About two dozen posters containing offensive messages were found Tuesday morning affixed to a campus Jewish center at Tufts University, officials there said.
The fliers on the exterior of the Granoff Family Hillel Center “featured cartoons of pigs depicted as militant imperialists,” according to a statement on the center’s website, as well as messages that were critical of Israel and called for the liberation of Palestine.
The incident was first reported in the university’s independent student newspaper, the Tufts Daily.
Anthony P. Monaco, president of the university, notified the campus community about the posters Tuesday in an e-mail that promised a thorough investigation.
“The derogatory images and symbolism in these posters were profoundly disturbing and hurtful to those targeted and to others in our community,” Monaco wrote. “Recognizing these posters’ impact on our campus climate, we will fully investigate this matter and follow up appropriately on the results of that investigation.
“Our Jewish students, faculty, and staff, and all those who participate in Hillel programs, have my support as members of our community,” he continued. “Please join me in supporting them, and in condemning any act of intolerance on campus.”
At least one of the posters reprinted an editorial-cartoon-style image of three nearly identical pigs standing upright, wearing military gear, and toting rifles. One pig is labeled “local police,” while the other two are identified as “National Guard” and “Marines.”
That image is reproduced from a 1968 issue of the publication “The Black Panther,” the house organ for the revolutionary African-American rights group of the era.
The poster’s written message does not appear with the original publication. It reads, in all capital letters, “Destroy Israeli apartheid forces and Amerikkkan pigs which fund it. Free Palestine.”
According to Tufts Hillel, the posters weren’t found anywhere on campus except the Jewish center.
“We would like to remind the Tufts community that we are here to listen, to support, and to engage in conversation,” Tufts Hillel said in a statement. “We have been working closely with the University at large since the posters were discovered in order to ensure the safety, security, and well-being of staff and students. We invite you to stand with us in condemning all forms of hate and vitriol.”
Rabbi Naftali Brawer, executive director of Tufts Hillel, condemned the posters in a separate statement.
“This was a cowardly and shameful act targeting the Jewish community on campus,” Brawer wrote. “Tufts Hillel has been in regular communication with the university administration and we have received strong support from our campus partners and the Tufts University Police Department, who are taking the matter very seriously and have launched an investigation.
“We appreciate President Monaco’s strong statement condemning the act and voicing support for Hillel and the Jewish community at Tufts,” Brawer continued. “Our priority now is to support the students. And we will do what we do best at Hillel, and that is to combat hate, prejudice and ignorance by celebrating diversity, difference and dialogue.”