J Street Response to Anti-Zionist Smear on University of Wisconsin Madison Campus

J Street U – J Street’s student organizing arm – today responded to a prominent chalk message on the University of Wisconsin Madison Campus: “Zionism is Racism, Zionism is Genocide, There are 5+ Zionist Orgs @UW – Hillel, J Street, Tamid, Badger Alliance for Israel, Chabad"

September 7, 2022

J Street U Chapter Leaders for University of Wisconsin Madison Campus, Liz Ely and Raphy Jacobson:

“We stand united with our fellow Jewish groups in rejecting and condemning the offensive accusation that the Jewish people’s right to self-determination, as expressed through Zionism, is tantamount to racism and genocide. It’s an appalling and divisive charge and we’re deeply worried about the impact this will have on all Jewish students and members of each of the targeted groups.

“It should go without saying, but it’s possible to identify as pro-Israel and Zionist and still hold any number of wide-ranging views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Our J Street U chapter models a pro-Israel vision underpinned by our Jewish values and Israel’s own founding values of justice, equality and peace. This compels us to speak out against the occupation and in support of Palestinian rights and Palestinian statehood.

“The idea that we or any of the groups targeted are advocating genocide and racism by virtue of supporting Israel’s existence is absurd. Some of these groups listed have little focus on the Israel-Palestine conflict, others hold deeply divergent views. Whatever the authors hoped to achieve, they’ve only made Jewish students on campus feel more unwelcome.

“We invite anyone interested in further learning about what it means to be pro-Israel, pro-Palestine, anti-occupation, and pro-peace to join us and hope that the UW campus can be a home for respectful and open dialogue instead of anonymous attacks.”

J Street U Director Erin Beiner:

“In the last 24 hours, Jewish students have been assailed by both national right-wing groups and on-campus anti-Israel groups for holding the pretty straightforward view that Jewish security, freedom and self-determination is both deeply important to them and also something that should not come at the expense of those same rights for Palestinians.”

“It shows just how important J Street’s work is as we seek to create a space for students who hold balanced, nuanced and compassionate views in line with their Jewish values. Together, we’re focused on creating a welcoming space for students and building bridges with campus groups of all stripes who share our values of justice, freedom, equality and peace.”