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Posts Tagged ‘J Street U’

‘Breaking the Silence?’ I Was Silenced.

Friday, April 4th, 2014

On March 31, I attended a disturbing lecture at Washington University in St. Louis. It was co-sponsored by St. Louis Hillel at Washington University and J Street U. The speaker, a former Israeli soldier with the group “Breaking the Silence” (BtS), misrepresented and demonized the Israel Defense Forces, Israel, and Israeli policy. BtS is known for bringing in speakers like this, so I could not understand why Hillel and J Street U had sponsored a talk whose only purpose appeared to be to misinform audiences and instill hostility towards Israel.

As an Israeli reservist who had been stationed in the West Bank, I sat in disbelief as the speaker described attitudes and policies that were entirely divorced from reality.

The former soldier, Oded Na’aman, claimed that Israeli soldiers are trained to oppress the Palestinians individually and as a people, that they maliciously mistreat Palestinians in the West Bank, and that they are taught to make Palestinians fear Israeli soldiers. He argued that there are no civil rights for Palestinians and that the Jewish people who now have a state use their power to oppress Palestinians.

I had no idea what he was talking about or what motivated him to lie.

He did not describe the Israel or IDF that I know so intimately.

As a reservist and a soldier, I had been stationed in the West Bank. My job was to protect the Palestinians’ human rights, coordinate humanitarian aid, and tend to the needs of civilians living in the West Bank. I always felt that Israel’s concern for the welfare of the Palestinians was impressive, and I was proud to be part of it.

My experience taught me that even during wartime, Israel made it a priority to meet the needs of Palestinians even though they had made themselves enemies of the State of Israel by launching the second intifada.

I recall that during my service in Hebron, I had to adhere to international humanitarian law and ensure that the soldiers in the Judea Brigade were educated about the Geneva Convention and the rules of engagement—or face punishment. We sometimes went beyond these strict rules to help Palestinians. Once, when I served in my unit’s headquarters, we arranged a complex operation so that my unit, with the help of another unit, could save the life of a Palestinian boy living in Gaza whose mother had died. We did some investigating, and discovered that his uncle lived in Ramallah. In a special operation in the middle of the night, we moved the child to his uncle so that he would not be left alone in the streets of the Gaza Strip.

It was torture for me to sit there quietly and listen to the distortions of this former soldier who had served during the most violent period of the second intifada (2000-2003), when suicide bombers and snipers were wantonly murdering Israeli men, women, and children. But he never described the terrorism that forced the IDF to take measures to protect our families.

If he has complaints about the IDF, he should be an activist in Israel. Soldiers don’t always do the right thing or live up to the IDF code. They should be disciplined. Israel’s policies can be debated. But Israel is constantly examining itself critically, and debates in Israel are energetic and promote the full variety of views. Why, then, would he come to the U.S. to complain about his own army?

I think I know why. It’s because there are groups who are parading him around to tell half-truths and lies to defame Israel. When he was asked that very question during the question-and-answer period, he said, “I came here to tell Americans what their tax money is funding.” He said that attacking Israel with F16s is not the right answer, but that Israel needs to be pressured. I wondered what kind of twisted thinking would make a person who lives in a vibrant democracy, where he can campaign for his political positions, instead ask outside forces to pressure his country? What motivated him? Is he a post-nationalist who doesn’t want Israel to exist at all?

J Street, Marginalized in D.C., Leeching into the Hillels

Friday, January 24th, 2014

The controversial organization J Street had its first annual conference in 2009.  The organization initially snagged a large number of members of congress to speak at the conference, and an even larger number to merely allow their names to be used as “co-sponsors” of its Gala. But when word got out that despite its self-description as a “pro-Israel, pro-peace” organization, most pro-Israel folks – including the actual Israeli government – had quite the opposite view of the organization, many congressional members beat a hasty retreat.

J Street has had its public ups, and even more public downs, with Americans who believe themselves to be pro-Israel. There was the revelation that while J Street said the virulently anti-Israel George Soros was not a donor, in fact J Street’s tax records proved that not only he, but members of his family were bankrolling the organization. There was also the J Street claim that the vast majority of its donors were American Jews, when it was later revealed that there were quite a few non-Jewish donors, and actually the largest donor for at least one year was neither Jewish nor American.  The list goes on.

J Street has recently been reduced to publicly crowing not about how many members of congress were willing to speak at its conference, but instead how many were willing to take its money. Imagine that! your biggest achievement is that a politician was willing to take your money.

