UIUC Student Group Compares Zionists to KKK, White Supremacists

Chant 'No Zionists! No KKK! Resisting fascists all the way' at rally against fascism

UIUC students stand before the Alma Mater statue, holding a Palestinian flag (right), and an Israeli flag covered in fake blood / Photo courtesy of Elan Karoll
September 7, 2017

A University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) student group threatened this week to use "any means necessary," including "full-scale armed conflict," in their mission to oppose the "unholy union of American fascists, white supremacists, and Zionists."

Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) made the comments in a Facebook post published ahead of a rally it co-hosted called "Smashing Fascism: Radical Resistance Against White Supremacy," held Tuesday in front of a major campus landmark.

According to video obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, the president of SJP led the crowd of some 50 individuals in a chant of, "No Zionists! No KKK! Resisting fascists all the way!"

Elan Karoll—co-president of pro-Israel student group, the Illini Public Affairs Committee (Illini PAC)—attended the event, where he said speakers made additional "thinly veiled calls to violence."

Though there have been previous SJP rallies, including at least one other event at which an Israeli flag covered in fake blood was pulled out, Karoll said this one was different because of its "direct targeting of individuals."

"They specifically called out Zionists and made clear we were not welcome on this campus … they made it clear I and others like me are the targets," Karoll told the Washington Free Beacon. "Hillel, IlliniPAC, and all Zionists were called out directly. We were compared to the KKK, to violent fascists and accused of perpetuating white supremacy all because we believe that the Jewish people have a right to self-determination."

Ron Krudo, the executive director of campus affairs for pro-Israel organization StandWithUs, called such comparisons "grotesquely racist."

In its Facebook posts leading up to the rally, SJP also condemned pro-Israel groups for relying on the police to maintain law and order.

"The police, at all levels, represent white supremacy and the preservation of a racist, classist, and sexist society," SJP wrote. "Increased levels of policing at events like this present a clear danger to black, brown, poor, and queer and trans members of our community. Such actions show that Zionist campus groups do not have a commitment to fighting for justice and have no problem siding with and introducing oppressive forces within radical spaces."

As of yet, the university has issued no response to the event. Calls and emails to the UI president, UIUC chancellor, UIUC vice chancellor for student affairs, and the UIUC public media department received no response.

Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago (JUF), whose representatives monitored the rally, said in a statement, "When asked if a statement would be forthcoming, a UIUC senior official told JUF that no University rules or codes of conduct had been broken, therefore no statement was necessary."

Illini PAC noted on social media that the UI Student Code states, "Registered Organizations and Registered Student Organizations shall not practice discrimination against a member or prospective member on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or sexual orientation."

Karoll told the Free Beacon the university administration's "silence speaks volumes."

"We are scared and we look to the administration for guidance and leadership and unfortunately there has been none," he said.

Hillels of Illinois, a Jewish campus group, has been working to fill that void.

"Jews will never be victims again and we will not let them be victimized," said John Lowenstein, the executive director of the organization.

Meanwhile, UIUC students also found swastikas and the words "I hate Jews" carved into a bathroom door on campus this week.

Published under: College Campuses , Israel