Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Question of Open Hillel

Hat tip Frontpage Magazine

-Frontpage Magazine (Edited by Fousesquawk)

Richard Cravatts has written the below piece, which appears in Frontpage Magazine. It concerns anti-Israel professors who agitate for Hillel, a national Jewish student organization, to allow members who are anti-Israel. Once again, our old friend, Mark LeVine of UC Irvine, is mentioned. After reading the article I joined in the reader comment thread relating my favorite story of when Markie cursed me out in front of his own students because I called him an anti-Israel activist.

In Israel the violence and terrorism of the latest intifada cannot be understood except as emerging out of decades of occupation, discrimination and dispossession.”  

Now why would I call LeVine an anti-Israel activist? You tell me.

I myself am not much of a Hillel fan-at least the UC Irvine chapter. As a teacher, I don't give Jewish students advice on these matters. What they do is their own choice. If they want to let in the termites, there's not much I can do.


Siarlys Jenkins said...

I'm a big fan of "freedom of association" in private matters and politics, not in interestate commerce or public accommodations. So trying to look at this from the inside, even though I'm hardly more Jewish than Gary is, it depends on what the definition of Hillel is.

If Hillel is by origin and tradition open to all Jewish students on campus, then there is no good reason to exclude those Jewish students who happen to oppose either current Israeli government policy, or the existence of Israel as a state.

If Hillel is by origin and tradition open to OBSERVANT Jews, there may, or may not, be an overlap between observant Jews and Jews who are supportive of Israel, or between observant Jews and those who are opposed to current Israeli government policy.

If Hillel is by origin and tradition an avowedly Zionist organization, supporting from its inception, as a founding principle the establishment or sustaining of a Jewish state in the Holy Land, then of course anti-Zionist Jews would not be admitted to membership.

The problem with people like LeVine is that they got a little drunk on the sidelines of the civil rights movement, and inferred that if it wrong to refuse hotel accommodations to a weary family traveling to see grandma in Florida, on the ground that they are black, then the ethics of any organization of any character is measured by whether they admit anybody and everybody for any and every reason. Which is kinda stupid.

OF course five of the Supremes set a precedent along this line in the Christian Legal Society case, not because there is sound legal reasoning behind it, but because Anthony Kennedy and The Four Appointed by Democrats desired to dispose of the controversy in a Pro-Gay sort of way. The only sensible and constitutionally framed opinion was the dissent by Samuel Alito, a man I seldom have much use for. (Every justice has their good days though). Alito cited such precedents as the one insisting that campuses had to allow students to form SDS chapters as a matter of freedom of association. He applied them correctly too.

Gary Fouse said...

I guess Hillel has choices to make. I have an opinion, but I don't have a dog in that hunt. At UCI, Orange County Hillel has been worse than useless in fighting back against anti-Semitism. If they admit anti-Israel students, it will be just more of the same. I never counted on them to support me or anyone else in speaking out on anti-Semitism. I basically consider their directors as people working in entry level jobs. They stay for a year or two and move on to some other administrative position with somebody else.

I do not criticize Hillel for the services they provide to Jewish students, but when it comes to the pro-palestinain bullies on campuses, they are nowhere to be found. At least at UCI.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

The question remains, what IS the foundational definition of Hillel, in its own documents? The answer may, or may not, include, or exclude, Jewish students who are not supportive of Israel. Hillel is what it is, whether this or that talking head likes it, or not.

Gary Fouse said...

You will have to ask Hillel. I have never been able to figure them out.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

I don't much care. Let Hillel be Hillel.