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‘Safe Hillel’ Exposed: Undermining open dialogue in the Jewish community

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Safe Hillel graphic (Source: Facebook)

Safe Hillel graphic (Source: Facebook)

Boston University has recently become the headquarters for a new reactionary movement called “Safe Hillel,” which seeks to push back against the growing Open Hillel movement. Their stated goal is to “ensure that Hillel remains a safe place for Jews of all backgrounds to practice Judaism and a safe place for those that support Israel.” With this goal, they try to justify their support for the corporate censorship of Jewish students. They argue that Hillel’s Israel guidelines, which limit the spectrum of free speech and the exchange of ideas at Hillel, are there to protect students who support Israel and Zionism. In this context, the term “protect” means to save students from the burden of having their support for Israel questioned or challenged by other students in the Jewish community. In doing so, Hillel becomes an exclusive community that many young Jews do not feel comfortable joining because they are discouraged from expressing their views or feel out of place with the overt Zionist atmosphere at Hillel.

Competing ideas and open dialogue will make some students uncomfortable, Safe Hillel claims. This argument merits careful thought. Certainly, it is true that some students will feel uncomfortable with groups like Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) or even J Street being allowed to have a presence in the Hillel community; however, that does not justify having an unfree community that censors students and discourages them from participating in Jewish life on campus. This discomfort emerges from the knowledge that the monopoly of ideas will end with an Open Hillel. The rigidly pro-Israel ideology supported by Safe Hillel and Hillel International will no longer go unchallenged in the Jewish community; thus, the pro-Israel establishment will lose its power at American universities and colleges. This is the last thing they want to happen since their power and influence takes precedence over freedom of ideas.

The argument that students may feel uncomfortable in an Open Hillel should be exposed for what it really is: a pretext for corporate censorship and totalitarian culture. At its core, Safe Hillel is hypocritical and deceptive. They claim that any anti-Zionist ideas will make Hillel less safe for Zionists, but they do not seem to care about the dangerous effects that exclusivity and intolerance have had on the Jewish community. Many liberal Jews are lambasted as “self-hating” or “anti-Israel.” It is also common for them to be harassed by others in the Jewish community. One of these incidents was caught on film in June 2010 when members of the staunchly pro-Israel group StandWithUs harassed and threatened protesters from JVP (see above). They were bullied and called “Pigs for Palestine.” Many received threats such as, “We’re going to find out where you live… we will disrupt your social life.” It is not hard to see why many Jews feel uncomfortable at Hillel when pro-Israel groups like StandWithUs are accepted at Hillel, while they are not. Ideas will not make Hillel more dangerous; however, institutionalized censorship and intolerance do.

In justifying their desire for power over the exchange of ideas at Hillel, Safe Hillel supporters lament that, “College campuses have become anti-Israel lately and are not providing a safe place for Israel supporters to be welcomed.” It follows that Hillel is supposed to provide that safe place for them to take refuge. In reality, people will be criticized for their ideas, regardless of whether they are about Israel or another topic. It is most unfortunate that criticism is not always done in a constructive and respectful way; however, creating a closed environment in the Jewish community that is hostile to anti-Zionism will certainly exacerbate that issue. Furthermore, pro-Israel events are welcome on campus. For example, the BU Israel Business Club had an event at our School of Management last semester. BU Students for Israel also hosted activities around campus for Israel Unity Week. The idea that they are not welcome is farcical.

Open Hillel strives to create an inclusive community at Hillel that allows for the free exchange of ideas. Safe Hillel will have to explain why they feel it is acceptable to ostracize Jewish students who do not agree with their dogma about Israel and create a hostile atmosphere that is intolerant of open dialogue. The movement is truly hypocritical in calling itself “Safe Hillel” while promoting an unwelcoming and intolerant environment that discourages many Jewish students from participating in Jewish life on campus.

HBicerano
About Holly Bicerano

Holly Bicerano is a member of the Open Hillel Steering Committee and Jewish Voice for Peace.

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39 Responses

  1. Ecru
    Ecru
    February 26, 2014, 1:09 pm

    “Competing ideas and open dialogue will make some students uncomfortable…”

    Then what the hell are they doing at University?

    • Krauss
      Krauss
      February 26, 2014, 6:06 pm

      Well, to be fair, there are plenty of similar things going on at the left, only that we typically rationalize it by suffusing our discussions about it with words like power and subjugation, giving the closing of our minds an intellectual phony gloss.

      That being said, the “Safe Hillel” movement should be seen as the coming of a split.

      This is not bad. We need this kind of debate. But the left can outdo the right in political internecine warfare any day of the week, that can be applied within a structure like Hillel, too.

  2. The JillyBeans
    The JillyBeans
    February 26, 2014, 1:28 pm

    The idea of “Safe Hillel” is insane and totalitarian. This reminds me of the conditions that my friends from Arab states and Iran live under when traveling overseas. They can get into trouble for saying anything anti- or consorting with groups of people considered enemies of their countries.

    How can one call itself “the only democratic country in the middle east” and then expect political fealty of people who aren’t even it’s citizens?

