Swarthmore Jewish students break with Hillel policies

Dec 15, 2013 by

Jewish students at Swarthmore College have become the first in the nation to break with the global student association Hillel and agree to open their doors to groups and speakers who do not support Israel.

The Swarthmore student board unanimously voted to renounce Hillel International’s restrictions, which bar chapters from sponsoring events, hosting speakers, or partnering with groups that oppose Israel’s right to exist or support a movement for universities to end investments in Israel because of its policies toward the Palestinians.

Students at the liberal Quaker college say they wanted to start a dialogue on Israel-Palestinian issues by holding joint events or inviting speakers who may have differing opinions about Israel.

“We felt like we needed to stand up for what we believe and the values we’ve always held,” said Joshua Wolfsun, a board member of the 100-student group.

Wolfsun said the entire board supported the resolution, though only seven of the 13 members were present for the vote Sunday.

The issue of whether Jewish student groups on U.S. campuses should be engaged with groups and speakers critical of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians has been building since 2010, when Hillel International issued its new policy.

The move then was largely a response to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which supports university divestment and has been gaining support on American campuses.

via Swarthmore Jewish students break with Hillel policies – Philly.com.

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