Rabbi: petition should be ‘rejected out of hand’
Pro-Palestinian students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee want to see the school scrub the name of former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir off the campus library.
The ongoing petition effort is organized by UW Students for a Democratic Society, Muslim Students Association, and the Wisconsin Coalition for Justice in Palestine.
Meir graduated from the university in 1917, according to the Wisconsin Historical Society. She led Israel between 1969 to 1974.
Students also want to see the university “Divest from weapon manufacturers that aid the Palestinian genocide in ‘Israel’” and “End all study abroad trips to ‘Israel.’”
The campus Students for a Democratic Society and the Muslim Student Association did not respond to College Fix inquiries sent in the past three weeks via email and Instagram that asked for an update on the petition demands.
The university’s media team also did not respond to multiple emailed requests for comment on the demands sent in the past three weeks.
The Fix asked the Wisconsin Coalition for Justice in Palestine, which also helped organize opposition to the library, for comment. It did not respond to an emailed inquiry sent in the past week.
Hillel Milwaukee, an organization that works with the campus Jewish population, declined to comment on the petitions.
The activism campaign included a rally in December where one speaker, Patricia Fish, said “Meir was a Zionist known for her crimes against Palestine,” as reported by socialist news website Fight Back! News. Activists also hosted a rally in November.
Another spokesperson said “it is crucial to recognize that boycotting and protesting are not acts of hostility toward any particular group, but rather expressions of our commitment to justice, human rights, and the fundamental principles of equality.”
The rally was followed by a “prayer and vigil” meant to honor the “martyrs of Palestine.” During the rally students wrote the names of these “martyrs” on the library pillars, Fight Back! Reported.
But a rabbi who founded the Coalition for Jewish Values criticized the claims of the activists in an email to The Fix.
Rabbi Yaakov Menken told The Fix via email “the petition is racist and offensive and should be rejected out of hand.”
The managing director of the conservative Jewish group said “[the petition] certainly has nothing to do with Golda Meir, who famously said ‘We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.’ Hamas is now using children to protect their murderous terror operations from elimination, so nothing has changed.”
“What has changed is the growth in support for terrorism in America. That begins with the idea of a ‘Palestinian martyr,’ which neatly merges the barbarian notion that a neutralized terrorist is a ‘martyr’ with the antisemitic lie that an Arab, and not a Jew, is a ‘Palestinian,’ native to that land,” Menken said.
“For 2,000 years, the only people called Palestinians were Jews, from the time of the Palestinian Talmud to the 1940s when the Palestine Post was the English-language Jewish paper, still printed today as the Jerusalem Post,” Menken said.
“Palestine has never been more than a European colonialist name for the Holy Land of the Jews, a territory with at least six indigenous names identified in the Bible.”
IMAGE: SDS UWM/Instagram