American, Israeli flags set up near former Northwestern pro-Palestinian encampment vandalized

Tre Ward Image
Monday, May 13, 2024
Israeli, American flags set up near former NU encampment vandalized
Israeli and Americans flags planted by Northwestern University students to remember the Hamas October 7 attack victims were vandalized within hours.

EVANSTON, Ill. (WLS) -- More than a dozen Northwestern University students banded together to put 1,200 Israeli and American flags steps away from the former pro-Palestinian encampment. When they returned several hours later, they found them in ruins, stained with red paint.

"It's pretty disturbing," said Samuel Feldman, freshman. "I thought it would last a little bit longer than a couple of hours."

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"This has been here for, I think, several weeks now," said sophomore Ryan Sjobeck of the encampment. "We walk by it every day and we thought we would just add something that we thought was peaceful and looked nice on the lawn."

Sjobeck said he and about 14 other Northwestern students decided on Sunday night to put up 1,200 flags to symbolize, roughly, each person killed in the Hamas attack on October 7, while also marking Israel's Memorial Day.

SEE ALSO | Israel supporters show up at pro-Palestinian encampment at Northwestern, resulting in standoff

"Today is Yom HaZikarou. It is commemorating all who died in terrorist attacks and wars in the history of Israel," Feldman explained.

Feldman helped with the display, and said when he returned to see them just after midnight he saw the vandal at work.

"I saw somebody wearing a mask, going and uprooting the flags one by one," he said. "As I came closer, she ran away."

READ MORE: House committee investigating Northwestern University's response to antisemitism on campus

The apparently vandalism came after the Republican chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce accused the university of a "persistent failure in addressing antisemitism" as part of a scathing 13-page letter.

The letter also blasted NU President Michael Schill's deal with pro-Palestinian protesters to end their days-long encampment.

In a video, Schill defended in his actions, in which the university agreed to be more transparent in their investments.

The House committee is now demanding all documents and communications related to the Northwestern encampment amid calls for Schill to step down.

On Friday, Northwestern released a statement saying in part, "We are committed to combatting antisemitism on campus and ensuring the safety of all Northwestern students. President Schill looks forward to discussing the steps Northwestern has taken with the House Committee on Education and the Workforce."

ABC7 reached out to Northwestern for comment about the recent vandalism, but have yet to hear back. The House committee hearing in Washington DC at which Schill is expected to speak is scheduled for May 23.