I’m Now Another Jew Who Has Been Barred from Speaking in a Jewish Building (in America)

Last week, I wrote about how, due to my writing on the issue of boycotts and Israel, I was asked by a prominent Jewish organization (Hillel) to publish a favorable political statement before being allowed into its building to speak about my book, What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?

Despite my discomfort with such a problematic request, I published it. For I thought, If there are places where talking about reconciliation and understanding might be meaningful and important, this is one of them.

The statement I made affirmed my desire, as a progressive Zionist, for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while acknowledging the legitimacy of economic sanctions against Israel as a nonviolent form of opposition. I made this statement, even though its focus has little to do with the focus of my book.

Despite this, and our prior agreement regarding the statement, I’ve come to learn that I have been barred from speaking. And so, this is now my story – a story tragically being replicated far too often today in America as Jewish institutions decide not just what may, and may not, be discussed with regard to Israel, but who may discuss such issues as well.

You May Not Speak Here

I recently had the honor being invited by the Israel Committee of Santa Barbara to be a keynote speaker at its annual, signature event this spring. The event is housed by Santa Barbara Hillel, a cultural home for a diverse range of UCSB students.

It was here that I was going to tell the narrative of my reconciliation with a Palestinian family. However, when the Hillel executive director, Rabbi Evan Goodman, found a political post of mine in which I attempted to argue that boycotts and sanctions against Israel are legitimate forms of nonviolent protest – and which understandably was misunderstood as my joining the BDS movement – I was no longer welcome.

I wished to speak with Rabbi Goodman, to reach out and discuss personally this issue of a Jewish educator and progressive Zionist, such as myself, being barred from speaking at Hillel. Unfortunately, the two of us were never able to have a direct conversation. Though it was relayed to me that Rabbi Goodman had a request:

Publish a favorable political statement clarifying your position on the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel, and we will allow you to speak at UCSB Hillel.

As a Jewish educator who teaches elementary- and middle-school students biblical and Rabbinic texts, as well as an author who has been speaking about my book at Jewish community centers and synagogues across the country, I found UCSB’s pre-condition perplexing.

More than that, though, I was deeply troubled by the request’s implications, and how it related to a controversy brewing within the American Jewish community currently over Jews being barred by Hillel for their political beliefs. (More on that below.)

Despite this, I decided to make the statement, encouraged by Rabbi Goodman’s openness, and understanding his need to follow Hillel International’s guidelines, which direct Hillel centers across North America (and beyond) to forbid Jews from speaking who “support boycott of, divestment from, or sanctions against the State of Israel.

And so I made my statement, part of which appears below:

I am a progressive Zionist who believes firmly in the idea that Israel should be a Jewish, democratic state, despite the inherent challenges and contradictions such an existence presents. I am also one who fully supports a two-state political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in which each side is able to live within defined, secure borders.

I believe that economic sanctions, such as boycotts, are legitimate forms of nonviolent protest, in contrast to, say, violence or vandalism. I do not, however, subscribe to the BDS movement’s implicit vision of a single, bi-national state as a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It was my assumption that, upon making this requested statement, I would be allowed into Hillel to speak. And I was uplifted by the prospect of being able to engage personally with members of the Santa Barbara community, despite our political differences. To have honest, respectful dialogue about issues of importance.

Unfortunately, it was just decided by the UCSB Hillel leadership that I should be barred from speaking. Why? I cannot say for sure, since I have not had the opportunity to speak directly with Rabbi Goodman, or anyone else, at UCSB Hillel. Perhaps it’s because UCSB Hillel’s leadership felt constrained by Hillel International’s guidelines. Perhaps it’s because the post I published at Rabbi Goodman’s request was found to be offensive by members of the community. (I wrote a direct letter to Rabbi Goodman and members of the community, apologizing profusely for any pain my post might have caused, which was not my intent. I never heard back from anyone.)

The good news is that, while I won’t be joining the Santa Barbara community for a meaningful discussion, I have been contacted by other Hillel centers which would like to host me.

The bad news is that UCSB Hillel’s decision is not an isolated incident. Rather, it’s part of a larger controversy in which some Jewish institutions, instead of fostering open debates on difficult, critical issues, are censoring dialogue on Israel by essentially deciding who is, and is not, a sanctioned member of the Jewish community.

