Swarthmore Hillel attendance spikes because of decision to invite anti-Zionists

Israel/Palestine
on 32 Comments
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This is amazing. The Forward did what a newspaper is supposed to do and sent a reporter to Swarthmore to find out what’s going on there, and surprise, the Swarthmore Hillel board’s decision to adopt guidelines that would include anti-Zionist speakers has fostered a spike in attendance at the chapter. Hody Nemes reports that young Jews are not afraid of ideas!

“Hillel is attracting significant new Jewish membership as a result of this resolution,” said [Hanna] Kipnis-King…

“Swarthmore has a definite and distinct community of very, very progressive Jews,” [Jacob] Adenbaum said. “A lot of these people weren’t interested in being part of Hillel because of the fact that they didn’t feel their political views were welcome.”

The board’s decision has succeeded in pulling many of these left-wing students back toward Hillel. “We’ve had students who lean more toward the left who are coming out of the woodwork” since the decision, [Josh] Wolfsun said.

I keep telling Hillel to invite Max Blumenthal and Susan Abulhawa, but the Forward says that Hillel won’t be inviting anyone for a few weeks at least:

A delegation of Swarthmore students met with Hillel of Greater Philadelphia on December 16 to discuss the controversy, Adenbaum said. He was tight-lipped about the meeting’s outcome. “They seem to be really interested in dialogue,” he said. “I’m hopeful about the future.”

At the moment, Swarthmore Hillel has no concrete plans to invite anti-Israel speakers in violation of Hillel International’s guidelines. But that could change in the coming semester.

Meanwhile, insisting on the right of young Jews to be stupid, Tablet magazine runs a piece by Matti Friedman saying that Swarthmore Hillel should not be allowed to invite speakers who don’t support the Jewish state:

Does the principle of freedom of speech require Jewish people to host debate about the destruction of the world’s largest Jewish community?

He urges the censorship of anti-Zionism because it’s, well, genocidal. This is crazy:

“Anti-Zionism” is not a theoretical position, and Zionism is not a morality play. Israel is a real country full of real people, most of whom have nowhere else to go. Anti-Zionism in 2013 is the belief that this country should not exist – that it should, in some way, be made not to exist. It means that more than 6 million Jews who have found a refuge and a home here will have that home taken away, that a century of Hebrew culture will end, and that the entire Jewish people will go back to living by the whims of Muslim and Christian majorities.

Friedman concludes, “Hillel Houses exist to provide a safe intellectual space for young Jews on campus.”

I have no idea what that means– a space for ignorance?

32 Responses

  1. OlegR
    December 24, 2013, 11:45 am

    Philip you are an Anti Zionist on moral and practical grounds as far as i can understand so i would like you to answer me honestly a
    question similar to one you like to ask young Israelis (you know the one).

    Do you believe that the State of Israel can be transformed without bloodshed into that egalitarian eutopia the BDS types like Frank Barat talk about.
    Will you be willing to bet your life on it , your wife’s life , perhaps one of your close friends ?
    Because you sure as hell seem to willing to bet my and my families and my friends lives on it.

    • Annie Robbins
      December 24, 2013, 11:54 am

      Do you believe that the State of Israel can be transformed without bloodshed

      i’m not sure it’s possible to interact with zionism/zionists without bloodshed. bloodshed surrounds them and sustains them. that’s a tough question. but everything is possible. let’s hope so.

      • OlegR
        December 24, 2013, 11:59 am

        Ok so great generalisation and demonisation and dehumanistion of Zionists myself included Annie.
        And i guess that you obviously are willing to bet with our lives.
        And given that you expect bloodshed would not be willing to put yours or your family on the line on one side but you do want to achieve the best of ideals that BDS proclaims to pursue.Thats fine.

        But i really would like an answer from Philip Weiss.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 24, 2013, 12:13 pm

        comeon oleg, why are you holding a separate standard for those who wish to see equal rights and human rights in palestine than to yourself. do you think ben gurion ever considered forming the state of israel “without bloodshed”. since when did “without bloodshed” become your limitus test?

        i guess that you obviously are willing to bet with our lives.

        isn’t that just a little bit hypocritical for you to say since zionism had no compunction about risking lives of palestinians when forming their state. i’m not ‘betting’, you asked the question. you support a heavily militarized state that’s very existence has always been dependent on the oppression of others by use of force and bloodshed and you have the nerve to accuse me of betting with your life?

        And given that you expect bloodshed would not be willing to put yours or your family on the line

        if it came to take over my neighborhood? this seems like a strange insertion into a conversation about BDS, a non violent way of applying sustained pressure on israel.

