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October 18, 2002 - Image 26

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

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

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RALLY from page 25

More Pro-Israel Action

major developments," Dorfman said.
'As the evidence of what took place
While the discussions were taking
surfaces,
I think people will see it was
place at the conference, a pro-Israel
just as bad as we feared it would be.
rally Oct. 13 in the heart of the U-M
There is really nothing more anti-
campus attracted more than 300 peo-
Semitic than the destruction of Israel
ple, including 66 New Yorkers who
and not opposing the murder of inno-
had driven all night to stand with
cent Jewish civilians."
Rabbi Weiss.
Not surprisingly, the university was
Organized by the Michigan Student
looking
forward to moving on.
Zionists, with the support of the Aish
"I was pleased with the way that U-
Ha' orate Hasbara Fellows program,
M students on both sides of the issue
the rally featured attorney Schlussel,'
who railed against U-M for hosting the comported themselves," said Julie
Peterson, U-M vice president for com-
conference, and former Florida prose-
munications.
"For the most part,
cutor John Loftus, who outlined the
everything
was
peaceful and respectful.
alleged terrorist ties of conference
We
will
be
looking
to create and sup-
speaker Prof. Sami al-Arian and dis-
port appropriate opportunities for fur-
cussed the limits of
ther discussion."
free speech.
"I am very glad the weekend went by
Also speaking were
without
any violence," said Ben Berger,
student organizers
U-M
'Hillel
coordinator for campus
Neuman and
pro-Israel
groups.
"We are proud of our
Dorfman, who also
students
for
all
their
work over the past
led chants of "Divest
weeks, and for their responsible and
from hate." They
impassioned response to the confer-
called for the isolation John Loftus
ence. We will continue to advocate for
of extremists and
Israel, because though the conference is
working toward peace
gone the issues remain important."
and security for Israel.
For Avi Jacobson, an AMI co-chair,
Following the rally,
the conference went much as he
nearly 400 gathered in
expected.
the Michigan Union
"It proved to be a very anti-Israel
for a counter-confer-
conference,"
he said. 'All the discus-
ence. Jerome S.
Jerome
sion
was
about
what to do to the
Kaufman of
Kaufman
Israeli's,
rather
than
what to do for the
Bloomfield Hills,
Palestinians.
They
know
divestment
national secretary of
won't be successful. The whole thing is
the Zionist
more about publicity than honesty."
Organization of
At the same time, some aspects of
America, warned, "As a
what
took place encouraged Jacobson.
result of hate confer-
"At
times,
we were able to have good
ences like [the one at
discussions
with some of the confer-
U-M] , we are well on
Stuart
ence participants. But when they all
the way, God forbid, to Brickner
got together, the radicals took over."
[the Holocaust] hap-
Likewise, Allan Gale, associate direc-
pening all over again."
tor
of the Jewish Community Council
Kaufman blamed the current vio-
of
Metropolitan
Detroit, drew on the
lence on the Oslo Accords and called
positive
lessons
learned.
'As was
divestment "just another ploy" — a
expected,
the
messages
of
the speakers
more subtle weapon than war."
and the statement produced at the
West Bloomfield Township 'Trustee
conference's end were anti-Israel and
Stuart Brickner challenged claims that
anti-peace.
opposition to the Palestinian solidarity
"But the silver lining in the cloud of
conference was an attempt to hamper
hate
which hung over Ann Arbor last
free speech, and explained why he
weekend
was that the anti-Israel mes-
believes anti-Zionism is anti-Jewish
sages
of
the
conference were not only
bigotry. Loftus expanded his analysis
blunted by Hillel and other pro-Israel
by showing videos of disturbing
forces, but support for Israel was gar-
speeches given by Sami al-Arian.
nered from Michigan's major university
Said Kaufman: "Israel and the Jews of
presidents and from the editorial boards
the rest of the world have a great
of the daily newspapers," Gale said.
weapon. It is called the truth. Use it."
"While the battle over divestment
Speaking after the conference con-
has just begun, the experience showed
cluded, student leader Dorfman called
that pro-Israel activism can be success-
for a thorough review of what took
ful in confronting this new Palestinian
place.
tactic," he said. ❑
"I think there will still be some

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