The Struggle to Foster ‘Open’ Dialogue at Hillel

Hillel International is an enormous Jewish institution – the umbrella organization for Hillel centers on college campuses across North America (and beyond). And while it advertises itself as being a pluralistic home for diverse political views on Israel, it has created guidelines which exclude anyone who supports BDS or who might “delegitimize, demonize, or apply a double standard to Israel.

Meaning: anyone who harshly critiques Israel’s geo-political policies – or does so without similarly critiquing all other nations worthy of rebuke – can be forbidden from speaking.

This means some prominent progressive Zionists – those, like myself, who share Hillel’s vision of Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state with secure and recognized borders” – have been blacklisted. Peter Beinart comes to mind. So too does Breaking the Silence, a group of Israeli army veterans who speak about the military’s abuses and their effect on Israeli society.

This blacklisting held true for all Hillel chapters until a month ago, when something important happened: Swarthmore Hillel became the first local center to defy Hillel International’s guidelines, declaring itself as an “open” Hillel willing to host anyone for debate or dialogue, regardless of their political views.

Its statement made clear that it no longer wanted to censor who could and could not speak within its walls, thus constraining the open dialogue on Israel its students wished to have.

This declaration has made waves in the American Jewish community, sparking a renewed discussion about how the American Jewish community can solve some of its most pressing problems if, out of an existential fear for Israel’s survival, we exclude engaged and invested members of the community due to their political beliefs.

I Wish This Were Satire

The historian Gershom Gorenberg said it best when, with regard to this current dynamic within the American Jewish community, he quipped:

The American fight about what you can’t say about Israel, and where you can’t say it, will always sound to an Israeli as if Lewis Carroll scripted it.

He is right: there are moments in which this debate about, well, what can be debated within the U.S. Jewish community seems like farce. And it might be funny if the stakes weren’t so high.

There have been times, when the stakes were no less high, in which Jews throughout history have been willing to fully debate issues of immense importance. So much so that the art of debating, of making distinctions and recognizing nuance, have became a foundational part of our collective intellectual, cultural and religious identities. It is a part of who we are, as a people.

In addressing this, I wrote:

I don’t pretend to possess all the answers, nor all the ‘correct’ views. More importantly, I believe that the world is complex, and that it can only be viewed fully by recognizing nuances and making distinctions. This is a view the Rabbis of the Talmud shared – Rabbis who refined the art of recognizing nuances and making distinctions as a matter of legal discourse. In truth, this art of arguing – of parsing complex legal issues in order to solve problems – is the intellectual lineage from which we as Jews come.

Unfortunately, when it comes to political discourse on Israel, the American Jewish community has become partially paralyzed by our collective inability to recognize nuances and distinctions – to engage fully in open debates and dialogues.

But we ignore nuance at our own peril. Or rather, Jewish institutions today do so at their own peril. For we, as a people, have always debated those issues of critical importance, be they how to properly scour a pan to make it kosher (700 CE) or where to build the future Jewish state (1897).

If we are going to solve some of our most pressing and difficult issues as a people, we must continue to debate them, openly, honestly and respectfully.

The risks associated with doing otherwise are too great to consider.

(Note: parts of this piece appeared in a previous post.)

-ยง-

What Do You Buy For the Children
David Harris-Gershon is author of the memoir What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?, just out from Oneworld Publications.

Follow him on Twitter @David_EHG.

53 thoughts on “I’m Now Another Jew Who Has Been Barred from Speaking in a Jewish Building (in America)

  1. While I welcome open dialogue, I do so with only with those who value respectful, constructive discourse. I will not be engaging with those regular commenters here who, in the past, have publicly engaged in hate speech or called me such things as an “anti-Semite,” “self-hating Jew” or worse.

    One might ask, “David, why on earth would you?” My answer is, “Exactly.”

    • You know what is ridiculous? You have based your entire persona on seeking dialog with someone who tried to murder your wife. And yet, as you state here, you will not engage in dialog with those who you perceived have verbally insulted you at some point. Clearly you believe perceived verbal insults to be worse than murder.

      It’s just silly, David. You’re just silly.

      • Hmm …

        You know what is even more ridiculous? Truly?

        The man who tried to kill my wife expressed remorse for his actions. You and others who have engaged in personal attacks? You have not, and refuse to.

