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April 11, 2003 - Image 24

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-04-11

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

Anti-Israel Move

WSU student group proposes divestment resolution to student council.

DON COHEN
Special to the Jewish News

A

n anti-Israel student organi-
zation at Wayne State
University has asked the
WSU Student Council to
pass a resolution calling for the
Detroit-based university to divest from
companies doing business with Israel.
The Student's Movement for Justice
(SMJ) pushed for immediate passage
of its proposed resolution at the coun-
cil's April 7 meeting, but it was tabled
until April 17.
SMJ's Web site identifies the group
as a "grassroots organization working
for justice wherever there is inequality,
discrimination, or oppression" and
lists the "Palestinian Solidarity
Movement" and the "Anti-war
Movement" as its top priorities.
The resolution, addressed to the
WSU Board of Governors, charges
Israel with "violent ethnic cleansing

,

racially directed against millions of
occupied Palestinian civilians, who are
both innocent and helpless." It blames
Israel for causing "long-term malnutri-
tion" for "millions" of Palestinians,
intentionally killing a college student
trying to stop a bulldozer in the south-
ern Gaza Strip, and calls Israel a "long-
time, close ally of White Apartheid
South Africa." The resolution does not
contain any calls for peace or criticism
of any Palestinian group.
According to the campus paper, the
South End, some Council members did
not receive advance notice that the res-
olution would be introdUced. Council
member Doug Jennings, representing
the Eugene Applebaum College of
Pharmacy and Health Sciences, is
quoted as saying, "I do not like rail-
roading through last-minute agendas,"
noting the resolution was "totally one-
sided" and no one was there to present
the other side.
Calls to Tiffany Moss, the president

of the WSU Student Council, were
not returned by press time.

Israel Supporters Irate

Alex Van Ness, president of the Hillel-
supported Students for Israel, says stu-
dents will challenge both the resolution
and the propriety of the student council
passing judgment on Middle East issues.
"The resolution badly dehumanizes
Israel and anyone who supports it. It
doesn't allow for dialogue," says Van Ness,
a 20-year-old junior from Royal Oak.
Students for Israel also will ask the
student council to postpone its meeting
because it conflicts with the second
Passover seder, effectively excluding
Jewish representation. The group will
be holding meetings to further deter-
mine their strategy and next steps.
Rachel Iaber, a sophomore from
Oak Park, says the resolution "is pure
propaganda, anyone can look at it and
see that. They are comparing Israelis

Outreach Continues

Detroit-area student keeps teaching udaism in Berlin a er anti-Semitic attack.

SHELLI LIEBMAN DORFMAN
Staff Writer

I

n Berlin teaching students •
about Judaism, Menachem
Mendel Druk of Oak Park
learned an uninvited lesson of
his own when he was physically
assaulted because he was Jewish.
"I was attacked because I was wear-
ing my yarmulke and black hat," said
Druk, 21. "I clearly looked Jewish."
A graduate of Yeshivas Menachem
Mendel Lubavitch in Oak Park, he
was injured as he walked to a wedding
through a busy, popular Berlin shop-
ping area on March 23. According to
Berlin police, Druk was approached
by four assailants, described as Middle
Eastern in appearance, in front of a
crowded outdoor cafe. One struck him
in the face and another threw an
object at him.

4/11
2003

24

o

nel called the police.
"It was 7 p.m. and dark
"They told me there
outside," Druk said.
was nothing they could
"There were so many peo-
do because the men ran
ple outside watching, but
away," he said.
no one would help me. I
The assailants have
asked an elderly couple for
not been identified.
help, but they refused."
"The night after it
According to Rabbi
happened was very
Yedudah Teichtal, admin-
hard," said Druk, who
istrator of the Chabad
received several stitches
Tzentroum Chabad
in his chin. "I am OK
Center that Druk has
now, but emotionally I
been a part of for the last
Menachem Mendel Druk am still in shock."
seven months, no one
Contacted by the
intervened. He said when
American Embassy in
Druk asked one man for
Berlin, Druk met with personnel who
the loan of his mobile phone to report
offered assistance, if necessary.
the incident to police, the man told
Druk knows of many times when
him he didn't see anything.
Jews have been verbally abused in the
Though dizzy from the assault,
town. "Last year right before Pesach,
Druk made his way to the Jewish
Menachem Mendel Tobin, who was in
Community Center where the wed-
ding was taking place. Security person- Berlin doing outreach from my school

,

to Nazis. They compare Israel to
apartheid South Africa to try to reach
the African American community."
Eli Weingarten, a senior from
Southfield, see the resolution as "bla-
tant anti-Semitism."
"There is already anti-Semitism
being said in the classrooms, on signs,
at rallies and written in chalk on the
sidewalks. Where does it stop? This is
raising it to another level. Where will
it end?" he asks.
"They are painting a picture that the
Palestinians are long-suffering victims
and Israel is their oppressor. If anything,
it is the opposite," he says. "It is not
based on facts, it is based on emotion."
Danny Schreiber, an Oak Park
freshman, agrees. "They claim to be
anti-Israel or anti-Zionist as opposed
to anti-Semitic, but they deny the
right of Jews to live in sovereignty and
peace in their own country," he says,
noting that Israel has offered to with-
draw and recognize a Palestinian state
if Israel is allowed to live in peace.
Schreiber contends that students on
campus "basically ignore the student
council" -and last week's election for
council members seems to bear this
out. On a campus with almost 20,000
undergraduates, the top vote getter
received only 413 votes.

in Oak Park, was assaulted on the
same street," Druk said.
While security has been increased at
Jewish sites in Germany since Sept.
11, and during frequent anti-Israel ral-
lies, Rabbi Teichtal is hoping for more
regular police security to ensure such
an incident does not recur.

Far-Reaching Outreach

Druk is part of a Chabad outreach
program that has a presence in 27
other German cities, nine with perma-
nent rabbis and the rest visited by stu-
dents like Druk.
In spite of the attack, Druk said he
will stay in Berlin until the end of the
program this summer.
"What I do here is an important
job," he said of bringing Jewish out-
reach to the children of Berlin.
The lessons he teaches include
demonstrations and interactive presen-
tations on Shabbat, Jewish holidays
and rituals and customs like mezuzot
and tefillin. In the two weeks before
Passover, he visited nine schools, both
Jewish and non-Jewish.
"My priority is on teaching the
Jewish children," he said. "But the

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