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Hillel

  • American Jews have the power to oppose Israel's gov't. Will they use it?

    Jewish American leaders are slowly beginning to understand just how vast the gap is between their values and those represented by the Israeli government. By Joshua Leifer Princeton University Hillel sparked controversy earlier this week after announcing it would indefinitely postpone a scheduled speech by Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely. The decision came after protests by students from the Alliance of Jewish Progressives and other groups, who claimed that Hillel had scheduled Hotovely’s speech without bringing it before the Israel Advisory Committee, an internal committee that vets Israel-related events and enforces Hillel’s “Israel Policy.” [tmwinpost] As the students highlighted in…

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  • Hillel must put Jewish diversity and social justice above Israel allegiance

    Just as Israel has banned BDS supporters from entering the country and demonizes those who show dissent, Hillel has sent a message to Jewish students that it only recognizes a certain type of Jew, and sees the rest of us as disposable. By Ally Fernandez I am exactly the kind of Jew whom Naftali Bennett thinks should not exist. I am a proud, Puerto Rican, feminist, Jewish woman of color who stands in solidarity with Palestine and supports the call for BDS. I am the product of an interfaith and interracial marriage, a strong Ashkenazi mama and an amazing Boricua…

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  • Ari Shavit's non-apology

    Haaretz columnist Ari Shavit apologizes for sexually assaulting an American journalist. Well, kind of. Eight days after American journalist Danielle Berrin published allegations of sexual assault against an Israeli journalist who she refused to name, Haaretz columnist and author Ari Shavit identified himself on Thursday and issued an apology "from the bottom of his heart for this misunderstanding." Those eight days were filled with speculation that the "dark eyed" and "black haired" author of a highly popular book in the American Jewish community was in fact Shavit. In the Israeli media, there was far more talk about uncovering his identity than about…

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  • 23 young Jews arrested in anti-occupation protests across U.S.

    Hundreds hold 'Liberation Seders' outside (and inside) major Jewish American institutions in five major cities, demanding that the Jewish community take a stand against Israel's occupation. 'The history of Jewish oppression is not an excuse to oppress Palestinians, but rather an imperative to fight for freedom for all people,' one arrestee tells +972. BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA — Twenty-three American Jews were arrested over the past week in a series of anti-occupation demonstrations across the United States. The protests, which took place in major American cities ahead of the weekend's Passover holiday, brought out over 500 members of the Jewish anti-occupation collective,…

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  • A new era of anti-occupation Judaism

    American Jews have long overwhelmingly supported an end to the occupation, but increasingly, we are building an organized critical mass who are also willing to push our institutions and politicians in the same direction. IfNotNow takes its Passover message of liberation to Hillel and AIPAC. By Leanne Gale We gathered early in the morning, before the work day began. By the time I arrived at our meeting place, there were leaders milling about in neon vests to assist with logistics. There were megaphones. There were posters. I remarked to a friend, “This feels like trip day at my Jewish summer…

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  • The American Jews prying open the conversation on the occupation

    The Jewish American establishment has been trying to dictate the confines of the conversation on Israel and Palestine on college campuses in the United States. One group of young Jews is trying to ensure their voices are being heard, despite the red lines being drawn around them, by leveraging communal pursestrings. By Tom Pessah On November 8, dozens of young American Jews traveled to Washington D.C. to participate in a groundbreaking protest outside the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America, where they protested the lack of support for young Jews who want to broaden the conversation around…

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  • J Street, turn your focus homeward

    Notes from the J Street conference.  Since Netanyahu's resounding election win last week, there's been a deluge of coverage in the American media of a deepening disillusionment among U.S. Jews over Israel. Whether in the New York Times, the Associated Press, or Bloomberg, the thesis is more or less what you'd expect: Netanyahu rode to victory on a wave of racism, a rejection of peace with the Palestinians, and unprecedented disrespect for his number one patron, Barack Obama. These tactics fly in the face of a largely liberal community comprised of reliably Democratic voters. That rift was represented this weekend in Washington, where…

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  • Just how open should Hillel be?

    It is sad, though not surprising, that some want to open Hillel just enough to let their own excluded group in. 'Just let J Street U in,' they say to the gatekeepers. By Jeremiah Haber Several years ago, when Richard Joel was the president of Hillel International, the goal of Hillel was formulated as “maximizing the number of Jews doing things Jewish with other Jews.” It was the notion of “doing things Jewish” that I liked, because that could be interpreted in many ways, religiously, socially, politically, recreationally, etc. Of course, playing basketball is not just a Jewish activity, and…

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  • ‘Open Hillel’ seeks to redefine U.S. Jewish debate on Israel-Palestine

    A student-led movement is seeking to 'open' a prominent U.S. Jewish campus group to a broader range of voices, and it's gaining ground. This weekend, Open Hillel will seek to model an inclusive Jewish community that embraces marginalized voices.  By Naomi Dann “What’s wrong with conflict?” A professor once challenged me, a student of peace and justice studies and non-confrontational by nature. “Points of tension and moments of debate are productive, we learn from them.” This weekend, a student movement known as Open Hillel will host a historic conference that promises vibrant debate and plenty of conflict over the relationship…

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  • First do no harm, J Street

    With nothing left to offer except hollow pep talks about the peace process, the liberal lobby is fighting BDS – together with the pro-Netanyahu, pro-occupation American Zionist right. Next stop: the Presbyterian Church USA's General Assembly. What is J Street doing? Why is it acting in concert with right-wing Zionist organizations like AIPAC and StandWithUs in fighting against boycott, sanctions and divestment, while offering no alternative of its own for ending the occupation? Because the truth is that J Street offers no alternative anymore; now that the Kerry talks have failed, and all the secretary of state has to show…

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  • BDS's Jewish roots: A lesson for Hillel

    In all other contexts, the Jewish people have demonstrated that we understand boycotts, divestments, and sanctions to be effective, non-violent tools for political change. So why do we deem them violent and illegitimate when it comes to Israel? By Alice Mishkin My introduction to divestment as a tool for activism came in 2005. I was a staff member at the Save Darfur Coalition (SDC) from 2005-2006, during the peak of the movement. With the help of our board members who represented organizations like the Jewish Council on Public Affairs, the Religious Action Center, American Jewish World Service, the United States…

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  • How a Jewish Agency fellow becomes a one-state activist

    When Gila Hashkes arrived at UC Berkeley as a Jewish Agency Israel Fellow, she felt like she was jumping into the heart of pro-Palestinian activism. Her job was to organize Jewish students on campus, strengthen their connection to Israel and give them tools to justify its policies. But after a year-long journey of digging deeper into the conflict, being pushed by both her Jewish and Palestinian peers and glimpsing the ‘mentality of fear’ that grips the American Jewish community, she had an awakening of sorts, moved back to Jerusalem and now works for equal rights for all. Tom Pessah sits…

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