the human rights violations against the Palestinian community. “People and the Land” raises and highlights the issue of US aid to Israel. At campuses across the country, including Rutgers, students and faculty are demanding that our universities divest-draw investment from-the apartheid state of Israel, in order to cut off that corporate aid to the apartheid regime.11″

NJ Solidarity also spearheaded a campaign called Rutgers Divest, which:

“Calls for the University to apply its human rights ideals where its dollars are invested. That is, we urge the university to use its political and financial influence to encourage the United States government to suspend its aid and arms sales to Israel. We also call upon Rutgers University to divest from Israel, from US companies that sell arms to Israel, and from US companies engaged in business with Israel….12″

The website boasts a petition signed by 866 members. Interestingly, however, when researching the signatures this author found that some of the signatories listed as students either did not exist or were no longer students.

During all the pro-Palestinian activity on campus, pro-Israeli activists, for the most part, continued to organize Israeli educational, social, and cultural events. Aside from writing responses to anti-Israeli commentaries and advertisements in the Daily Targum, anti-Israeli activity was generally ignored in the beginning months of the Palestinian- Israeli conflict.


Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism Intermingle

As the conflict in the Middle East increased in violence, however, tension on the campus began to mount. With anti-Israeli commentary no longer limited to the college newspaper, Anti-Zionist rhetoric, such as “Zionism = Racism,” “Sharon = Hitler,” and “Zionism = Nazism” quickly made its way into flyers, chalking, banners, and rally signs across the campus.

A series of events at Rutgers in the fall of 2002 exemplify how the line between criticizing Israeli policies and anti-Semitism often becomes blurred on the college campus. This is a point that has been noticed and addressed by other university administrations as well, including Harvard University where President Lawrence Summers discussed the positive correlation between anti-Israeli activity and the growth of anti-Semitic incidents in a speech in September 2002.13

At an Israeli-Palestinian dialogue cohosted by the Rutgers University Democrats and Republicans, pro-Israeli students listened to the pro-Palestinian side, whereas all pro-Israeli speakers were booed and given an unfair amount of time to express their view. At the “dialogue,” Palestinian refugee camps were compared to Holocaust concentration camps using disturbing visual images. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was also compared to Hitler. Jewish students were not only intimidated into silence, denied the freedom to express their opinions openly, but were also emotional victims of Holocaust manipulation, a personal issue for many Jewish students in attendance. In another example of Holocaust manipulation and revision, on 4November 2002 NJ Solidarity sponsored a lecture by Holocaust revisionist Norman Finkelstein. Daniel Goldhagen, author of Hitler’s Willing Executioners, describes Finkelstein as “a man who has made a career of attacking Israel’s legitimacy, including likening those who support Israel to the ‘Gestapo.'”14

Shortly after the Israeli-Palestinian “dialogue,” Hillel students on their way to Morning Prayer services found chalking on the sidewalk outside of Hillel, permanent marker on a board on Hillel’s lawn, defacement of posters on the fence, and stickers on parking meters. The chalking and stickers contained defamatory language such as “Zionism is racism” and “Hillel is racist.” This vandalism was reported by the Rutgers University police as a “bias incident.”15 This event clearly blurs the line between anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic sentiment, as Hillel became the target for anti-Israeli attacks. Jewish students who wanted to participate in religious activities hosted by the Center for Jewish Life on Campus could no longer ignore the political conflict.

One day after Hillel was vandalized, a front-page article appeared in the Daily Targum. A non-student member of NJ Solidarity said about the incident, “We have to understand that what happened is anti-Jewish, not anti-Semitic.” In the same article, the University student senator for the Douglass College Governing Association (DCGA)16 stated, “An attack on Zionism is by no means an attack on Judaism.”17 These remarks went unchallenged.

An important note about NJ Solidarity’s claims in this article, aside from the inaccuracies of the definition of “anti-Semitic,” is that the same slogans that were chalked on Hillel property were echoed the very next day at an anti-war rally hosted by the same organization. This rally, held on 24 October 2002, was dominated by anti-Israeli slogans. Many students, who came for an anti-war rally and received a very different message, were dismayed.

As for the vandalism, the police interviewed students whom Hillel identified to them: three female students who were known to be active in NJ Solidarity had publicly uttered phrases that were found written on Hillel property, and had been outspoken against Hillel and Israel at DCGA meetings. Although a Jewish student who witnessed the chalking at Brower Commons, the campus dining hall, could not identify them directly, they matched the general description. When interviewed by the RU police they denied any involvement, and then reported to the student government that Hillel was harassing them.

