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October 6, 2016 2:33 pm

Jewish Students at U of Michigan ‘Deeply Offended’ by ‘Apartheid Wall,’ Mock Israeli Checkpoints Erected on Campus During Rosh Hashanah

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SAFE's "apartheid wall" at the University of Michigan. Photo: Twitter.

SAFE’s “apartheid wall” at the University of Michigan. Photo: Twitter.

Jewish students at the University of Michigan were “deeply offended” that an “apartheid wall” and mock Israeli checkpoints were allowed to be erected on campus during the high holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the student newspaper The Michigan Review reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, the structures — assembled by the anti-Israel group Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE) as part of Palestine Awareness Month — outraged those members of the Jewish community who remained on campus during the holiday and were “left to cope…without the support of many of their peers,” who were away observing the holiday.

According to the report, SAFE needed to receive advance permission from the school to hold the “apartheid” event, “suggesting that the university initially saw no problem” with  it.

In response, students launched a petition calling on the school’s president, Dr. Mark Schlissel, to condemn the event and its props.

Referring to a message Schlissel recently issued denouncing racially offensive fliers found on campus, the petition states in part:

Just last week, you sent a message to the student body emphatically stating that “behavior that seeks to intentionally cause pain to members of our community is reprehensible.”

We speak on behalf of many students in the Jewish and pro-Israel campus communities and we write that yesterday we felt ostracized and excluded as many of us sat in synagogue unable to share our stories.

The petition asks Schlissel to issue a similar statement in support of Jewish and pro-Israel students.

This is not the first time SAFE has sparked controversy at the University of Michigan. In 2015, the group filed an ethics complaint against a Jewish member of the student government, after he voiced criticism of an anti-Israel protest. Following a probe, the Central Student Government decided it would not seek disciplinary measures against him.

This story was updated Friday, October 7, with a response from a University of Michigan spokesperson:

Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE) is a registered student group on the University of Michigan campus. The central-campus Diag is one of the most visible free-speech areas on the U-M campus. SAFE followed all appropriate procedures to reserve the Diag for an all-day Palestinian educational event Oct. 4. SAFE has been scheduling this event on the Diag for at least the past four years. SAFE selected that date from one of three available dates during October to reserve the Diag space for the day (9 a.m.-4 p.m.). Our understanding is that the SAFE event on the Diag proceeded smoothly, even while other events took place for portions of the day. Our understanding is that the Michigan Hillel director and a rabbi were present on the Diag to support Jewish students for much of the day.

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  • Robert Hall

    I don’t get it. Why would anyone be offended by it when it is also practiced in Israel. That must mean that they would also be offended by the wall in Israel. If the wall there is ok, then there is nothing to be offended by it. Unless the practice, “do as I say, not as I do,” is standard with those that agree with what Israel is doing. Pretty clear cut to me.

  • solange9

    Why is “deeply offended” in quotes, as if it were not genuine?

  • HaroldT

    Why do the students not paste pictures of Muslims perpetrating horrific acts on the wall ?

  • getjune

    Does the University, a teaching institution, think that taking over university space to proclaim lies is what free speech is all about?

  • Judy Ramirez

    Jews are not allowed to live in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. No Jews live in Gaza or Ramallah. So please tell me how this is not apartheid? Here’s what we do, we buy goods from Israel and any company or university that discriminates against us, we do not patronize.

  • ted weiss

    shut down this racist bedrock joke of an university . it bace a stage and a forum for palestinian demagogury

  • CA Grandma

    College is a place you go to for higher education. Erecting walls, blockades, protest marches, anti-semitic or anti-black racial slurs does not sound like the participants want a higher education. It seems that they are enforcing their personal bigotry and mocking the very purpose of higher education. What a waste of their parents’ money.

  • Allan Koven

    As long as we have Jewish Pro Palestinians groups like JSTREET, NEW ISRAEL FUND, B’SHALEM, OPEN HILLEL and others we will always have self-hating Jews who would love for Israel to go away.

  • poest

    Surprising that acolytes of the most apartheid “religion”, Islam, have anything to say about Israel where many Muslim citizens live and are not harassed, beheaded, nor thrown off 5th floor buildings!

  • Rabelad

    And I’m deeply offended, too. I”m deeply offended that they object to a defensive structure that keeps suicide bombers from spilling Jewish and Arab blood. I’m also deeply offended that they are at least 7,000 km away in the US judging a matter that has life-and-death relevance to Israelis while it has no practical relevance to them. Anyway, does only their side have the right to be ‘deeply offended’ or can our side be deeply offended, too?

  • Lorensacho

    Jewish students should have erected a mini World Trade Center showing planes piloted by Muslims smashing into it. That, not complaining is the only way these matters can be dealt with.

  • Michael

    Tell me again how anti-Zionism is NOT anti-Semitism?

  • Jack de Metz

    It’s a pity that Egged buses that were blown up by Palestinian terrorists are not still available for showing at the same time as the mock Israeli checkpoints and “apartheid wall” . These could be parked on campus’s together with blooded broken mannequin bodies in the buses and on the side walk or road.
    But, and it’s a big it is possible that the university administrators may not give permission as it may offend Palestinian terrorism/anti-Israel supporters.

  • Ilana Fine Bar-Hai

    Disgusting that it was allowed and obviously was on purpose done on Rosh Hashana. Not surprising though, because these groups are antisemitic and they are the ones who ought to be ostracized. Shameful.

  • Michael Ehrenberg

    That dick of a president better do something…oh well, maybe the next move would be to build a wall a la Trump….it can work on all sides …FCK YOU HATERS.

  • Kwitcherbellyakin

    In my opinion, this is not only hateful, but should be illegal making it a hate-crime.

  • cbusa

    How about someone using these “apartheid wall” exhibits to demonstrate just how effective the barrier is at preventing terrorist attacks? Dress up as a fake suicide bomber and show how the wall keeps you from penetrating to the Israeli side. Turn those anti-Israel protesters on their heads!

    • CA Grandma

      somebody could get badly hurt doing that. Better if these exhibits were banned totally as not conducive to the domestic tranquility – as well as to the principles higher education stands for.

  • johnny belfor

    How pathetic Muslim Students Talking about Apartheid.Notice how Fatah and Hamas don;t have 1 Black Muslim in their Ruling ranks.They treat Black muslims as their 3rd class Slaves .

  • RW

    Jewish students need to stop being “offended” and see the world as it is As long as you have Arab students both home grown and imported from the gulf you’re going to have anti Israel activity on college campuses. Fortunately, Israel is far more popular among the larger American public than is Palestine.

    • CA Grandma

      the day we all stop being offended by bigotry is the day that this country forgets its founding premise and becomes just the opposite of Americans.