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Replies to: Jews considering Vassar

  • dadinatordadinator Registered User Posts: 1,439 Senior Member
    and an article in today's Wall Street Journal by a Vassar alumna:

    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303775504579395514091677086
  • mantleforevermantleforever Registered User Posts: 13 New Member
    I am shocked that conditions on campus are this bad. Is Vassar really like this? If so, what hasn’t the college done something about it? It's "apartheid week" now. Would someone please describe current goings-on on campus? Is anyone speaking up for Israel?
    This just isn’t right. No way, no how.
  • PolarBearVsSharkPolarBearVsShark Registered User Posts: 599 Member
    What does that article even mean. And is it really a political discussion and not really a college admissions/search kind of discussion.
  • CodyChesnuttCodyChesnutt Registered User Posts: 102 Junior Member
    Did you read it? Some excerpts from the Vassar Jewish Union statement referenced in the article:

    "The Standards of Partnership at Hillel International currently prohibit partnering with, housing, or hosting organizations, groups, or 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.'”

    "We believe that this policy censors and delegitimizes the diverse range of personal and political opinions held by Jewish students."

    "In that regard, we welcome open discourse concerning Israel, Palestine, and any other relevant and critical issues, and will not exclude on the basis of political opinion."

    Open discourse is usually to be applauded. However, any Jew willing to sit down and listen to an individual or state representative whose starting position is that Israel has no right to exist and should be wiped off the planet is either deluded or suffering from amnesia. Hillel International would prohibit hosting a speaker who believes Israel and the Jews living there should be destroyed. The Vassar Jewish Union apparently disagrees with that position. And I disagree with them.
  • PolarBearVsSharkPolarBearVsShark Registered User Posts: 599 Member
    Too much drama; focus on studying.
  • CodyChesnuttCodyChesnutt Registered User Posts: 102 Junior Member
    Apathy is a pathway that has not served Jews so well in the past.
  • LecterLecter Registered User Posts: 85 Junior Member
    The following email was sent to All Alumnae/i and Families with the Subject "Respectful Debate":

    February 27, 2014

    Dear members of the Vassar community,

    Vassar has always been in the thick of analyzing and debating the political, economic, and social issues that affect the larger world, navigating the complexities and controversies that surround those issues. As a vigorous educational community we not only face this regularly, we embrace it.

    For example, in recent months specific issues related to the Israeli-Palestinian situation have spurred heightened attention and debate on and off campus, including through social media and in the press. Tensions resulting from different points of view can be difficult, but we should not be surprised that they exist.

    There isn't, nor could there be, a single Vassar viewpoint on complex issues. Rather, we entrust our faculty members to develop and conduct a meaningful curriculum, and we value their independent thinking. Similarly we entrust students and student organizations with independence. This combination is key to Vassar’s educational mission, intellectual vitality and engaging campus life.

    Being a community of individuals who think and feel deeply, and differently, is the lifeblood of a Vassar education. We cherish this. But a diversity of voices is not enough. What makes a Vassar education work is the mutual respect we offer one another in the face of different, sometimes highly charged, opinions. We need this. Mutual respect ensures that differing voices and viewpoints are welcomed. Without it, some people will fear participating in the discussions, and this will devalue our debates. Whether we are on campus or in the broader world, we need and seek to model respectful learning and discussion at a time when public debate is so often inflamed and unproductive.

    I look forward to our continuing conversations.

