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Anti-Israel graffiti in UM Regent's law office investigated as hate crime

Southfield police are investigating the anti-Israel vandalism that occurred at the Goodman Acker law firm early Monday morning as a possible hate crime.

University of Michigan Regent Jordan Acker works in that office. The graffiti on the building criticized both Acker and the university's investments in Israeli companies in the ongoing Gaza campaign that has killed tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians following the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack.

“Free Palestine,” “Divest or F— off,” “F— you Acker,” and “UM Kills” were written in red and black spray paint on the building’s facade, on the sign, and on the sidewalk.

Jordan Acker says he has not been targeted because of his anti-divestment stance.

“I have not been targeted here today because I am a ruler, but because I am Jewish,” he said.

Acker said protesters were welcome to demonstrate outside the law firm's offices, but he called the vandalism, which included slogans calling for divestment and chants of “UM Kills” and “Free Palestine,” a “significant escalation.”

Michigan Democratic State Senator Jeremy Moss of Southfield says the Jewish community in Michigan – and around the world – is currently in turmoil.

“What we see here on the side of this building is only free Palestine, not the release of the hostages, not even the removal of Netanyahu if that is what they want. And so the rest of us are left to fill in the gaps, what does that mean? What are they trying to achieve? And by destroying and intimidating a Jewish business in a Jewish neighborhood, that is anti-Semitic,” he said.

Last month, other University of Michigan chancellors were targeted in protests for refusing to reduce their investments from Israeli companies and weapons manufacturers. A pro-Palestinian anti-war encampment on the UM Diag was later violently broken up by police.

Southfield Police Chief Elvin Barren called the vandalism “horrific” and said the FBI, University of Michigan and Huntington Woods police were assisting Southfield police in the investigation. “But the investigation may expand to include other agencies,” he said.

Four people can be seen in the video and the police are asking for information to identify them.

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  • Russ McNamara is the host of All Things Considered for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news to the station's loyal listeners. He has been an avid listener of WDET since moving to the Detroit metro area in 2002.

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