  3. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    February 26, 2014, 1:32 pm

    So, “Safe Hillel” regards praising Israel as an element of practicing Judaism (or at lest as not antagonistic to it) but regards dissing Israel (or, I’ll bet, dissing the settlements or occupation or mentioning the Nakba as a fault of Zionism) as NOT part of “practicing Judaism”.

    Well, well, lots of fun to be in the driver’s seat when the defining is to be done.

    And, yes, I well understand that Zionists formerly comfortably ensconced within Hillels will feel attacked within Hillels if [1] forced to listen to anti-Zionist talk, or forced to sit next to people who at other times spout anti-Zionist talk — but who’s forcing them to listen or sit next to? Or even to attend Hillel if they don’t want to? Democracy is a messy thing.

    All reminds me of the real-estate device of block-busting. Here, comfortable Zionists (there comfortable White property owners) are faced with the disagreeable influx of nasty others (here, anti-Zionists, there black neighbors).

  4. JeffB
    JeffB
    February 26, 2014, 2:22 pm

    I think there are really two questions.

    1) Can you still be a part of the Jewish community and be anti-Zionist?
    2) What should be Hillel’s rules be regarding anti-Zionist speakers?

    I don’t think they are the same question and I think the article conflates them. Let’s pick an unrelated example:

    In the 1970s the Jewish community took a very hard line against Messianic Judaism, that they weren’t going to recognize it as a form of Judaism at all. I personally am of the opinion that its a good compromise faith for intermarried couples which practically resolves a lot of the problems in intermarriage. If I were dictator of the Jews, Messianic Judaism would be seen as the outer fringe but there would be a friendly cooperative relationship not a hostile one. But I’m not dictator of the Jews. The Jewish community has spoken clearly and repeatedly indicating that Messianic Judaism is to be treated as no different than any other form of Christianity and that the people in it are to be considered part of the Christian community that rejected Judaism. That is I think the community has decided that Messianic Judaism is beyond the pale, Messianic Jews are to be excommunicated (Herem).

    So given that stance, even though I disagree with that stance, I don’t think Hillel should allow Messianic Jews to be members of Hillel. Now in that context if a Messianic Jewish speaker is invited, then they are invited not as someone presenting a legitimate viewpoint but rather a view that needs to be better understood so that it can be fought against. Not my preferred position, but the position I hold given the community’s belief that Messianic Judaism is a heresy.

    So with that in mind the question is, is anti-Zionism a heresy worthy of excommunication? I think that drives everything else. If the answer is yes then ethnic Jews who have embraced anti-Zionism shouldn’t feel welcome at Jewish events, that’s the point of excommunication. If the answer is no, then a more nuanced discussion occurs about how to handle the problem. I think that B’nai B’rith is of the opinion that the answer to this question is yes, they should be excommunicated.

    A little bit of why is called for. I don’t think the issue is merely anti-Zionism or lack of support for Likud. J-Streeters just represent the Israeli left in America.; J-Street is clearly a Jewish organization and Hillel shouldn’t be banning them. That one is clear cut. Even for some BDSers I don’t have a problem with them as speakers. For example Ali Abunimah / Electronic Intifada has taken strong stands against anti-Semitism over the years and tried to drive it out of the Palestinian movement, “our fight is with Zionism not Judaism”. Also he’s not Jewish so he’s not threatening in the same way inviting a Messianic Jews as an outsider isn’t threatening. I don’t think there is any reason not to invite him as a speaker.

    Up until 1967 there were prominent American Jews in the American Council for Judaism that were anti-Zionist. No one talked about kicking them out of the Jewish community. I think Gush-Shalom supporters should be welcomed at Hillel. But when we go beyond that, it gets more complex. My feeling is if you are encouraging others to attack the Jewish community, and Israel is the core of the Jewish community, you aren’t a dissident you are a traitor. There is a difference between what Noam Chomsky did on Afghanistan and what John Walker Lindh did on Afghanistan. There is not much of a difference between Lindh and Anwar al-Awlaki. Noam Chomsky was having a debate among Americans about Afghan policy, John Walker Lindh and Anwar al-Awlaki were trying to help America lose the war. Once you are urging the UN to attack Israel you aren’t anymore having a debate within the Jewish community, you are simply siding with the enemy.

    The Jewish community should be open and welcome dissent. Jewish BDSers aren’t just dissidents. I have no problem with Obama dropping a missile on Anwar al-Awlaki, even though under ideal circumstances I don’t like the idea of the president assassinating Americans abroad. B’nai B’rith and Hillel’s #1 job is to work to advance the interests of the Jewish community, and that means fighting the enemy. I don’t see how Hillel can offer those people an equal voice and still be a Jewish community center.

    So in short while I think anti-Zionism is not beyond the pale I think BDS because it is siding against the Jews not just debating them, is.

    • goldmarx
      goldmarx
      February 26, 2014, 3:57 pm

      JeffB: Well, I am a Jewish Zionist who supports BDS. How is BDS siding against the Jews when it purged itself of anti-Semites like Gilad Atzmon?

      BDS is not even inherently anti-Zionist. It opposes State Zionism, not democratic Zionism. And, as far as I know, it is not even opposed to Israel having a nuclear arsenal.

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        February 26, 2014, 5:24 pm

        @goldmarx

        Well, I am a Jewish Zionist who supports BDS. .. It opposes State Zionism, not democratic Zionism.

