"Jewish activists, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Jewish groups overreacted because of a linguistic mistake originally made by pro-Israel students on campus. The Jewish students heard that the stoles had the word 'shahada' on them. That word, in Arabic, has two meanings. It denotes the testimony of faith, but it also denotes the action of becoming a 'martyr' while fighting for Islam..."
I find the explanation of the misunderstanding helpful, though I'm angry that the American Jewish Congress hasn't apologized...and I still think the misunderstanding was a sign of paranoia at best (at worst, bigotry). At least the ADL stepped up.