“I think we all need to be alarmed,” said Elana Kahn of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation.
By World Israel News Staff
A man saying that he is not against Jews and only wanted publicity for other issues showed up on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus on Monday holding a sign with a swastika as a celebration was taking place for Israel’s Independence Day, a local television channel reported.
“I don’t think that I’m a racist,” said Chris, who asked that his last name not be used in an interview with WISN Channel 12.
“I do support Jewish people,” he said when confronted by a student.
“Well that sign does not say that,” countered the student.
Another student interviewed by the television channel accused Chris of “saying a lot of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel speech to groups of people that would surround him.”
The protester told WISN that the use of the swastika was only a ploy: “The only reason I’m getting an interview from you right now is the fact that I put a swastika on that sign. If I had put any other message on that nobody would have given a (expletive),” he said.
He said that he was interested in raising awareness regarding single-mother homes, the opioid addiction, and the number of abortions in the United States.
“I worked hard for this event and wanted everyone to celebrate and to see someone come up with [a] swastika was really disappointing and frustrating,” Sarah Berry, president of Students Support Israel, told the television channel.
WISN reported that UW-Milwaukee issued a statement in response to the incident saying that “as a public university, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee respects everyone’s right to free speech, even when it is speech that we disagree with.”
“I think we all need to be alarmed. This is not just about the Jews and Jewish students. This is about our being able to recognize what is hateful and offensive and making sure it stays away at the margins,” Elana Kahn, of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, told Channel 12.
The main library on campus is named for Golda Meir, a former Israeli prime minister who lived in Milwaukee and attended the university.