(JTA) — The chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign said a presentation to dorm advisers on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians was anti-Semitic.
Critics responded to the assertion by Robert Jones that the presentation, titled “Palestine & Great Return March: Palestinian Resistance to 70 Years of Israeli Terror,” was critical of Israel but not anti-Semitic, according to the News-Gazette, a local newspaper. They urged the university to formulate a definition of anti-Semitism.
A Palestinian-American student involved in the Students for Justice in Palestine organization made the presentation last month to about a dozen residence hall advisers and multicultural advocates.
Jones made his assertion in a campuswide email last week, which also referenced the recent discovery of a swastika in in the Foreign Languages building.
Complaints were filed about both the presentation and the swastika, the Daily Illini student newspaper reported Monday.
“This exercise was part of a university program created to help students learn to share diverse ideas and perspectives that lead to new understanding. Instead of fostering dialogue, it incited division, distrust and anger,” Jones wrote.
All housing staff, residence advisers and advocates will be required to undergo anti-Semitism training, Jones said.
The Illini Public Affairs Committee, which works to support U.S.-Israel relations at the university, called the presentation “a narrative of demonization of Israel and its citizens and Jewish students.”