Hillel CEO tells Swarthmore it must abide by Israel guidelines to use umbrella’s name

(JNS.org) Eric Fingerhut, president and CEO of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, wrote a letter to Hillel’s Swarthmore College chapter criticizing the decision by its student board to disavow the Jewish campus umbrella’s guidelines forbidding engagement with groups or speakers that “delegitimize, demonize or apply a double standard to Israel.”

Swarthmore College. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

“I hope you will inform your colleagues on the Student Board of Swarthmore Hillel that Hillel International expects all campus organizations that use the Hillel name to adhere to these guidelines. No organization that uses the Hillel name may choose to do otherwise,” Fingerhut wrote.

Fingerhut had told JNS.org last month, “There’s no question that Hillel loves Israel, Hillel is a pro-Israel organization, Hillel is about building Jewish identity… and at the core of Jewish identity is that Israel is the home of the Jewish people.” 

The student board resolution, passed Sunday, said Swarthmore Hillel would “host and partner with any speaker at the discretion of the board, regardless of Hillel International’s Israel guidelines.” Swarthmore Hillel is aligning itself with the relatively new movement called “Open Hillel,” which calls for “inclusivity and open discourse at campus Hillels,” the Forward reported.

A report by NGO Monitor has shown a close relationship between the “Open Hillel” movement and Jewish Voice for Peace, a group that openly supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. 

“Open Hillel has become a willing participant in the strategic effort by anti-Israel activists to split Jews over Israel. It is the old stratagem of divide and conquer,” said Yitzhak Santis, NGO Monitor’s chief programs officer.

Posted on December 10, 2013 .