Friday, December 17, 2010


Hillel, the world’s largest Jewish campus organization - with staff, funding and physical space on some 500 mostly US campuses - says it wants to create a “welcoming environment for Jewish students on campus by fostering students’ ability to incorporate Jewish tradition into their lives.”

Campus Hillel also stalwartly rejects the criticism and boycott of Israel advocated by ISM, JVP, BAWIB, ANSWER, SJP, and others of that ilk.

According to Hillel’s national director Wayne Firestone:
“Hillel welcomes, partners with, and aids the efforts of organizations, groups and speakers from diverse perspectives in support of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.” We firmly state, however, that “Hillel will not partner with, house or host organizations, groups or speakers that as a matter of policy or practice:

* Deny the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state with secure and recognized borders;

* Delegitimize, demonize or apply a double standard to Israel;

* Support boycott of, divestment from, or sanctions against the State of Israel;

* Exhibit a pattern of disruptive behavior toward campus events or guest speakers or foster an atmosphere of incivility.”

This forthrightness has outraged many who seek to subvert campus life.

Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb ("Renewal Movement", JVP, and fan of BDS) furiously objects to Hillel's guidelines, writing:

As a target of Hillel’s effort to silence dissent before selective divestment and BDS arose on the horizon as a tactic to end Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, and as someone who remembers when speaking to Palestinians was considered heresy, when supporting a two state solution was heresy, when protesting settlement expansion was heresy, when supporting Goldstone’s call for an investigation of Operation Cast Lead was considered heresy, it seems as if Hillel, once again, is failing to understand the positive contribution of nonviolent dissent to militarism and occupation to rabbinic and Jewish life.

By silencing dissent in broad and highly idiosyncratic language, Hillel is exiling thousands of young Jewish activists to life outside our own community. As for boycott, it has an honored place in Jewish life, especially when it is used to express non-cooperation with actions that are harmful to the public.

"Whoever is able to protest against the transgressions of his own family and does not do so is held responsible and liable for the transgressions of his family. Whoever is able to protest against the transgressions of the people of his community and does not do so is liable for the transgressions of his community. Whoever is able to protest against the transgressions of the entire world and does not do so is liable for the transgressions of the entire world. (Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 54b) R. Zera said to R. Simon: Did you rebuke those of the Exilarch’s house? He replied: they will not take it from me. R. Zera said: Even so, you should rebuke them. (Shabbat 55a and cf. Tanhuma Tazria parag. 9).

It has been further been taught: "It is forbidden to sell them weapons or accessories to weapons, nor should one sharpen weapons for them. One may not sell them blocks or neck-ands placed on prisoners or ropes or iron chains-neither to idolators (Romans) nor to Cuthites (a sect of Judaism). R. Nahman said in the name of Rabbah b. Avuha: Just as they ruled that it forbidden to sell (these items) to an idolator so is it forbidden to them to an Israelite who is suspected of selling them to an idolator (Roman). The rabbis taught: It is forbidden to sell them shields, but others say that shields may be sold to them. (They were used for decorative purposes) Said R. Nahman in the name of Rabba b. Avuha: The law agrees with the others. Yerushalmi 15b-16a The text describes a form of boycott in order to avoid cooperating with Roman military rule, even if one is making a profit. Noncooperation with acts that violate human rights in an ancient and honored form of religious action.

Finally, the Jewish American community supported the farmer workers’ boycott of grapes and the boycott of Nestle products because they believed in the universal principle of human rights which both boycotts supported. Why is selective divestment or other forms of consumer boycott different because it is directed at Israeli violations of human rights in the form of illegal land seizure?
Especially when these violations are being committed in our name? Rather than a form of delegitimization of Israel, the very act of protest by supporting selective divestment and public protest in the media and on the street is upholding the democracy that those who love Israel claim to cherish and promote.


Rabbi Gottlieb's response is remarkable several different ways.


The Devil is always able to quote scripture.
Consequently, it is no surprise that Ms. Gottlieb can find something in Talmud to bolster her position - so can Stormfront Netherlands, so can the usual gang of insane Jew-haters on the fringes of the internet.

The Talmud, we know, is a discourse. Wherefore one can find any number of counter-arguments to Ms. Gottlieb and almost anyone/anything else in it, and in the commentaries, and in Tosefta - Midrash - Mechilta - Pesikta etcetera.
But that is somewhat pointless.
The key here is the methodology - which in her case, as she ab initio seeks to undermine Hillel and support for Israel, rather than come to any actual understanding or grasp of principle, is entirely farkert.

What she did is the exact equivalent of the Papacy and Inquisition quoting Talmud. Not Talmud for Talmud's sake, but twisting Talmud for their own purposes.
The monks in Paris did the same visavis the Rambam.
So did yesterday's National Socialists and the Czar's secret police, and exactly so do today's twisted mental buttends of humanity on the far left and right.
I have done likewise to Marxist-Leninist crap.

That a purported 'rabbi' would seek to gut the very values in Hillel which she herself claims to profess is shocking. That she would be an accessory to the demonization of Israel is downright repulsive. And that she would wish that Hillel, often a sanctuary against the current hateful atmosphere on so many campi, should become victim to the very forces which demand the silence of Jews and friends of the only democratic state in the Mid-East on campus, is utterly appalling.

Yom Kippur must be a very interesting experience at 'chez Gottlieb'.
Assuming that it is in any way meaningful there.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That may just be the single worst interpretation of text that I have ever read by an adult! The initial distortion is provided by certain incorrect presumptions which are implied but not stated. One of those un-stated presumptions is the politically naive presumptions that the "Palestinians" don't have the intent to harm Jews for material gain, that being a "Palestinian State" in place of Israel. Since the "Palestinians" intent is on a national scale, it becomes "politics" not simple robbery. It is rather easy discern the intent or political will of the "Palestinians as they are quite open about it and have expressed the same intent in recent polling. So the idea that it is forbidden to sell weapons, even to an Israelite, if the recipient's intent is to do evil is one idea but of course, the Talmud recognizes the need for self defense on occasions. Simply, incorrect presumptions have lead to incorrect conclusions. Let's ask other questions of Jewish law,"what if a person holds themselves out to the public as a "Rabbi" but their scholarship is weak, and their judgment flawed if not tainted?" "If a person who holds themselves out as a "Rabbi", becomes allied with the avowed enemies of Israel and the Jewish people,then what?"