        What does that even mean? Seriously I have no idea what you are talking about. What does democratic Zionism mean without a state.? The right to vote on what color golf balls to use at Zionist club meetings after Israel is destroyed? The way nations take collective action is through states. One way of governing a state is through democracy. A state is what makes democracy meaningful.

        The very first line in the Zionist declaration of 1897: Zionism aims at establishing for the Jewish people a publicly and legally assured home in Palestine.

        State vs. homeland was still up in the air but Israel is what Zionism is about. In 2014 Zionism is about the state of Israel. There is no “non state Zionism” anymore. Before a child is conceived you can decide whether now is a good year or not. Once they are conceived you can talk abortion and maybe pick a different child to raise. At 67 years old killing it is just a murder. What ever year should have gotten picked is irrelevant.

        How is BDS siding against the Jews when it purged itself of anti-Semites like Gilad Atzmon?

        Who cares about Gilad Atzmon? What’s he going to do, play some music and talk Jewish conspiracy theories? I give Ali Abunimah tons of credit for going after him. But that doesn’t address the problem for Jewish BDSers. They are expected to dislike people who hate them directly.

        Christian Zionists side with tons of anti-Semities, so what? There are 500k minutes in a year. If you were to lynch one Jew per minute, 24 hours a day, for a year that’s less than would likely die in an anti-Israeli war to free Palestine. Similarly if the Israeli economy collapsed, which BDSers are gleeful about since they support “non-violence” disease and starvation kick war’s butt in racking up a body count.

        Isolated anti-Semitism in even its most extreme form is annoying. State anti-Semitism like what happened in Venezuela is threatening. Losing Israel is an unmitigated catastrophe.

        I like Ali Abunimah. I’ve called Queen Rania a living saint. That still doesn’t make me a friend of Palestinians. Similarly enemies of the Jewish people collectively who don’t like one particular Jew hater (who happens to be Jewish) are still enemies of the Jewish people. Kicking Gilad Atzmon out of the lets destroy Israel club does not make BDS pro-Jewish.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        February 26, 2014, 11:02 pm

        “Before a child is conceived you can decide whether now is a good year or not. Once they are conceived you can talk abortion and maybe pick a different child to raise. At 67 years old killing it is just a murder.”

        This is a deceptive metaphor.

        The literal meaning of murder is that of deliberately inflicted literal death of an individual person. Literal death means that the person’s body stops functioning and becomes smelly and unfit for consideration. We don’t know what happens to that person’s stream of consciousness.

        But there is no stream of consciousness associated with Israel any more than there is a consciousness associated with the West Brisbane Cheesecake Photography Club. When the club is disbanded, there is no club stream of consciousness to be interrupted. There is no decomposing body.

        Similarly, if Israel were disbanded, no state stream of consciousness would be interrupted. No state body would decompose. This is not literal death. It would not be murder.

        We have very strong moral concerns about literal death.

        When literal death is not involved, “murder” is just a metaphor, but the use of that metaphor can improperly invoke the moral concerns we have about literal death. This can lead us astray in our moral thinking.

      • eljay
        eljay
        February 27, 2014, 8:06 am

        >> Before a child is conceived you can decide whether now is a good year or not. Once they are conceived you can talk abortion and maybe pick a different child to raise. At 67 years old killing it is just a murder.

        “Jewish State” is an immoral, supremacist 67-year-old which, when young, engaged in theft, oppression and murder (to name just a few crimes). For decades, it has continued to steal, oppress and kill. All the while, it has been encouraged by its supporters to do so.

        Society has given “Jewish State” opportunities to reform, but it has spat in society’s face. With impunity – and with the continuing encouragement of its supporters – it continues to steal, oppress and kill, insisting that it is its right to do so.

        Israel – the secular and democratic state of and for all of its Israeli citizens, refugees and ex-pats, equally – should continue to exist within its / Partition borders.

        “Jewish State” – the thieving, oppressive, murderous, colonialist and supremacist state – must die.

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        February 28, 2014, 12:58 am

        @RoHa

        Similarly, if Israel were disbanded, no state stream of consciousness would be interrupted. No state body would decompose. This is not literal death. It would not be murder….
        When literal death is not involved, “murder” is just a metaphor, but the use of that metaphor can improperly invoke the moral concerns we have about literal death. This can lead us astray in our moral thinking.

        I’m not sure I agree with you that nations states collectively are sentient and don’t have consciousness. Certainly nations engage in process that no individual person understands how to do. I’m not sure how your argument wouldn’t apply to an individual if one viewed it as a collection of cells.

        The ability to organize ourselves into large superstructures among non-related individuals is one of the key unique features of humans. If one argues that human societies are a figment I’m not sure how terms like “occupation” or even the very terms “Jewish” / “Palestinian” even make sense anymore. At an individual denationalized level there is no distinction between a Palestinian and an Israeli the same way there is no distinction between a Palestinian brain cell and a Israeli brain cell. It is only in the context of a movement that transcends the individual that these terms become meaningful.

        Even the most extreme libertarians don’t take the position you are arguing for here.

