WRITTEN BY: IZZY UKNIS
Despite International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which took place on Jan. 27, Temple University’s Jewish community has already been subject to Anti-Semitic sentiment this year.
International Holocaust Remembrance Day marks the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp. According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the United Nations urges every member state to honor victims of the Nazi Era and to develop educational programs to prevent future genocides.
Instead of using this day for remembrance, four members of the Students for Justice in Palestine at Temple University held up signs in support of a convicted terrorist. This terrorist, in particular, Rasmeah Yousef Odeh, was convicted of being involved in a fatal terrorist bombing that killed two Jewish people in Jerusalem.
Both victims who were killed in the bombing at a crowded Jerusalem SuperSol Supermarket attended Hebrew University and were buying groceries for a field trip. The victims were innocent college students, just like the people who held up signs supporting the convicted terrorist who killed the two grocery-shopping students.
The members of Students for Justice in Palestine were practicing their free speech. However, the reason their free speech crossed the line into Anti-Semitic territory is because one of their signs in support of Odeh read “Support Palestinian right to Resist.”
According to Amcha Initiative, a non-profit organization that documents all instances of Anti-Semitism on campuses countrywide, these students were condoning terrorism. It wouldn’t have been problematic to tell people to simply support a Palestinian Right to Resist. They have every constitutional right to hold up a sign with that message. However, when it’s in the name of a terrorist who killed innocent Jewish people, it condones violence against Jews.
Simply put, it is Anti-Semitic to condone violence against Jews on a day that is dedicated solely to remembering one of the worst genocides in history.
More recently, on Feb. 6, a swastika and racial slur were found drawn in snow on top of a car on Temple’s campus. A swastika is not only representative of discrimination against Jews, it is indicative of a hatred for anyone who is different.
The swastika is a symbol that was manipulated to perpetuate Hitler’s motives of exterminating anyone who was Jewish, black, disabled, gay, and even elderly. The fact that someone thought to draw one of those symbols in the snow is the exact reason that International Holocaust Remembrance Day exists.
Jan. 27 is not just a day for Jews. It is a day to acknowledge that all different types of people were slaughtered for being themselves. The swastika is symbolic of hatred, separation of families, and death. When this symbol is used nonchalantly, the world is one step closer to forgetting what all of those people went through and it may be one step closer to a horrific event such as the Holocaust happening again.