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American University threatens pro-Israel student chapter after exposing vandalism

“We demand that these hearings be canceled and that the students who were taking down the fliers be held accountable,” Ilan Sinelnikov, SSI’s founder and president, told JNS.

The front gate at American University in Washington, D.C. Credit: 	Samschoe via Wikimedia Commons.
The front gate at American University in Washington, D.C. Credit: Samschoe via Wikimedia Commons.

Students Supporting Israel sent a letter of protest to top administrators of American University in Washington, D.C., following the school’s threat of sanctions against the campus chapter.

On Nov. 5, SSI students participated in the #BringThemHomeNow campaign, hanging up photos of hostage victims around school property. That same evening, other students came by and tore down the posters, only to replace them with anti-Israel ones.

On Nov. 15, SSI students received emails from the dean of students requesting their attendance at a disciplinary meeting.

The SSI letter called it “utterly unacceptable” for the administrators to threaten the chapter with sanctions “after students who committed antisemitic actions were exposed on video for removing and destroying fliers of Israeli hostages taken by terror group Hamas and for exhibiting blatant Jew-hatred.”

SSI also described the meeting and how the pro-Israel students received “disparate treatment.” 

The letter noted that “two of the students who were summoned to meetings with the interim dean of students were forced to show their phones to prevent recording. Why were such measures needed? How come students who removed flyers of Israeli and foreign Hamas hostages and were exposed are not being held accountable, while SSI and our students are being investigated?”

Ilan Sinelnikov, SSI’s founder and president, told JNS that the students received another round of email on Monday to schedule their hearings. He said: “We demand that all of these hearings be canceled and that the students who were taking down the fliers be held accountable.”

SSI writes that the student meeting with administrators sought to “control the narrative and suppress the truth” while seeking to “manipulate pro-Israel students on campus who advocated for the kidnapped hostages.”

The letter concluded with questions about how the university planned to counter campus antisemitism. SSI called on administrators to drop the case against its chapter, investigate the students who tore down the posters and increase security to protect Jewish students.

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