“I am dismayed by the glorification of violence that this message conveys,” SFSU President Leslie Wong said in a statement. “There is no place at S.F. State for celebrating violence or promoting intolerance, bigotry, anti-Semitism or any other form of hate-mongering.”
The event was celebrating the sixth anniversary of the creation of a mural in honor of Palestinian-American scholar Edward Said, according to university officials.
Tables had been set up close to the event by an array of organizations. One allowed people to make their own placards using a stencil that read, “My heroes have always killed colonizers,” noted the president’s statement.
The term “colonizers” may have been referring to Jews who came to Palestine in large numbers after World War II and subsequently founded the state of Israel in 1948 after fighting a successful war that caused the displacement of many Palestinians.
The AMCHA Initiative, a group that searches out anti-Semitism on campuses, sent a letter to Wong on Monday condemning the fact that a campus event had such messages associated with it, the group said.
It and other inquiries prompted Wong’s statement, according to the university.
But the General Union of Palestinian Students SFSU called the whole affair a smear campaign against their group.
“We are appalled at this blatant attack against the integrity and principled position that GUPS has maintained throughout its history. We are horrified by the baseless attack and allegations of anti-Semitism that have been leveled against GUPS and the Cesar Chavez Student Center, the organizers of the 6th annual anniversary of the Palestinian Cultural Mural honoring the late professor Edward Said,” wrote Mohammad Hammad, president of GUPS, on the group’s Facebook page.