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Horowitz Poster Campaign Ignites Controversy

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Conservative writer David Horowitz and members of the David Horowitz Freedom Center hung posters on UC Irvine’s campus last Thursday depicting individuals affiliated with UCI’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), and accusing SJP members of providing “a campus front for Hamas terrorists and…supporting the Hamas-sponsored, anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign in America.”

Horowitz, founder and president of the David Horowitz Freedom Center think tank, has led controversial anti-SJP poster campaigns and conferences on UC campuses for nearly a decade. In April 2016, after a similar series of posters appeared at UCLA targeting members of the university’s SJP and Muslim Student Union, UCLA administration denounced Horowitz and his team for creating an unsafe and intimidating environment for students.

Horowitz maintains that his poster campaign at UCI is designed to prevent “on-campus BDS resolutions to boycott Israel’s economy” and force UC administration to “withdraw recognition of SJP as a campus organization and deny funding to SJP as a hate group.”

“The goal of our poster campaign is to alert the UCI community to the fact that, by supporting SJP with campus privileges and student funds, it is supporting a propaganda arm for Hamas terrorists whose stated goal is destruction of the Jewish state and extermination of the Jews,” said Horowitz in an interview with the New University.

The day before the poster campaign at UCI, Horowitz’s magazine, Frontpage Mag, ranked UCI No. 6 on a list of “Top Ten Schools Supporting Terrorists.” Horowitz noted UCI’s annual Anti-Zionism Week, featuring anti-Zionist speakers and a mock apartheid wall, as well as ASUCI’s 2012 resolution to divest from Israel, one of the first student government movements in America to do so.

Since Thursday, several UCI students have denounced Horowitz’s campaign and asked university administration to monitor the situation.

Second-year SJP board member Jeanine Erikat argues that Horowitz’s poster campaigns at UCI and other UC campuses have created hostile environments for all students, especially those targeted directly.

“We support UCLA and other campuses which have condemned David Horowitz and have asked their administrations to condemn Horowitz themselves,” said Erikat. “These posters filled with hate speech endanger student lives on campus — students involved in Palestine advocacy, members of SJP, or visibly Muslim or Arab students who are assumed to be part of SJP. Horowitz’s posters create an unwelcoming and alienating campus climate which can be threatening to students’ physical and mental health.”

According to Horowitz, Thursday’s poster campaign will not be the last at UCI.

“We will continue this campaign until there are no university-sponsored organizations supporting terrorists and anti-Semitic harassment at UCI,” said Horowitz.