        Talk about ridiculous.

        • How about backing up your claims with some evidence. Try to find some links of his so-called anti-semitism. Oh that’s right, you can’t.

          Also, try arguing against me. I was raised Jewish and yet I’m an anti-zionist. So please, share with the class why you think that anti-zionism equals anti-semitism; because it DOESN’T.

          • You can start with the link I provide below where the author engages in just such a classic trope. Oops. Then read through the rest of his oeuvre, and observe his years-long habit of repeatedly enabling antisemites at places like Daily Kos.

            The motivation to claim that your desire to destroy the world’s sole Jewish state is anything other than antisemitism is certainly understandable, but that doesn’t make it anything other than it is. I don’t care if you were raised worshipping blue cheese, it’s what you do and say now that counts.

            Racist? I do not think that word means what you think it means. In this case, it’s likely a preemptive shot fired out of guilt about yourself.

            And please leave my member out of this discussion, it has done nothing to be deserve being dragged into this.

          • Fuck you Tikkun for the ridiculous censorship of these comments. Do you not realize how pathetic you are, censoring comments attached to an article falsely complaining of censorship.

          • Anti-Zionism doesn’t always mean antisemitic, but it does if you’re a practical anti-Zionist. In other words, if you theoretically say, the State should never have been formed, what a tragedy, a rebellion against G-d when we had to take it by force no matter what the UN said, or a stupid idea when Jabotinsky realized that the Arabs would never accept us and we would have eternal war. Okay. That’s classical anti-Zionism held by many a Jew-lover (in fact often held because they were Jew-lovers–they thought more Jews would die this way). But practical anti-Zionism is what we have in the BDS movement, as an example. That is, the State was formed, six million Jews live in Israel, the State gives identity to untold numbers in the Diaspora and makes them feel connected with the Jewish people. Now you want to destroy that State. What happens to the Jews within? Slaughter and annihilation? Oppression at the hands of the far more numerous Arabs once you have taken away the Jews’ only means of defense? I’m not even sure what your plan is. But it either doesn’t deal with reality or it means the death of millions of Jews before some country somewhere opens its doors to the meager remnants. Or what did you have in mind?

        • Oh well… he said “Sorry” for a terrorist attack that wounded many (including your wife) and killed friends, and hey.. now he is someone worth talking with, but, someone who calls you a name… Now, that is egregious.

          Okie Dokie then…. That makes sense.

    • For more information on the incident, from USCB Hillel website:

      We’d like to take the opportunity to set the record straight.

      1. No one is barred from the Santa Barbara Hillel building. We welcome students and community members from every walk of life. We have welcomed to our Shabbat table Muslim, Christian and Jewish students, Republican and Democrats, and people from all over the spectrum on the topic of Israel. We have engaged in thoughtful and constructive dialogue both within our building and throughout the campus.

      2. Santa Barbara Hillel does not require speakers to adhere to specific political positions or make specific
      statements in order to earn the right to speak at Hillel.

      3. Santa Barbara Hillel, like any organization, reserves the right to decide what speakers, events, and
      activities we would like to host and sponsor. Our decision not to host the speaker in question is directly in
      keeping with our core mission: to be a student life organization.

      4. Unfortunately, this individual’s blog postings confirm that indeed his presence would be a lightning rod
      and distract the student leadership, staff and the Board from their primary responsibilities of
      strengthening Jewish student life in Santa Barbara.

      5. Additionally, the tone and pattern of his postings do not promote an environment of cooperation,
      relationship-building, and mutual respect that would support meaningful, nuanced conversations
      between Santa Barbara Hillel and other campus groups or individuals.

      • Thanks for posting … this public statement was released on January 12 in lieu of a personal conversation, and in response to feedback from this situation.

        While the whole situation is unfortunate, this particular selection is a rather unfortunate entry:

        “2. Santa Barbara Hillel does not require speakers to adhere to specific political positions or make specific
        statements in order to earn the right to speak at Hillel.”

        For not only does it contravene Hillel International’s guidelines — unless UCSB Hillel is now “open” — but it does not seem consistent with what occurred.

        Once again, those at UCSB Hillel are more than welcome, as they have been during this entire process, to speak with me directly and discuss, within an atmosphere of mutual respect, this situation and these statements.

