On Saturday night, January 29, anti-Zionist organizations barred hundreds of Jewish and pro-Israel gatherers from attending an event on the New Brunswick campus comparing Israeli actions to those of the Nazis. The program, titled “Never Again for Anyone,” was intended to coincide with the UN sanctioned International Holocaust Remembrance Day and “honor” the victims of the Holocaust. I, along with Rutgers University Hillel President Sarah Morrison and many others, viewed this event as an outright minimization of the Holocaust and defamation of the Jewish people.
Upon circulating information pertaining to this event around the tri-state area, the Jewish community along with those who seek to preserve the righteous memory of those murdered at the hands of the Nazis sought to audit the event. BAKA – Students United for Middle Eastern Justice, the host of the event, printed on the event page on Facebook that the event was free and open to the public. In addition, the group Never Again for Anyone, which is the host of the abhorrent tour, printed on the website for the event that a suggested donation of $5-$20 would be asked for at the door. Only after 200-400 pro-Israel supporters showed up did the event–held in a state school, paid for by both tax dollars and student fees–begin to discriminate who could enter the event free-of-cost.
First, the organizers of the event asked all of those who gathered together in opposition to the event to stand in a separate line and wait for seating to take place. Meanwhile, those in anti-Israel apparel, keffiyahs and hijabs were taken aside, given green wristbands, labeled as event “staff” and given free entrance. At one point, the hosts of the event, which ranged from groups like the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network to the International Socialist Organization, tore apart a suggested donation sign leaving only the admission fee visible. The group then said students could attend free-of-charge if they became members of BAKA. However, this policy once again did not apply for the Jewish students hoping to attend. In fact, at one point, I signed my name and the woman behind the desk read it and furiously crossed out the information I had just posted.
This event demonstrates better than any protest or counter-rally ever could the vehement anti-Israel and concurrently anti-Semitic sentiment growing not only on the campus of Rutgers but across the country. The organizers of the program did not want any recording devices to be inside the event, continuing a recent trend among anti-Israel organizations on campus that have become increasingly secretive. Clearly those who opposed the comparison of Israel to Nazi Germany would not want to monetarily support the creators of the event. So by denying audio and video recording along with the admission of Israel supporters, BAKA effectively removed any open transmission of the program.