      • Shingo
        December 24, 2013, 6:36 pm

        What Oleg wants to hear Annie, is assurance that the Palestinians won’t treat the Jews as badly as they treated the Palestinians.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 24, 2013, 12:20 pm

        great generalisation and demonisation and dehumanistion of Zionists myself included Annie.

        fine, please give me 5 examples of zionisms physical growth and expansion without the use of force and bloodshed. zionism is wedded with bloodshed. sad but true. avi shavit is a great recent example. sort of a ‘tough luck’ kinda guy, we just had to do it and it was worth it!

        so don’t pull out this ‘without bloodshed’ as if zionism’s hands are not already drenched in blood.

      • American
        December 24, 2013, 12:25 pm

        ‘And i guess that you obviously are willing to bet with our lives’…OlegR>>>>

        You are betting your own lives.
        It is not anyone’s ‘ responsibility’ to save you from yourselves or protect you while you are wreaking destruction on others.
        Because you’ve been told for 65 years to stop what you are doing and you keep on doing it.

      • SQ Debris
        December 24, 2013, 4:22 pm

        Oleg seems perfectly willing to bet the lives of us Americans as well. As long as our government sustains Israeli war crimes any one of us could, justly or unjustly, be held to account. The question of “not having anywhere else to go” is a flimsy straw man. Many people in Alabama didn’t own homes in non-Jim Crow states. Somehow they managed to survive the acquisition of the vote by African Americans. The idea that living as equals is some sort of suicide for zionists resonates with the petulance of a tantruming two year.

      • Hostage
        December 24, 2013, 8:43 pm

        Do you believe that the State of Israel can be transformed without bloodshed

        The motto of the earliest Zionist paramilitary group in Palestine was “In blood and fire Judea fell, in blood and fire Judea will rise.” You are the ones running around daring everyone to knock the chip off your shoulder, and then expect sane people to pretend a Jewish State is just the remedy that will allow you to one day become normal as Herzl predicted. It’s been nearly 107 years since Bar Goria was founded and you’re still a long way from normal. There hasn’t been a year that went by yet, without Israel shedding innocent blood.

      • JeffB
        December 24, 2013, 9:15 pm

        @Hostage

        There hasn’t been a year that went by yet, without Israel shedding innocent blood.

        When is the last year the USA didn’t shed “innocent blood”? Or Russia? Or China? Or England?

      • Pamela Olson
        December 24, 2013, 12:15 pm

        Boom.

        I would add: Oleg, you seem very willing not just to bet on the lives of the wives and daughters and friends of Palestinians, but to actively destroy their freedom and economy and steal their land and resources until kingdom come, setting them out ever-shifting goalposts that your government makes sure they can never reach while besieging and bombing their civilians, assassinating and imprisoning their leaders, and squashing non-violent resistance.

        Do YOU believe Israel can be compelled to end its systematic oppression of Palestinians without bloodshed?

        I certainly hope so. And I certainly hope you support BDS — a non-violent resistance alternative that seems to be gaining traction fast.

        Or do you expect Palestinians to just roll over and accept whatever mutated statelet and whatever non-free status Israel chooses to confer on them? Forever?

    • Philip Weiss
      December 24, 2013, 12:21 pm

      I think bloodshed is inevitable in I/P because there is an intractable problem that governments have done nothing to resolve, ala the slavery crisis in the US that produced the Civil War.
      This is why I am for BDS, a nonviolent means of transforming your society by pressuring Zionists to understand how far they have wandered into a territory of human rights crimes.
      I believe that people who are subject to a government’s rule have the right to consent or not to that government. You should extend voting rights to all Palestinians now; that would be your best guarantee of little bloodshed.

      • Ron Edwards
        December 24, 2013, 12:58 pm

        Phil, this is in hopes that this is a welcome footnote: And to remove the loyalty oath of “Jewish state” from the requirements for political parties to join in coalitions. I think voting by itself is not enough when this marginalizing factor is in play.

      • OlegR
        December 24, 2013, 4:40 pm

        / You should extend voting rights to all Palestinians now; that would be your best guarantee of little bloodshed./

        Ok so you do accept that BDS if successful will lead to bloodshed
        and you are willing to accept that price (though you won’t pay it) but when young Israeli kid tells you that he will risk his life for our country you say that for that risk is unacceptable to you.
        So in the end it all boils down to ideals.
        For some ideals you are willing to accept bloodshed and for other you are not.
        Of course in both cases that has no direct risk to you or any one you hold dear which is convenient.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 24, 2013, 4:58 pm

        Ok so you do accept that BDS if successful will lead to bloodshed

        you’re so transparent oleg. you’re all about dragging out some admission that can be then used to smear your ideological opponent. not satisfied with arguing the issue on it’s merits (human rights, boring, who wants to defend being against those and that’s inevitably what a question like “Do you believe that the State of Israel can be transformed ” leads to ) you plunge into the ‘bloodshed’ lingo and then seek to drive it home.

        yada yada. tell us about your willingness to accept palestinian bloodshed, the primary blood zionism was built on. for every teaspoon of jewish blood that built israel, there are gallons of palestinian blood that’s flowed. let’s talk about your willingness, since you like talking about blood so much. the talk of bloodshed is distasteful. so let’s talk about yours willingness for palestinian bloodshed first since you brought it up.

        palestine, the future demilitarized state next door to the zionist behemoth loaded down w/nukes.