But as J Street was slowly eased out of its comfort zone in Washington, D.C., it proved itself to be very adaptable. It oozed out into the countryside, where it was harder to mobilize a critical mass of knowledgeable critics.  At least in part because of that diffusion, J Street found homes at the municipal level. The Big Tent approach of most mainstream Jewish Federations was a tremendous boon, even more so are the fecund, ultra-liberal, anti-authoritarian pastures known as university campuses.

While some Hillels were initially wary, others were welcoming.

One Hillel which initially responded to J Street’s approach very gingerly was the Hillel of Greater Philadelphia, a Hillel whose campuses include not only the University of Pennsylvania, but also Temple University, Drexel University, Bryn Mawr College, Haverford College and Swarthmore College, as well as some smaller schools.

J Street approached HGP and asked to have the roll-out of its local J Streets hosted at the University of Pennsylvania Hillel, on Feb. 4, 2010. The roll-out was going to be webcast to 20 other cities across the country. The HGP leadership, anticipating the objection of at least some board members, extracted a firm commitment from J Street Chief Jeremy Ben-Ami. That commitment was an element of an agreement to rent the space to J Street as part of a business transaction. It was affirmatively not an ideological vote of confidence.

Not to worry, said J Street to the local Hillel leadership: “We promise not to mention that we’re using your facility, and to make clear in our written and oral statements that Hillel does not endorse us.”  That condition was agreed upon—it was “not just a promise, it was an agreement”—according to Rabbi Howard Alpert, the executive director of all the Philadelphia area Hillels.  On the strength of that essential agreement, Hillel went ahead and rented J Street its space.

And then? Within seconds of beginning his welcome to the live audience in Philadelphia and to all those listening and watching through the livestreaming, J Street’s Ben-Ami said exactly what he’d promised not to say—that he was speaking “here at Penn Hillel.” He failed to say a word about what he’d promised solemnly to make clear: that Hillel does not endorse J Street or its message.

Pro-Israel: ‘Intellectual Peaceniks’ v. ‘Rejectionist Idiots’?

Friday, January 17th, 2014

The Open Hillel (OH) movement, which rejects National Hillel’s Israel guidelines, and J Street, which seeks to redefine what it means to be pro-Israel, are trying to assert control over Jewish discussions about Israel.

These two organizations insist on campuses and in the media that their position represents the objective truth – and the only morally acceptable position – on the Arab-Israeli conflict.  As a result, those who differ with them are labeled morally deficient and inferior.

Capitalizing on western society’s natural aversion to war and violence, these groups have succeeded in marketing themselves to the masses. They quickly label opposing groups and individuals as “warmongering” and “rejectionist.” Traditional Zionist thought is labeled with that hateful term, “conservative,” while those who hold it are portrayed as the opponents of peace. The marketing has been very successful.

According to its website, J Street is “the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans.” It also claims as its mission being “pro-human rights, pro-justice and pro-Palestinian,” and to seek having an “open and honest discussion about Israel.” OH’s mission statement proclaims itself as “a student-run campaign to encourage inclusivity and open discourse at campus Hillels.” Given these groups’ stated devotion to diversity and openness, one would assume that everything would be up for debate, including what it means to support peace in the Middle East.

But rather than allow for different conceptions of what it means to be “pro-Israel” or “pro-Palestinian” or “pro-human rights,” members of these two groups claim an inviolable monopoly over these terms. They refuse to allow debate on what it means to advocate for solutions in the Arab-Israeli conflict. The same people fighting for inclusion in the Hillel “pro-Israel tent,” are simultaneously delegitimizing and peremptorily rejecting those with alternative perspectives.

In an article by the President of J Street U’s National Student Board, “Hillel And Its Donors Repress Real Conversation About Israel” Jacob Plitman writes,“as some conservative donors demand a tighter conversation and enforce their political values, we risk losing that generation of young progressive Jews who won’t settle for tired hasbara and an Israel right-or-wrong approach.” J Street U Communications Co-Chair Benjy Cannon followed suit in Haaretz, where he opined that “Hillel’s tactic is no better than that of the ASA: It serves to exclude the very voices it should engage.”

The hypocrisy in their cry for “openness” is breath-taking, given J Street’s relentless insistence that only its beliefs are kosher.

J Street’s bullying is on display in an article by Plitman and Rachel Cohen in The Daily Beast. They write: “pro-Israel advocates cannot support the two-state solution in name only; we must all work to provide support for the Kerry initiative as a whole and for each of the difficult concessions necessary to reach an agreement. True backing means mobilizing support for peace talks based on pre-1967 borders with agreed-upon land swaps and robust security guarantees.”