As attacks against Hillel increased in the form of anti-Israeli activity aimed at the Center, Jewish students were no longer comfortable about expressing their Jewishness openly. On 20 September 2003, in the heat of the Israeli-Palestinian propaganda war, swastikas were painted on the property of both Rutgers Hillel and the Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity House,18 only a few days after Sharansky spoke on the campus.


Announcement of the Third Palestinian Solidarity Movement Conference

A turning point occurred during the late spring semester of 2003 when it became public knowledge that the Palestinian Solidarity Movement (PSM), the international organization that sponsors NJ Solidarity, planned to hold their third annual conference at Rutgers during the weekend of 10-12 October 2003. It was not long, however, until PSM began to encounter many difficulties with their plan; a large, pro- Palestinian conference on the Rutgers campus was not to be.

A few key factors led to PSM’s final decision to move their divestment conference away from Rutgers to Ohio State University. First, the vocal protest among the local Jewish community indicated to PSM that they would not be welcome in the Rutgers area. Second, PSM was discouraged by the difficulty encountered by NJ Solidarity in trying to obtain a permit for the conference from the University.19 Third, according to the Anti-Defamation League the main reason PSM moved the conference was internal conflict between PSM and NJ Solidarity. The former found this chapter of their organization to be too extreme in their approach to pro-Palestinian activism.20 Specifically, PSM did not agree with Kates’s support for Palestinian suicide bombings.


“Israel Inspires”: A Proactive Response

Some pro-Israeli activists were worried that the PSM conference, which planned to further the already vocal campaign to coerce universities to divest from Israel, and would generate even more intimidation and anti-Israeli propaganda at Rutgers. Seeking community support, pro-Israeli activists cited examples from the anti-Semitic incidents that occurred at both UC Berkeley and the University of Michigan, the two previous hosts of the PSM conference.

In April 2003, a group of ten Jewish student leaders and two Rutgers Hillel professionals sat down together to brainstorm a reaction to this conference. The leaders established a new coalition, Students United for Israel, that consisted of representatives from all the pro-Israeli groups on campus.21 This coalition worked throughout the summer and the beginning of the fall semester to create a new pro-Israeli agenda. This initiative, now known as Israel Inspires, grew beyond countering the pro-Palestinian conference to a proactive series of events that would bring together not only students from the United States, Canada, and other countries but also the local community to stand in solidarity with Israel.

The main events of the October Israel Inspires campaign, which consisted of an Israeli Block Party, a Community Rally, and a Student Weekend Conference, gained international acclaim for their success.22 On 10 October 2003, over a thousand students flocked to the main student center to celebrate Israeli culture with live bands, Israeli food, Israeli art, and educational displays.

At the Israel Inspires Student Weekend Conference, 10-12 October 2003, which not only coincided with NJ Solidarity’s conference date but also with the Jewish holiday of Sukkoth, six hundred students from sixty-eight colleges representing seventeen states, three Canadian provinces, and three countries came to hear a wide political spectrum of speakers and celebrate Israel in a 9,000-square-foot sukkah, and to engage in workshops on advocating for Israel on their own campuses. Among the speakers for the weekend were June Walker,23 David Harris,24 Tom Rose,25 and Ambassador Fereydoun Hoveyda.26

The Israel Inspires Rally on 9 October brought seven thousand people from throughout New Jersey and the New York metropolitan area to hear speakers including New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey, New Jersey Senators Frank R. Lautenberg, Jon S. Corzine, and Joseph M. Kyrrilos, as well as Ido Aharoni.27

During all the Israel Inspires events, the presence of anti-Israeli protesters was felt but mostly ignored. The local media, however, gave these protesters enough attention to encourage their own supporters. NJ Solidarity measures the success of their own counterevents by the media coverage they receive. Whereas the Israel Inspires leaders focused on their new proactive initiative, NJ Solidarity consistently worked not only to respond to Israel Inspires but to run their own programs without PSM’s support as well.


“Israel Inspires”: The Continuing Effect on College Activism

Given the large attendance, attention, and support of the greater pro-Israeli community, the Israel Inspires campaign was successful from two major standpoints. First, anti-Semitic incidents at Rutgers have virtually disappeared since the advent of the campaign. Second, Israel Inspires was true to its name and inspired many students at Rutgers to become involved in campus activism. The Rutgers Students United for Israel community now boasts numerous pro- Israeli activities, including the debut of the Rutgers Student Journal of Israel Affairs.

