Over 80 Fliers Promoting University of Missouri Event With Israeli Journalist ‘Systematically Torn Down’
An event hosted by a Jewish student group at the University of Missouri (MU) faced repeated vandalism of its promotional materials — but nonetheless took place in a packed classroom on Wednesday.
The talk — hosted by MU Chabad House — featured Noam Bedein, an Israeli photojournalist and director of a media center dedicated to showcasing life in Sderot, a southern Israeli town that has sustained heavy rocket fire from terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip.
Bedein, who also spoke on campus in 2013, sought to present the stories of victims of recent arson attacks launched from Gaza, which have sparked more than 1,300 fires in Israel since March, according to government figures.
Yet fliers promoting the event were repeatedly vandalized — behavior an alumnus who helped promote the event said was all too common on campus.
Daniel Swindell, who graduated from MU in 2010, said on social media on Monday that in less than two weeks, more than 80 leaflets advertising Bedein’s lecture have been “systematically torn down” — including four separate times at one bus stop.
“Just yesterday, I re-hung these fliers, and today they were ripped down by hand,” he wrote on Facebook.
Photos posted by Swindell days earlier show various messages in English and Arabic defacing the fliers, including “Free Palestine,” “lies”, and “from the river to the sea, Palestine must be free!” — a nationalist chant that refers to the establishment of a Palestinian state in place of Israel.
“I have helped hang fliers for many pro-Israel events and every time many fliers are torn down and vandalized,” Swindell explained in a post last Thursday. “Since, I am fully aware that the fliers will be torn down, I have to revisit campus and walk the same path and re-hang the fliers several times.”
“Although this may not seem like a big deal, it adds up, it takes up money and a lot of time to have repeatedly walk the length of campus and re-hang fliers,” he continued. “Tearing down pro-Israel fliers is STANDARD behavior on campus, it is not an aberration. Can anyone name a group of students on campus who can guarantee that their fliers will be systematically torn down repeatedly besides pro-Israel students?”
The event — which was co-sponsored by the Zeta Beta Tau Jewish fraternity and advocacy groups including the Zionist Organization of America, Israel on Campus Coalition, StandWithUs, and the Maccabee Task Force — ultimately went on as planned, with more than 100 audience members filling a classroom to hear Bedein.