The University of Michigan is a public university. So why are taxpayers funding lectures by a former member of a violent racist hate group?
Especially offensive lectures that exploit the Holocaust to discriminate against its Jewish student body?
A required lecture for University of Michigan art students featured a speaker who compared Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Adolf Hitler.
Speaker Emory Douglas, part of the “Penny Stamps Speakers Series Presentation” of the Stamps School of Art & Design, displayed a slide that showed a picture of Netanyahu and Hitler with the words “Guilty Of Genocide” written across their faces. Below the photo was the definition of genocide.
Douglas “worked as the resident Revolutionary Artist and Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party in the San Francisco Bay Area from 1967 through the 1980s,” according to the school’s website.
The content of the lecture first came to public attention via a Facebook post on Friday by a Jewish University of Michigan student, Alexa Smith. The post included a photograph of the slide of Douglas’ artwork.
“Yesterday I was forced to sit through an overtly anti-Semitic lecture,” she wrote, adding: “In what world is it ok for a mandatory course to host a speaker who compares Adolf Hitler to the Prime Minister of Israel?”
“I sat through this lecture horrified at the hatred and intolerance being spewed on our campus,” she continued. “As a Jew who is proud of my people and my homeland, I sat through this lecture feeling targeted and smeared to be as evil as the man who perpetrated the Holocaust and systematically murdered six million Jews,” she wrote.
She noted that two years ago, another mandatory Stamps lecture speaker, Joe Sacco, called Israel a terrorist state and explicitly claimed that Israeli soldiers were unworthy of being represented as actual human beings in his artwork.
Undergraduates receive academic credit for attending 11 of 14 scheduled Stamps events during the school year and they are able to select which events to attend.
Last month, University of Michigan professor of American culture, John Cheney-Lippold, declined to recommend junior Abigail Ingber for a semester abroad in Israel because he supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, movement against the country.
The Black Panthers were a violent racist hate group. Being their former Minister of Culture should no more be a recommendation than having been a former Wizard in the KKK.