Tuesday, December 10, 2013

An Open Hillel!

On Sunday night, Swarthmore Hillel declared itself an Open Hillel!

Read their statement, posted online at New Voices and Jewschool! And here's their resolution:

Swarthmore Hillel is an Open Hillel 
Unanimously adopted by Swarthmore Hillel Student Board, December 8, 2013 
Whereas Hillel International prohibits partnering with, hosting, or housing anyone who (a) denies the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state with secure and recognized borders, (b) delegitimizes, demonizes, or applies a double standard to Israel, (c) supports boycott of, divestment from, or sanctions against the State of Israel; 
And whereas this policy has resulted in the barring of speakers from organizations such as Breaking the Silence and the Israeli Knesset from speaking at Hillels without censorship, and has resulted in Jewish Voice for Peace not being welcome under the Hillel umbrella; 
And whereas this policy runs counter to the values espoused by our namesake, Rabbi Hillel, who was famed for encouraging debate in contrast with Rabbi Shammai; 
And whereas Hillel, while purporting to support all Jewish Campus Life, presents a monolithic face pertaining to Zionism that does not accurately reflect the diverse opinions of young American Jews; 
And whereas Hillel’s statement that Israel is a core element of Jewish life and a gateway to Jewish identification for students does not allow space for others who perceive it as irrelevant to their Judaism; 
And whereas Hillel International’s Israel guidelines privilege only one perspective on Zionism, and make others unwelcome; 
And whereas the goals of fostering a diverse community and supporting all Jewish life on campus cannot be met when Hillel International’s guidelines are in place; 
Therefore be it resolved that Swarthmore Hillel declares itself to be an Open Hillel; an organization that supports Jewish life in all its forms; an organization that is a religious and cultural group whose purpose is not to advocate for one single political view, but rather to open up space that encourages dialogue within the diverse and pluralistic Jewish student body and the larger community at Swarthmore; an organization that will host and partner with any speaker at the discretion of the board, regardless of Hillel International’s Israel guidelines; and an organization that will always strive to be in keeping with the values of open debate and discourse espoused by Rabbi Hillel. 
Joshua Wolfsun
Swarthmore Hillel Communications Coordinator

Also, this has gotten some wonderful press coverage in The Beacon, the ForwardMondoweiss, Muzzlewatch, and JTA.

Finally, check out this back and forth - latest installment yesterday - between Peter Beinart and Shany More in the New York Review of Books, New Republic, Daily Beast that extensively discusses our Avraham Burg event. If only folks had read our press release, perhaps some of this confusion could have been cleared up?

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