Jewish Groups Call On Universities To Investigate Student Support For Hamas

The call comes as antisemitic attacks and anti-Israel propaganda have exploded at universities.

Cooper Union NYC Wikimedia

Note: The following letter from ADL and the Brandeis Center has been sent to the presidents of nearly 200 colleges and universities in response to the increase of antisemitic incidents on campus in the aftermath of the Hamas massacre of Israeli civilians.

October 25, 2023

Dear President,

We write to you today on behalf of ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) and Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law (the Brandeis Center) with an urgent request that your university investigate the activities of your campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) for potential violations of 18 USC 2339A and B, and its state equivalents, that is, for potential violations of the prohibition against materially supporting a foreign terrorist organization. 

Across the United States, we have seen a significant surge in anti-Israel activity on campuses in the wake of Hamas’s vicious October 7 massacre of over 1,400 Israeli citizens, nationals, residents, and tourists, as well as the wounding of thousands and taking hostage of over 200 people, including children and Holocaust survivors. As the ensuing war between Israel and Hamas continues, its reverberations have been felt around the world in grief, in protest, and in increased expressions of hate.

SJP is a network of student groups across the U.S., which disseminate anti-Israel propaganda often laced with inflammatory and combative rhetoric. In recent weeks, their rhetoric and activity has escalated significantly. Many of the organization’s campus chapters have explicitly endorsed the actions of Hamas and their armed attacks on Israeli civilians, voicing an increasingly radical call for confronting and “dismantling” Zionism on U.S. college campuses. Some SJP chapters have issued pro-Hamas messaging and/or promoted violent anti-Israel messaging channels. SJP chapters are not advocating for Palestinian rights; they are celebrating terrorism.

In sponsoring and preparing its Day of Resistance events, SJP provided its chapters with public relations materials and a toolkit instructing, “We must act as part of this movement. All of our efforts continue the work and resistance of the Palestinians on the ground.” The toolkit refers to the Hamas-led terrorist attack in Israel as “the resistance.” This was followed by statements at campus events where students proudly declared “We are Hamas,” and “We echo Hamas.”

We call on university leaders to immediately investigate their campus SJP chapters regarding whether they have improper funding sources, have violated the school code of conduct, have violated state or federal laws, and/or are providing material support to Hamas, a Foreign Terrorist Organization designated as such by the Secretary of State of the United States since 1997. Pending these investigations, universities must also update their code of conduct to ensure that harassment and support for terrorism have no place on campus. If universities do not check the activities of their SJP chapters, they may be violating their Jewish students’ legal rights to be free of harassment and discrimination on campus.

There is no more solemn obligation than securing the safety and well-being of your student body. Currently, Jews across campus are under attack, and for no other reason than the fact that they are Jews. We need University leaders to come together, and state loudly and clearly, “Not on our campus.” We are asking University Presidents to lead – we must protect Jewish life on campus and ensure that there is no material support being provided to terrorist organizations.

We fully recognize and support students’ First Amendment rights to freedom of speech, even odious speech. We remain committed, however, to calling out and speaking out against antisemitism and anti-Israel bias. And we certainly cannot sit idly by as a student organization provides vocal and potentially material support to Hamas, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. By investigating these concerns, you can uphold your University’s responsibility to maintain a safe learning environment on campus for its Jewish students.

We look forward to hearing from you and will happily answer any questions you have.


Jonathan A. Greenblatt
CEO and National Director
Anti-Defamation League (ADL)

Alyza D. Lewin
The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law

Kenneth L. Marcus
Founder and Chairman
The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law

Topic tags:
United States Academic Freedom Antisemitism Anti-Israel Hamas Swords of Iron