web analytics
November 1, 2014 / 8 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Open Hillel at Vassar Because ‘Israel Haters Are People Too’

The Open HIllel campuses refuse to bar speakers who demonize Israel, who advocate legal or economic warfare against the Jewish State, or who believe Israel shouldn't exist as a Jewish State.
Vassar College

Vassar College
Photo Credit: Facebook

As went Swarthmore College, so goes Vassar, two tiny liberal arts colleges located in lower Northeastern portion of the United States. Both are incredibly expensive, competitive and uber-liberal. As of Tuesday, Feb. 18, the Vassar Jewish Union became an Open Hillel.

It should not have come as a big surprise to anyone that Judaism and the Jewish State are not at the top of the list of priorities for the Jewish Union at Vassar College, which is located in Poughkeepsie, New York.

The self-description for the VJU Twitter account and on its Facebook page states that it is “an open and welcoming space for all religious backgrounds and interests to come together!”

So why the need to specifically distance itself from Hillel, given it had already chosen not to use the name?

Like the Swarthmore “Jewish” group on campus, the Vassar Jews felt the need to shout from the rooftops, or at least on their website and twitter feeds, that “identification with Israel is not necessarily an integral part of every individual’s Jewish identity, and that Hillel International has certain standards for partnership which the VJU find unacceptable.”

What can’t the VJU abide? Prohibiting speakers who: “(1) deny the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state with secure and recognized borders; 2) Delegitimize, demonize, or apply a double standard to Israel; 3) Support boycott of, divestment from, or sanctions against the State of Israel; and 4) Exhibit a pattern of disruptive behavior towards campus events or guest speakers or foster an atmosphere of incivility.”

So VJU refuses to bar the door to those who believe the Jewish State should be annihilated, or who insist Israel should be held to a standard that differs from the one to which any other country is held, or who support economic and or legal warfare against the Jewish State.

In response to the prohibitions in Hillel International’s standards, VJU repeatedly states in its press release announcing its conversion to an “Open Hillel,” that it is non-partisan, will not advocate any particular political opinions, and “will welcome open discourse concerning Israel, Palestine, and any other relevant and critical issues, and will not exclude on the basis of political opinion.”

What will happen when someone from the Zionist Organization of America asks to speak at the Vassar Jewish Union? Or someone from a Tea Party group?  Or a Catholic ardent anti-abortion rights advocate? After all, VJU is supposed to be an “open and welcoming space for all religious backgrounds and interests to come together.”

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

4 Responses to “Open Hillel at Vassar Because ‘Israel Haters Are People Too’”

  1. Unfortunately their parents agree. If don't they should stop paying tuition. Let them scream from the rooftops then.

  2. Lex Rofes says:

    Heh. Definitely think you meant "warfare" and not "welfare" in the sub-header.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I will remember this, the next time I am solicited for a contribution to Hillel.

  4. "What will happen when someone from the Zionist Organization of America asks to speak at the Vassar Jewish Union?" To ask that question is to answer it.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Yehudah Glick on the Temple Mount.
Yehuda Glick’s Condition Stabilizing, “He Was Very Lucky” (1:00 PM)
Latest News Stories
Raining in Jerusalem

Starting the 7th of Cheshvan in the Jewish calendar, Jews in Israel will start inserting the formal request for rain in the 9th blessing of the Amidah prayer.

Yehudah Glick on the Temple Mount.

Doctors are predicting minimal long-term disability to Yehudah Glick following surgery today.

Ikea Instruction

Sweden and John Kerry would make wonderful partners to get lost in the same maze.

Little Heroes

Pictured is an IDF ceremony for graduates of the “Little Heroes” foundation, which works to integrate kids with special needs in society, on October 30, 2014. The annual ceremony is in cooperation with the Logistics Corps in order to strengthen the connection between the IDF and the special needs community.

“It’s serious, there are now genuine questions being asked about whether we will be able to vote Labor next May.”

Does that mean Kerry also will stay away?

He is not in a coma and may undergo another operation today.

Israel’s anti-Netanyahu media might regret their wishes if early elections are held.

Authorities in Peru this week arrested a suspected Hezbollah terrorist who planned to murder Jews. Lebanese citizen Mohammed Hamden was in possession of explosives and other materials when he was arrested, according to the Peruvian Interior Ministry. Police found traces of TNT, detonators and other explosive devices in his apartment. Reports indicate that the suspect […]

Israel decides not to go ahead with huge military purchase from U.S., likely to provoke rumors of continuing feud.

Highlight: Exclusive Interview with Rabbi Yehuda Glick at the Foot of the Temple Mount.

Doctors reported as of 8 p.m. (2 p.m. EDT) Thursday night that there is a “very small” improvement in the condition of Yehuda Glick, gunned down by an Arab terrorists Wednesday night, but that he still is in critical condition and his life remains in danger.

Foreign Minister Lieberman may be playing “chicken.” What happens if France follows Sweden?

Conference of Jewish groups chided the Obama administration for the nasty comments made about Bibi.

More Articles from Lori Lowenthal Marcus
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) meets with Israel's Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon in Halifax, Canada on November 22, 2013.

Israel decides not to go ahead with huge military purchase from U.S., likely to provoke rumors of continuing feud.

Chairman Robert Sugarman and Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Feb. 17, 2014

Conference of Jewish groups chided the Obama administration for the nasty comments made about Bibi.

Female tourist injured when struck by rocks thrown by Arabs at the Kotel.

Alleged shooter of Yehuda Glick worked in the Begin Center restaurant.

Disability rights foundation calls on US to denounce using name of a disability as a derogatory term.

Jerusalem police report a shooting outside of the Begin Heritage Center. Man down in serious condition.

U.S. officials should not have called Bibi ‘chicken****,’ administration official said, all other insults OK.

Nobel Prize Winner Malala donates $50K to rebuild Gazan UNRWA schools.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/open-hillel-at-vassar-because-israel-haters-are-people-too/2014/02/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: