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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Israeli flag stolen from U. of Michigan twice

From the Michigan Journal (College newspaper, Dearborn):
During last week's Global Fest, the Israeli flag was stolen twice from the University Center.

Student Activities Office (SAO) hung between 55 and 60 different flags around the UC representing different nations.

These flags were hung earlier in the week before Global Fest. According to SAO, the Israeli flag was ripped down early Tuesday morning.

SAO then filled the missing space with another 3 x 5 ft. Israeli flag.

This second flag was then stolen again the next day on Wednesday.

None of the other flags were touched.

A mass e-mail from Vice Chancellor of Enrollment and Student Life Stanley E. Henderson went out to all registered students on Thursday.

The e-mail explained the "Expect Respect" program, informed students of what had happened and also encouraged students to attend today's Difficult Dialogues series.

The e-mail stated that the administration considers the stealing of the flag "more than just a theft," and "it is a violation of who we are as a university."

The administration rejects the notion that any nation could be singled out for such disrespect on our campus.

As for punishment, the e-mail states, "As a university we must condemn this action in the strongest tears and be clear that his cannot be tolerated."

Henderson confirmed that the Israel flag disappeared last year as well. "Last year the flag went missing went they were being taken down. It was up during Global Fest. This year the flag went missing before Global Fest even started," said Henderson.
Seems pretty clear-cut that this was a political act meant to intimidate any Zionist students, right? Three times over two years, only the Israeli flag, and Dearborn being the home to the largest Arab community in America -can anyone reasonably think this was other than a hate crime?

Well, the student editors managed to figure out a way to insult their own intelligence:
Reaction to flag theft overblown

...In this case, it seems that the administration is more concerned with punishing the motivation, not the crime itself.

If someone stole any country's flag from the UC, would the crime be treated similarly? Or if someone stole food from McKinley Café and said their motive was that they were starving due to a lack of money after purchasing this semester's books, would the school let them get away with it? Doubtful. Both would be treated as thefts and dealt with based on the values of the items stolen.

We don't condone the theft, but we think that the university should be consistent in its punishment and that the motive should play a less central role in deciding how to deal with the thief. The school has no proof that this was a hate crime, only an assumption. Without hard evidence, its presumptious [sic] to treat it as such.
Is it any wonder that these rocket scientists on the editorial board don't even know how to use spell-check?
(h/t Anti-Racist Blog)