“People have made it seem like I’m not Jewish enough because I don’t support Israel.”
Threats against members of a Jewish, pro-Palestinian group have increased in recent months, according to one of their co-presidents.
Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)—a Jewish student group at NYU—is also now the target of a hostile Facebook ad campaign. The group’s members have also received a growing number of threats.
“This current spat of threats I would say began probably a few months ago,” JVP co-president Rose Asaf said. “Because we’re effective; that’s why we’re getting threats.”
JVP was part of a panel in February on African Asylum Seekers in Israel which drew attention for its fiery debate. The group was also cited in the resolution passed by the Student Government of NYU aimed to “upgrade [NYU’s] commitment to nondiscrimination across the Global Network,” which was pushed in part by Asaf.
These projects — as well as their opposition to NYU’s “Israel Experience”— have drawn the ire of pro-Israel groups, to the point of personal threat.
Students across NYU have begun seeing Facebook ads from a page named “JVP Exposed,” which attempt to show JVP as violent and “not Jewish.”
“I am proud to be Jewish. My Judaism is central to my identity; my entire family on my father’s side still lives in Israel,” Asaf said. “I am not above criticizing the communities to which I am most closely connected. Those are the communities in which I have a voice.”
Facebook has not responded to a request for comment.
They are not alone in their inaction regarding the threats. According to Asaf, “People online send us death threats. When [we got] involved with Students for Justice in Palestine we received death threats…that NYU administration did not take seriously.”
It is unknown where these ads or stickers are coming from, and the threats are alarming even to groups which are often at odds with JVP.
Adela Cojab—the president of Pro-Israel group Realize Israel—spoke about NYU responsibility when groups face threats.
“NYU administration should be doing everything that it can to ensure the safety and well-being of its students,” she said in an email to Local. “Realize Israel…supports our fellow students’ right to advocate without fear or threats. That is and always has been our ardent position.”
Asaf has made it clear that the escalating threats against them would not inhibit the work they are doing.
“It’s not affecting us at all,” Asaf said. “They can send the money to us directly rather than paying for the ads.”
Jewish Voice for Peace a Target of Threats and Sketchy Facebook Ads was originally published in NYU Local on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.