A student group at University of Michigan recently mirrored a popular tactic of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) groups by placing mock eviction notices from the school’s Housing Department on student doors, threatening “dorm demolition in three days.” The fake notices described how “excessive uses of force by Israeli forces during evictions has led to Palestinians being injured and killed.”
Created by the student group Students Allied for Freedom & Equality (SAFE), the notices—placed Dec. 10—were followed by an article in The Michigan Daily student newspaper describing the prank as “a tool of political satire intended to emulate a situation that thousands of Palestinians confront on a regular basis.” The article, penned by SAFE, called for students to create their own BDS group on campus.
“The campaign manipulated unknowing students by leaving out key facts and evidence while leading them to believe the Arab-Israeli conflict is one-sided and has a clear right and wrong,” wrote University of Michigan student Molly Rosen in an article for campus blog of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).
Rosen added, “The Mock Eviction campaign broke the peace of mind of thousands of students on campus and was only constructive in tearing communities and individuals at the University apart.”
The school’s Housing Department promptly responded to the student body in an email that condemned SAFE for violating university policy. The email said students who received the notices “did not have the ability to choose whether to engage in this conversation.” It is unclear whether or not SAFE will be penalized for its actions.