Our community has seen astonishing shifts around what kind of conversation is “allowed” when we talk about Israel. Last month, over 300 students gathered at the first ever J Street U Student Town Hall to discuss this shifting landscape. We invited Eric Fingerhut, Hillel International’s CEO, to join us. Though he originally committed to attending, he canceled due to scheduling issues.
Students here and across the Jewish world are fighting for an honest conversation about the Green Line, the armistice line that serves as the basis for any talks between the Israelis and Palestinians. If we bury our heads in the sand, we become all the more vulnerable to Israel’s real enemies.
J Street U student leaders across the country have all had “the conversation.” It’s the moment when your Hillel director calls you into her office and tells you like it is: “If I support the work you’re doing around Israel, we could lose a major funder. It’s either you or $50,000 that will benefit all your peers.”
Centrist players now calling for more open, critical approach to teaching about Jewish state.
Two years ago, when the Gaza war began, Moriel Rothman felt caught in the middle.
Then a sophomore at Middlebury College, he was distressed by what he saw as the “disproportionate” number of Palestinians killed.
“The statements coming from Israel advocacy groups weren’t resonating for me,” he recalled. At the same time, the pro-Palestinian rhetoric was “falling flat,” with its claims that Israel was deliberately targeting civilians.
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