Talking about conflict resolution in such absolute terms endangers the very democracy they demand. They believe and assert that “true backing” can only be achieved by endorsing J Street’s policy positions. According to Plitman and Cohen, if you do not back peace talks based on pre-1967 borders, you are not a true supporter of Israel. Rather than present their opinions as just that, opinions, they present their perspective as infallible, absolute truth.

Hussein Ibish is a Senior Fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine and a frequent J Street U guest speaker. Eugene Kontorovich, a constitutional and international law scholar, is avowedly both pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian.

In a recent article in Commentary, Kontorovich explained the fallacy of labeling Israel’s treatment of Palestinian Arabs as undemocratic. In response, Ibish tweeted that “even by the standards of the Comintern (‪@Commentary) pro-occupation cult, this is certifiably insane & barking mad.” In place of an intellectual response to Kontorovich’s article, Ibish dismissed and labeled Kontorovich, and everyone at Commentary, as insane and “cultish.”

On January 8th, Ibish tweeted:“Anyone, Arab, Jewish or otherwise, opposed to a two-state solution is a fanatic and part of the problem. This is clear.” Ibish – a J Street U favored speaker is unabashed: if you do not see the resolution of the conflict on his terms you are a fanatic and an obstacle to peace. Such narrow-mindedness sets up a single rigid dichotomy: “intellectual peaceniks” on one side and “bloodthirsty idiots” on the other.

On January 7th, Alan Elsner, Vice President of Communications for J Street, penned an article attacking Israeli Knesset member Naftali Bennett. Elsner characterized Bennett as only offering, “many spurious arguments, among them that the demographic clock is working in Israel’s favor and that whenever there are peace negotiations terrorism increases.“

“This is the nature of the opposition to peace. We can’t say we haven’t been warned,” Elsner concluded. Rather than attempting to explain why he thinks Bennett’s statements are wrong, Elsner jumps to an intellectually dishonest conclusion that fits perfectly into J Street’s marketing message: Bennett opposes J Street’s position, ergo, Bennett is an opponent of peace.

For Elsner, for J Street, for Open Hillel, to oppose the imposition of its favored peace plan on Israel by the United States (which is not a party), makes even a democratically elected member of the Israeli government an opponent of peace.

As it stands now, It is impossible to have a productive discussion about who is really pro-Israel with J Street and its ilk because when others disagree they are labeled as insane and barking mad (Ibish), opponents of peace (Elsner), or conservative and exclusive (Plitman).

With their monopoly on morality, the last thing that these groups can claim is to encourage dialogue and discussion. Their policies are not a subset of the “open conversation” but rather the precursor. Rather than having a solution as a result of discussion, the “agreed upon conclusion” is established before anyone begins talking. J Street U Brandeis’ mission statement epitomizes the greater demand that specific policy trumps actual, open conversation: “Our mission is twofold: (1) Primarily, we are working to achieve a two-state solution through creating an informed and invested student body that will influence Congress to push for American diplomatic leadership on this issue. (2) Simultaneously, we are working to engage the American Jewish community in an honest and open conversation about Israel.”

Editor Deleted Post of J Street U Students’ Misconduct

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Last week The Jewish Press ran an op-ed,  “J Street Activists Defame Former Israeli Spokesperson.” It was written by a Brandeis junior, Daniel Mael.

That op-ed was an edited version of one which had briefly appeared as a blog post, but had been pulled by a Times of Israel editor. It was removed post-publication, even though the editor had read and approved the blog post before it was published. The reason it was removed, according to the editor, is that the subjects of the post complained that information in the article could hurt their chances for employment. Since when is that a justification for censorship?

Here’s the full background.

Mael wrote the op-ed in order to provide a fuller context, and to correct misrepresentations in an op-ed penned by two other Brandeis students about an event that took place on their campus this fall. Mael was present for the entire event. The op-ed to which Mael was responding was printed in the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent (the two authors are from the Philadelphia region) and various J Street publications and sites.

J STREET U ARTICLE HEAVY ON VIEWPOINT VICTIMHOOD

As Mael explained, the J Street U students described negative feedback they received as being solely based on the “Brandeis pro-Israel tent” rejecting their critical view of Israel.  It set up the authors as the brave defenders of the minority viewpoint, struggling to have their voice heard amongst a crowd of adamantly, single-viewpoint supporters of Israel.

