University of Michigan lecture draws criticism

DETROIT (AP) — A senior Israeli cabinet minister sent a letter Monday to the University of Michigan president over campus incidents that the politician described as showing a “vitriolic hatred against the Jewish state.”

Naftali Bennett, the minister responsible for education and diaspora affairs, admonished university President Mark Schlissel over a lecture last week at the Ann Arbor school. In it, artist Emory Douglas shared his work, including a collage of side-by-side images of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Adolf Hitler and the phrase “guilty of genocide” across their faces.

“The time has come for you as head of the University to make a strong stand against what has clearly become a trend of vitriolic hatred against the Jewish state on your campus,” Bennett wrote to Schlissel.

School officials declined to comment about the letter but said in a statement that the “school does not control or censor what speakers present” during the Penny Stamps Speaker Series, in which Douglas was featured. They said the program is “intentionally provocative,” and that the school makes this clear to students.

Douglas was a longtime artist for the Black Panthers and much of the artwork highlighted during his lecture drew on themes of domestic racial and social injustice and oppression. Some of the works featured images and messages supportive of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.

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