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Fake off-campus eviction notices aim to raise awareness about displaced Palestinian families

Some students living off-campus found a mock eviction notice taped to their doors on Oct. 30 by the Committee for Justice in Palestine group at OSU.  Credit: Audrey DuVall / Lantern reporter

Some students living off-campus found a mock eviction notice taped to their doors on Oct. 30 by the Committee for Justice in Palestine group at OSU.
Credit: Audrey DuVall / Lantern reporter

Some students living in the off-campus area weren’t greeted by the mailman or by the neighborhood squirrels when opening their front doors Thursday. They were instead greeted by a piece of paper saying they must move out immediately. 

The words “EVICTION NOTICE” were written in bold across the tops of the fliers, which were taped to the front doors of some off-campus residences located between East 11th and Lane avenues. The flier went on to say that the building was scheduled for demolition in three days.

If the flier alarmed students, then it did the job its creators intended.

The flier was a mock eviction notice put out by the Committee for Justice in Palestine that was meant to raise awareness about Palestinian families who have been evicted from their homes after ongoing conflicts.

“Eviction notices are routinely given to Palestinian families living under the oppressive Israeli occupation for no reason other than their ethnic background; the goal is to make life so miserable for Palestinians that they leave. Forced evictions are arbitrary, racist, humiliating (and) violent,” the flier said further down.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is largely over land and religions and has been fought over for generations. Israel, Gaza and the West Bank were once called Palestine, but after a war in 1948, Palestine was divided and Jewish Israelis claimed some land for religious reasons.

Sami Idries, the president of CJP and a third-year in data analytics, said the organization put up about 700 eviction notices early Thursday morning.

Idries said there were two main reasons for the notices.

“We wanted to simulate what it feels like for the Palestinians to wake up and be kicked out of their homes, and we also wanted to tie it into the wall we set up here in the South Oval, to have people come here and promote discussion,” Idries said. 

The group set up a mock Apartheid wall on the South Oval, which prompted discussions about Palestine-related issues.

An apartheid system racially segregates and politically and economically discriminates, like the former social system in South Africa, which separated those who were black or other another racial descent from white people.

There is a part-wall, part-fence, mostly located in the West Bank of Palestine, that the Israeli government made the decision to build in 2002. The government said the wall was necessary to prevent Palestinian suicide bombers from entering the country, but because Palestinian land was confiscated to build it, many Palestinians have been separated from their land and jobs.

Off-campus residents had some mixed reactions about the mock evictions, however.

Hanah Ellsworth, a third-year in art management living on East 14th Avenue, said she was turned off by the notice because it said her building was to be demolished in three days.

“My roommate and I were somewhat bothered … not exactly mad but not happy that this was posted on our door,” she said. “We were more upset that it was fake. It was not a pleasant experience.” 

Ellsworth said she didn’t know if CJP really got their message across because of the unsettling approach.

“I understand that they were trying to portray the way those families feel when they receive those notices but considering the freak out from my roommate, we weren’t too happy and were between mad and happy that it was fake,” she said.

Ellsworth also said she questioned the legality of it.

Dave Isaacs, spokesman for the Office of Student Life, said Ohio State has no control over what is put on doors off-campus. He noted that they do have policies about what can be put up in residence halls, but that the university has no power in that situation for off-campus.

Columbus Division of Police Sgt. Steven Knotts said off the top of his head, he couldn’t think of anything illegal about the fake eviction notices.

“It would be a stretch for illegal activity, maybe if somebody wanted to file a complaint for trespassing, but it would be a stretch. They couldn’t really push a criminal charge,” he said.

And it isn’t the first time the group has issued fake notices about evicting students from their residences.

During Spring Semester, CJP put about 2,000 mock eviction notices on some off-campus housing doors to further simulate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The OSU group also isn’t alone in their fake eviction efforts.

In April, the New York Daily News reported the same type of mock eviction notices being slipped under dorm rooms of up to 2,000 New York University students.

The NYU Students for Justice in Palestine took responsibility for the notices.

