Unknown persons sprayed slogans on the Starbucks on campus Woudestein in protest to the violence in Gaza. On the wall and windows are texts like ‘Gaza is being starved and you can’t resist mid coffee’ and ‘Starbucks funds genocide’. A large Palestinian flag was also spray-painted on the wall.

In a response, the university says it will have the graffiti removed today if possible and report it to the police. Furthermore, facility services is looking into whether the cameras present on campus should be set differently to prevent a recurrence. It is the second time slogans against the war in Gaza were sprayed on the building, the first time was a week ago. No charges were filed then.

A spokesperson for the university did not want to give a substantive response to the texts applied. “We have reported it, which says enough. This kind of thing has a polarising effect.”

gaza starved bekladding starbucks 2024-3-8 Foto Nora van der Schoor
Slogan spray-painted on wall Starbucks Woudestein against war in Gaza.

It is not known who is behind the two sprayings. After last week’s incident, a making-of video did appear on Palestine Solidarity Rotterdam’s Instagram page. The same account now announces a day of action on campus Woudestein for Tuesday 12 March. The programme includes a roundtable discussion including (online) speakers from the Palestinian Birzeit University, based on the West Bank. They call on the Rotterdam academic community to ‘fulfil their intellectual and academic duty’ and speak out against the violence of war in Gaza.

From ISS, lecturer Jeff Handmaker is taking part; he previously organised a teach-in on the conflict between Israel and Hamas at the university. The talk will be led by lecturers Isabel Awad, lecturer at ESHCC, and Irene van Oorschot from ESSB.

According to the organisation’s Instagram page, the meeting will start at 1pm in the afternoon, location not yet announced.

That the war in Gaza leads to discussion at the university was evident this autumn when some gatherings were organised in solidarity with the Palestinian people. Protesters felt the university should speak out against Israel’s violence. The Executive Board stuck to a general rejection of all the violence and a desire for it to end.

It has now been announced that the meeting will be held coming Tuesday at the Van der Goot building at 1 pm in room M1.19. Dutch Scholars for Palestine have declared March 12 as National Action Day for Gaza. They call on all universities to sever their ties with Israel.
Co-organiser Isabel Awad is pleased that Erasmus University is giving space to organise the meeting and, unlike at other universities, experiences support for organising a dialogue on the situation in Gaza. At the same time, she also wants this university to sever ties with organisations with ties to Israel. She stresses that the Executive Board, and other administrators of the university have been invited to attend the meeting.
When asked, Isabel Awad stresses that the organisation has nothing to do with the daubing on Starbucks, as they actually want to promote alternatives to violence with their meeting.

gaza bekladding starbucks love genocide 2024-3-8 Foto Nora van der Schoor
Slogans and Palestinian flag spray-painted on wall and windows Starbucks Woudestein against war in Gaza. Image credit: Nora van der Schoor
rol-Erasmus Universiteit University-EUR-internationaal conflict-oorlog-war-discussie-discussion-2.2024_Francesca Mora

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