Advocacy On Campus
U-M divestment conference sparks
varying activism at Michigan colleges.
part, "Everyone on this campus should feel secure. No
one at MSU should fear harassment or retaliation.
Such behavior is absolutely unacceptable to me and to
11111 ajor attention was drawn to the
Hughey added, 'After 9-11, President McPherson
University of Michigan in Ann Arbor
both Arab and Jewish groups a liaison with
when the National Student Conference
Police Department, and the administration
on the Palestine Solidarity Movement
brought leaders together to have an open dialogue.
was held Oct. 12-14 on campus. Because of its role in
Students had dinner together several times with the
planninga national campaign to force universities to
liaison and their Community Relations staff,
divest funds from Israel, the conference also sparked con-
siderable activism among pro-Israel students at U-M.
us from other campuses is that
The Ann Arbor campus may have a higher profile,
each other," Hughey said.
but pro-Israel students also have been active to
"We get a heads-up on what is going on. We've
varying degrees on other Michigan campuses in
" talked about doing programming together, and
promoting understanding of Israel,and counter-
agreed to disagree on many issues."
ing anti-Israel activity
plan is working. When a flyer was found
Here is a roundup of what's happening on
advocating the killing of Jews,
some Michigan campuses.
F Salman Ateequi, a MSU junior and president of
the Muslim Students Association, which was
listed as a sponsor, immediately came to the
MSU: Peaceful Coexistence
Hillel to disown responsibility and condemn the
Students at Michigan State University loathe to
be compared to their counterparts at the
Shira Weinstein, Hillel's program director, also
University of Michigan. They are quite happy to
recalled how before Palestinian Awareness Week,
be in East Lansing and happy about their cam-
Joey Marogil of Students for Palestinian Human
pus climate regarding Israel and pro-Israel advo-
Rights requested time to explain the event to the
Student Union. "He came by himself to
"We are fortunate not to be the University of
his plans and speak to the Israel
Michigan," said Mitchell Wagner, a sophomore
Committee. We had a civil conversa-
from Oak Park. "We have an environment that
Mitchell Wagner, sophomore from Oak Park, and Bradley Friedman,
tion," she said.
enables us to be proactive, more than reactive.
Hillel Israel advocacy intern and senior from West Bloomfield, are
graduate from Grand
We don't face the same hostility; we have the
"tabling" in the International Center on the MSU campus.
was important and
opportunity to educate.
Students gathered at the sparkling new Lester
"If there is anything that groups like ours should be
issue, and people were receptive and read them," she
J. Morris Hillel Jewish Student Center agreed that
able to learn from the Palestinian-Israeli conflict it is
said. "We had a positive response and people stopped
MSU is a good place to educate about Israel, though
that when we fight against each other, when we start
the response is sometimes hard to gauge because of the to talk:'
tit-for-tat attacks, it kills all of us and helps no one,"
low-key nature of politics on campus.
"Ambiguity is rampant in everything. Kids and fac-
"I wanted to ease the tension by going to the meet-
ulty care, but not enough to get involved. Most people
ing ... No matter whether they agreed with me or not,
are on both sides of our issues," said Brad Friedman,
I feel like it really established that we were not trying
"We are not afraid to show our support and to wear
Hillel's Israel advocacy student intern, a senior from
to slander them or hurt them but that we had grief
our 'I Stand With Israel' T-shirts, pins and other
too and were trying express it publicly with our
Adding a common refrain heard on relatively
events," Marogil said.
"quiet" campuses, Friedman noted, "We want to raise
One result of the meeting was the recent co-spon-
awareness, but don't want to awaken the campus to
sorship of the film Promises, which explores the lives of
Hillel Director Cindy Hughey believes the campus
Israeli and Palestinian children. More than 200 stu-
administration's involvement has been very important
Recent pro-Israel activities included hosting three
dents attended the free screening that pointedly did
Israeli college students from the Israel@Heart pro-
not include a discussion following the program.
gram, a talk by Jerusalem Post staffer Elli
Organizers preferred to let the film speak for itself, and
Wohlengertner about media misconceptions about
Special to the Jewish News
Israel and the Middle East and regular "tabling" with
cultural and political displays and materials in the
campus International Center.
Lauren Rifkin, a senior from New Jersey and a liai-
son for SpartyPAC — campus affiliate of the
American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) —
found the mid-October Palestinian Awareness Week a
good educational opportunity for pro-Israel activists.
Pro-Israel students actively responded to a mock
refugee camp, a series of speakers and a rally at the
State Capitol in Lansing.
"We distributed flyers to present another side of the