Mock evictions were also passed out at Northeastern University by the NU chapter of SJP in February. 

As a result, the NU chapter of SJP was suspended until December by university administration for “vandalism of university property, distribution of flyers in residence halls without prior approval and disrupting the events of other student groups,” according to The Huntington News, the school’s student newspaper. 

4 comments

  1. Such is the sad state of “education” at The Ohio State University. “Young skulls full of mush” accepting whatever lie is spoon fed to them. Humans have gained control of land by many methods since the dawn of humanity. Once gained, land is controlled until someone else wanting said land takes and controls it, almost universally by force of arms and will. Israel, the Kingdom/nation and its people, have ancient origins and history contained within their religious faith and sacred texts. Belief in Judaism is not required in understanding its role in Jewish history and life.

    The geographic area today called “Palestine,” is the region of Palestine, generally defined as a geographic region in Western Asia between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands. Situated at a strategic location between Egypt, Syria and Arabia, and the birthplace of major Abrahamic religions[1] the region has a long and tumultuous history as a crossroads for religion, culture, commerce, and politics. Palestine has been controlled by numerous different peoples, including the Ancient Egyptians, Canaanites, Philistines, Tjekker, Ancient Israelites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, early Muslims (Umayads, Abbasids, Seljuqs, Fatimids), Crusaders, later Muslims (Ayyubids, Mameluks, Ottomans), the British, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (1948–1967, on the “West Bank”) and Egyptian Republic (in Gaza), and modern Israelis and Palestinians. Other terms for the same area include Canaan, Zion, the Land of Israel, Southern Syria, Jund Filastin, Outremer, the Holy Land and the Southern Levant.

    Regardless of any and all “ancient claims,” Great Britain and the United Nations ended the “British Mandate” control of the region and proposed two nation States, Israel and Palestine, in 1948. “Israel” accepted the proposal and declared Jewish independence within the proposed boundaries of the “two States.” The “Palestinians” rejected the proposal and several existing Arab States declared war upon Israel. Israel has defended its territory despite repeated wars of aggression by her Arab neighbor States. In every war brought to Israel by her Arab neighbors, Israel has triumphed. As in all wars boundaries often change, victors gaining territory and the defeated losing territory. Territory lost in war is not “occupied land,” it is the prize of the victors. Israel will never again be driven from its land. The so-called “Palestinians” most of whom entered the area from “Trans-Jordan,” have been both willing and unwilling “pawns” of those who will never accept the existence of Israel.

    The “plight of the Palestinians,” is caused by the refusal of Arabs and Persians to accept peace. Were I the government of Israel I would make one last Declaration; Our borders are as they are today. However, any land caused to be controlled by Israel due to all future aggression shall become the new borders of Israel. No such land shall ever again be relinquished.

    Ohio State students calling themselves the Committee for Justice in Palestine are clearly ignorant of history and facts. Or worse, like the so-called “Palestinians,” they also have made themselves pawns of radicals and extremists whose sole goal is the genocide of the Nation of Israel and its people. There is no “moral equivalency” between the Jewish State and its peaceful people who hold life as sacred, and the murderous thugs and terrorists calling themselves Palestinians and Muslims, who specifically target innocent Jewish civilian men, women, and children.

    These are the facts these students at OSU are either ignorant of, or choose to ignore.

  2. Great work, CJP! This will hopefully get some people thinking. House demolitions are one of the most brutal and devastating methods used by the Israeli military to oppress Palestinians and continue the creeping ethnic cleansing of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. By clicking on my name above you can visit the website of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, a movement of courageous Israelis who stand in solidarity with Palestinians against the state-organized racist violence of the Israeli military. Apartheid, racism and civil discrimination against Palestinians will end! I urge everyone to join with Palestinians, Jews, Muslims, Israelis and people of conscience all over the world to end these atrocities. -Vidar Thorsteinsson

  3. Eviction and demolition of properties that conceal genuine terrorist and terrorist activities against innocent Israelis are an acceptable punishment for those who will not make peace.

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