        • David, as one who supports the concept of an Open Hillel, I think the decision of the UCSB Hillel warrants respect. Apparently, they saw a lot of your pieces on the web and concluded that they just didn’t want to provide a platform for someone who appears to be dishonest about his support for BDS, who panders to Israel haters, who seeks common ground with the crowd from the antisemitic mondoweiss blog, who hardly ever stands up to the vile antisemitic comments in his daily kos diaries, and who refuses requests to dialogue with Zionists because of their purported use of bad names in referring to you. Perhaps they simply saw a lack of integrity and decided to take a pass.

          • That’s true, but Mr. Harris still has a point about Item (2). It’s just not true. They do have a specific political belief that speakers can’t have. I’m sure there are other (e.g., the human race must be purified of Jewish blood).

            • But that is not the reason for their action. They said he has a pattern of not promoting mutual respect and understanding. And they are correct. His point about item 2 is a red herring.

  2. I don’t agree with Hillel International’s guidelines. Hillel International should allow the students of each Hillel to decide for themselves the issues they wish to allow as part of their programming (assuming, of course, that it does not involve illegalities or the promotion of violence or antisemitism). Open dialogue is the best way for Jewish students to wrestle with complicated issues, and Hillel International should trust its students a little more than they do.

    But open dialogue requires honesty. You wrote a piece that clearly and explicitly endorsed BDS. And then, when called on it, you refused to acknowledge the obvious intent and meaning of your words. You claimed that you had only embraced the concept of boycotts and divestment, not BDS itself. That was obviously disingenuous to anyone who had read your piece. And, your continued informal alliances with BDSers and those who want Israel gone only add to the suspicion that you are being disingenuous.

    You have been less than honest about your views on BDS, and you refuse to answer any questions about your views on the BDS goal of a full Palestinian Right of Return. Perhaps this lack of candor and honesty contributed to UCSB’s decision.

    • 1. Glad we agree with our perspective on Hillel International’s guidelines.

      2. I’ve always been clear about my position, as well as my mistake in the past of associating the initials BDS as a concept, rather than a movement. That’s been clear in countless of my writings, and is very clear in a dialogue I had with Haaretz writer Mira Sucharov: https://twitter.com/David_EHG/status/223508706153865216

      3. Again, there’s a difference between not being honest and not answering questions posed by those who fall into the category of people mentioned in my first comment to this post. See #2 for my position on RoR. It’s been enumerated for over a year.

      • This is just laughable. BDS was a well-defined campaign when you endorsed it. Neither you nor anyone else referred to it as a “concept” until your lame after-the-fact attempt to deny that your endorsement.

        And your tweet about RoR is anything but clear; certainly not as clear as your tweets expressing solidarity with those who want Israel gone.

        As I said, I don’t support Hillel International’s policy. But given the nonsense you have written, UCSB’s action seems reasonable.

        • And I believe UCSB’s action here (as an alumni) is right…. Here is why:

          As fizziks pointed out David’s “dialogue” goes one way. Apparently he will only dialogue with those who want Israel eliminated. Just look at the comment section of his Daily Kos diaries.

          He was asked politely to discuss BDS, it’s goals and where he stands… He refused that discussion because he knows that once he has it, he cannot walk the line trying to be all things to all people. Full disclosure on a position of Palestinian RoR would end any controversy, but, David doesn’t want to have that discussion. So yeah, UCSB Hillel is absolutely right in their judgement.

          • BDS . . . which he supports, and yet tries to deny that he supports.

            On another blog, where he cross-posts, he adds a comment to his diary that clearly demonstrates his support for BDS:

            http://www.dailykos.com/comments/1268682/52345734

            And yet, at the same blog, where he regularly panders to a group of Israel-haters, he doesn’t respond when one of those Israel-hating fans of his asks him to explain his position on Right of Return. I guess you are right about his fears of full disclosure.

            Again, open dialogue requires honest dialogue.

            • Well Jay… It looks like David has answered the question at DKos:

              I support a narrow interpretation of RoR (0+ / 0-)

              In my scenario, we are talking about reparations and economic support, with limited numbers allowed to return in certain areas.

              I don’t support absolute right-of-return. I also don’t think it’s realistic or possible, regardless of what my view happens to be.

