The rightwing Israel lobby feeds on American youth. Young idealists must be recruited into the enterprise before they think to question Israeli policies.
Columbia/Barnard Hillel is housed at the handsome, new Kraft Center on W. 115th Street in New York, which bears the name of Columbia grad Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots. There is always literature on a table in the front hall.
Lately, one stack of cards promotes student lobbying in Washington in June, by the Zionist Organization of America. One thing they’re lobbying for is "the right of the Jewish people to all of historical Israel." (Their emphasis, not mine.) That means the West Bank. They don’t believe there is an occupation.
Nearby is another stack of cards for a three-week Torah study at Bat Ayin in "the Judean Hills." Bat Ayin is a religious settlement near Gush Etzion in the Occupied Territories (They don’t believe in the occupation either; their website makes no mention of it, while warning about the "the dangers of assimilation").
These cards demonstrate the degree to which mainstream American Zionist ideology is happily intertwined with messianic ideas that ignore or destroy the humanity of Arabs. Jimmy Carter is to be condemned, but these intolerant fellow travelers? Never. Imagine the response the nice kids in that Hillel would have to Christian efforts to sway certain American policies–say, against abortion. Horrors. Yet they give space to fundamentalists who contribute to the violence in the Middle East as surely as so-called Islamofascism. Some day Jews will look back on these efforts with shame.