    Catharine Hill
    President
  • mantleforevermantleforever Registered User Posts: 13 New Member
    What??? The letter from the president sounds like an inadequate attempt at damage control. For those who cannot get passed the pay wall in the link, the author of the Wall Street Journal article criticized the students in the Vassar Hillel for voting to be an open Hillel. Being an open Hillel means not having to abide by Hillel's "pesky" rules that prevent students from debating those who are pro-boycott, sanctions and divestment of Israel. In other words Hillel does not want its student members to engage in discussions with those who do not believe Israel has a right to exist. (Makes sense to me. Wouldn't expect the gay rights group to engage in debate with the Westboro Baptist Church, would you?) The author's point is that the students have all jumped on the BDS bandwagon without thinking critically about their actions. Pro-Israel students feel intimidated about speaking up. Not a single faculty member on campus has said in public that he/she supports Israel. Disgusting.
  • stressedoutttstressedouttt Registered User Posts: 4,111 Senior Member
    edited March 2014
    Good for the Vassar Jewish Union. :) :)
    I am shocked that conditions on campus are this bad. Is Vassar really like this? If so, what hasn’t the college done something about it? It's "apartheid week" now. Would someone please describe current goings-on on campus? Is anyone speaking up for Israel?
    This just isn’t right. No way, no how.
    Why is this bad? They aren't attacking anyone. They are merely breaking away from the censorship of any pro-Palestinian opinions.
    It's funny that you mention apartheid week. Groups at my university are using this week to speak up against the apartheid going on against Palestinians.
    In other words Hillel does not want its student members to engage in discussions with those who do not believe Israel has a right to exist. (Makes sense to me. Wouldn't expect the gay rights group to engage in debate with the Westboro Baptist Church, would you?) The author's point is that the students have all jumped on the BDS bandwagon without thinking critically about their actions. Pro-Israel students feel intimidated about speaking up. Not a single faculty member on campus has said in public that he/she supports Israel. Disgusting.
    They have done nothing to censor pro-Israel discussion. They have merely opened up pro-Palestine discussion as well, which seemed to have been prohibited before.

    I would like to know why everyone is seeing this as such a threat to Israel. I know people who boycott Israel. They don't hate Jews. They don't hate Israel for being a Jewish state. They're simply speaking out against the lack of basic rights that the Palestinian people have.
    This is an open discussion worldwide. Yet I notice that in the US it seems almost taboo to be anything less then supporting Israel 100%.
  • CodyChesnuttCodyChesnutt Registered User Posts: 102 Junior Member
    edited March 2014
    ^You fail to parse the finer points of Hillel International's position and this discussion. No one at Vassar has proposed censoring legitimate debate on the Israel-Palestine problems. However, the VJU's official statement has made it acceptable to give podium time to a speaker who believes Israel is a scourge that should be eliminated from the planet. You may call that "pro-Palestine discussion". I call it incitement to genocide.
  • mantleforevermantleforever Registered User Posts: 13 New Member
    The BDSers don't think Israel has a right to exist. The day Black Student Union and the LGBT groups are expected to give a platform to bigots is the day we can expect Hillel to give a platform to those who feel Israel has no right to exist. There are plenty of forums for students on campus to discuss being pro-BDS. Hillel is meant to be a sanctuary for those Jews who are pro-Israel. Moreover, the author talks in the article about students on campus who are fearful of having other students know that their parents are pro-Israel. That is SICK and qualifies as anti-Semitism. BDS = Hate. Since Israel is the Jewish state, BDS also equals anti-Semitism, albeit "acceptable" anti-Semitism among the academic snobs at Vassar.
  • stressedoutttstressedouttt Registered User Posts: 4,111 Senior Member
    However, the VJU's official statement has made it acceptable to give podium time to a speaker who believes Israel is a scourge that should be eliminated from the planet. You may call that "pro-Palestine discussion". I call it incitement to genocide.

    From what you quoted:
    The Standards of Partnership at Hillel International currently prohibit partnering with, housing, or hosting organizations, groups, or 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.'”
    Do all these requirements have to be met or just one?
    Concerning #1, many believe that Israel has a right to exist as an independent state, so long as it upholds certain things a state is expected to uphold, such as basic human rights. Many also believe that Israel is not doing this. It doesn't have to do with Israel being a Jewish state. Condemnation of a state shouldn't be censored, and no nation is exempt. Condemnation due to racism, anti-Seminitism, and the like, should be censored.
    The second point seems to be highly subjective in its interpretation.
    I don't see the issue with the third point at all. It's similar to how people boycott Sudan due to Darfur or China due to poor working conditions. The principle is that people see something unjust, so they don't give money to the perpetrators.
    Note that all of these concern the government and state, not the citizens.

    Point #4 is completely valid, and I absolutely agree with it.

    The idea that anyone who fits these points is calling for a genocide of the Israeli people is simply incorrect.
    Since Israel is the Jewish state, BDS also equals anti-Semitism, albeit "acceptable" anti-Semitism among the academic snobs at Vassar.
    Opposing Israel because it is a Jewish state is anti-Semitic. If you oppose Israel for reasons unrelated to its religious alignment, then it's not anti-Semitic.
    Hillel is meant to be a sanctuary for those Jews who are pro-Israel.
    Isn't Hillel the main Jewish campus organization? If that's so, then it shouldn't be exclusive to only Jews with certain viewpoints. If it is exclusive in this way, it needs to change its image. It's like calling a group the Christian Union when it only caters to those with Catholic beliefs.
    Moreover, the author talks in the article about students on campus who are fearful of having other students know that their parents are pro-Israel.
    I do see a problem with that, but I'm not sure why this is the case. Everything I'm reading here seems to be calling for "open discourse" and "mutual respect."
    BDS = Hate
    I'm not sure where you're getting this from.