      • goldmarx
        goldmarx
        February 27, 2014, 10:10 am

        JeffB: “What does that even mean? Seriously I have no idea what you are talking about. What does democratic Zionism mean without a state.?”

        Who said anything about democratic Zionism being stateless?

        A.B. Yehoshua, an Israeli writer supportive of the Peace Now movement, was one of the founders of the Committee for a Democratic Zionism, which popularized the distinction. State Zionism privileges the Jewish citizens of Israel in all matters (not just the Law of Return). In contrast, Democratic Zionism encapsulates the principles espoused in Israel’s Declaration of Independence – Israel as the homeland of the Jewish People and the state of ALL its citizens.

        Nothing in the BDS principles contradicts Democratic Zionism. If anything, it can save Israel from itself.

        You have not shown that BDS is collectively an “enemy of the Jewish people” You start off assuming what you are trying to prove. Logic fail!

        “Who cares about Gilad Atzmon? What’s he going to do, play some music and talk Jewish conspiracy theories?” Well, if BDS did not kick him out, you’d use that fact against BDS. Now you’re trying to have it both ways.

        And one more thing – a certain Austrian lance corporal once did some paintings and talked Jewish conspiracy theories. Atzmon only looks harmless now.

        “That still doesn’t make me a friend of Palestinians.” Oh please, no one would ever mistake you for that. The question is, are you even a friend of the human race?

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        February 28, 2014, 11:16 am

        @goldmarx

        You have not shown that BDS is collectively an “enemy of the Jewish people” You start off assuming what you are trying to prove. Logic fail!

        You may want to look up logic fail. A logical fail is if the structure of the argument is wrong, not the facts.
        A; A -> B => B
        is modus ponens that’s about as unlogical fail as it can possibly get. I think what you meant was begging the question. But I wasn’t trying to prove BDS was working with the enemy I was addressing the distinction between dissent and what BDS was doing i.e. given that it was working with the enemy what should be the reaction. So no I’m not assuming what I was trying to prove, that wasn’t what I was trying to prove. A valid form of your criticism was that I had an unargued for premise.

        And you are right, I didn’t argue for that one at all in that post. It was assumed. That’s not a logic fail, that’s a point of discussion.

        A.B. Yehoshua, an Israeli writer supportive of the Peace Now movement, was one of the founders of the Committee for a Democratic Zionism, which popularized the distinction. State Zionism privileges the Jewish citizens of Israel in all matters (not just the Law of Return). In contrast, Democratic Zionism encapsulates the principles espoused in Israel’s Declaration of Independence – Israel as the homeland of the Jewish People and the state of ALL its citizens.

        Peace Now is fully part of the Jewish community. I may not agree with them, but they represent a lobbying group in Israel trying to convince Israelis and American Jews of their position. That’s a perfectly legitimate activity.

        Take settlements. Trying to convince Israelis to remove the settlements is internal politics. That’s fine. That’s working within the community. If they were working with say Syria or Hamas to expel settlers that’s not internal politics that’s external politics. That wouldn’t be a legitimate. BDS is effetely doing the 2nd thing not the first. It is the means not the views.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        March 1, 2014, 1:52 am

        “Certainly nations engage in process that no individual person understands how to do.”

        Even if this were true, it does not imply a stream of consciousness.

        “I’m not sure how your argument wouldn’t apply to an individual if one viewed it as a collection of cells.”

        A human body is a collection of cells. The whole body, when functioning normally, supports a single stream of consciousness. No-one knows how. (Neuroscientists and philosophers of mind* expend considerable effort in solving this problem. No success so far.)

        “If one argues that human societies are a figment”

        I’m not arguing that human societies are a figment. (Where do you get that idea from?)
        I’m arguing that human societies are not conscious beings in the way that individual human beings are conscious beings. A society does not have a single stream of consciousness. There is no “what it is like” to be a society. Thus, terms like “murder” and “suicide” cannot be literally applied to societies. Those terms can only be metaphors when applied to societies.

        *I’m one.

      • talknic
        talknic
        February 27, 2014, 1:06 pm

        @ JeffB ” Israel is what Zionism is about. In 2014 Zionism is about the state of Israel. There is no “non state Zionism” anymore.”

        Israel already exists and can continue to exist without Zionists or Zionism. Zionism now serves and thrives on justifying and promoting the continued illegal expansionist policies of the State of Israel at any cost, despite the most basic tenets of Judaism.

        “Before a child is conceived you can decide whether now is a good year or not. …”

        Good or bad year, you cannot bring about conception by force (rape is not conception)

        “… Once they are conceived you can talk abortion and maybe pick a different child to raise.”

        Having gone thru the process of deciding to conceive WTF would anyone talk abortion or pick another child to raise? Unfortunately the Zionist Movement had a much larger child in mind long before Israel was proclaimed as an “independent republic within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947”,

        ” At 67 years old killing it is just a murder”

        If despite all warnings a 67 year old willfully jumps into an abyss it isn’t murder. The Zionist movement threw Israel into the abyss at 00:01 May 15th 1948 by illegally continuing in non-Israeli territory to raze non-Jewish homes and villages, illegally dispossessing the inhabitants in order to bring about a Greater Israel.