In fact, as Mael pointed out, one of the op-ed’s authors, who is the current president of Brandeis J Street U, was indeed heavily criticized by many other Brandeis students.  But the criticism was not of his political views, it was of his hostile and disruptive verbal attacks on the event’s speaker, former spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces, Capt. Barak Raz.

Following the Raz talk, but before penning the op-ed, Eli Philip wrote on his Facebook page that Raz had lied to the Brandeis audience when he said there were “no checkpoints in the West Bank.”

As Raz himself pointed out in the comments that followed, Philip would have understood what Raz was saying had Philip been present during the first hour of Raz’s talk.  It was during that time that the former IDF spokesperson set up the context for his statement, and provided the technical definitions of terms he used – including checkpoint – throughout his talk.

Philip walked in an hour late to Raz’s talk – he had first attended that night’s J Street event, a speaker from Breaking the Silence.

Because he was so late, Philip missed the explanations Raz gave. Having missed those explanations, what Philip heard Raz say seemed entirely inconsistent with what Philip believed to be true.  That is why Philip challenged Raz, in a manner that even Philip acknowledged in his op-ed was intemperate.

Mael provides the context, and linked to the Facebook exchange in which Philip wrote that Raz lied to the Brandeis audience.  That entire portion of Philip’s Facebook wall has since been deleted.  But before writing the op-ed, Philip knew that Raz had provided official definitions of the terms he was going to employ in his talk before Philip entered the room. So even if Philip actually believed Raz lied when he posted that statement on his own Facebook wall, by the time he penned and submitted his op-ed, he knew he was omitting a relevant fact.

THE CENSORED BLOG POST

Now back to the Times of Israel disappearing act.

Frustrated by what he believed were distortions of reality in the Exponent op-ed, Mael wrote up his description of the event and of Philips’s behavior and its aftermath, and posted it as a blog on the Times of Israel. His op-ed went live following the pre-publication editorial review for bloggers. People began reading his version of events.

But in less than 24 hours, Mael’s Times of Israel blog post was deleted from the site, with no explanation.  It just disappeared.

Mael and other students who wanted to read his explanation of what happened at the Raz talk were perplexed by the blog disappearance. Several people wrote to the Times of Israel editor to ask what happened, including staff for pro-Israel organizations.

The reason the Times of Israel editor gave for pulling Mael’s op-ed was that the J Street U students who were the “subjects of its criticism made a convincing case that it could cause them economic hardship in terms of future employment.”

Wow.

It’s okay for the students to disrupt a speaker brought to campus, it’s fine to publicly call a former IDF spokesperson a liar on social media, and it’s just dandy to pen and have published an op-ed that paints yourself as someone victimized because of unpopular political opinions (which are actually the mainstream political opinions on American campuses, so where’s the glory in that?) while omitting critical inculpatory details.

But when someone who disagrees with your version of reality, who was an eyewitness to the event, calls you on showing up an hour into a speaker’s talk and being disruptive, rude and even slandering the speaker, you turn tail and whine about possible harm to future employment?

RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE CONSEQUENCES OF ONE’S ACTIONS

There is a lesson for students to learn from this experience, lessons that are applicable to their lives as students and beyond.  First, students need to understand that the safe university bubble only extends as far as the university.  Once you venture out into the public – the first step here was calling Capt. Barak Raz a liar in a Facebook posting, the second was publishing an op-ed in a non-university publication – you might actually be held responsible for the consequences of your actions.

Perhaps the Times of Israel editor thought she was doing the Brandeis students a favor by pulling a post that named and shamed them. But everyone, even college students, need to stand up for their convictions. If the fallout threatens their livelihood and they fold when that happens, perhaps their convictions weren’t that strong in the first place.

Here’s a catchy shorthand version of the lesson: “if you can’t do the time, don’t commit the crime.”

J Street Activists Defame Former IDF Spokesperson

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

After seeing an op-ed headlined, “The Pro-Israel Tent ‘Doesn’t Matter If It Can’t Hold Disagreement,” written by my Brandeis classmates Eli Philip and Catie Stewart which appeared in a Philadelphia Jewish paper and several J Street online sources, I feel compelled to provide much needed additional information and context, so that readers can determine for themselves what is the matter, if anything, with our – and others – pro-Israel tent.

In their article, Philip and Stewart describe an incident that occurred at a pro-Israel event on campus earlier in the semester, during which Captain Barak Raz, a former spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces, spoke.

