As a former member of Michigan Student Assembly and heavy participant in the Israeli-Palestinian debate on campus during my time at the University, I have closely followed the progression of campus discourse since graduation.

The diversification of the pro-Israel community in the past decade has been nothing short of robust. The “tent” is large and diverse, hosting a range of progressive Jewish and non-Jewish voices, as well as hard-line Zionists. This is progress. This is diversity.

The stunt pulled by Students Allied for Freedom and Equality this past week demonstrates that unfortunately, not much has changed in the anti-Israel camp at the University in this same period of time. Fear mongering, bully tactics and shock theater are no substitute for real dialogue or progress. Note that I specifically use the term “anti-Israel” and not “pro-Palestine,” because there is a difference — one that SAFE and other groups have routinely ignored. Where are the moderate and progressive Palestinian voices on campus? Does a pro-Palestinian group exist on campus? When will the storied diversity of the University’s campus finally catch up with the pro-Palestinian crowd?

Ironically, SAFE has to know that it has established a public reputation on par with the current image of the GOP; uninterested in change, unwilling to engage in dialogue and disliked by even those that call themselves members.

Brad Sugar is the Director of Operations of the Jewish Student Connection. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 2004.

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