The Hillel at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, a Quaker school, has changed its name in order to host a touring group of civil rights veterans. It was under a legal threat.
Civil rights veterans banned in the south! Shades of the 60s. You’d think that the threat came from some old white desegregationists.
Nope– Guilford College Hillel was threatened by Hillel International, which is based in Washington, D.C.
And why? Because the vets speak out for Palestinian human rights, thereby crossing Hillel’s red lines. Bull Connor would be proud!
The veterans spoke on campus Thursday night, I am informed, but not at the Hillel.
The new group is called Chavurah, and Guilford is just the latest. We have closely tracked the dissolution of Hillel’s on campuses around the country as the Jewish student groups seek to host the delegation of civil rights veterans and the parent organization Hillel International tells them they are not allowed to do so.
This press release is from the Open Hillel movement:
BREAKING: Legal threats from Hillel International over Passover force Guilford Hillel to change name to Guilford ChavurahOnce again, Hillel International has exerted legal pressure against a Hillel at a small liberal arts college. First, it was Swarthmore. Now, it is Guilford. Over Passover, Hillel International lawyers contacted Guilford and expressed that any violation of the Standards of Partnership would be grounds for legal action. In order to create a community where all Jewish students feel welcome, the Guilford Jewish community was forced to cut its ties with Hillel International by changing its name to Guilford Chavurah.This is yet another instance where Hillel International’s tactics of legal threats and intimidation have resulted in a Jewish campus community deciding to put Jewish values before the increasingly exclusionary Hillel name. Hillel needs to seriously reevaluate where its priorities lay if it wants to continue to serve as the foundation for Jewish life on campus. This last semester, they alienated hundreds of students at schools small and large across the country because of their insistence on putting a rigid version of Zionism before a pluralistic conception of Judaism.Open Hillel applauds the leaders of Guilford Chavurah for choosing to value the needs of its students. It is a sad time in Jewish American history when college students are sued for trying to create politically pluralistic communities. At the same time, we are encouraged by the vision and dedication of Guilford Chavurah, and look forward to its future as a vibrant center of Jewish life.