Pro-Palestinian activists on the University of Michigan campus have had the cops called on them for threatening pro-Israel students and staging a sit-in over the student government’s refusal to back an anti-Israel initiative to divest from the Jewish state.
University of Michigan police were contacted Wednesday evening after two pro-Palestinian activists allegedly threatened a student who refused to support their boycott initiative.
The threatening rhetoric used by these pro-Palestinian activists is part of wider campaign by the University of Michigan’s pro-Palestine group Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE), which is part of the virulently anti-Israel Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement (BDS).
The pro-Palestinian faction’s violent rhetoric has sparked an atmosphere of fear among pro-Israel students and led at least one to ask that the police launch an investigation into these threats.
SAFE, which describes itself as "a Palestinian solidarity group at the University of Michigan," has been staging sit-ins at the university’s student government chambers and elsewhere, according to insiders and the group’s Facebook page.
On Wednesday of this week, SAFE apparently staged one of its sit-ins in the university’s student government chambers. That is when SAFE activists started shouting threats at those who do not support BDS, according to a police report and University of Michigan Police official.
"A student reported that around 6:30 p.m., two males yelled threats at him while they were in the Central Student Government chambers," states a "threat of violence" police report from that evening. "They are described as Arabic males, approximately 20 years old and wearing white scarves. One reportedly had light brown skin, black hair, and a trimmed beard. The other was described as shorter than the other subject and thinner hair."
An official with the university police told the Washington Free Beacon that the past week has been rife with tension following "an effort by a pro-Palestinian group" to promote divestment from Israel.
"There have been sit-ins conducted in those chambers by both students and non-students who are supporting a pro-Palestinian perspective," said the police official.
"This report we took Wednesday evening was a student who was in the chambers and he alleges that two unknown men described in the incident [report] had yelled at him some threats and he left the area."
While the official could not reveal the name of the individual who was threatened, she told the Free Beacon that these pro-Palestinian activists have been staging these BDS events for several days.
The university student involved in the incident stated on his Facebook page Thursday that police are looking into multiple threats leveled over a 48-hour period this week.
"I am immensely thankful to the University of Michigan’s Department of Public Safety for continuing to investigate all the threats against me over the last forty-eight hours," the student stated in a posting obtained by the Free Beacon, which is withholding the individual’s name.
The student said that he would not be intimidated by the pro-Palestinian faction's threats and would continue to stand by his convictions.
"While already I forgive those [who] have said hurtful and spiteful messages to me, I will not be stirred, nor moved, by intimidations of any kind as a return to business as usual and serving the remainder of my term as CSG Representative," the student wrote.
The student further reported that "several sources" have begun attempting to "completely dismantle my reputation over this subject."
The student did not respond to a Free Beacon request for further comment on the issue.
A University of Michigan spokesman would not comment directly on the threats, telling the Free Beacon: "Their people [SAFE members] have strong feelings on that issue [BDS] and those strong feelings are getting expressed in a number of ways. Some may be more appropriate than others."
The spokesman went on to say that the university itself does not have a position on the BDS movement and has only been trying "to facilitate the two groups of students talking to each other. It’s really a dispute from a student organization and the student government."
SAFE is apparently upset that the student government promptly tabled this month a resolution "advocating the disinvestment of companies that support the state of Israel," according to the university spokesman.
"It’s really an internal dispute within the students about how this was handled," the spokesman explained.
SAFE and its supporters want the student government to vote on the divestment initiative.
"They’re working to resolve that and bring that issue back to the student government this week," according to the university spokesman.
An email to the SAFE board was not returned by press time.
Campus insiders said the Michigan incident is just the latest heavy-handed campaign by anti-Israel activists bent on using U.S. college campuses as a means to foment hate for the Jewish state.
BDS activists across the country have been attempting to push divestment from Israel on university campuses and within numerous academic organizations in recent months.
"While we don’t have all the details, we are unfortunately not surprised" by what happened at the University of Michigan, David Walker, the Eastern region campus coordinator for the Christians United for Israel (CUFI), a pro-Israel group active on many college campuses across the nation.
"This sounds very much like the type of hostility with which we are familiar," Walker said. "Pro-Israel students are on the frontlines of the battle against Israel’s detractors, and often those detractors use intimidation to advance their agenda."
University of Michigan’s SAFE group has been known to associate with anti-Israel extremists.
The group recently held a pro-divestment event with the anti-Israel activist Ali Abunimah. SAFE supporters apparently marched to the university’s student government chambers to push their cause, according to photos documenting the event.
The incident referenced in the police report occurred just a few days after this.