      • talknic
        December 24, 2013, 6:36 pm

        @OlegR “Ok so you do accept that BDS if successful will lead to bloodshed”

        Bottom line is that if Israel had adhered to its borders and the law from the outset, there’d be no UNSC resolutions against the Jewish state. However Israel has not adhered to the law or stayed within its borders, thereby endangering itself, its citizens and the lives of its neighbours with its preemptive wars to maintain supremacy and retain illegally acquired territory

        Now, 65 years later, with 65 years of lies and deceit and 65 years of illegal facts on the ground the Jewish state is no longer able to afford to even consider adhering to the law without being sent bankrupt paying rightful reparations and having a civil war on its hands in non-Israeli territory while attempting to relocate hundreds of thousands of disillusioned Israelis who do not want to become Palestinian citizens back to Israeli territory.

        All you and the rogue state have OlegR, is the precious US veto vote in the UNSC which only allows the stupid frog to stay in the pot it demanded to be in. Meanwhile the water temperature inevitably rises.

        The ONLY legal way out for Israel is, while it has the US UNSC veto vote, to plea bargain (negotiate) with the Palestinians who have the law in their favour.

        Thus far Israel has only ever offered to swap non-Israeli territory for non-Israeli territory in order to keep non-Israeli territory. I.e., it has offered NOTHING, while illegally taking more and more, increasing the water temperature in the pot

        Thus far the Palestinians, who are under no legal obligation to forgo any of their legal rights, have generously offered more than 50% of what remained of Palestine after Israel was declared. Answered by the vile little rogue state building more illegal settlements, killing more and more Palestinians and making more demands that have absolutely no legal basis.

        All states have an equal legal right to a defensive military. All states have an equal legal right to secure borders. All states have an equal legal right to control all their territory including their airspace and territorial waters.

        All states have and equal legal right to recognize or not who ever they wish as long as they have “respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force” ( something Israel threatened not to do as far back as 31st August 1949 link to wp.me )

        Serial abusers when given an answer, demand another, then another. Constantly moving the goal posts, constantly trying to shift the blame while maintaining a facade of feigned innocence.

        You OlegR and those like you, are responsible this ongoing mess and for the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of thousands of people including Israeli citizens.

      • Sumud
        December 24, 2013, 6:43 pm

        Ok so you do accept that BDS if successful will lead to bloodshed and you are willing to accept that price

        That’s horse shit.

        Boycott
        Divestment
        Sanctions

        …is a non-violent movement.

        You can threaten that Israel will respond violently if that pleases you but take some fucking responsibility for it and stop blaming other people.

        On that note the ongoing belligerent military occupation of Palestine is enforced daily by violence and force. Own it Oleg.

        Nothing to say about Swarthmore Hillel? Every day Israel gets more isolated.

      • Katie Miranda
        December 24, 2013, 7:33 pm

        OlegR: How very boerish.

      • American
        December 25, 2013, 12:45 pm

        ”but when young Israeli kid tells you that he will risk his life for our country you say that for that risk is unacceptable to you.””…Oleg

        No one said a Israeli risking his life for his country was unacceptable……plenty of young Germans risked their lives fighting for the wrong cause….. your choice, your mistake, your blood. Go ahead.

    • eljay
      December 24, 2013, 12:40 pm

      Fuck human rights, morality, equality, justice or just plain decency: OlegR wants (Greater) Israel to remain a nice, supremacist “Jewish State”.

      Ho ho ho!! :-P

    • talknic
      December 24, 2013, 4:33 pm

      OlegR “i would like you to answer me honestly “

      LOL Honesty to the likes of yourself is like holy water to Nosferatu

      “Do you believe that the State of Israel can be transformed without bloodshed into that egalitarian eutopia the BDS types like Frank Barat talk about.”

      Not while Israel refuses to adhere to the Law and UN Charter which have been adopted to prevent bloodshed

      ..you sure as hell seem to willing to bet my and my families and my friends lives on it.”

      The State of Israel is betting your and your family’s and friends’ and hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens’ lives in territory illegally acquired by war by Israel since 1948

      The Laws of War and GCs were adopted to protect all civilians including those of the Occupying Power from the ugly consequences of occupying another people. Successive Israeli governments have actively encouraged Israeli citizens to break the law for 65 years, thereby endangering them.

