Hillel leaders apologize for decision to ‘postpone’ Israeli deputy minister’s Princeton talk


(JNS.org) The leader of Hillel International and Princeton University’s Hillel branch issued an apology for scrapping a Nov. 6 speech by Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

“Unfortunately, we did not treat the Israeli deputy foreign minister with the respect that her office deserves, and postponed the event,” Eric Fingerhut, president and CEO of Hillel International, and Rabbi Julie Roth, executive director of the Center for Jewish Life at Princeton, wrote in an op-ed for The Jerusalem Post that was published Nov. 7. 

The Hillel leaders wrote that the event had not been properly reviewed by the Princeton Hillel’s Israel Advisory Committee, which reviews and facilitates all Israel-related programming at the school.

“To be clear: This was not a good enough reason to postpone the event, and for that mistake, we apologize,” they wrote.

Hillel’s move came after a consortium of left-wing Jewish groups at Princeton, called the Alliance of Jewish Progressives, criticized the Israeli deputy minister for what they described as “racist” views. Hotovely is a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party. 

Fingerhut and Roth admitted that Princeton Hillel “should have engaged a broader range of students in this program from the beginning rather than right before the event, and we should have made a stronger case within our campus community that the event should go forward as planned.”

“This is an isolated incident—and Hillel International stands squarely behind the value of hearing from the Jewish state’s elected leaders,” they wrote.

Despite Hillel’s decision, the event went on as planned after Chabad agreed to sponsor it. 

Posted on November 8, 2017 .