University launches investigation into ‘hateful, antisemitic sentiments’
University of Maryland police are trying to find the individual responsible for writing “Holocaust 2.0” in chalk Thursday on campus during a pro-Palestinian protest.
The public university’s leaders announced the police investigation Friday while condemning the “hateful, antisemitic sentiments.”
“The University of Maryland Police Department (UMPD) has launched an immediate investigation and continues to conduct real-time threat assessments. Responsible parties will be held accountable,” the statement read.
Jonathan Allen, a University of Maryland alumnus and associate director of government relations at the Anti-Defamation League, first drew attention to the incident in a post on X.
Allen shared a photo of the chalk message as well as a video from the protest of the crowd chanting, “There is only one solution: Intifada revolution!”
I never thought I’d see this @UofMaryland, my alma mater.
Students chanting “there is only one solution – intifada revolution.”
“Holocaust 2.0” written on campus.
A university with the 4th largest Jewish student population in the country—over 6,000 students (20% of campus). pic.twitter.com/7hVVwkxPjq
— Jonathan Allen ✡️ (@jonathanallen44) November 10, 2023
“What worries me is that this is what we’re seeing from the next generation at our alma maters and campuses across the country,” Allen wrote.
Ezra Cohen, a Jewish student at the university, told 7 News emotions have been running high on campus, and police are at Jewish events “relatively often.”
“I think people are hoping stuff on campus does not get too much worse,” Cohen said. “There’s always a chance something could happen, so there is a worry about it. But nothing has happened. The whole thing is terrible.”
Cohen said he is thankful there have not been any violent attacks against Jewish students at the University of Maryland as has happened on other college campuses
UMD Students for Justice in Palestine, which organized the protest, told 7 News that people are misinterpreting the chalked message.
“This message means no harm to any Jewish person but rather acts as a comparison to the terrible war crimes that occurred during the Holocaust and how genocide is now occurring before our eyes,” the group told the news outlet.
The student group said its members immediately removed the chalk message when they became aware of it, and they do not know who wrote it.
“In addition to this, Students for Justice in Palestine at UMD released a statement once again emphasizing the right to a free Palestine that does not condone antisemitism and encouraged others to remain respectful at all times,” the group said.
However, the pro-Palestinian student group also accused the university of a “double standard” for launching the investigation after “failing to understand the nonviolent meaning of the chalk message.”
“Although the parallel between the [Holocaust] and the ongoing genocide in Gaza is not completely accurate we would not consider it blatant antisemitism,” the group told the news outlet.
The university statement acknowledged most of the pro-Palestinian protesters Thursday were peaceful and law-abiding.
“The offensive actions of a few should not reflect on the vast majority of protesters who were there to peacefully express their views, but there is no place for any antisemitic message, behavior or action at the University of Maryland,” it stated.
IMAGE: Jonathan Allen/X