If not now, when? I will tell you when. Tuesday, September 9. Today, Eric Fingerhut, President and Chief Hillel Officer of Hillel International, will meet with representatives of OPEN HILLEL in Boston.
Open Hillel is a nascent movement of some students who seek to change Hillel’s policies and allow for any issues to be discussed in a Hillel, even if they are anti-Zionist and critical of the State of Israel.
It is not as if Hillel International and its affiliated campus groups are seeking to censor open debates and ideas, nor does it seek to squash the expression of diverse points of view. To me, Hillels are already open, and I take offense to the group using Orwellian language to make it appear that Hillel is not open. Hillel is pro-Israel and is not seeking to encourage a platform for those who want the country demonized or boycotted. Nor does it want its affiliates to co-sponsor programs with groups that seek to demonize Israel or the Jewish people.
In the past ten months, Hillel groups at Vassar, Wesleyan and Swarthmore have been admonished for seeking to reject the current Hillel guidelines and to potentially give platforms to people or groups that attack Israel’s right to exist.
To me it is akin to pushing for your synagogue to let you put a Hindu idol on the pulpit.
What will they discuss in Boston? It will most likely be a discussion of Hillel International’s guidelines, concerns, common grounds, and any uncommon grounds.
But more importantly… will cookies be served?
Speaking of losing cookies, Open Hillel is organizing a conference at Harvard University from October 11-13. It will feature several speakers on the subject of Israel, including Judith Butler, who seeks to have Israel boycotted.