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Pro-Palestine students at Stanford University did not write antisemitic messages in chalk near the sit-in

A viral image falsely attributed the anti-semitic chalking, done by a non-student, to the sit-in participants.

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Claim: Pro-Palestine  students at Stanford University wrote an antisemitic message saying, “Come chat about how Jewish babies should be burned alive” in chalk on the ground while staging a sit-in on campus. 

Fact: The chalking was not done by students staging the sit-in, but by a member of the Jewish community who was trying to use sarcasm to draw negative attention to the pro-Palestinian demonstration, according to Stanford University’s president, Richard Saller and the university’s spokesperson. The individual later erased the messages and apologised.

On 3 November 2023, an image of an antisemitic message written in chalk near a pro-Palestine sit-in  went viral on social media. The image showed the words “Come chat about how Jewish babies should be burned alive” with an arrow pointing at the sit-in. The image was accompanied by text which implied that the messages were written by the participants of the pro-Palestinian sit-in.

Fact or Fiction?

The post being shared is false, as the chalking was not done by the students who organised the pro-Palestinian sit-in. 

When Soch Fact Check searched the web for “Stanford University” along with keywords from the text of the antisemitic message, we found that it was written by a non-student, Jewish person “affiliated with the university”. By “trying to use irony and sarcasm,” the said individual attempted to draw negative attention to the pro-Palestinian protests on campus, according to a 2 November 2023 statement made by president Saller. 

The statement was made at a faculty senate session where Saller referred to  an Instagram post by Hillel, the Center for Jewish Life at Stanford,  which has since been taken down.

Deleted Instagram post by Hillel Stanford

On 4 November 2023, the University’s spokesperson, Dee Mostofi confirmed the event  in the following  statement to The Stanford Daily, “The chalking was repugnant and offensive to both Jewish and Muslim community members,” and added that there are “no plans for disciplinary action for the sit-in at White Plaza.” .

Rabbi Jessica Kirschner, director of Hillel Stanford, also confirmed to The Stanford Daily that “the individual was not a student” and “Hillel was not involved.” 

Virality

The tweet implying that the message was written by the participants at the sit-in was published by various accounts on X (formerly Twitter), and has been viewed more than 840,000 times and has received 13,500 likes and 4,000 reposts. The image was also shared on Instagram, Facebook and Reddit.

Conclusion: The image circulating on social media was falsely attributed to the participants of the Pro-Palestine sit-in. The chalking was, in fact, done by a  member of the Jewish community who later apologized and erased the messages.

Background image in cover photo: X

To appeal against our fact-check, please send an email to appeals@sochfactcheck.com 

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