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October 18, 2002 - Image 22

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-10-18

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Cover Story

RALLY from page 21

Danniell Nadiv, holding her Israeli flag sign, joined fellow Jewish Academy of
Metropolitan Detroit students at the Oct. 10 rally for Israel at U-M

Sunday's po-Israel rally at U-M's graduate library drew 300 students and metro
Detroiters to the university Diag.

reality" and urged Jewish students to
reach out as "this community is filled
with men and women of all faiths and
races who will stand up against bigotry
and intolerance if you give them a log-
ical and morally compelling reason to
do so. You all have the power to do •
that, one by one."
Avi Jacobson, a junior from
Maryland and co-chair of the
American Movement for Israel (AMI) -,
accepted the challenge.
"There is lots of tacit support for
Israel because it embodies many of our
American values," he said. `Many stu-
dents are uninformed or unwilling to
take a stand since this isn't their pri-
mary concern. But talking to students
on the street, I find they are willing to
listen and inclined to support Israel."
U-M Professor Raymond Tanter, also
visiting scholar-in-residence at the
Middle East Institute in Washington,
D.C., told the enthusiastic audience that
the "war on terrorism cements strong
American-Israeli democratic bonds." He
supports U.S. policies to change the
"rogue regimes" in the Middle East,
believing it would "facilitate democratic
peace in historic Palestine."

Detroiters At U-M

Many from metro Detroit were among
the crowd.
Beverly Baker of Bloomfield Hills, a
U-M graduate and vice president of
Michigan Region of the Zionist

10/18
2002

22

Organization of America, came to
support the students.
"To me, the conference is shorthand
for the de-legitimization of the State
of Israel," she said. "The message is
inciteful, and hate on other campuses
has deteriorated into violence."
Elaine Sturman of Bloomfield HMS
came to "support the university's position
against divestment." The president of the
Greater Detroit Chapter of Hadassah,
who came with 20 other members, was
disturbed because "I don't think you can
talk about Jews separate from Israel.
When you are anti either one, you are
anti-Semitic."
The Jewish Academy of Metropol-
itan Detroit brought more than 100
students to the rally. (See one student's

report on page 24).
JAMD 10th-grader Danniell Nadiv
of Huntington Woods brought a
homemade sign stating: "We Stand
with Israel."
"We wanted to be part of something
that was pro-Israel," she said. "We are
not against Palestinians. We want
things to be solved peacefully."
Vanessa Merced, a JAMD freshman
from Dearborn, said she was attending
her first pro-Israel rally and was particu-
larly impressed with Deitch's talk.
"Sometimes in Dearborn, I feel I'm
the only one that thinks Israel should
be a state.. Here, I'm not alone."
The slogan "Divestment is Anti-
Semitic" was advanced by the campus
group Michigan Student Zionists,

which focused its opposition to the
conference on anti-Semitic hate speech
and pro-terrorist activities attributed
to a number of conference speakers.
MSZ officers Rick Dorfman, a junior,
and Adi Neuman, a. senior, both from
West Bloomfield, had Detroit-area attor-
ney Debbie Schlussel file i last-minute
lawsuit to stop the conference or banish
the speakers, saying it was out of con-
cern for student safety.
In particular, they noted that Prof.
Sarni al-Arian has been suspended from
the University of Southern Florida as a
security risk. MSZ also
took issue with the
appearance of Hatem
Bazian, a Palestinian
activist who reportedly
told a rally at University
of California-Berkeley,
where he teaches: "The
Debbie
Day of Judgment will
Schlussel
not happen until you
fight the Jews."
However, a judge refused to hold a
hearing before the conference and the
lawsuit was dropped.

.

The Forum Begins

On Saturday morning, Oct. 12, the
three-day Palestinian conference began
with what organizers said were 400
people representing 70 campuses
across the nation. The "academic day"
was devoted to speeches criticizing
Israel and promoting the idea of

divestment.
The first session set the tone of "in-
your-face" activism when Mandi Bray,
a Washington, D.C.-based radio host,
denounced Israel as an "oppressive,
apartheid and racist system."
Saying "it is all'about cheap labor,"
Bray compared his growing up in
apartheid America" to growing up in
Palestine and how "when you get
older, there is a rage inside of you."
He brought the crowd to its feet.
Speaker Hatem Bazian, the Berkeley
organizer, thanked the "pro-Israel and
pro-Zionist forces" for bringing public-
ity to the conference by challenging it.
Condemnirig various university presi-
dents and California Gov. Gray Davis
as "obedient servants" of pro-Israel
forces, he charged Israel with being
one of the most oppressive regimes
and "the most oppressive occupation."
After outlining areas of U.S.-Israel
cooperation that could be targeted, he
assured the crowd, "The train has left
the station. The movement is only
going to grow and grow and grow
because the Palestinian cause is the
cause for people to join."
When charges of anti-Semitism were
raised at a midday press conference,
divestment-proponent Ora Wise, a 21-
year-old student from Ohio State
University, stepped forward "as a Jew"
to "categorically reject the accusation
of anti-Semitism."
Wise, an Israeli-born junior who is
on leave to work for the New York-

"

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