In their op-ed, the two J Street U leaders state that Raz said there were no checkpoints in the West Bank, and that a J Street U leader asked Raz about a particular checkpoint, “motivated by deep frustration, the question was not asked calmly.”

What was not included in that op-ed is that the J Street U leader asking the question was Eli Philip, and that Philip and his J Street U colleagues were not just “not calm,” they were repeatedly disruptive and rude.  But even more importantly, at least as a matter of honesty, is that Philip arrived more than an hour after Raz’s talk began.  He missed entirely the groundwork of information already laid by Raz, which was the prelude to the statement Philip found so offensive.

But, actually, it’s worse than that. Because after Philip and his colleagues were so disruptive during Raz’s talk that there were calls for him to resign his student leadership position for having embarrassed the Brandeis community, Philip took to Facebook to announce what he called Captain Raz’s “lies” to the Brandeis community.

He wrote: Last night, at A Conversation with IDF Spokesperson Barak Raz, Barak Raz told over forty students, including former and current IDF soldiers, that ‘There are no checkpoints in the West Bank.’ For the IDF Spokesperson‘s knowledge, and for those in attendance who were lied to, here is the list of the checkpoints within the West Bank today,” which was accompanied by a link that did not work.

A conversation ensued, which included a response from Captain Raz himself:

Eli – I regret that you chose to ignore something critical. That you walked in, over an hour late, and aside from the disruptive chatter, missed the points that were made. Of the 44 checkpoints that divided the West Bank and prevented free traffic between Palestinian cities that once existed, essentially none are left (Hebron is a different story). What you have are ten positions, which remain, although their purpose and raison-d’être is completely different and they operate according to a different concept. They are better likened to forward positions that can look for a vehicle when AND IF there is related intelligence. Should you desire to continue this conversation, it’s probably best done in a way that reflects a little more integrity. I’m surprised that while you came to learn and listen, you refused to do that. Not that you need to be convinced, but the behavior you displayed was quite sub-par. I hope that with future speakers, you arrive in the beginning, so that everything that’s said on the end, isn’t out of context.”

When Philip was asked to apologize for his rudeness to a visitor brought to campus by several student groups, he refused. In fact, he said that Raz should apologize to him.

Contrary to Philip and Stewart’s suggestion that, “Some students targeted J Street U, pressuring us to keep our disagreements with the rest of the community private and to refrain from having conversations that challenge opposing viewpoints,” this was not the case at all.

What Philip and Stewart continually overlook is the fact that the outrage had nothing to do with J Street U Brandeis’s opinions. For some reason, the constant refrain when Philip and his colleagues are criticized for their conduct, they retreat into a victimized viewpoint crouch.

Most people in 21st Century America know that the unpopular position on campuses is not the one that is harshly critical of Israel, it is the one that is overtly pro-Israel.  There are far more J Street U, Students for Justice in Palestine and Breaking the Silence type events on campuses.  Indeed, there are no anti-terrorism annual events, although there are yearly, widespread week-long anti-Israel events on many campuses, including at Brandeis.

Personally, and openly, I and other pro-Israel students disagree with how they approach the Arab-Israeli conflict. Nonetheless, the issue for the Brandeis community was about respect.

Philip’s and Stewart’s continued focus on their “commitment to hearing and engaging these voices, even when they talk about things that are uncomfortable or challenging for us to hear” again misses the point. The issue was how they voiced their concerns, not the concerns themselves. They should be able to share their opinions. They need to be able to so. Silencing their voice would be morally unacceptable.

Philip and Stewart propose that the campus pro-Israel tent adhere to acceptance of different opinions. “The tent is held up not only by the acceptance of different opinions, but by a commitment to hearing and engaging these voices, even when they talk about things that are uncomfortable or challenging for us to hear.”

But a real, meaningful pro-anything tent is built not only by what Philip and Stewart seek.  The tent can only stand if it is grounded on facts and honesty. Sadly, based on the actions of J Street U Brandeis, they and their organization does not fit into their own model of a pro-Israel tent.

There are J Street core principles which do support what all of us are seeking. In fact, J Street’s 4th core principle asserts the idea that “vibrant but respectful debate about Israel benefits the American Jewish community and Israel.”

But so long as Philip and Stewart and the others at J Street U Brandeis fail to understand that it is not their voices and views that are minimized and feel muted, their antics will continue to lead them out from under the tentflaps.  So long as they are the ones creating polarization, they will and should have no place within the tent. For a tentpole resting on nothing but angry rhetoric cannot stand.

