The Evolving Story
I have been told that the Jewish student groups at Princeton, including Hillel, have behaved in a characteristically cowardly and opportunistic way in the matter of canceling Nonie Darwish’s speech. This problem exists on almost every campus in the Western world. The liberal Jews want very much to work with and to please/appease the more left-wing Jews as well as the Muslim students, including various Islamist imams on campus. Thus, they are the first to exclude, cancel, limit, or denounce speakers who do not toe the Party Line.
Based on a conversation with a reliable source whom I will not name, I have now learned that the Director of Hillel, a rabbi, as well as the Jewish group “Tigers for Israel,” literally conspired with the Muslim chaplain on campus to cancel Darwish at the last moment. Perhaps the Hillel rabbi values her interfaith dialogue far more than she values the right to intellectual diversity on an American campus. The Jewish groups (and a student Democratic group as well) had apparently all agreed to sponsor Darwish. But then, the Muslim chaplain allegedly described Darwish, falsely, as the equivalent of a “neo-Nazi.”
That is when everything began to fall apart.
Suddenly, at the last moment, the invitation was withdrawn, the room reservation canceled. Student Rafi Grinberg (with whom I have not yet spoken) tried to find another room—only to discover that the Jews had already canceled Darwish’s security arrangements. The Republican students still backed her speech. Finally, as Darwish sat at a café in New York City awaiting news of her fate at Princeton, Grinberg considered renting the Nassau Inn—right across the street. For a number of reasons, this was ultimately rejected as too ironic, too bizarre an option.
Carolyn Glick, writing about the disquieting relationship between some American Jewish organizations and the needs of the Jewish state, notes a similar problem with Hillel. She writes:
“Take UC Berkeley’s Hillel center, for example. Since Ken Kramarz, Hillel’s regional director for Northern California, started his job in June 2007, Berkeley’s Hillel has adopted a hostile view towards Judaism and Israel. As pro-Israel community activist Natan Nestel notes, in the past year alone, Hillel held a dance party on Yom Hashoah, and it held a Cinco de Mayo barbecue on Remembrance Day for Fallen IDF Soldiers. It has also failed to hold community Seders for the past two years. Instead, last year, its members hung signs in the Hillel building declaring, “Matza sucks.”
Beyond its derogatory treatment of Jewish and Israeli holidays, Berkeley’s Hillel has allowed an extremist group called Students for Justice for Palestine to participate in its organizational meetings.”
In 2003-2004, I began receiving emails from professors from all across America. They had just read my (then) new book The New Anti-Semitism and wanted to tell me how fearful they were of stating the truth about Israel and about anti-Semitism on their campuses lest they lose their funding, connections–maybe even their positions. I tried to interest several mainstream newspapers in telling this story way back then; indeed, one reporter at a major newspaper tried to do this story only to be stopped “at higher levels.”
What are all the large American Jewish organizations (the ADL, the AJCommittee, the UJA immediately come to mind) doing about the campus situation? Why is the very liberal Hillel in sole charge of the Jews on campus? (At least, that’s how Hillel sees it). Why is this problem only being dealt with by brave, independent, Jewish grassroots groups with 1/100th, maybe 1/1000th of their funding? Why is this problem seen as only a Jewish problem?
They always come for the Jews first but everyone else is right behind. The world did not stop the airplane hijackings, synagogue attacks, and suicide bombings when Palestinian terrorists targeted only Jews and Israelis. Thus, the world soon inherited the whirlwind.
As I’ve written many times before: Now, we are all Israelis.
Originally published here: https://pajamasmedia.com/phyllischesler/2009/11/19/princeton-columbia-cancel-free-speech-darwish-silenced/