Photo Credit: J Street U website
J Street U students

But in order to have a true “conversation,” which is, after all, what they say they are all about, honesty and openness needs to come first.

Daniel Mael is a junior at Brandeis University.  He is from Newton, MA and is co-founder of Students for Accuracy About Israeli and Palestinian Affairs. He can be followed at @DanielMael.


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Daniel Mael is a junior at Brandeis University. He is from Newton, MA, and the co-founder of Brandeis Students for Accuracy about Israeli and Palestinian Affairs.


  1. Thanks for this, but we need to move forward from framing ideas to creating concepts, and then presentations of those concepts and eventually, actions. For example, right now there are already two states – of "Palestine": Fatahland in Judea and Samaria and Hamastan in Gaza. A tactic would be to challenge J Street true-believers to agree that first, Israel need demands that the Pals. get their act together and create one political entity, make peace among theior own factions and then approach Israel (we'll save the end of the official incitement of the Pal. Authority and their refusal to recognize Jewish national ethos for later).

  2. You can go to the Open Hillel facebook page to see what type of dialogue they promote. When my support of Israel was called racist, terrorist, and similar to supporting the Ku Klux Klan, that was considered reasonable dialogue. But when I point out the antisemitism inherent in some anti-Zionist views, the spokesman for the group excoriated me for using "tactics of silencing and name calling". There is a reason that Hillel must exclude those who wish to use Hillel as a platform to promote that Zionism is racism. It is the same reason that Open Hillel wishes to exclude my views from their forum. In the words of an Open Hillel spokesman " I know that the sure-fire way to destroy dialogue, however, is to tell people they should feel uncomfortable speaking and implying that they and their views are on par with racism." Hillel's guidelines on Israel protect pluralism and dialogue by drawing the line on antisemitism. For more information see my facebook group Do Not Open Hillel to Antisemitism.

  3. I'm confused. Open Hillel is grouped with J Street U with all sorts of negative characterizations, but then it is only J Street U that is mentioned with any sort of concrete criticism. There is no evidence provided for Open Hillel not being open to dialogue. If the author has examples, by all means he should have provided them, but as it stands, this article doesn't actually criticize Open Hillel. It just holds it as guilty for associating with J Street.

    The author has put together sentences like "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." This sentence doesn't make sense. What does "its" refer to here? It must be J Street…since Open Hillel has no favored peace plan, and yet it is phrased as if Open Hillel has articulated policy positions — which it has not. Open Hillel has no favored peace plan. It has no policy positions at all regarding Israel-Palestine.

    If you're going to argue that Open Hillel isn't open, you have to actually say why. It's not enough to say that J Street U isn't open, and that therefore Open Hillel, by associating with it on some level (there is no official connection between the two, but many individuals supporting Open Hillel also support J Street U), shares its opinions and ways of thinking.

  4. Lex,

    It seems that the Open Hillel movement’s sole mission is to have Hillel allow all opinions of Israel under its tent. But as of now, the only opinions the Hillel guidelines do not allow are those opinions that support BDS and demonize and delegitimize the Jewish state. Because of this, it’s reasonable to conclude that Open Hillel aims to give a voice to Israel haters (I consider anyone who supports BDS and demonizes and delegitimizes Israel to be an “Israel hater”). Unfortunately, these Israel haters promote environments of intolerance and condemn open discussion about Israel; these Israel haters do exactly what Daniel said in the above article: they define what it means to be “pro-peace” and “pro-Palestinian” and they label anyone who defines these terms differently as “anti-peace” and “anti-Palestinian.” So, by basing a movement around wanting to give a voice to people who condemn open discussion, Open Hillel is fostering an environment of intolerance and closed-mindedness.

  5. Hussein Ibish is the contemporary equivalent of Jabah the Hutt. He is pure human garbage. He is a fitting confederate for the Judenrat of J Street, the useful idiots and self-hating traitors who are trying to destroy the State of Israel because of their own, sick psychological baggage.

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