      What sort of government willfully endangers its citizens AND sells them land in illegally acquired territory outside the state?

      Rational people take heed of what they’re shown. The fact that you’re still in denial to what Israeli Governments have and continue to do after being shown the illegality of those actions according to the Law and UN Charter, indicates that you’re just another propagandist.

    • Citizen
      December 25, 2013, 5:13 am

      @ OlegR

      Gee, Oleg, so you think you live in a bunker while you’ve never lived in Gaza? Why don’t you go hide in a men’s room stall at your local Mall? You can hand a spare toilet roll out if a visitor comes when you think they are human.

  2. Annie Robbins
    December 24, 2013, 11:48 am

    Anti-Zionism in 2013 is the belief that this country should not exist – that it should, in some way, be made not to exist. It means that more than 6 million Jews who have found a refuge and a home here will have that home taken away, that a century of Hebrew culture will end

    doesn’t tablet have some responsibility to fact check. this is not the definition of anti zionism.

    • OlegR
      December 24, 2013, 11:49 am

      Really, what is the definition of Anti Zionism ?

      • Annie Robbins
        December 24, 2013, 12:04 pm

        opposition to ethnic nationalism, pro civic nationalism. equality for all citizens under the system of government. pro Nationhood defined by common citizenship (civic nationalism=israeli nationalism).

        anti citizenship defined by separate/unequal nationalities (see israel’s nationality law)within one system of government.

      • American
        December 24, 2013, 12:13 pm

        OlegR says:
        December 24, 2013 at 11:49 am
        Really, what is the definition of Anti Zionism ?>>>>>>>

        Anti zionism is being opposed to :
        # a ethnic/religious/ racial state that bases its existence and laws and society on the exceptionalism or ‘entitlement’ of Jews and discriminaiton against non Jews.
        # opposed to a state based on the’ continous theft’ of other people’s land and the on going collective punishment and slo mo genocide of said people.

        I am sure by the time the fat lady sings on Israel and zionism there will be some other definitions added.

      • MHughes976
        December 24, 2013, 2:40 pm

        What anti-Z implies about Israel depends in part on what we mean by ‘Israel’. If we mean a place with that name, or a place where the current citizens of Israel continue to live and continue to be enfranchised, then anti-Z does not, under any normal definition, imply that Israel should not exist. If you mean a polity which by its own existence prevents the existence of any properly constituted state in the relevant part of the world, then it should cease to exist – for the eventual good of all concerned, of course.
        Anti-Z does not of itself imply that there should be just one state or polity in Palestine but does suggest that there should be no arrangement which amounts to a system of protectorates or bantustans.

      • alfa
        December 24, 2013, 3:38 pm

        Oleg. First define Zionism, ignoring the razzle dazzle, just he bare bones. Zionism is a colonialist program, an immoral crime, simple armed robbery. Zionist move the natives out of their land, taking it by force of arms which they continue in the brutal manner the Palestinians and Lebanese are subjected to. Anti-zionism is Anti-Colonialism, from a humanistic position, it has nothing to do with religion, ethnicity nor mythology, Zionists are simply using Jews as human shield while they continue their brutal occupation.

      • Citizen
        December 25, 2013, 5:21 am

        @ OlegR
        Anti-Zionism is one example of the universal application of lesson learned, “Never Again” regardless of race, ethnicity, creed, or color.

  3. dbroncos
    December 24, 2013, 3:44 pm

    @ Oleg

    A transition to equity under the law, whether or not it’s a peaceful transition, is the best hope Palestinians and Jews have for a better, long term future. To equate this transition with the destruction of the Jewish State is false. It should be read as a profound and lasting improvement on the dead end, unjust status quo.

  4. talknic
    December 24, 2013, 6:51 pm

    Tablet magazine Matti Friedman “But their goal is to destroy the state of Israel, and they are generally willing to tell you that if you are listening.”

    A failure to quote those accused doesn’t make a very good argument

  5. bijou
    December 25, 2013, 4:05 am

    Anti Zionism does not mean the destruction of Israel as a state/polity. It means the destruction of the system of PRIVILEGE within that polity that grants one people all the rights and power and deprives another people living within its borders of same. A good starting point would be these simple and well-known words:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
    –American Declaration of Independence

    In the case of Israel, it is an even more grave injustice that needs to be remedied, insofar as Israel confers this privilege on people living all over the world who claim to be Jewish by religion and strips this privilege from those who happen not to be Jewish but were born and raised within its ambiguously defined borders.

    Therefore, anti-Zionism means the destruction of a form of government that is by definition profoundly and unequivocably unjust, and its replacement with one that restores justice to the land of historic Palestine.

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