Anti-Israel Hate Speech and Slander at the University of Michigan ‎‎‎

December 17, 2013 12:49 pm 12 comments

A Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) protest against Israel. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

On December 10, thousands of University of Michigan students in various dorms across campus woke up to a mock eviction notice from the University of Michigan Housing Department.

It said:

“If you do not vacate the premises by 13 DECEMBER 6 PM, we reserve the right to demolish your premises without delay. We cannot be held responsible for property or persons remaining inside. Charges for demolition will be applied to your student account.”

(See below for notice)

The notice was followed by a Michigan Daily Viewpoint article explaining the mock eviction as, “a tool of political satire intended to emulate a situation that thousands of Palestinians confront on a regular basis.” The viewpoint called for university students to “join and support the BDS movement” against Israel. Both the notice and article addressed some very controversial topics in an extremely offensive, aggressive, illogical, and factually incorrect manner.

This campaign was launched by SAFE (Students Allied for Freedom & Equality), a student organization at the University of Michigan that vows to only engage in peaceful and constructive actions. The Mock Eviction campaign broke the peace of mind of thousands of students on campus and was only constructive in tearing communities and individuals at the University apart.

The mock eviction campaign took seven steps away from “ Freedom & Equality” on campus‎.

1. University Rules Were Broken

The University Housing Department’s long-standing solicitation policy that bans non-dorm residents from handing out material to spread awareness was violated. On Tuesday, the Department sent an email that condemned the organization for violating the policy and invading students’ personal space. The email emphasized that, “students who received this message did not have the ability to choose whether to engage in this conversation.” At the moment it is unclear what reparations SAFE will face for violating such policy, if any at all.

2. Emotions Were Abused

Putting fake eviction notices in the dorm rooms of innocent students is not only a direct violation of such policy, but an infringement on student morale.

3. Intellectual Openness Was Disregarded

The mock eviction created an emotional stir for those who are both educated and uneducated on the topic. The campaign manipulated unknowing students by leaving out key facts and evidence while leading them to believe the Arab-Israeli conflict is one-sided and has a clear right and wrong. If it did, wouldn’t it have been solved years ago?

4. Eviction Notices Misrepresent the Issue

The eviction notice reads “Eviction notices are routinely given to Palestinian families living under oppressive Israeli occupation for no reason other than their ethnic background.” This neglects the fact that homes given such eviction notices are illegally built. Israel, like every other government, “has zoning, municipal, and other laws regulating construction” that they must enforce. Israel is not targeting specific families because of ethnicity and race, but rather Israel is upholding their laws just as every other nation has the right to do. In fact, between 1993 and 2001, Israel evicted far more Israeli homes than Palestinian homes.

5. Israel Was Incorrectly Accused of Apartheid

Apartheid is a state where national law intentionally segregates and discriminates against citizens by race. The eviction notices referring to “Israel’s apartheid policies” are factually incorrect. The State of Israel is a democracy that prides itself on racial equality, ethics, and human rights for all, “enshrined in Israel’s founding document, the Declaration of Independence.” To call Israel an “Apartheid” state is to desecrate Nelson Mandela’s struggle.

6. Divestment Was Called For

SAFE called for the BDS Movement to commence on campus. They described it as “nothing controversial” and a pure attempt to “elevate human rights” on campus. BDS calls for universities to divest “from Israel [which] would mean divesting from companies that have explicit ties with and profit from the Israeli occupation—companies that engage in selling military technology that aids and facilitates violence against civilians, operating racially segregated bus systems, and providing services to illegal settlements.” This movement is indeed extremely “controversial” as divesting in Israeli companies would push society backwards. All cell phones and laptops contain Israeli technology.

7. Campus Organizations Were Pulled Farther Apart

UofM students have taken tremendous steps towards focusing on peace initiatives and collaboration over the past few years. Sadder is that those who worked hard to engage with the students responsible for the mock evictions were verbally attacked and demonized by Facebook and Twitter posts.

A Call For Freedom and Equality On Campus:

Together, the Jewish students handled our emotional responses by joining in a productive dialogue. We wrote articles and corrected misinformation about Israel on Facebook and Twitter, and voiced our concerns to our elected student government representatives and campus administrators.

I am eager to continue our efforts at peace, our efforts at collaboration and dialogue, and our efforts to maintain a SAFE campus where intellectual openness and respect is valued and upheld.

This piece was originally published on December 16 in the CAMERA on Campus blog: in Focus.

Molly Rosen was a 2013 CAMERA Advocacy and Leadership Training Mission to Israel participant. She is currently a University of Michigan senior, majoring in Judaic Studies and Political Science. Rosen is an Emerson Fellow.

Eviction note

12 Comments

  • Molly, Do you know whether the eviction notices went primarily to Jewish students, or did the distribution appear to be random?

  • Children running with scissors.

  • HelleThorning Schmidt

    As detroit goes, so Michigan.

  • Wallace Edward Brand, JD Harvard, 1957

    One never hears about the eviction of Jews from their homes in Israel without what in America we call “due process”.

    First, an action was brought against the Jewish tenants in Migron by Arabs who claimed they owned the property the Jews lived on. The litigation was financed by a Jewish left wing organization named “Peace Now”. The Arab claimants withdrew from the litigation but court let the left wing organization Peace Now continue the litigation. They could not have done so in the United States where any court would have held they had no standing to sue. The members of Peace Now suffered no harm by the Jews living in their own homes.

    Second, the court did not wait for a determination by a trial court of whether the Arab claim of ownership had any merit. The Supreme Court held it was not a trial court so it would rule in favor of the plaintiffs without first determining whether the Jews or Arabs actually
    owned the private land. In the United States, a court that was not a trial court would suspend its action and send the case to a trial court to determine who owned the property before evicting the tenants.

