FAU's student paper, University Press, has a cover in this week's issue that trumpets the phrase "Free Palestine," illustrated by a photo of students reenacting an Israeli soldier's detention of a Palestinian woman at a roadblock.
It's the kind of thing that happens every day on the streets and roads of Israel and the West Bank but not something you see regularly featured on the cover of local publications. There's a heated atmosphere on the school's campus, where student activists from the groups Students for Justice in Palestine and Owls for Israel regularly cross verbal swords.
The full headline reads "Free Pizza, Free Palestine," as the story describes how reenactors handed out pizza after their demonstration. But it reads almost as if the paper is making light of the matter. Whatever.
The current issue has other strange touches. It includes a full-page ad from the group standwithuscampus.com, touting Israel's record on human rights as opposed to that of various other Mideast nations. The back cover is a full-page ad from the Journey Church ("A new, casual, contemporary Christian church"), a clip-art job that looks like it came out of the National Enquirer or the Church of the Subgenius. There is also an ad from a plastic surgeon hawking breast augmentation and liposuction to college women.
UP Editor Dylan Bouscher told New Times that while the cover is "controversial," the headline is "not a statement of support or an endorsement" of the Palestinian cause. "We'd have done a split cover with an image of pro-Israeli actions if we could have," he said. The news story the headline references is an even-handed account of both sides' positions.
Bouscher has already run afoul of FAU administrators, sanctioned by them recently for his zealous reporting of an on-campus suicide in August. Some members of the FAU chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine have come under fire too, sanctioned for protesting the April appearance of an Israeli military officer on campus.
We'll see whether the virulently anti-Palestine cohort of local reactionaries takes offense at UP for the current cover. Ditto for FAU administration, which now touts "civil discourse" as a point of honor.
Fire Ant -- an invasive species, tinged bright red, with an annoying, sometimes-fatal sting -- covers Palm Beach County. Got feedback or a tip? Contact Fire.Ant@BrowardPalmBeach.com.
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