The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) recently “banned” the David Horowitz Freedom Center from its campus after the group posted flyers illustrating the relationship between Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the terrorist group Hamas.
In a cease and desist letter, the university maintained they issued a “criminal trespass warning” to the conservative think tank for a “posting policy violation.” Freedom Center founder David Horowitz contends the matter reflects a more deeply rooted anti-Semitism problem. On Sunday, he spoke to Breitbart Texas.
“What do you call people who think that Hitler was a great guy and they didn’t kill enough Jews?” he posed, referring to a flyer that quoted purported SJP activist Nancy Salem. She tweeted: “How many Jews died in the Holocaust? Not enough.” Last year, an Arlington preschool fired teacher Salem following an investigation into her alleged anti-Semitic social media posts.
Horowitz said that the Freedom Center stands up for Jewish students facing anti-Semitism from campus hate groups. “They know full well that a student who puts up our posters would be subject to punishments and harassment. The students are afraid to do it,” said Horowitz. “That’s why we post.”
The Freedom Center’s #StopUniversitySupportforTerrorists campaign calls out SJP and other anti-Israel campus groups as the “new Neo-Nazis.”
“SJP carries on its pro-terrorist, pro-genocide campaign with easily refuted lies provided to it by its sponsoring and funding organization Hamas,” said Horowitz. “Hamas is a State Department designated terrorist organization whose official goal is the extermination of the Jews. Texas university administrators provide funding for these goals, campus recognition and offices for the organization promoting them, and cover for their sinister activities.”
UTSA is a publicly funded university in a state that enacted the nation’s toughest pro-Israel, anti-Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) law. Breitbart Texas reported:
The Texas anti-BDS law stands firmly against the discriminatory BDS movement that uses false, distorted, and anti-Semitic rhetoric to demonize Israel and its citizens to isolate the Jewish state. H.B. 89 mandates companies that contract with Texas government entities to verify they do not and will not boycott Israel, also barring state pension and endowment funds like the Teacher Retirement System, the Employees Retirement System of Texas, the University of Texas Investment Management Company, and the permanent school fund from investing with companies that boycott Israel.
In an emailed statement, Joe Izbrand, a UTSA spokesman and member of the Campus Climate Team told Breitbart the Handbook of Operating Procedures (sections 9.09 and 9.37) “prohibits groups and individuals unaffiliated with the university from engaging in expressive activities at UTSA, including the placement of flyers on campus, regardless of their political association or point of view.”
He cited that the flyers “specifically referenced SJP four times under a label of ‘neo-Nazis on campus” as the reason why “the matter was reported as both a policy violation and a potential campus climate (bias) incident.”
Horowitz asserted the university “violated” the Freedom Center’s First Amendment rights with the ban. Izbrand rebuffed this claim. He described the UT System as a designated “limited public forum,” meaning that “free expression” only applied to UTSA students, faculty, and staff. Izbrand said “SJP is a registered student organization.”
However, last year, Gay Star News reported a bisexual student was “forced to leave” UTSA in 2016 after merely pointing out LGBT executions in Islamic countries.
Last month, SJP and the Muslim Students Association (MSA) jointly condemned the flyers as “blatantly racist and Islamophobic” in a statement that sought to flip the argument. They claimed they were the ones being silenced through “intimidation tactics” and railed against “Israeli-injustices.” The statement said “none of the alleged authors of the anti-Semitic quotes posted on the flyers are members of our SJP.”
In January, UTSA’s SJP chapter held an anti-Israel silent protest. The group claimed the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) held Palestinian children hostage. This followed the SJP’s fourth annual “Children of Gaza” fundraiser.
In March, SJP activists demonstrated and chanted for nearly three hours amid a university-approved “Israel Block Party.” This event was hosted by San Antonio Hillel, a chapter of the national pro-Israel and Jewish student group, according to The Paisano. Protesters held banners and signs that read: “Free Palestine,” “End the Occupation,” and “Anti-Semitism is a Crime, Anti-Zionism is a Duty.”
Student event co-chair Joseph Mabry said people yelled “Free Palestine’” at him while “trying to do a religious observance of Hanukkah” in December.
Canary Mission, which documents and exposes anti-Semitism, described SJP as the “primary student movement advancing the Palestinian national agenda on North American campuses” through campaigns designed to “intimidate and harass Jewish and pro-Israel students.” The watchdog group noted SJP is frequently criticized for creating hostile and unsafe climate on college campuses for those who do not share their anti-Israel views. They called SJP the “primary force behind BDS campaigns at most schools.”
The AMCHA Initiative accounted for, at least, 189 SJP chapters on U.S. college campuses. In Texas, SJP, MSA, and other similar groups are represented at Southern Methodist University, University of North Texas, Texas A&M, the University of Houston (UH), and UT System schools at Arlington, Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Tyler, and the Rio Grande Valley.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) recently reported a 57 percent uptick in U.S. anti-Semitic incidents overall, of which K-12 and universities rates nearly doubled. In 2017, college campus incidents hit 204, up from 108 in 2016.
Breitbart Texas reported on rising anti-Semitism on Texas college campuses, citing a 2017 UH investigation by Canary Mission that uncovered alarming numbers of social media posts expressing hatred of the Jewish people and Israel from individuals affiliated with SJP and MSA. Pro-Palestinian activists staged a walkout amid Horowitz’s UH talk on “The Terror Network on American Campuses” last November.
Horowitz cautioned UTSA “has already taken sides.” He also noted a chilling campus climate change. “I can tell you that when we started these campaigns some years ago, SJP activists used to tear [the posters] down. Now the universities do.”
Follow Merrill Hope, a member of the original Breitbart Texas team, on Twitter.