The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor is slated to play host to a national student conference late next week, one of whose "guiding principles" is that it "condemns the racism and discrimination inherent in Zionism", the Jerusalem Post has learned.
The Second National Student Conference on the Palestine Solidarity Movement, which is scheduled to begin on October 12, is being sponsored by pro-Palestinian and socialist groups. It aims to promote an end to US aid to Israel and to encourage divestment by universities and corporations from the Jewish state.
In the conference's promotional material, organizers refer to "apartheid Israel", and refuse to condemn Palestinian terrorism, stating, "As a solidarity movement, it is not our place to dictate the strategies or tactics adopted by the Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation."
In addition to asserting that "racism" is "inherent to Zionism", the organizers call for "the right of return and repatriation for all Palestinian refugees" as well as "an end to the Israeli system of Apartheid and discrimination."
Panelists at the conference include Dr. Sami Al-Arian, a former Professor at the University of South Florida who was fired after reports surfaced linking him to Middle Eastern terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and Islamic Jihad.
A similar conference on divestment, held earlier this year at Berkeley, caused an uproar among American academics, leading Harvard President Lawrence Summers to criticize the divestment scheme as "anti-Semitic."
In a statement issued last week, University of Michigan President Mary Coleman appeared to distance the school from the conference, stating, "The agenda of the conference represents the views of the organizers and not the University of Michigan." She added that the university had no intention of divesting from Israel. "I do not support this divestment," she said, adding, "As a matter of University policy, we do not believe political interests should govern our investment decisions."