        Jewish advocates of BDS offer tough love advice, as have hundreds of UNSC resolutions affording Israel the opportunity to adhere to the law. The Zionist Movement‘s Israel has ignored all the warnings, shunned all advice, continue to delegitimize itself

      • Donald
        Donald
        February 28, 2014, 5:09 pm

        “Similarly if the Israeli economy collapsed, which BDSers are gleeful about since they support “non-violence” disease and starvation kick war’s butt in racking up a body count.”

        If BDS actually caused the kind of harm that the blockade on Gaza has caused, or the sanctions on Iran, or the sanctions on Iraq, I’d oppose it. But I don’t have to-there’s not a chance in hell that Western “liberals” would do to Israel what they so casually support in the case of Muslims.

        It’s funny that you’d bring up a purely hypothetical example of Israeli suffering under brutal sanctions when in the real world Israel supporters generally support that sort of cruelty, if directed at Israel’s enemies.

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        February 28, 2014, 6:15 pm

        @Donald

        Just to quibble. The sanctions on Iran are nothing like the sanctions on Iraq or blockade of Gaza. While bad they aren’t life threatening.

        Now onto the main point. In Gaza the goal is a minor policy re-adjustement, dissuading retaliation. In Iraq the goal was a minor policy re-adjustment a coup against the Ba’ath party. The goal of BDS is to cause a large scale political realignment for them to reverse universally and deeply held views among a population through the use of massive economic pressure. This isn’t the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 10th, 100th, time the “starve them into submission” approach has been tried. We know what it takes. That’s well beyond Iraq or Gaza. It requires getting the population to the point that a lot have died and the majority have translucent skin.

        And of course this is theoretical. I don’t think BDS is going to be remotely successful at doing anything more than deeply hurting the feelings of college students. But I think it is worth talking about the goals when we evaluate the morality of BDS.

    • seafoid
      seafoid
      February 26, 2014, 4:41 pm

      “The Jewish community should be open and welcome dissent.”

      ROTFLMFAO

      Let them be identified so you can beat the crap out of them. Anyone who disagrees is self hating and gets their head kicked in .

    • irishmoses
      irishmoses
      February 27, 2014, 11:50 am

      Per JeffB, “The Jewish community should be open and welcome dissent”.

      Apparently you are unwilling to allow Jewish dissent about your proposition that being Jewish is being a Zionist, and ergo, being anti-Zionist is being against the Jews.

      That proposition would seem worthy of debate in an open and dissent-welcoming community, but apparently not for you. After all, anti-Zionists are traitors, are siders-with-the-enemy.

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        February 28, 2014, 1:19 am

        @irishmoses

        Apparently you are unwilling to allow Jewish dissent about your proposition that being Jewish is being a Zionist, and ergo, being anti-Zionist is being against the Jews.

        No I’m not. In fact in that very post above I said precisely the opposite and cited two examples of groups there were anti-Zionist while stilling being part of the Jewish community. Let me give 2 sentences from that post, “Up until 1967 there were prominent American Jews in the American Council for Judaism that were anti-Zionist. No one talked about kicking them out of the Jewish community. ”

        I’m not sure how you can read those 2 sentences and make the claim you did about what I wrote. The line I drew was not being anti-Zionist but actively working with enemies of the Jewish people for the harm of the Jewish people.

  5. February 26, 2014, 2:30 pm

    This kind of censorship and intimidation crap has no place in the USA, never mind a city like Boston. My hometown. This is disgusting. I am going to the locals the benefit of the doubt and assume this is coming from the large number of New Yorkers who attend BU

  6. Shmuel
    Shmuel
    February 26, 2014, 2:39 pm

    Keep Hillel safe for Jews of all backgrounds to practice Judaism and a safe place for those that support Israel

    I believe in ethical Judaism. How would I be free to practise Judaism in a setting where the most serious ethical challenge facing Jews today cannot be addressed, for fear of making those who share the Hillel leadership’s political views feel “unsafe”? Isn’t feeling “safe” the antithesis of ethical inquiry and action?

    • seafoid
      seafoid
      February 26, 2014, 4:40 pm

      +1

      Practising Judaism and loving Israel are like following a healthy diet and gorging on cheeseburgers similtaneously.

      • eljay
        eljay
        February 26, 2014, 6:08 pm

        >> Practising Judaism and loving Israel are like following a healthy diet and gorging on cheeseburgers similtaneously.

        “Would you like fries with your Zio-supremacism?”
        “Yes, and I also want my supremacist ‘Jewish State’ super-sized.”

        :-)

      • piotr
        piotr
        February 27, 2014, 10:50 am

        My plan is to write a self-help book “How to binge drink responsibly and other practical advices”.

        Of course, a chapter on ethical ZIonism should be included.

  7. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    February 26, 2014, 4:18 pm

    Great piece Holly. Thank you. No separation between faith and state of Israel at Hillel. And that is the way it sounds like it has been for a long time. But times they are a changin.

  8. Sycamores
    Sycamores
    February 26, 2014, 6:19 pm

    on safe hillel facebook page a question is posed

    What kind of changes to the way Hillel is currently operating does Safe Hillel propose?

    the answer was something like you will have to wait for our new website for that.

    the truth is there is no difference, it’s hillel putting lipstick on a pig.

    i’m sure some students feel like they need a safe place to practice their foolishness but i reckon it’s more Hillel that’s looking for a ‘safe’ place to operate.

