Rallying For Israel
Jewish students protest pro-Palestinian
divestment forum at the University of Michigan.
Sept. 29 written by Detroit News
The effectiveness of the advocacy
Page Editor Nolan Finley,
was such that by Oct. 13, the Sunday
Special to the Jewish News
who criticized the U-M for hosting a
of the conference, Wayne State
conference he called "anti-Jewish" and
University President Irvin Reid and
s the "Second National
described as "a student workshop that
Michigan State University President
Student Conference on the
expresses tacit support for terrorism
M. Peter McPherson both had taken
and has as its mission the destruction
public positions against divestment.
Movement" ended, the
relief that it was over and not marred
Pro-Israel campus groups associated
Just 10 days earlier, Harvard University with U-M's Hillel kicked off an "Invest
by violence was tempered by the sin-
in Israel" campaign with a noontime
gle-minded focus of conference leaders President Lawrence Summers had said
calls for divestment and some other criti-
rally Oct. 10, the Thursday before the
that all the blame and responsibility
cisms of Israel struck him as "anti-
conference. More than 1,000 people,
for the plight of the Palestinians, and
many wearing T-shirts emblazoned
the terrorism and hate directed against Semitic in their effect if not their intent."
After stories in Time and Newsweek con-
with the national Hillel slogan,
Israel and Jews, was the fault of Israel,
nected Summers' speech to
"Wherever we stand, we
Zionism and their supporters.
the conference at U-M,
stand with Israel," filled up
In many ways, what came out of the
national attention began to be Kostia Feldman of the plaza in front of U-M's
conference held Oct. 12-14 at the
University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, a paid.
Signs proclaiming, "We
follow-up to a gathering in February at
Schwartz of Oak
peace, they gave
the University of California-Berkeley,
Park (with flag)
is not a
was nothing new All the old anti-
and U-M students
Calls and e-mails flooded
Israel standards were taken as a given
Rick Dorfman and
the university from organi-
— Zionism is racism, Israel is a vicious
Justin Weprin back "Divestment is based on
zations, alumni and others
hate" were held aloft along
colonial state built on someone else's
expressing deep concern
with Israeli flags and signs
land, Israel is committed to expansion,
about the conference and U-
in Spanish and Chinese.
ethnic-cleansing and occupation.
M's involvement. The campus organiz-
Samantha Woll, co-chair of the
The new wrinkle was the emphasis on
ers, Students Allied for Equality
Israel Michigan Public Affairs
coordinated campus-based campaigns
(SAFE), were spoken to about their
Committee (IMPAC) and a U-M
urging university divestment from com-
responsibilities to discourage hate
sophomore from West Bloomfield,
panies doing busin's with Israel.
speech and keep the conference open
told the crowd, "Instead of organizing
Organizers hope to make the term
to anyone who registered.
for the Palestinian people, [conference
"Israel" synonymous with "apartheid,"
U-M President Mary Sue Coleman
Organizers] have chosen to organize
just as they've worked to make
issued a statement opposing divest-
against Israel." She drew sustained
"Zionism" synonymous with "racism,"
ment and stating, "The agenda of the
applause when she asked the confer-
to replicate the largely successful cam-
conference represents the views of the
ence organizers to instead "organize
paign of the early 1980s that urged
organizers and not the University of
for peace and democracy."
divestment from apartheid South Africa.
Michigan. U-M Regents Andrea
Deitch, chairman of the U-M board
Fischer-Newman and Laurence Deitch of regents, called the comparison of
Setting The Stage
were outspoken in viewing the confer-
"apartheid South Africa and democrat-
ence as anti-Israel and a promotion of
ic Israel ... a slanderous distortion of
Many metro-Detroiters learned about
the conference from a stinging column , ahti-Semitism.
RALLY on page 22