The terrorists the students were memorializing were members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a violent Islamist group and Iranian proxy in the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad was designated a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. in 2001. Other countries, including Canada, Japan and the entire European Union, have also designed the group as a terrorist organization.
The PIJ terrorists were killed after the group launched an onslaught against Israeli civilians, shooting 450 rockets and mortars into Israel and injuring 60 over the course of a few days in November.
The barrage was a response to the targeted killing of senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Atta on November 12 by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) after Israel learned that Atta was planning an imminent attack.
According to Palestinians sources, 34 people were killed in the IDF’s response to the firing of rockets and mortars on Israeli citizens. By the end of the episode, the IDF said 25 of those killed were members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
The student group at Oberlin – Students for a Free Palestine –which erected the memorial for the jihad terrorists wrote in a sign next to the memorial that stated, “Last week, Israel unleashed violent airstrikes on the Gaza Strip to assassinate Bahaa Abu al-Atta and his wife on Tuesday, November 12th. In the process, killing 34 unarmed Palestinian civilians, including 8 children.”
In fact, the killing of Atta was a precision strike that only damaged his third-floor apartment.
Although the students are demanding a “free Palestine,” Palestinian Islamic Jihad is based in the Gaza Strip, an area Israel fully withdrew from in 2005.
By 2007, the terror group Hamas became the elected government of the Gaza Strip. Since that time, Islamist terror groups have used the territory to launch attacks on Israel.
A recent report on harassment of Jewish students on U.S. college campuses due to anti-Zionist fervor stated,
“While acts of classical anti-Semitism in the US reached near-historic levels in 2018 and included the deadliest attack against Jews in American history, the nation’s colleges and universities revealed a somewhat different but nonetheless troubling story.
On US campuses across the country, harassment motivated by classical anti-Semitism actually decreased, and significantly so. At the same time, however, the number of Israel-related acts of harassment increased significantly.”
A recent event at York University in Toronto featuring the group Reservists on Duty (comprised of IDF soldiers) was violently disrupted by pro-Palestinian protesters. Students reported hearing the protesters shout, “Go back to the ovens, go back to Europe!”
At the University of Toronto, the Graduate Student Union recently proposed that kosher food be banned on campus since it was “pro-Israel.”