Michigan Lecture Comparing Netanyahu to Hitler Included Odious Antisemitic Image
JNS.org – A lecture at the University of Michigan several weeks ago that consisted of a slide comparing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Adolf Hitler included another antisemitic image, JNS has learned.
Student Alexa Smith captured the images from the slideshow, given by former Black Panther leader Emory Douglas, and posted them on social media.
Regarding the additional image, Smith said: “These images come from the playbook of Hitler and Goebbels. They invoke the most classical—and most genocidal—antisemitic conspiracy theories.”
The University of Michigan defended the lecture. “The image that offended a number of our students was on a single slide among nearly 200 other slides that were presented over the course of an hour,” said University President Mark Schlissel. “It juxtaposed photos of Israel’s prime minister and Hitler.”
“Israel was not singled out here as imagery critical of many other political leaders was also a part of the talk,” he continued. “This was the point of the talk itself—that imagery can be a powerful component of movements aimed at social justice.”
Schlissel response evoked a strong reaction from Smith.
“It is perverse and profoundly offensive for President Schlissel to play down the seriousness of our community’s concerns by declaring that the slide equating the Prime Minister of Israel to Hitler was ‘one of nearly 200 slides’ as if, in context, this was ‘no big deal,’” said Smith.
“President Schlissel is not recognizing the unequivocally antisemitic content of this entire lecture, or the effect it had and continues to have on U-M’s Jewish students, some of whom were REQUIRED [emphasis hers] to sit through it in order to obtain our degrees,” continued Smith.
“President Schlissel said the ‘point of the talk itself’ was ‘that imagery can be a powerful component of movements aimed at social justice,’” she added. “Perhaps he has forgotten that imagery can also be a powerful component of mass genocide. The lecture dehumanized an entire people and, in the context of other incidents happening on this campus, it must be considered one of many examples of a hostile and unsafe environment for my classmates and me.”