  9. Rusty Pipes
    Rusty Pipes
    February 26, 2014, 7:38 pm

    Keep our Jewish children’s tender minds safe from the perils of critical thought! It’s bad enough that they have been forced to attend a private university affiliated with the United Methodist Church (which even has a Methodist School of Theology) — a denomination that supports the boycott of Settlement products. But they can’t even be safe from discussion of BDS among other Jews if Hillel allows groups like JStreet or JVP to hold meetings there.

  10. eGuard
    eGuard
    February 26, 2014, 8:13 pm

    A quick and effective solution for Hillel is to get rid of internet. Take it away from these kids!

    In the long term, Hillel should prevent Jewish children learning how to read and write.

  11. ToivoS
    ToivoS
    February 26, 2014, 9:45 pm

    I like the idea of a Safe Hillel. There many people of any religion who find vigorous political debate discomforting and they should be able to organize themselves into retreats. I suspect, that one of the appeals for cults and fundamentalists sects is that it provides people like this with political and social comfort. Now if they could simply gather all of the fanatical Zionists into isolated enclaves so they can talk to each and leave the rest of us alone what’s wrong with that?

  12. irishmoses
    irishmoses
    February 27, 2014, 11:35 am

    Ah, wonderful, another conversation about BDS and its horrible effect on Israel, on Zionism, on the Jews. BDS is about ending the Jewish State as we know it. It’s about preventing Jewish self determination. It’s the new form of antisemitism.

    What is always missing in these conversations is Palestine, the Palestinians, Palestinian self-determination, the sacking, pillaging, and seizure of hundreds of Palestinian villages, the forcible expulsion of 80-90 percent of the Arab population from their lands and homes, the theft of all their personal property, the not-so-occasional killings and massacres aimed at encouraging swift flight. And that’s just 1948. What’s also always missing in these conversations is the Settlements, the Settlers, the Jews-only West Bank and East Jerusalem towns and cities accessed by Jews-only roads and highways. Need I go on?

    Please, BDS is about the plight of the Palestinian people. It is not about the Jews.

    But, you know that. In reality, the reason the BDS conversation is always about the Jews is that making that the subject prevents the conversation from focusing on that most embarrassing of topics, the half-century oppression of the Palestinian people by the Israeli-Jewish people.

    It’s Hasbara Central’s new campaign: Make BDS all about the Jews. Never, ever mention Palestine, Palestinians, Settlements, Settlers. Remember, BDS is always and only about the Jews. Got it?

    • JeffB
      JeffB
      February 28, 2014, 11:31 am

      @irishmoses

      BDS in America is a debate within liberalism. Jews are very politically active and liberal so:
      2% of eligible voters
      4% of voters
      10% of liberals
      20-35% of liberal activists and donors.

      Jewish liberals are Zionist. The 1st barrier for BDS being a mainstream liberal position is Jewish opposition. Heck yeah it is about Jews. If BDS becomes the mainstream liberal position (which I doubt) and then the mainstream Democratic position it will all be about Christian Zionism as it tries to advance towards a unified American position. And then we’ll have discussions about how without Jews in control of Jerusalem various biblical prophecies can’t come to pass. So in some sense it will still be about Jews, though they will be subjects and not actors just like the Palestinians are now. If Jews even tried to argue would be in the weird position of arguing against a political position they hate by arguing for a religious beliefs they find tortured and thus not very convincing to either side.

      • irishmoses
        irishmoses
        February 28, 2014, 2:35 pm

        Your response makes clear that BDS to you is only about the Jews.

        Are the Palestinians invisible to you or merely so inferior in your mind that you can’t see why anyone would advocate on their behalf?

        Do you deny any legitimacy to Palestinian claims with regard to:

        1. The crimes perpetrated on them by the Israeli army during the 1948 war?

        2. The presence of about 10 percent of Israel’s Jewish population in illegal Jewish-only “settlements” in the West Bank and East Jerusalem?

        3. Their rights to self-determination and a state of their own?

        4. The right of return or fair compensation to the millions of refugees from Israel’s various ethnic cleansings, including the two major ones in 1948 and 1967?

        5. Their ongoing oppression by the Israeli occupying army since 1967?

        Finally, do you really believe that BDS proponents main motivation is anti-Israel, or anti-Jew, and not aimed at finally finding some semblance of justice for the Palestinian people?

        If you are tempted to respond, kindly address some of non-Jewish issues and terms like: Palestine, Palestinian, the Palestinian right to self-determination, refugee rights, settlements, settlers, land and home confiscation, those things, please.

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        February 28, 2014, 5:55 pm

        @irishmoses

        I have no trouble seeing why people Arab people would advocate for Palestinians. I have some trouble with seeing why westerners do since there are far better causes. The completely unhinged rhetoric regarding Israel I think is anti-Semetic and has nothing to do with the Palestinians.

        Finally, do you really believe that BDS proponents main motivation is anti-Israel, or anti-Jew, and not aimed at finally finding some semblance of justice for the Palestinian people?