When PSM announced Duke University as the location for their fourth conference, the success of the Rutgers Israel Inspires campaign was once again evident as pro-Israeli activists at Duke looked to Rutgers to create their new pro-Israeli initiative in response to the conference:

“The Israeli Initiative is loosely based on the yearlong “Israel Inspires” campaign last year at Rutgers University, when the National Student Conference of the Palestine Solidarity Movement held its annual event in New Brunswick, NJ, the Rutgers base….Jewish students at Duke have planned an anti-terrorism rally and rock concert, followed by a pro-Israeli Shabbaton to coincide with the PSM gathering.28″

Although anti-Semitic incidents have virtually disappeared at Rutgers, the campus should continue to be monitored as Middle Eastern events continue to cause concern among both pro-Israeli and pro- Palestinian college activists. Much of NJ Solidarity and other pro- Palestinian organizations’ work on the Rutgers campus has turned to forming coalitions with other organizations that have no predetermined political agenda on Middle Eastern issues, such as the gay and lesbian organizations at Rutgers, in which pro-Israeli activists are alarmingly absent. This author suggests that pro-Israeli activists consider reaching out to both left-wing and non-Jewish organizations in seeking to form coalitions. This is an important and necessary step to ensure that colleges will remain free of anti-Israeli rhetoric, which can so easily turn into anti-Semitism and intimidation in supposedly peaceful academic settings.



A Summary of Intimidation:
Anti-Israeli Incidents at Rutgers University 2001-2004

  • 11 October 2001: Peter Miller, an opinion columnist in the Daily Targum (the Rutgers campus paper), writes, “Israel needs to be dismantled, either politically or physically.”

  • Spring 2002: At a pro-Palestinian rally on the steps of the main dining hall a thirty-foot-long banner is displayed, containing a purported “quote” from Ariel Sharon, dated 1956, exhorting IDF soldiers to rape and humiliate Arab women. Signs equate Zionism with Nazism.

  • Fall 2002: At an Israeli-Palestinian dialogue cohosted by the Rutgers University Democrats and Republicans, Jewish students are intimidated by an overwhelming number of Arab and Muslim anti-Israeli students, and are not given an equal chance to speak. Although pro-Israeli students listen to the pro-Palestinian side, all pro-Israeli speakers are booed and given an unfair amount of time to convey their point of view. At the “dialogue,” Palestinian refugee camps are compared to Holocaust concentration camps with disturbing visual images. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is also compared to Hitler.

  • 23 October 2002: Reported by the Rutgers University Police as a “bias incident,” anti-Israeli and anti-Hillel graffiti is found all along College Avenue. On their way to Morning Prayer services, Hillel students find chalking on the sidewalk outside of Hillel, permanent marker on a board on Hillel’s lawn, defacement of posters on the fence, and stickers on parking meters. The chalking and stickers contain defamatory language such as “Zionism is racism” and “Hillel is racist.”

  • 24 October 2002: A front-page article appears in the Daily Targum in which a nonstudent member of NJ Solidarity says about the previous day’s vandalism incident, “We have to understand that what happened is anti-Jewish, not anti-Semitic.” In the same article, the University student senator for the DCGA says, “An attack on Zionism is by no means an attack on Judaism.” These remarks go unchallenged.

  • 24 October 2002: In the guise of an antiwar rally, members of NJ Solidarity hold a rally that is quickly dominated by anti-Israeli slogans. Several Palestinian flags are displayed. This dismays many students, who came for an antiwar rally and received a very different message.

  • 25 October 2002: An NJ Solidarity member attempts to force his way into an invitation-only Hillel event, a training session on pro-Israeli advocacy on campus. When he is denied entry, he stages photographs of himself, posts them on an activist website, and protests to the vice-president for student affairs that Hillel has violated University policy and is illegitimately using the Rutgers name. Calls and mails from anti-Israeli activists flood Hillel and the administration for several days. All complaints are summarily dismissed.

