Anonymous Letter Threatens NYUSJP Members

Jemima McEvoy and Natasha Roy

NYU Students for Justice in Palestine board members received the above email on Tuesday, Jan. 31.


Hate littered the inboxes of NYU Students for Justice in Palestine board members. On Jan. 31, they opened their email accounts to find a letter that threatened to disclose club members’ immigration statuses, religious affiliations and other personal information to American and Israeli federal agencies.

The letter — titled “Settlement Expansion” — threatened to send information that its sender had gathered over the course of 18 months to federal agencies: the United States Justice Department, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security.

“ATTENTION MUSLIMS, ARABS AND OTHER ‘ANTI-ZIONIST’ CAMPUS TROLLS: Your names, image, friends list, postings, family member id’s and other personal info will be submitted — in conjunction with other collected data sets — and sent to the following federal agencies,” the email said. “In short, your identities are, and will continue to be >>> f—cked for the indefinite future.”

The letter also said that because there has been an increase in anti-semitic attacks and molestations on campus, it is the joint Israeli-American responsibility to obliterate the inner workings of groups like SJP. The letter warned the sister chapters of NYUSJP that they too would be aggressively attacked if Jewish students on other campuses faced hostility from their respective SJP chapters.

“When Brandeis commits anti-semitic acts, we will crush sister chapters at Vassar College and Rutgers [University], [University of] New Brunswick,” the letter to NYUSJP said. “In short, you will be responsible for the sister-chapter submission of SJP/BDS member identities to the aforementioned law enforcement agencies.”

In a statement to WSN, the board of NYUSJP said that this was not the first time they had received anonymous, threatening messages.

The email was submitted from an anonymous server, so we have no way of directly knowing who sent it,” the board said. “What is disturbing, however, is how similar the language of the email is to the first one we received a few months back. That message included an implicit reference to the Jewish Defense League, a far-right, anti-Arab extremist group responsible for a number of violent attacks against Arab activists in the US, amongst others.”

University spokesperson John Beckman denounced the threatening email and said that NYU will work with NYUSJP to maintain its members’ safety.

“We take the safety and well-being of our students seriously, and our Department of Public Safety is reaching out to SJP about this email,” Beckman said. “We will review whether to involve law enforcement. The email sent to the SJP, like its predecessor, is vile. Threats of violence or insults based on religion or country of origin or immigration status are contemptible, and neither SJP nor any other student group should be subjected to such abuse. The university condemns the email in the strongest terms.”

The board said that the email was sent through the contact page of NYUSJP’s website, which allows emails to be sent without checking their authenticity. After receiving the email, the group said it reached out to NYU Public Safety and administration to ensure its members’ safety.

We have yet to hear back with the direct steps the university plans to take to guarantee our safety,” the board said. “We also intend to maintain the privacy and security of our members and continue focusing on our commitment to the organizing [of action].”

The group also published a letter calling on NYU President Andrew Hamilton to declare NYU’s status as a sanctuary campus. They also asked the NYU community to stand in solidarity with NYUSJP. The letter was cosigned by multiple on-campus groups, including the Black Students Union, Students Labor Action Movement and Muslim Students Association.  

The group expects that the exposure of this genuine threat to its members will be taken seriously.

“We hope that the severity of this situation, as an explicit threat to our freedoms, will be acknowledged and addressed appropriately,” the board said.

Read the full contents of the email above.

Email Jemima McEvoy and Natasha Roy at [email protected]