Jewish students at UW feeling threatened after latest protest graffiti

Tensions continued to escalate at the University of Washington after graffiti was found throughout campus.

Some of the graffiti reads, “Abolish Israel” and “Save a life, kill your local colonizer.” This type of messaging has made some Jewish students feel unsafe.

KIRO 7 spoke with two UW students who are Jewish and asked to remain anonymous because they were afraid for their safety.

“I’ve lived in Seattle my whole life and I’ve never felt more afraid to express my identify as a Jewish student,” one female student said.

Another told KIRO 7 that he feels like the messaging is a direct target at Jewish students, staff and faculty.

“When people are calling for my death, that is a whole completely different level,” he said. “‘Abolish Israel’ that to me, that says that they are going to attack me in some way, physical or otherwise.”

The Anti-Defamation League said that in Washington state, there have been 37 reported incidents on campuses since January 1. Some students are avoiding the quad, which is where the encampment is, altogether.

“I know some Jewish students have been taking off their necklaces because they feel that if they are singled out as Jew they will be escorted out of the quad against their will,” the female student said.

KIRO 7 spoke with students who are part of the encampment and they told us they didn’t see this as a safety issue.

“The graffiti on the walls, I would love to know which ones are deemed anti-semitic because I haven’t seen anything to that degree,” Claire, a UW student and a member of the United Front for Palestinian Liberation, said. The protesters said the graffiti is aimed at the administration.

“It puts pressure on them. We saw yesterday Ana Marie Cace’s email out to students was met by a lot of student outrage,” Ovia, another UW student and member of the United Front for Palestinian Liberation, said.

On Tuesday, the president of UW sent a letter to all students, faculty, and staff calling the graffiti offensive, antisemitic and violent.

“All they keep on giving is mouth service but they won’t actually take any concrete action to stop what’s going on.,” one of the students said.

The president also called for the encampment to be dismantled but protesters said they have no intention of doing that until their demands are met. They are demanding the school cut ties with Israel and Boeing.

“I think there are other ways to fight for a free Palestine that doesn’t involve antisemitic slurs and scaring Jewish students away from wanting to be on campus,” one student said.

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