        I think their reason for focusing on Israel as opposed to one of the other hundreds of tribal conflicts at root either the Christian obsession with Jews as a result of the origins of Christianity or the Jewish obsession with navel gazing and the two play into one another. I think that Israel should rightfully be classified with a few dozen countries where the dominant tribe is being mean to the another tribe.

        Are the Palestinians invisible to you

        They aren’t invisible to me. But they are mostly visible to me because they are the protagonists against Israel not as an independent entity. If I were going to pick an independent entity in the Middle East I’d care about it would be the Copts not the Palestinians. Nobody forces me focus on the Copts. Egyptian news by ethnic groups aren’t in the daily paper. And certainly there aren’t pro-Copt demonstrations designed to offend me personally.

        I knew Palestinians in LA and they were decent people. I honestly think they would make excellent citizens of Israel if they were willing. But they aren’t. As Patton put it, “I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.” Its not about whether I like the Palestinians or not, or care about, or can feel for them. Given the way they are playing Israel has to make them lose.

        Most of your list I’ve addressed in other posts.

        a) There is a lot of assumptions about “crime” and “illegal” which equivocate the UN as a legitimate world government. I don’t think it is a legitimate world government, I believe in democracy and I certainly never voted for that world government.

        b) There is a lot about “rights”. Rights come from a governing entity. Between two governing entities there are no rights.

        c) If you are asking me if I understand why the Palestinians hate the Israelis. Sure absolutely. If I were on the other side of this I could easily see myself donating to Hamas or Islamic Jihad. It completely sucks for the Palestinians that their nation may go extinct because a bunch of Western European quacks were able to recruit a group of Eastern European extremists to their cause and got the ball the rolling.

        It sucked for the dinosaurs when an astroid hit the earth and finished them off too. So what? New Jersey is today governed by the descendent of rats and not lizards because of that immoral asteroid. I’m not going to give the planet back to the lizards.

  13. irishmoses
    irishmoses
    February 28, 2014, 2:06 pm

    I’m not sure how you can read those 2 sentences and make the claim you did about what I wrote. The line I drew was not being anti-Zionist but actively working with enemies of the Jewish people for the harm of the Jewish people.

    You, JeffB, are the one bandying about the terms “traitor”, “siding with the enemy”, not to mention “heretic”, “heresy”, and “excommunication”. Since you chose to define your argument with such colorful and pejorative terms, the onus and responsibility lies on your shoulders to make crystal clear what one must do as a anti-Zionist and/or Jewish BDSer to qualify as a heretic, traitor, or sider-with the enemy. You have not done so.

    You make one laughably weak attempt in your response, that it is perfectly OK to be an anti-Zionist so long as your membership in that apparently despicable club predates 1967. You then go on to say that anyone who encourages “…others to attack the Jewish community, and Israel is the core of the Jewish community…” is not a mere dissident but a traitor. That is a very ill-defined broad brush for which you offer only examples from the Afghan war. WTF does John Walker Lindh have to do with the Jewish community, Israel, anti-Zionism, or BDS? Nothing!

    Nothing is that paragraph mentions BDS. It is all about anti-Zionism, including a final shot: those who urge “…the UN to attack Israel…” are “…simply siding with the enemy.” Again, no mention of BDS.

    In the next paragraph you then tell us how open and welcome to dissent the Jewish community should be, but that Jewish BDSers aren’t mere dissenters because they don’t “…advance the interests of the Jewish community…” which means “…fighting the enemy”. You offer another enlightening example, Obama dropping missiles on Anwar al-Awlaki. WTF does that have to do with the Jewish community, Israel, anti-Zionism or BDS? Nothing!

    Your final sentence further muddies the waters, “…that anti-Zionism is not beyond the pale…”, but that BDS is “…because it is siding against the Jews…”

    JeffB, you need to either apologize for your outrageous use of the terms “traitor”, “sider with the enemy”, and “heretic” or else provide us with a detailed definition and direct examples of how exactly an anti-Zionist or BDSer, Jewish or non, becomes or qualifies for the label “traitor”, “sider with the enemy”, and/or “heretic”. And, please, no more “examples” from Afghanistan or Iraq. You have plenty of material to work with within the confines of the Jewish community, Israel, anti-Zionism, and BDS advocates.

    Your bold but very ambiguous accusations harken back to the Joseph McCarthy anti-communist witch hunts in my country. Senator McCarthy never defined his terms but destroyed many a career with his accusations.

    Hopefully, JeffB, you will have the courage to either apologize for your outrageous accusations or provide the detailed explanations, definitions, and pertinent examples that might change your comments from merely scurrilous to perhaps borderline acceptable.

    • puppies
      puppies
      February 28, 2014, 4:05 pm

      irishmoses – I don’t see anything to apologize for in what that… homo sapiens wrote. At least, he is one of the very few among the hasbaratchiks here who is retarded enough to write in so many words what the general Zionist program and policy are. Also, he may be retarded but he’s not stupid; his ideas are clear and clearly presented. Why should he apologize? He knows he is fighting (by proxy, duh) an ongoing war of aggression started in 11/1947, aiming without concessions at emptying all of Palestine of its owners. Defeat him and, if useful and possible, arrest and try him. What “apologies”?

