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Pro-Israel speaker hot topic at UCSC

By JONDI GUMZ
Sentinel staff writer

SANTA CRUZ — Someone doesn’t want people to know that Itamar Marcus is speaking at UC Santa Cruz tonight.

Marcus, the director of Palestinian Media Watch who has testified before the U.S. Senate, will talk about Palestinian suicide bombers in the Middle East.

His talk, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in Classroom 321 at Kresge College, is sponsored by Students for Peace in the Middle East and the Chabad Student Center, two UCSC groups, and Stand with Us, a national organization supporting Israel.

Hundreds of fliers posted Monday on bulletin boards and at bus stops on campus, have been removed or defaced, said UCSC lecturer Tammi Rossman-Benjamin. She saw slogans such as "Zionism = Racism" and "Occupation is Murder" written on the fliers.

"I’ve never seen fliers defaced in this way," said Rossman-Benjamin, a member of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, the faculty group co-sponsoring the talk by the pro-Israeli Marcus.

"Whatever happened to free speech?" said Dejah Harris, a senior sitting outside the Kresge dorms.

Kresge College staff said they had not seen the flier but received complaints that it was offensive.

The flier features a photograph of a baby dressed up as a suicide bomber with the words: "Why Teach a Child to Kill." The photo, found in 2002 in a Palestinian family album, was distributed by The Associated Press and Reuters.

"It’s not that we put it together in Photoshop," said Rossman-Benjamin. "What’s offensive is that Palestinians teach their children to blow themselves up and kill Israelis."

Lee Maranto of the Student Organization Advising and Resource Office said the fliers should be treated like any other publicity for an event.

Removing the fliers would go against campus policy, Maranto said, adding, "All speech is protected by the First Amendment."


The talk starts at 7:30 p.m. at Classroom 321 at Kresge College. The room seats 155, and admission is free.


Contact Jondi Gumz at jgumz (at) santacruzsentinel.com.

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