SJC calls for investigation of ‘I love Hamas’ stickers at UBC
Posted November 24, 2023 3:32 pm.
Last Updated December 4, 2023 1:51 pm.
Students with the UBC Social Justice Centre (SJC) are considering legal options after stickers proclaiming support for Hamas wrongfully using the centre name were spotted around campus Saturday, Nov. 18.
The centre says stickers reading “I (heart) Hamas” along with the UBC SJC logo and name were placed on posters advertising a student walkout for Palestine.
Photos of the stickers were circulated widely across social media, and since then, the group says its members have been facing threats and harassment.
In a statement to social media, Jewish Student organization Hillel BC confirmed an independent contractor “participated in the distribution of offensive stickers around UBC campus.”
The organization added it terminated its relationship with the contractor upon learning of the incident.
Friday evening, UBC SJC posted a statement on Instagram.
“Hillel B.C. has confirmed that an individual who was associated with their organization until earlier this week is responsible for the dangerous stickers that were posted on campus late last week,” the statement says. “These stickers were placed on Palestine posters on campus in a malicious attempt to undermine the pro-Palestine movement. The stickers falsely framed the UBC SJC and have been widely shared on social media, causing reputational harm and extreme emotional distress to SJC members.”
The statement goes on to say that Hillel B.C. “has not apologized to the SJC, nor has it made any reference to our organization in its recent statement.”
A representative from the UBC SJC, whom CityNews has agreed to refer to as “Ria” due to safety concerns, says despite Hillel BC’s statement, she and other students are still receiving hate messages and threats daily.
“Even after Hillel took responsibility, the next morning we received two emails calling us, and I quote, ‘Jew-hating scumbags,’ and telling us to go to hell,” Ria told CityNews. “On Twitter, there have been people threatening to leak our addresses saying they are going to hunt us down.”
Ria adds the centre is now considering legal options as its members deal with the fallout. She says they are also calling for a full university investigation into “how something like this happened — and to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
“My organizers and I were afraid to come to campus. We were afraid to be in our space,” said Ria.
“This incident seems isolated to some but it’s really not. It’s part and parcel of quite a coordinated campaign to smear us and associate our movement with something that we absolutely do not stand for.”
In a statement to CityNews, UBC says “it has come to the university’s attention that an independent contractor that has worked with Hillel BC recently posted offensive stickers around [their] Vancouver campus.”
“The stickers have exposed UBC Social Justice Centre members to vitriol and malice, which is unacceptable,” the statement reads.
The university adds it has taken quick action to have the stickers removed and that it will continue to address any incidents and support community members who don’t feel safe on campus.
CityNews reached out to Hillel BC for comment.
-With files from Sonia Aslam