              Finally… Of course this leaves open many other questions including the walk back regarding BDS but David has answered at least this one question… again FINALLY…

              I am curious as to what some of the people that thought he supported it, and the One State Solution have to say.

              • Wow, David’s gonna really be in trouble for the second part of that answer. Perhaps he can pretend that he didn’t actually say what he said when someone calls him out on it, just like he did when he wholeheartedly embraced BDS.

                (Oh wait, he didn’t actually support BDS when he wrote about supporting BDS, or something like that, right?)

  3. It does not sound to me like you have been “barred”. It sounds to me that, as they say, they are just not that into you. I am not surprised. You gave the impression you were a supporter of the BDS movement. You took the opportunity to publish a reasonable and thoughtful political statement. But instead of apologizing for misdirecting people and showing appreciation for the opportunity to set the records straight, you seem to believe it would have been better for Hillel to allow you to speak under the misconception that you supported the BDS movement.
    The Hillel guidelines do a very good job to protect diversity and pluralism in ideas, but draw the line when criticism of Israel becomes antisemitism. Criticism of the state of Isreal is a mitzvah. But at times criticism can cross the line into antisemitism. Anti-Zionists have a problem with antisemitism so guidelines against antisemitism prevent anti-Zionism from gaining a platform at Hillel. Examples of antisemitic anti-Zionism include:
    1. Alleging Jews control the media, economy, or government
    2. Claiming Jews exaggerate the Holocaust
    3. Alleging Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own nations
    4. Comparing contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis
    5. Claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
    This is the definition recognized by the U.S. Department of State: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/fs/2010/122352.htm
    To “delegitimize, demonize, or apply a double standard to Israel” is part of the definition of when criticism of Israel crosses the line into antisemitism. Nobody is claiming that you hold these views, but you seem to promote including people with these views at part of discourse at Hillel.

    • Why is number 3 anti-Semitism? I have had countless interesting conversations with Jewish friends regarding whether, if they had to serve in one army or the other, they would choose Israel or the United States. Many have chosen Israel, and they didn’t need to think very hard to come to that conclusion. Some of them have actually gone and done so (served in the Israeli army, and then returned to live full-time in America). If that is not demonstrating more “loyalty” to one nation than the other, I don’t know what is.

      I think it is true to say that anti-Semites often allege that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the United States. But that, in and of itself, does not amount to anti-Semitism. Because in many cases it is true. Maybe if they generalized to say all Jews feel that way? That would be trickier, and I wouldn’t feel as strongly that such an assertion is not anti-Semitic, but even then, I think they might simply be wrong — not anti-Semitic.

      To be clear, I don’t have any problem with any Jew’s primary allegiance being to Israel and I don’t have a problem with any Jew’s primary allegiance being to the USA — but the former category is real. Saying so is not anti-Semitic.

      • What about what I wrote is vicious and vile bigotry? I’m curious how, as a Jewish professional and involved member of the Jewish community, what I wrote is anti-Semitic.

        • Let’s start with this. You said:

          “Maybe if they generalized to say all Jews feel that way? That would be trickier, and I wouldn’t feel as strongly that such an assertion is not anti-Semitic, but even then, I think they might simply be wrong – not anti-Semitic.”

          So holding a vile opinion about Jews that has historically been the basis for calls to genocide might just be mistaken, not antisemitic.

          I’m sure that if someone said that all Arabs support terrorists and don’t want women to drive you would be the first to say that person was just incorrect, not racist in any way. Yeah right.

      • I use my real name when I post, because I try to maintain credibility and accountability in my posts. So I usually do not have long discussions with anonymous people. But as long as we keep in civil, I will try to answer.

        Hillel should be a haven for Jewish students from those with views that are racist, violent, or antisemitic. We may disagree whether groups the U.S. Department of State determines to put on a terrorist watch list are actually terrorists, as opposed to freedom fighters, legitimate resistance, etc. However I hope that we would agree, that it is advisable for Hillel to refuse to cosponsor or host those organizations. If the Department of State determines they are terrorists, that is sufficient. Similarly, we could discuss whether or not a view that the Department of State has determined to be an example of antisemitism, is actually prejudiced. I think it is still advisable for Hillel to exclude those whe promote views that the Department of State has detemined are examples of antisemitism.

