The University of Maryland has issued a statement condemning “in no uncertain terms” the “hateful, antisemitic statements” expressed during a Justice for Palestine rally held on campus Thursday.
“The offensive actions of a few should not reflect on the vast majority of protesters who were there to peacefully express their views, but there is no place for any antisemitic message, behavior or action at the University of Maryland,” Friday’s statement read, referring to portions of a demonstration organized by the group Students for Justice in Palestine.
Videos surfaced on social media platforms following Thursday’s rally, showing a small crowd on the College Park campus chanting the phrase: “There is only one solution — intifada revolution.”
A photo depicting the phrase “Holocaust 2.0” chalked onto a campus sidewalk was also shown in the social media post.
In a statement provided to WTOP, a representative from the SJP said the chalk message “was clearly referring to the genocide taking place in Gaza right now and drawing a parallel to the Holocaust in WW2. The parallel is faulty and has been misinterpreted. Initially, SJP members had crossed it out after noticing it on the pavement.”
“Intifada” is an Arabic word meaning “shaking off,” and refers to the series of protests and violent riots that have occurred in Palestinian-held territories since the 1980s, in response to Israeli occupation.
“The University of Maryland Police Department (UMPD) has launched an immediate investigation and continues to conduct real-time threat assessments,” the statement said, adding that responsible parties will be held accountable.
According to the SJP’s constitution, one of the chapter’s guiding principles is to condemn discrimination while it also “manifestly rejects attempts to equate principled criticism of Zionism, or of the character or policies of Israel, with antisemitism. Furthermore, SJP condemns all acts of unlawful violence, or violence that indiscriminately targets civilians or civilian infrastructure, committed by either side in the course of the conflict.”
Further in their statement, SJP said the organization “will always condemn antisemitism as well as any Islamophobia that arises during our fight for freedom.”
“Our mission is to shed light on the 75-year-long occupation Palestine has suffered through. We aim to end the ongoing genocide and call for our university administration to recognize their complicit actions as they profit and fund the creation of weapons that harm innocent Palestinians. UMD SJP is a community for students to speak out against injustice and war crimes, we do not condone any antisemitism, Islamophobia, or hate speech that arises and we request that students remember this at all points in time.”
WTOP’s Ciara Wells contributed to this report.