Free speech group says it is monitoring the situation
A University of Michigan professor appears to have torn down posters of kidnapped Israelis, according to a photo posted by StopAntisemitism.
However, he said the narrative circling is not true.
“Disgusting – University of Michigan Professor Erik Gordon tears down posters of the kidnapped Israelis, some of them US citizens, being held in Gaza,” the group wrote on X. “Note the despicable smirk on his face.”
“What is being circulated is completely inaccurate,” Professor Gordon told The College Fix in an email on Friday in response to an original media inquiry sent on Wednesday. “I removed the flyers that were being taped to one wall, where they are not permitted, and I put them back up on another wall in the same building.”
“Let me be utterly clear: I abhor antisemitism,” he said. “And, by the way, I am Jewish.”
Spokesman Rick Fitzgerald did not comment on the allegations and if there was any investigation into the situation when originally asked on Wednesday.
A free speech group which has previously sued the University of Michigan had called Gordon’s actions “disturbing” and said it is monitoring the situation.
“Students have the right to speech even if that speech is in the form of flyers and spreading information,” Executive Director Cherise Trump told The College Fix via email on Tuesday.
“As Jewish and Israeli students watch as the horrors of what happened to their people continue to unfold, including the names of the dead, missing, and kidnapped by Hamas, they have every right to spread this message on their campuses,” Trump said.
Disgusting – University of Michigan Professor Erik Gordon tears down posters of the kidnapped Israelis, some of them US citizens, being held in Gaza.
Note the despicable smirk on his face. pic.twitter.com/LbUKSODEa0
— StopAntisemitism (@StopAntisemites) October 13, 2023
She said further:
If faculty members are tearing down flyers and shutting down student speech they disagree with rather than rising above the chaotic and dogmatic tactics of the left’s radicals, it is not only disturbing, but that walks right up to, and possibly crosses the line of those students’ constitutionally protected rights. Speech First is watching the University of Michigan closely. We’ve already sued this school before and won a precedent setting case in the Sixth Circuit and we won’t hesitate to do it again if there is evidence that this campus is once again silencing its students and censoring their views.
More than 500 University of Michigan faculty and staff have also signed onto an open letter criticizing President Santa Ono for not discussing Israel’s role in the conflict and not explicitly offering support for Palestine and its citizens.
“There is no mention of Palestine or Palestinians in President Ono’s statement,” the letter states. “Such an absence suggests that only Israelis have been wounded, traumatized, or killed in the ongoing violence.”
“Violence is never the answer,” President Ono wrote on Oct. 10.
He wrote further:
Yet today our campus communities are reeling in the wake of the horrific attack by Hamas terrorists on Israeli citizens and the immense loss of civilian lives.
This violence has caused profound pain within the internationally and culturally diverse University of Michigan community. It is almost certain that more innocent civilians will lose their lives as the fighting escalates.
The letter accused Ono and university officials of “continued erasure” of Palestinians on the university’s campuses.
“We sign this letter to affirm that every human life has value and counts,” the letter also states. “We reject the university administration’s continued erasure of our campuses’ Palestinian communities.”
The top signer is Professor Juan Cole, who directs the Arab and Muslim American Studies program.
Cole previously blamed Dylann Roof’s murder of nine people in a black South Carolina church on “far right wing Jews” who have been critical of Muslim immigration into Europe.
Roof’s “manifesto” never mentioned Muslims, Islam, or any of the “far right wing Jews” who have been critical of mass immigration of Muslims, such as Pamela Geller and Daniel Pipes.
Editor’s note: The article has been updated with comment from Professor Gordon.