Categorized | Politics




I don’t want to suggest that this is so shocking. But here’s Hillel, scaring up anti-Semitism again. A newdirective from Hillel’s Schusterman International Center contains guidelines so that local Hillels know which organizations and groups are considered “valid” partners in promoting “civil and informed” discourse on Israel. According to the new guidelines, “Hillel will not partner with, house or host organizations, groups or speakers that as a matter of policy or practice:

(1) Deny the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state with secure and recognized border

(2) Delegitimize, demonize or apply a double standard to Israel

(3) Support boycott of, divestment from, or sanctions against the State of Israel

(4) Exhibit a pattern of disruptive behavior toward campus events or guest speakers or foster an atmosphere of incivility.

In other words, all and any chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine will be groups non gratae for Hillels, at least, if they choose to listen to the Schusterman Center. Which they don’t have to do. I can only say thank you. This makes our work easier. Since no one with a bit of sense anymore defends the “right of Israel to exist yea yea yea” Hillel will attract only the most extreme slavering jingoistic nitwits. (It’s worth noting here that according to a recent study, “86 percent of Israel’s Jewish citizens believe that decisions of major importance for the state must enjoy the support of a Jewish majority, while 62 percent of Israel’s Jewish citizens believe that as long as Israel is engaged in a conflict with the Palestinians, Arab citizens’ opinions on matters of security and foreign policy should not be taken into account.” Right-wing Haaretz columnist Moshe Arens asks, does this “indicate that a majority of Israel’s Jewish citizens have not really absorbed the basic precepts of democratic government?”)To which the only appropriate response is that time-honored internet standby, LOL.

This is good because (1) they discredit themselves and (2) that will mean that Hillel is dumbing down, hence it will be even harder to defend the indefensible and (3) Hillel is drawing the lines, not us. Even liberal Zionists supporting something mild like a cut-off of military aid to Israel won’t be at home in Hillel. Where will they go? Jewish Voice for Peace, to start. Then, later, Students for Justice in Palestine. It makes organizing much easier when your opponents insist on the principled right to be bigots, when even by their own definitions a “Jewish and democratic” state doesn’t mean a “democratic” state.

The author of the op-ed insists that “I am confident that Hillel can play a critical role in helping this generation of students not only develop a strong sense of Jewish identity, but also a personal connection and commitment to the State of Israel.” To which I can only say: yearight. What you will help is cement a ghetto mentality amongst a subsection of American Jewry more receptive to propaganda—and that will be Israel’s next generations of defenders, if it lasts another generation in its current form. The rest will drop Israel. Jeremiah Haber, who drew my attention to this post, suggests that this new policy from Hillel’s leadership is a problem. I think it’s a solution.

When the enemy identifies itself as the enemy in such tribal, backward terms, it makes people choose sides or forces them to take a stand with respect to their institution’s theretofore hidden racism. I think that’s a good thing.

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One Response to “HILL VS THE SJP”

  1. Jerry Haber says:

    You actually make a good point as to whether it’s a problem or a solution. I am generally of the “things have to get a lot worse before they get better” school. But something things just get worse.

    By the way, I focused on JVP but you are right to point out that SJP is also the target. What the paternalistic grown-ups don’t get is that they cannot determine who the students’ friends will be. Hillel houses were initially set up as a place to foster Jewish community and identity (and for nice Jewish boys and girls to meet). There is already the danger that they are turning into clubs for only Jewish Jews, particularly, the orthodox. I don’t want them to become even more irrelevant.


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