Hillel Betrays its Mission

A US Jewish organization does not get to evaluate the legitimacy of an elected Israeli official. If it cannot stand up to a cockamamie group of students, it is unfit to lead the war on the delegitimization of Israel in the arena of academia.

Time to fight back, not worry about feelings. (American Students burning Israeli flag, screen capture)

The Deputy Foreign Minister of the State of Israel was barred from appearing before Princeton University’s Hillel’s Center for Jewish Life (CJL).

Think about this for a moment. Tzipi Hotovely, the deputy foreign minister of the State of Israel, an official of the Israeli government, a representative elected by most of the citizens of the State of Israel in free and democratic elections – was barred from speaking by the leading Jewish organization on campus in the United States.

If you aren’t outraged, you weren’t paying attention. It is more than a disgrace. It is despicable.

That the leading Jewish organization on campus, where the very legitimacy of the Jewish right to self-determination and nationhood is under assault, would even consider questioning the appearance of an elected Israeli representative , is absolutely treacherous. It has to do more than issue an apology.

For this to be excused and brushed aside with a lame apology is astounding. Hillel crossed a line and betrayed the citizens of the State of Israel.

Princeton University’s CJL reversed its decision to host deputy Minister Tzipi Hotovely, following objections from the Alliance of Jewish Progressives (AJP). In a letter detailing their objections, the fringe group asserts that – “Hotovely’s work causes irreparable damage to the prospects of a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” and claims Hotovely is a “racist”.

This of course, while providing no evidence what so ever to support these claims. Because there is none. They simply disagree with her opinions and in the best tradition of self proclaimed progressives, defame her by dubbing her a racist.

In response, CJL announced that it would “postpone” Hotovely’s planned speech until it could be “properly vetted by the group’s Israel Advisory Committee”.

A completely contemptible act of cowardice.

Properly vetted? What exactly needed to be vetted?  She is the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel for god’s sake.  The democratically elected representative of over six and a half million Jews, and they need to consult with an advisory committee?

The representative of a Jewish organization in the United States does not get to evaluate the legitimacy of an elected Israeli official. If you are incapable of standing up to a cockamamie group of self aggrandizing and delusional students, you are unfit to lead the war on the de-legitimization of Israel in the all important arena of American academia. Don’t be fooled – the excuse is Israel but the attack is on all of you as Jews. As it has always been.

As we revealed in the Hebrew edition of Mida magazine last week, Hillel received over $7 million from the government of Israel in order to strengthen Jewish identity among students in the US. Because Jewish students are feeling the brunt of the assault on the right of Jews to self determination. This is a fundamental right allotted all other People in the world. This is what it is all about. It is an assault that is being conducted through the defamation and vilification of the State of Israel.

By the sheer consideration of these ludicrous accusations, Hillel have betrayed their responsibility.

We in Israel do not need to have our choices questioned and challenged by the mainstream of American Jewry. We do not need to explain or justify why 85 percent of the people here reject the failed “peace process”.

We were the ones who took “risks for peace”. We were the ones who suffered the consequences of attempting a peaceful solution to the conflict a quarter of a century ago, before these American students were even born.

Our decisions here are based on the experiences we have lived through. Over 1000 murderous terrorist attacks against our civilians in buses, cafe’s, wedding halls, restaurants and homes; and thousands of missiles raining down on us while witnessing the trauma experienced by our children have a way of dampening ones enthusiasm regarding additional concessions with an enemy who have never accepted our existence here.

We survived all of this and still maintain a vibrant multi-ethnic and functioning multi racial society, where all have equal rights, be it Jew or Arab.

Jewish students should be celebrating Israel, not condemning our elected government. The situation is too complex and too volatile for the purveyors of the simplistic “Jews haven’t done enough, Arabs are victims” solution be allowed to second guess us.

More than anything, this incident with Hillel reveals volumes as to why American Jewish students are being abused in campuses in the United States over the past few years.

It is because of your silence. Because you are cowed into thinking these things are OK. In the name of some ridiculous idea of “the Big Tent” and tolerance of hateful ideologies. A big tent that wasn’t big enough for an official representative who embodies the will of the Israeli people, it seems.

How does a representative of Hillel do something like this and still have her job? She is obviously ill equipped to handle the important task at hand. Why is there no expression of outrage by the Jewish leadership in the United States?

As long as American Jewish organizations allow the fringe element to make you question what you know is the truth; as long as you doubt the justification and the righteousness of our cause and the way Israel conducts itself morally – you will continue to be subjected to an assault on your rights as Jews by American academia. The world never awards cowardice.


[Find this article interesting? You can find more in depth articles on Israel and the Middle East @en.mida.org.il]


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