The phrase “Stop Bombing Gaza!” and a Palestinian flag were found painted on a Michigan State University (MSU) landmark on Nov. 15.
The landmark, known as The Rock, is painted with new messages each day, which can range from marriage proposals and birthdays to messages commemorating the victims of the 9/11 terror attacks, according to the Lansing State Journal. MSU’s Chabad Student Center posted a photo of the “Stop Bombing Gaza!” paint on The Rock to Facebook.
“We were saddened to receive this picture taken from students on their way to class this morning,” the post read. “The Rock which for so long has been a unifying spot on our campus to bring people together, was used last night to make a blunt and deceptive political point that hurt the feeling of many students.”
They acknowledged that while the situation between Israel and the Gaza Strip is complex, such statements “encourage a culture that demonizes Israel and Jewish students and has NO place at MSU. We will never give into angry voices and demonization.”
MSU’s Chabad Student Center added: “We announce in the eternal voice of the Jewish people: Am Yisroel Chai. The Nation of Israel lives. A year after Pittsburgh, we are here. Six months after Poway, we are here. While rockets rain down on Israel, we stand strong. We are here we are not going anywhere.”
We were saddened to receive this picture taken from students on their way to class this morning. The Rock which for so…
Anti-Defamation League Michigan Regional Director Caroline Normandin, an alumnus of MSU, said in a statement to the Journal, “MSU students have a long tradition of freedom of speech at ‘the Rock’ near the auditorium on campus. We are disappointed by this latest display and are glad it is going to be repainted tonight. Seeing a one-sided statement is not valuable because it does not allow for open or shared narratives. We stand with Jewish students and MSU Hillel efforts to educate and promote future [dialogue].”
MSU Media Information Manager Melody Kindraka said in a statement to the Journal, “We recognize that cross-cultural interactions may sometimes create moments of surprise or discomfort. But when perspectives clash, we have an individual and shared responsibility to guard against behaviors that demean or otherwise harm individuals and our community. A strong campus community is characterized by respect for, and civility toward, one another.”
The paint on the MSU rock comes after Islamic Jihad fired at least 450 rockets from Gaza toward Israel this past week in response to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) killing a senior Islamic Jihad commander; the IDF responded with strikes against Islamic Jihad terrorists. A ceasefire was reached on Nov.14 but rockets continued to be fired from Gaza.