Jewish University of Michigan Student Faces Ethics Probe for Arguing With Anti-Israel Demonstrators on Day of Ezra Schwartz Murder
A Jewish student at the University of Michigan is facing an ethics investigation after lambasting anti-Israel demonstrators on campus, The College Fix reported on Monday.
Jesse Arm, a Central Student Government (CSG) representative, earlier this month confronted fellow students who erected on campus two mock 8-by-12-foot walls mimicking the 25-foot security fence separating Israel from the Palestinian Authority.
One “wall” carried artwork by British street artist Banksy showng a dove wearing a bullet proof jacket alongside a drawing of a woman dressed in a traditional Palestinian headscarf. Text on the bottom corner of the wall said: “Tear down this wall.”
Demonstrators dressed as Israeli soldiers interacted with fellow students, attempting to demonstrate what they claim it’s like for Palestinians to go through Israeli checkpoints, The College Fix said.
Video footage from the scene shows Arm confronting one of the demonstrators, saying, “You want to hold a moment of silence, you ought to take a moment and recognize that if you want peace to ever happen, it’s going to have to happen with people who understand the situation and who are going to be delicate about it. … So take that thing down about ‘existing to resist’ and say ‘exist for peace.'”
When the student refuses to remove the display, Arm says, “You’re not serious.” An onlooker is the heard saying, “We’ll take it down when they take down the actual wall,” while another says about Arm, “Oh my God … do you see how racist he’s being?”
The video, which was shown at last week’s CSG meeting, does not show Arm committing any act of violence, according to The College Fix.
Nevertheless, Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE), an anti-Israel group on campus that organized the display and also has representatives serving as members of the student government, called on the student government’s ethics committee last week to dismiss Arm over the confrontation, the Michigan Daily reported. SAFE members said Arm’s conduct was “unbecoming of a regular student, let alone a CSG representative.”
During a CSG meeting last week, Arm defended himself saying, “If it is unethical for a representative of CSG to challenge any student protester, then it should also be the case that it is unethical for a representative of CSG to partake in a protest that might not represent the views of all students.”
He said he was upset over “the taste, timing, and appropriateness of this display in light of all the recent terrorism that has befallen Western civilization over the last few weeks, particularly in Israel.”
Indeed, the demonstration took place on Nov. 19, the day that Ezra Schwartz, a peer of Arm’s, was killed in a Palestinian terrorist attack in Israel.
“That American student was a contemporary of mine from my community with whom I shared many mutual friends,” Arm’s explained. “He was abroad on a gap year program that I seriously considered attending before eventually electing to enroll at Michigan,” he added. “His story was my story.”
SAFE member Devin Jones responded by saying his organization could not have predicted the terrorist attacks that took place on the same day as their demonstration. He said the campus display was planned months in advance.
“For you to think you have some type of right to come up to us and vent in that way is irresponsible. Palestinians deal with this sort of abuse every single day,” Jones said.
If Arm is found guilty after appearing before the student government’s ethics committee today (Nov. 30), he could be removed from his student government position.