    Even if that had occurred in Israel, it would have still been a problem for the Jews as under the law of the Palestinian Authority it is unlawful to sell land to Jews; a violation is punishable by death. So to any Jews who has any compassion,, it is difficult to present a deed in court and have an expert testify about the authenticity of the signature.

    In any event the Jewish families in Migron were evicted in the middle of the night, their children crying. But who cares. They were only settlers living outside the Green Line.

    You don’t see much in the press about eviction of Jews and demolition of their homes — but there are plenty of them.

  • Lots of a-rabs in Michigan. They are all anti-Semites and spread their hate to the local schools. Nothing surprising about this story.

  • Tis is all a result of the left, the democratic party and Obama’s admin. Jews who supported them in elections should get ready for things to become like pre holocaust Germany. US leftist Jews supported these libels. Jews will have to leave Europe and America. It is obvious that no nation would prevent another holocaust.

    • No nation except Israel which is why American Jews have every right to care about Israel and cannot rightly be called “Israel-firsters” considering that all Jews are at risk if Israel is not intact. Anyone who calls American Jews who care about Israel “Israel-firsters” is a bigot just as the radical Muslims claim they know the difference between a Zionist and a Jew and have no problem with Jews only Zionists. All of these bigots from the top to the bottom should be called out for what they are.

  • The Evil genie is out of the Bottle. It all began in 1967 when the Israeli Forces reclaimed all of Jerusalem but in a moment of weakness and misguided secular-Jewish largesse decided to allow the Muslim’s Al Aksa Mosque to remain undisturbed on Temple Mount. Temple Mount is a Spiritual Vortex, given to the Jewish Nation to safeguard by the Holy ONE, the Omnipotent Force of all Forces in the Universe, with strict instructions as to what is allowed and forbidden on this most Awesome and powerful Spiritual Powerplant on planet earth. The Jewish People have no Spiritual claim to the Holy Land when they do not fulfill their ‘part of the bargain’, that is, their G-d given responsibility under the Covenant to serve as

    Custodians of the Mount. In effect, fulfilling that responsibility, more than any historical claims or ‘legal’ titles of ownership is what gives legitimacy to the Jewish possession of Jerusalem and the Holy Land.

    On a deep and subconscious spiritual level this truth is felt if not understood not only by the European Union and United Nations but particularly by our half brothers in the Muslim world who have rightfully concluded the weakness and spiritual faithlessness of the Jewish Nation in spurning G-d’s Will. Their fraudulent possession of Temple Mount and the Israeli Government’s complicity in reinforcing of this fraud by officially forbidding any Jewish prayer or even for Jews to set foot there has caused a world-shattering metaphysical imbalance, a short-circuit so to speak.
    Since 1967 the cancer of Radical Islam has metastasized world-wide, threatening every civilization with physical and spiritual destruction. The 9-11 attacks, Islamic unrest and Sharia in Europe, everywhere Islam has a presence, the dread and unspeakable menace of two nuclear armed Islamic States, Pakistan and soon Iran just to name a very few nightmares. Is this a coincidence? Is it a coincidence that all three major religions hold Jerusalem as sacred ground to be fought and died for? A coincidence that Jerusalem is never mentioned in Islam’s holiest book, Koran, yet thousands of times in Jewish Scripture!
    The truth is that nothing can stop this Cancer from spreading. Not Armed forces, Drone assassinations, Civil laws or security checkpoints. Not even the false panacea of a ‘successful’ political settlement with Arab Palestinians in Judea/Samaria for ‘Palestinian’ Statehood there will turn the tide and return the ‘Genie’ to the ‘box’. Those are nothing but band-aids on soon-to-be terminal cancer. And more and more as the nations of the world, including formerly friendly ones in European Capitols and Washington D.C. Quietly have begun to openly question the merits, even the ‘legitimacy’ of the Jewish State, the situation facing Israel has become dire. Far worse than Iranian nukes is this other threat. Sadly, more and more American Jews have come to question Israeli status in that region. The BDS movement grows on American University campuses, most troubling as it now includes growing numbers of young liberal Jewish students, men and women.

    Militarily, politically, philosophically, morally …Israel is becoming weakened on many fronts. It is not certain the Jewish State can survive much longer under the expanded front.

    Unless…The Jewish Nation will do what should have been done in 1967. Remove the Al Aksa from Temple Mount. Restore the balance to the Spiritual Vortex as was intended by the Holy ONE. There Is No Other Way. Yes, it will be painful. The region and world will bleed with Muslim fury and world-violence. For a while. And then, the cancer will die as the Genie of Spiritual imbalance is returned to the Bottle. There Is No Other Way. And Time Is Running Out.

    • I agree about the Al Aqsa Mosque. However they are merely waiting for the next earthquake to bring it down.

    • I think that you have given an excellent summary of our current situation. Although I am not religious, I am a Zionist, and have been watching the “Arab Reach” for almost 40 years. In fact, “Arab Reach” was the book that started me on my mission of defending the Jewish State in every way that I could.

      The disconnect of Jews from Israel – seeing themselves as unaffected is astounding. Israel represents Jews to most of the world – and as Israel is perceived and treated that will be their fate.

  • Molly Rosen, Thank you, thank you, thank you! You are a credit to your school who deserves more like you to keep their good reputation which is being put at risk by things like this. I hope the school realizes how bad for business and reputation this is and how poorly it reflects on them for taking your money for tuition in exchange for a slap in the face which you of all people do not deserve. BDS harms Palestinians the most and calling Israel an apartheid state is the most classless lie possible in light of Mandela’s recent passing. Thank you again, your courage and class are impressive, best wishes!

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