And those of us inside that tent will continue to feel threatened and uncomfortable at J Street U forays into our pro-Israel tent.

Given J Street U Brandeis’ behavior and factual misrepresentations, it is imperative that they cease their boycotts of respect and accurate representation of the facts, and instead emerge as a trustworthy and respectful voice. I hope we can unite around a real commitment to listening to and engaging different voices in a more civil and honest manner.  That would really lead to a broad, strong, long-lasting tent.

Penn Hillel Provided Platform to Venomous ‘Breaking The Silence’

Friday, March 29th, 2013

In yet another example of academia succumbing to a flawed battering ram of freedom of speech, the Hillel of Greater Philadelphia was outsmarted by J Street U which guilted them into providing a home for an event the sole purpose of which is to indict and delegitimize the defense forces of the Jewish State.

On Thursday evening, March 28, Steinhardt Hall -  the Hillel building at the University of Pennsylvania – provided the platform for the pro-Palestinian J Street U to defile the integrity of the Israel Defense Forces through a well-funded delegitimization organization known as Breaking the Silence.

The “silence” that the group supposedly “breaks” is the unspoken criticism of Israel and Israel’s military.  Yes, that’s right – without Breaking the Silence, one would never hear a negative word about the IDF, because the New York Times, the United Nations Human Rights Council, the EU, the Guardian, the Iranian regime, the Arab League, the Huffington Post, CNN, El Mundo, El Diario or just about any other entity with a microphone or a media outlet never criticizes the IDF.

Well, that’s what the young whippersnappers at J Street U were able to convince the grownups on the board of the Hillel of Greater Philadelphia.

Breaking the Silence, which was created in 2004, exists to shout from the rooftops that the IDF is not a “defense” force but is instead an immoral military force that is dedicated to “annexation of territory, terrorizing and tightening the control over the civilian [Arab] population.”

NGO Monitor is a non-profit organization that provides information on, analysis of and promotes accountability for the reports and activities of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) which claim to advance human rights and humanitarian agendas, but which instead so frequently primarily promote the vilification of Israel.

According to NGO Monitor, the 2010 publication created by Breaking the Silence, “Occupation of the Territories – Israeli Soldier testimonies 2000-2010,” suffers from several fatal flaws: all testimony is anonymous, and almost none provide a date, location or context for the incidents being described.  In addition, of the 183 incidents mentioned in the report, only 16 were reported to superiors at the time, which makes it especially difficult to rely on the credibility or motivation for the late, non-reported, anonymous “episodic” revelations.

The effort of Breaking the Silence to smear the IDF as an immoral military force falls apart most decisively when a careful reading of the many violations it claims to catalogue reveal that all – to the extent they are real – are themselves violations of IDF policy, so while problematic, they are evidence solely of errors and missteps engaged in by individuals.

Even the indefatigably leftist Haaretz expressed disdain for the repeated claim by Breaking the Silence that it is a human rights organization:

“Breaking the Silence…has a clear political agenda, and can no longer be classed as a ‘human rights organization.’ Any organization whose website includes the claim by members to expose the ‘corruption which permeates the military system’ is not a neutral observer.

The organization has a clear agenda: to expose the consequences of IDF troops serving in the West Bank and Gaza. This seems more of interest to its members than seeking justice for specific injustices.”

And yet, the board of the Hillel of Greater Philadelphia was conned into believing that Breaking the Silence, whose sponsors include not only J Street U, but also the New Israel Fund, the European Union, the UK, Spain, the Netherlands, NDC (funds from Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands, Denmark), and George Soros’ Open Society Institute was needed to amplify the tintinnabulation of hatred already ringing across U.S. campuses from such groups as the BDS movement and the annual Israel Apartheid Week hate fiestas which vilify every move taken by Israel and the IDF to protect Israeli citizens – Jewish, Muslim, Christian and others – from Arab Palestinian terrorism.

Although the HGP several years ago crafted and approved a policy that explicitly stated it would not lend its space for events or organizations the primary goal of which was to delegitimize Israel, J Street U succeeded in persuading the board that their point of view – that is, explicitly and simply, that the IDF is a terrorist, expansionist militaristic entity – does not get enough play at the University of Pennsylvania. While the HGP board initially refused to allow the event in the building, the board members’ hesitation was eventually drowned out.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/penn-hillel-provided-platform-to-venomous-breaking-the-silence/2013/03/29/

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