Pratt Institute’s Campus Roiled by Mysterious Red Handprints

Pratt Institute's Campus Roiled by Mysterious Red Handprints

A tree with red handprints painted on it at Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn campus has sparked outrage and accusations of antisemitism. Critics claim that the red hands are reminiscent of the gruesome Ramallah Lynching of 2000, where two Israeli military reservists were lynched by a Palestinian mob. The image of one of the killers waving his bloodied hands has become infamous.

Historians have pointed out that the use of red hands to harm Jews dates back further in history, such as the Farhud pogrom in Baghdad, Iraq, during the Jewish holiday of Shavuot in 1941. These red handprints were used to identify Jewish homes for destruction during the pogrom.

Anti-Israel protesters have also been seen using red handprints as part of their demonstrations. At Pratt Institute, Professor Uzma Rizvi highlighted the ‘Red Hands’ tree in an Instagram post, linking it to student protests.

Pratt Institute responded to the controversy by promptly removing the paint from the tree on campus, emphasizing their commitment to creating a safe and inclusive educational environment. They stated that any form of defacement on campus property is addressed swiftly to ensure a respectful and welcoming atmosphere for all faculty and students.

Despite the removal of the red handprints, the debate continues. Professor Rizvi, who leads the college’s Academic Senate, faced criticism for her involvement in a postponed vote on a resolution advocating for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel. The Brandeis Center raised concerns about potential discrimination by excluding Jewish voices from the discussion.

As discussions about the BDS resolution persist, the controversy at Pratt Institute underscores the complex intersection of free speech, historical symbolism, and inclusivity on college campuses. While the red handprints have been eradicated from the tree, the broader issues of sensitivity, respect, and diversity in academic discourse remain at the forefront of the ongoing debate.

The Post reached out to Professor Rizvi for comment, but no response was received. The unfolding events at Pratt Institute serve as a reminder of the importance of fostering dialogue, understanding, and unity in academic communities, navigating the delicate balance between expression and respect.

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