        I have been trying to learn more about antisemitism, both historical and contemporary. On the subject of Israel and contemporary antisemitism, I recommend:
        The Resurgence of Anti-Semitism: Jews, Israel, and Liberal Opinion by Bernard Harrison.
        Antisemitism is a prejudice, a view that precedes evidence or rationality. It has emotional motivational power. It can be tempting to tap into the persuasive power of prejudice. This is said to underlie the “Southern strategy” of the Nixon Republican party. The idea was to come out for “State’s Rights” in opposition to civil rights law. Although not directly racist, it clearly appealed to the prejudice of southern whites. In the same way, “alleging Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own nations” may not be explicitly antisemitic when applied to a single individual, but when applied to Jews as a group, it taps into the historic antisemitic canard that Jewish citizens are disloyal to their nations because they are “different”. This view is recorded in the Book of Esther 3:8 when the antisemitic Haman describes the Jews to the Persian Emperor ‘There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from those of every people; neither keep they the king’s laws” This accusation of disloyalty is nothing new. Note that the criteria of whether a view is antisemitic is not dependent on the sentiments or intentions of the speaker, nor on the objective truth or falseness, or even the content of the claim, if antisemitic memes or images are used.

  4. David,

    You cannot compare yourself to Peter Beinart (try as you might). Beinart has been clear in his positions including Palestinian RoR, for some reason you are not. ONCE you do then… pretty much you can make that claim (if you reject RoR just as Beinart has).

  5. You haven’t been “barred”. They’ve chosen not to invite you to their space, which is completely different.

    It is entirely Hillel’s decision how they use their resources and their space, and they made the wise call in this case.

  6. If the situation was reversed, you can bet your bottom dollar that the author would not tolerate the expression of Zionists that he disagrees with.

    The BDS, which he supports, is for silencing through boycotts that hide its antisemitic purpose, which is apparent when looking at the behavior and words of its proponents.

  7. There are no ‘inherent challenges and contradictions’ regarding Israel’s being a democratic, Jewish state.

    The fact that you continue to insist on saying such a thing, along with your other writings, makes it no wonder that Santa Barbara Hillel draws the same conclusion that I, and many other actual Labor Zionists, do about you.

    Good on UCSB Hillel for rejecting the overtures of a BDS-embracing, obvious anti-Zionist activist like yourself, who only seeks to use his identity as a “Jewish educator” to push his anti-Israel agenda upon anybody willing to listen.

    Hillel won’t stamp your hate, but you still have many other venues to push your poison. Stop pretending that you are a victim of some sort of conspiracy, David.

  8. David, you push radical ZOG conspiracy theories, and then have the gall to wonder why a Hillel would ask a question or two about you? In my opinion, you got off easy. These are your own words, are they not?

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/02/04/1184647/-This-Is-Why-We-MUST-Talk-About-Israel

    “when the hawkish, “pro-Israel” lobby in America can influence our representatives to sound as if they – well – are representing Israel’s citizens more than our own?

    We have a problem. A problem that must be discussed openly and honestly.”

    Care to expand upon your ZOG conspiracy theories, David?

  9. The way the term antisemitism has been used by most in these responses has diluted it’s meaning and used as a tool to club the author. For me antisemitism implies hate, which is what is being directed at David. I wouldn’t debate with you either.

    • I don’t care enough about the author to ‘hate’ him. I do care about the hatred he enables and spreads towards the Jewish state and the Jewish people, however.

    • .

      @ Itche’

      Seems we share similar views, both about the dilution of anti-Semitism as a concept by its misuse and the motivation behind many of these comments.

      Unfortunately, many in this thread are representative of those who wield the term “anti-Semitism” as a political club meant to shut down dialogue and debate. In reality, they dilute and do damage to the concept, which represents a real and still very-dangerous prejudice.

      Not my kind of allies.

      • You are correct that some people overuse the term antisemitism as a means to shut down dialogue and debate. However, it is also true that some hard core opponents of Israel are, at times, far too dismissive of antisemitism when it rears its ugly head in the course of anti-Israel advocacy. You should be a little more careful not to fall into the latter category.

      • Just because one is not your ally, thankfully, does not translate to hating you.

        You can’t see that BDS is antisemitic, and YOU are on their list just like those who are not your allies.

        You enable antisemitism. So what would you choose to call yourself in that event?