  • 27 October 2002: Protesting the Douglass College Governing Association’s resolution to condemn the vandalism that Hillel underwent on 23 October, members of NJ Solidarity pass out flyers claiming that the statements plastered at Hillel were “NOT defamatory language.” These statements included: “Free Palestine!” “Israel is an Apartheid State!” “Stop US Aid to Israel Now!” “Boycott Israel!” “Hillel is Racist!” “Zionism is Racism!” and “End the Occupation!”

  • 4 November 2002: NJ Solidarity sponsors a lecture by Holocaust revisionist Norman Finkelstein. Daniel Goldhagen, author of Hitler’s Willing Executioners, describes Finkelstein as “a man who has made a career of attacking Israel’s legitimacy, including likening those who support Israel to the ‘Gestapo.'”

  • November 2002: A series of pro-Palestinian ads run in the Daily Targum. Some show Palestinian children captions about how their life’s dreams may be thwarted by the occupation; others list purported Israeli massacres of Arabs from 1948-2002.

  • 28 January 2003: NJ Solidarity begins their divestment campaign, which calls for public and private institutions to divest from Israel. The campaign is launched with an anti-Israeli rally in which twenty supporters of divestment symbolically “die” to represent Palestinians. One sign reads “Sharon = the future Hitler.”

  • 6 February 2003: Former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney is invited by NJ Solidarity to speak during Black History Month. This disturbs many Jewish students, as in the past McKinney has been accused of making anti-Semitic comments during interviews and speeches.

  • 27 February 2003: The Rutgers Association for Middle East Justice, an ad hoc student group directly associated with NJ Solidarity, displays a banner that reads, “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free” in both the Rutgers College and Douglass College centers. Implicit in this sentence is the idea that the state of Israel should be eradicated from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River, in other words, totally, and many extremist groups including Hamas have used it.

  • 27 March 2003: Anti-Israeli activists protest a Hillel speaker with a mock Israeli “checkpoint” in front of the Hillel building. They put up flyers around campus implying that the speaker, an Israeli rabbi, is a terrorist because he lives in Bat Ayin, a settlement outside of Jerusalem. Israeli settlers are described as fanatical terrorists. The rabbi’s topic was “Jewish Themes in the Work of Franz Kafka.”

  • 28 March 2003: NJ Solidarity places flyers on campus advertising “A Night of Solidarity” with the lead slogan “Globalize Intifada.”

  • Spring 2003: An anti-Israeli ad is sponsored by NJ Solidarity in the Daily Targum, claiming that Israel is a terrorist state whose track record is worse than Iraq’s.

  • 4 April 2003: A demonstration is organized by the student-led Arabs United at Rutgers University to protest alleged Israeli army attacks on Palestinian communities.

  • 5 April 2003: In a front-page report in the Daily Targum, an Arab student claims that the “Israeli government went into an all-female hospital and randomly selected 30 women, called them terrorists, and executed them.” The Targum published this outrageous fabrication as if it was fact, and left it unchallenged.

  • 16 April 2003: The campus Muslim Student Association schedules a viewing of the documentary Jenin, Jenin, which falsely asserts that Palestinians were massacred in 2002 by the Israel Defense Forces in Jenin.

  • July-August 2003: NJ Solidarity, in promoting the International Palestinian Solidarity Conference to be held at Rutgers in October, comes out in support of Palestinian suicide attacks and declares that Israel has no right to exist. The statements are covered in the New York Times and all major New York/ New Jersey media.

  • 16 September 2003: Israeli cabinet minister Natan Sharansky speaks at Rutgers. A well-known pro-Palestinian student activist assaults him with a pie in the face. The incident gains worldwide press coverage. Seven months later the University announces its penalty: the student, who is graduating, will receive his diploma in December rather than in May.

  • 20 September 2003: Swastikas are painted on the property of Rutgers Hillel and AEPi, a Jewish chartered fraternity. ] 9 October 2003: Seven thousand people attend the Israel Inspires Rally. Fifty pro-Palestinian activists protest. The New York Times and Star-Ledger stories on the event lead with photos of and interviews the protesters.

  • 10 October 2003: Pro-Palestinian activists protest the Israel Inspires Block Party, a nonpolitical event attended by over one thousand students. The centerpiece of the protest is a giant banner reading “Zionism is Racism.” Although the placement of the banner clearly violates University policy, University officials refuse to take it down.

  • 11-12 October 2003: The International Palestine Solidarity Conference is held in New Brunswick. For noncompliance with University regulations they are denied access to the Rutgers campus. The conference splits into two groups, and only the most extreme stay at Rutgers while the others go to Ohio State University.

