Outside The Pale
Tue, 12/31/2013

Jacob Plitman, in his Opinion piece, “Hillel And Its Donors Repress Real Conversation” (Dec. 20), rests his
argument against Hillel’s policy denying anti-Zionist speakers a Hillel
campus platform on pressure from donors. It goes way beyond that.

I agree
with Hillel and it has nothing to do with money. As an example, while I
personally do not agree with many of J Street’s positions, J Street supports
the State of Israel and, of course, should be welcome on campus. Hillel
should encourage the entire spectrum of discussion regarding the policies and
priorities of the Israeli government, but only among those who begin with the
premise that Israel has a right to exist. Speakers and organizations who
consider Israel, by definition, to be a racist state or do not believe that
Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish state fall outside the pale.

Hillel
would not invite a Holocaust denier to speak, or, I hope, a racist who
preaches that all Muslims are terrorists. Hillel is an institution that
stands for certain values, among them encouraging students to develop and
deepen their connection to the Jewish state. Freedom of speech generally
does not mean that institutions must grant a microphone to any speaker, no
matter how offensive the speech. Granting a platform mean granting
legitimacy, and some views aren’t legitimate, including advancing the goal of
wiping Israel from the map.

Senior Rabbi, Temple Sinai, Roslyn, L.I.

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