    • Itche’

      Do you have any idea what hate is? I wonder because of your comment. It seems to include any disagreement.

  10. Ironic that Gorenberg, who you quoted, was at the Israel-Teach-In a few years ago and spoke about his support for a boycott of the West Bank (without critique).

    I know Rabbi Goodman and I am very skeptical that the ban came from him (as opposed to Hillel International). Not that the latter is any better, but this article paints Rabbi Goodman in an unfortunate light if it turns out his hands were tied by his organization.

    • Hi Mike, thanks so much for writing. I don’t think this post paints Rabbi Goodman in a bad light, it simply presents the facts as I understand them (and notes both how encouraged I was by his initial openness regarding the statement request and how he might have felt constrained by Hillel International).

      That said, I wish I would have gotten to speak with him personally, as was my wish. I would have a better idea as to why this happened. Unfortunately, such a conversation never took place.

  11. David, I guess it plain stinks to be exposed. Your support for BDS is well documented. Your empathy for a Palestinian bomber is well publicized. You claim to be a journalist, but your thisvevidence of your subjectivity brings that into question. All this paints you as intellectually dishonest.

  12. So you’re not allowed to speak at Hillel if you “apply a double standard to Israel?” Does that mean that if you say “It was wrong when South Africa did it, but it’s okay when Israel does it,” you can’t speak at Hillel?

    • No, if you say the later you are simply an idiot because Israel does not practice apartheid. Arab Israelis use the same hospitals, roads, and public facilities, shop at the same malls and stores, and receive the same (generous) government benefits as Jewish Israelis.

  13. David,

    You don’t need a forum to speak to Jews, you need more intensive therapy.

    You suffer from survivor guilt,

    • That’s quite the professional diagnosis. I assume your practice is thriving.

      If so, any openings?

  14. Jesus, David. These assholes follow you everywhere. It must get exhausting dealing with their lies and distortions.

    I would just like to take this opportunity to once again reaffirm how happy I am that fizziks and volleyboy1 (Jon) are banned from DailyKos.

    • Oh, and also, I wasn’t banned from there, I quit. And I quit because that site became infested by people like you, who can’t seem to get Gershon’s johnson out of your throats.

    • Umm Brady.. I GBCW’d I wasn’t banned… Speaking of lies….

      Now don’t you have a Ron Paul rally or something to attend?

  15. I have been called anti-semitic and a Nazi for saying that I support Palestine and do not support Israel’s occupation of Palestine. I’ve lost friends over this.

    I was born and raised Jewish, and I have lost any interest in the Jewish faith and culture for its way of censoring dissent and enforcing one absolute viewpoint. We should have learned from the Holocaust that this is absolutely not the way we should treat anyone with any perspective.

  16. The all-too-invoked “rabbis of the talmud” also recognized boundaries which would make someone a heretic and not engage in debate with those. Come on–how misleading do you have to be to make some claim that (1) we should all debate everything with everyone no matter hos disgusting their view is to us; and (2) that people like yourself will do so.

    I don’t know your political or religious beliefs, but would you allow Jewish (ant-Black) racists to speak at your event? Hillel has a name and standards associated with it. They don’t want it confused or tarnished. Part of Hille is standing with Israel–anything which threatens that existence is verboten. Obviously, they feel BDS does. That’s cool. It might even be more dangerous that a few terrorist attacks a year. Start your own campus organization that thinks BDS is a legitimate form of attack.

    And back to the topic, here’s what Hillel wanted you to write (I’m guessing here). “I do not support BDS and think it is the wrong decision for anyone to make. However, in terms of warfare, it is a more moral choice than violence or vandalism, so if the Palestinians and their partisan supporters were to relinquish violence and vandalism and utilize BDS as their weapon, they would be on morally firmer ground.” Now I’m not sure if I agree with that, but it’s the statement you might have been able to make to explain what it means that BDS is “legitimate.” In international law, BDS is similar to a blockade and probably still a form of warfare. I wouldn’t have used the word “legitimate” ever. At nay rate, I’m not sure you meant what I said–you probably mean that it’s legitimate and that means Hillel doesn’t want to associate with you. Sounds reasonable. I am sorry if the UCSB Hillel guy wasn’t very clear about what you needed to do or you were misled, but now that you understand I hope you can move on.

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