    The aims of BDS are:
    1.Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall;
    2.Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
    3.Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.
  • mantleforevermantleforever Registered User Posts: 13 New Member
    Omar Barghouti, a student at Tel Aviv U and one of the founders of the BDS movement, has said, "“We are witnessing the rapid demise of Zionism, and nothing can be done to save it…I, for one, support euthanasia. . . The two-state solution for the Palestinian-Israel conflict is really dead. Good riddance! But someone has to issue an official death certificate before the rotting corpse is given a proper burial.” (this is from a Times of Israel blog.)

    I find it particularly ironic that Barghouti is a graduate student at one of the leading universities in Israel.

    You think the aims of BDS are simply ending the occupation, but listen to what the leaders really say.

    Hillel is a pro-Israel organization with a "brand name". If you don't want to accept Hillel's pesky rules, you are not supposed to call yourself a "Hillel" chapter. There's no such thing as an open Hillel.

    The wall has saved many lives, because it has prevented terrorists from bombing and murdering Jews. But I guess you think it would be preferable not to have the wall and to allow terrorists to murder Jews. Jewish blood is cheap.

    The Israelis have tried to make peace many times. They pulled out of Gaza, leaving beautiful homes behind, and they were "rewarded" with a constant stream of rockets.

    Is Israel perfect? No. But they do a better better job offering opportunities to Arab Israelis than do European countries with Muslim populations. Arabs go to Israeli universities. There's Arab representation in the Knesset. It's one of the most diverse countries in the world.

    Vassar's president's letter is about damage control. I want to know more about the damage she is trying to control.



  • Pennylane2011Pennylane2011 Registered User Posts: 2,716 Senior Member
    What happened to going to college to study, learn to get along with people, and coexist? Now, Hillel, as an organization for Jewish students has to be altered? Censorship is not desirable, but groups are free to lecture on campus with or without organizations like Hillel. This isn't "tolerance" for different opinions or ideas. If both sides of the issue were actually tolerated, they would leave Hillel alone.
  • stressedoutttstressedouttt Registered User Posts: 4,111 Senior Member
    edited March 2014
    You think the aims of BDS are simply ending the occupation, but listen to what the leaders really say.
    I find it a bit amusing that you pulled the quote from a pro-Israel source. Anyhow, they're an organization, and the organization has clearly laid out its goals, regardless of what individuals say.
    The wall has saved many lives, because it has prevented terrorists from bombing and murdering Jews. But I guess you think it would be preferable not to have the wall and to allow terrorists to murder Jews. Jewish blood is cheap.
    Excuse me? I have nothing against Jews. A life is a life. That's the point. I didn't even make any specific mentions about the wall.
    The Israelis have tried to make peace many times. They pulled out of Gaza, leaving beautiful homes behind, and they were "rewarded" with a constant stream of rockets.
    Almost the entire world acknowledges the crimes Israel commits against the Palestinians. There's active apartheid going on, and innocent Palestinians have been killed. The number of innocent Palestinian deaths are far greater then those of innocent Israelis. Not to mention the illegal settlements. I don't call this trying to make peace.
    Let me be clear. I am by no means saying that the Israeli deaths are somehow less significant then the Palestinian ones. They aren't. But there are a lot more Palestinian ones.
    If practically the whole world acknowledges that the state of Israel is the perpetrator of crimes here, isn't that enough to signal that something is off with the picture of Israel being so innocent? If it wasn't for the US, the UN would have take much greater action long ago. Look at reports from Amnesty International and Avaaz (both organizations dedicated to human rights and not affiliated with political positions).
    But they do a better better job offering opportunities to Arab Israelis than do European countries with Muslim populations. Arabs go to Israeli universities. There's Arab representation in the Knesset. It's one of the most diverse countries in the world.
    It's not about Arabs, it's about Palestinians. There is a difference between the two.
    If both sides of the issue were actually tolerated, they would leave Hillel alone.
    The issue doesn't seem to be about general discussion on campus, but about Jews on campus feeling that they're being excluded from Hillel- the primary Jewish organization- if they hold certain viewpoints.
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