  • February 2004: A professor teaching a course on Islam sends a mass email to students promoting NJ Solidarity events. Hillel brings this to the attention of the department chair and the professor is informally reprimanded.

  • February 2004: A professor assigns his Advanced Spanish Grammar class an NJ Solidarity anti-Israeli flyer to translate for homework. Hillel meets the University president to protest.

*     *     *


1. “About the University,” shtml.
2. In the case of Rutgers, students are given the choice on their tuition bill to support the Daily Targum by agreeing to pay a predetermined, nominal fee to the University.
3. Yonit Golub, “An Analytic Approach to Campus Pro-Israeli Activism-Case Study: The Johns Hopkins University,” Jewish Political Studies Review, Vol. 16, Nos. 3-4 (5765/2004), pp. 205-213.
4. Peter Miller, “God Loves Terrorism,” Daily Targum, 11 October 2001.
5. “Religious Freedom Watch,”
6. Note that the original NJ Solidarity website,, can no longer be accessed because anonymous pro-Israeli activists have since hacked into it and changed it. The pro-Israeli activists have posted on the site extreme anti-Israeli statements, pictures of Palestinian children training to be suicide bombers, as well as links to articles that plead Israel’s case.
7. Ibid.
8. Carmen Cusido, “Pie in the Face Prompts Hillel to Improve Security at Events,” Daily Targum, 23 September 2003.
9. Examples of NJ Solidarity’s anti-Israeli activity are listed in the Appendix.
10. Pro-Israeli organizations at Rutgers include: Rutgers Hillel, Israel Action Committee of Rutgers University, Rutgers Israel Public Affairs Committee, Rutgers Chabad, and the Rutgers Israelis Club. Students United for Israel runs a list-serve that included over 134 members only a month after its inception. This list-serve represents all the membership lists of all the pro-Israeli organizations at Rutgers.
11. “NJ Solidarity: Activists for the Liberation of Palestine,” http://
12. “Rutgers University Campaign for Divestment from Israeli Apartheid,”
13. Lawrence Summers, “Address at Morning Prayers,” Memorial Church of Harvard University, 17 September 2002.
14. Daniel Goldhagen, “A Comment by Daniel Goldhagen,” http://
15. Chris Lang, “Graffiti Concerns Members of Hillel,” Daily Targum, 24 October 2002.
16. The Rutgers women’s college.
17. Carmen Cusido, “Resolution Condemns Attack against Hillel,” Daily Targum, 31 October 2002.
18. Alpha Epsilon Pi is the Jewish Fraternity of North America, http://
19. Rutgers denied a permit to NJ Solidarity to use campus property for their conference on the ground that they failed to fill out the proper documentation.
20. “Anti-Israel Divestment Campaigns Heating Up on Campus,” ADL, 8 October 2003.
21. The very first meeting of Jewish student leaders was attended by only a handful of students. As the activism intensified, the number of students involved grew to include fourteen identified key players in the Israel Inspires Initiative. These student leaders are: Rahel Bayar, Ronn Blitzer, Aviva Cohen, Joel Davidson, Norman Jamal, Danielle Josephs, Michelle Klein, Noam Kutler, Rebecca Leibowitz, Rebecca Markowitz, Shira Pruce, Scott Roland, Marisa Rosner, and Stephanie Schwartz.
22. Articles about the Israel Inspires rally and surrounding events have appeared in many newspapers including the New York Times and the Jerusalem Post. The rally was also covered by all surrounding New Jersey news stations.
23. President of Hadassah.
24. Executive Director of the America Jewish Committee.
25. Publisher and CEO of the Jerusalem Post.
26. Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, 1971-1978.
27. Israeli consul for media and public affairs.
28. Gabrielle Birkner, “Campus War Heats Up at Duke,” Jewish Week, 8 October 2004, artid>9973 12Leibowitz

*     *     *

REBECCA LEIBOWITZ is a recent graduate of Rutgers University, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and as a Henry Rutgers Scholar with BAs in psychology and Jewish studies. She served as student president of Rutgers Hillel and the Jewish Community Service Organization. She was also a member of the “Israel Inspires” Executive Committee, the Israel Action Committee of Rutgers University, the Rutgers Israel Public Affairs Committee, as well as a Grinspoon Israel Active Intern for Hillel International. Her essay was written during an internship Leibowitz also has conducted research at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.