UR Hillel will host an Interfaith workshop on Saturday, April 18 to discuss means of differentiating between anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiment. The event was organized in response to a March 31 incident on campus, in which an unknown person or persons taped a pro-Palestine flyer onto a flyer that had been posted by UR’s Israel Council.
Israel Council had posted flyers around campus advertising a vigil, held March 30 at 9:00 p.m. in front of Wilson Commons, to memorialize and raise awareness for victims of recent anti-Semitic attacks in Europe. The flyers each featured a description of a recent anti-Semitic event in Europe.
On March 31, the day after the vigil, an undergraduate student contacted Hillel to express concern about another flyer that had been posted under the Israel Council flyer. The original flyer read “February 14, 2015 – Copenhagen: A gunman opened fire at the Great Synagogue, killing a member of the Copenhagen Jewish community and wounding two police officers.” Underneath, another flyer had been posted which read “On December 30th 2014, Israeli border police made an incursion into the Qitoun neighborhood. Having arrested one 12-year-old boy, Israeli border police fired over 30 tear gas canisters into the area, into a crowd of predominantly teenage boys, engulfing the area in teargas. During the month of December, 170 teargas canisters and 19 stun grenades have been fired by Israeli forces at school time on 14 of the 20 days children have gone to school.”
President of UR Hillel Rebecca Royzer said, “What disturbed us most was the placement” of the flyer, which could have been interpreted as an anti-Semitic statement rather than a purely political comment on Israel. She added that the anonymity of the poster was unfortunate because “we can’t have a conversation with this student and find out what’s really troubling them.
In hopes of defusing possible tensions on campus, Hillel arranged to host the interfaith workshop “Words to Action: Empowering Jewish Students to Address Bias on Campus.” The workshop will be led by Anti-Defamation League facilitator Kathy Hershfield. It will be held on the river level of the Interfaith Chapel on April 18 from 2:00-3:30pm, and is open to all students.
Passanisi is a member of
the class of 2017.