    • JeffB
      JeffB
      February 28, 2014, 4:42 pm

      @irish —

      I think I’ve been clear:
      Conducting a debate within the Jewish community about what should be the policy of the Jewish community is perfectly OK. Including advocating for anti-Zionist positions.

      Working with organizations external to the Jewish community that aim to harm the Jewish community so as to force an outcome to that debate is not perfectly OK.

      Chomsky advocated for the United States not to be involved in the Afghan war. That’s perfectly OK. Lindh fought with the Taliban and that’s why he went to jail.

      • irishmoses
        irishmoses
        February 28, 2014, 5:48 pm

        So you are gutless. You make outrageous accusations that you don’t have the courage to support. e.g. You again repeat an “example” that is totally off point and unrelated to the topic at hand.

        Why don’t you have the courage to give us specific examples from the BDS, anti-Zionist, anti-Israel debate that demonstrate their treason, their siding with the enemy, their heresy? You won’t because you can’t or are too embarrassed to make the attempt. Like I said, gutless.

        Why don’t you have the courage to provide specifics on how and in what circumstances one becomes a traitor or sider with the enemy if one is a proponent of BDS or is believed to be either anti-Zionist or anti-Israel? You won’t because you can’t or are too embarrassed to make the attempt. Again, gutless.

        You are intelligent, articulate and great at throwing out names like “traitor”, “aider of the enemy”, and “heretic”, but you are perplexingly unwilling to provide us with sufficient information for us to know who these people are that you are so worried about.

        Let me simplify this for you. Just answer the following questions:

        1. Is anyone that advocates BDS as a means of causing Israel to cease its occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people a traitor, aider of the enemy, or heretic.? If so, why? Give us some specific examples of BDS advocates who do qualify.

        2. Or, is it just Jews, or Israeli Jews that support BDS that are traitors, etc. If so, why? Give us some specific examples of Jewish BDS advocates who do qualify.

        3. Is a non-Jew who supports BDS ipso fact “the enemy”? If so, tell us why? Give us some specific examples of non-Jewish BDS advocates who do qualify as “the enemy”.

        4. Is an American Jew who supports BDS a traitor to his own country? If so, which country is that: Israel, the US, or both?

        5. Can an anti-Zionist qualify as a traitor, etc. If so, tell us what they would have to do to qualify, and give us some specific examples of anti-Zionists who do qualify as traitors, etc.

        Five simple questions, JeffB. Answer these in a detailed manner, with examples, and I no longer will be able to call you gutless. Wrong maybe, but not gutless.

      • JeffB
        JeffB
        March 1, 2014, 4:51 am

        @Irishmoses

        Sure I’ll answer those questions

        1) Any non-converted Jew yes. Your typical European Green party anti-colonoliast is not a traitor they don’t owe the Jewish state any loyalty. In terms of examples:

        Ilan Pappé who has been encouraging European governments to sanction Israel.

        Eitan Isaacson whose Israeli has protested against Israeli policies abroad.

        I think Rebecca Vilkomerson really does have the best interests of the Jewish people at heart but has crossed the line into unethical means which have caused her to go beyond what’s acceptable. For example I think attempting to prevent Netanyahu, the elected leader of the Jewish people, from speaking is simply crossing the line. I didn’t like George W Bush as president but he was still my president and had the right to address America. I have problems with their speech suppression for Daniel Pipes, Nonie Darwish… but the Netanyahu case is the most clear cut. As another example I think joining in rallies with “itbah al yahud” (slaughter the Jews) slogans crosses the line because it legitimizes the idea that Israel induces anti-Semitism something the Jewish community has fought hard against for several generations since Stalin’s government first propagated this theory.

        2) Answered in #1

        3) I don’t think supporting BDS quite rises to the level of an enemy. They could be what’s called in warfare a hostile neutral, that is someone who is not directly an enemy but is using the war to achieve ends contrary to your goals. So for example most BDS supporters, support BDS from anti-colonialists anti-Imperialist positions. Those aren’t enemies though they are obviously hostile. Once they become focused on Israel, then they switch from being just hostile to Israel to an outright enemy of Israel.

        4) No an American Jew’s country is America. An American Jewish BDSer is attacking his religion not his country. An American Jew who explicit converts away from Judaism doesn’t owe Israel any loyalty at all. Though interestingly, the most supportive group towards Zionism appears to be Christians or 1/2 Christians of Jewish background.

        5) For an anti-Zionist to qualify as a traitor they would need to work outside the Jewish community for Israel’s detriment. So for example JVPers who don’t support BDS are generally not traitors while being anti-Zionists. Any of the 3 components of BDS: encouraging boycotts, encouraging divestment, encouraging sanctions would qualify as working for Israel’s detriment. In #1 I gave examples of people.

      • irishmoses
        irishmoses
        March 1, 2014, 10:57 am

        JeffB,

        Thanks for the response. I apologize for my intemperate tone. I have encountered too many on this site that when challenged in detail simply don’t respond and then move on to other threads. Their unwillingness to engage on the issues and comments they’ve raised is frustrating. I thought you were one of that crowd.

        I appreciate that you are willing to engage. I won’t be able to reply until later today.

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