Student gov't rep compares pro-Israel group to KKK

Campus Reform Reporter

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  • A member of the University of Minnesota's graduate student representatives compared a pro-Israel student group to the Ku Klux Klan.
  • The student government member also called Students Supporting Israel a "hate group."
  • Consequently, the founder of the pro-Israel student group was kicked off a student government committee.
  • The University of Minnesota’s graduate student representative to the Board of Regents compared Students Supporting Israel (SSI) to the Ku Klux Klan in a series of emails obtained by Campus Reform.

    Damien Carriere labeled SSI a “hate group” in emails sent to U of M’s student government executive board in a campaign to remove the founder of the pro-Israel group from the Student Services Committee, a committee which is responsible for the distribution of millions of dollars in funds to various student groups.

    "He is a member of a hate group (SSI) and I think he comes in with a fishy agenda."   

    “[Ilan Sinelnikov’] is a member of a hate group (SSI) and I think he comes in with a fishy agenda,” Carriere wrote in one email circulated between the undergraduate and graduate student governments.

    The emails to the executive board of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GAPSA) continued, and as some members of the board began questioning his classification of SSI as a hate group, Carriere wrote that the Student Services Committee "would fund a KKK group if they justify their request well. So let us consider that they do pass the student group test.”

    Carriere explains in the emails that SSI is a hate group because the students belong “to a certain ideology which is present among some citizens of that state that has been refusing rights to minorities outside of the recognized borders of that country.”

    In a follow-up email, Carriere said that he would label Christian Crusaders for Christ a hate group because it “is named after a bloody and inherently racist episode in European history.”

    “The term crusade is considered by many as offensive because it refers to the will of chasing the Muslims from their land by mean [sic] of war,” Carriere wrote.

    Ultimately, Sinelnikov was removed from his appointment as GAPSA did not feel as though Sinelnikov had “demonstrated the ability to remain impartial.”

    No SSI or Christian Crusaders for Christ members were present in the hearing which removed Sinelnikov.

    “I was the only candidate singled out for questioning and such bias scrutiny by the certain members of the Assembly,” Sinelnikov told Campus Reform. “It is unfortunate that they were unable to put aside their bigotry towards my national origin when performing their duties as student representatives. GAPSA proved its bias and ignorance against me because of my political beliefs and my ethnic background. Being singled out based for those reasons after a long campaign against Students Supporting Israel reminds me why Students Supporting Israel was founded–to fight anti-Semitism and bias on college campuses”

    U-M’s undergraduate student body president, Joelle Stangler told Campus Reform that she hopes to preserve the diversity and wellbeing of the students that she represents, and she will take action in defense of Sinelnikov, who she believes has been discriminated against.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @beitaron