Israel Posters Vandalized in Science Center

Four posters in the Science Center about Zionism, the Oslo Peace Accords and recent violence in Israel were vandalized by unknown offenders over the weekend.

The posters were part of a larger display by Harvard Students for Israel (HSI) advertising pro-Israel political views.

HSI members said they believe the vandals struck late Friday night or early Saturday morning.

On Saturday, HSI member Seth N. Kisch ’04 discovered anti-Israel slogans scrawled across the posters in thick blue marker with misspelled words.

On a poster about Zionism and the importance of a Jewish homeland in Israel, vandals wrote “Palastine 300 Years.”

The phrases “Occuppants of Pro-War” and “Israeli Propaganda” defaced posters about the Camp David peace accords.

Students said the misspellings suggested to them that the vandals were not fellow students. The Science Center is open to the public 24 hours a day.

“Most Harvard kids know how to spell Palestine,” said HSI cultural chair Avi D. Heilman ’03.

According to Heilman, who filed a report with the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) Saturday night, officers took the posters as evidence but were not optimistic about catching the vandals.

HUPD could not be reached for comment yesterday.

HSI members set up the display Tuesday as part of an effort to educate students on Israel. They had spent more than $600 on the posters, which were matted for long-term use.

“One of the reasons that we are so upset about this is because we invested so much time, energy and money in these posters,” said HSI President David B. Adelman ’04. “We planned to use these posters in the future, and other schools wanted to use them as well.”

He said a pro-Israel group at Boston University had recently borrowed the posters for a display on its campus.

“We took great pains not to make these posters inflammatory, but rather educational,” Heilman said.

HSI members said that while they do not feel personally threatened by the vandalism, they find it particularly disturbing in light of the recent divestment campaign on college campuses nationwide.

“We don’t feel that this is a sign that someone is out to get us,” Adelman said, “but it just emphasizes that throughout this pro- and anti-Israel conflict, the one thing that is lacking is respect.”