NEW YORK – New York University launched an investigation Thursday after students reported receiving fliers marked "eviction notice" from a pro-Palestinian group.
The group's leaders said they slipped more than 2,000 fliers under the doors at the university's two largest dormitories to heighten awareness of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Shafeka Hashash, co-president of Students for Justice in Palestine at NYU, said the fliers "are very, very obviously fake looking." She refuted allegations the group targeted Jewish students.
But Jewish leaders were quick to condemn the fliers as "disturbing," ''intimidating" and anti-Semitic. Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind condemned them as "pure hate."
Laura Adkins, the vice president of the university's pro-Israel student group TorchPAC, said in a statement that the fliers were inaccurate and created "a hostile campus environment." The Anti-Defamation League called them an "unsettling intrusion."
NYU spokesman John Beckman said in a statement that the university encourages free speech but not when it's meant to "simply provoke."
He said in a statement that a flier titled "eviction notice" and anonymously slipped under doors at night "is not an invitation to thoughtful, open discussion."
"It is disappointingly inconsistent with standards we expect to prevail in a scholarly community," the statement said.
Beckman said officials would talk with students in the affected dormitory halls, Lafayette and Palladium, and will "follow up appropriately."
Emad Rajeh, president of the pro-Palestinian group, said the fliers were designed to resemble the ones Palestinians receive before their houses are demolished.
Rajeh said the campaign was intended to show solidarity with the group's chapter at Northeastern University in Boston after it was suspended last month for distributing fliers to students.
Rajeh said as of Thursday his group had not been contacted NYU officials.
Adkins encouraged them to act swiftly.
"Sneaking around in the dark of night and breaking NYU housing policy by distributing unapproved (fliers) bearing anti-Semitic language and cherry-picked 'facts' is no way to launch an education campaign," she said in the statement.