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On a brighter note, the Yale Daily News did publish an intelligent response to the eviction protest by two Jewish undergraduates who pointed out in an op-ed piece aptly titled “Evicting the Truth,” that the demolition of homes by Israel was not a policy of random sadism but an attempt to discourage terrorists from killing Jews — at random. Even these two defenders of Israel, however, couldn’t bring themselves to confront the reality of the SJP attack, which they described as “silly.” They concluded their argument on this note: “Yale has a long tradition of serious conversation and intelligent dialogue. The time has come for organizations like SJP to contribute meaningfully. Let’s have a real conversation; we’ll even bring the matzah.” Yes, by all means bring the matzah to sup with people who want to obliterate you.
For Yale Hillel’s self-abasing Jews, even sugarcoating your enemy’s venom (“counter-productive,” “hyperbolic,” “silly”) is an insufficient gesture of submission. You must also distance yourself from Jews who stand up to their enemies: “’We try to act constructively and respectfully on these issues, not divisively and hyperbolically,’” said Josh Kalla ’13, Israel Chair on the Hillel Board. Kalla noted that when the David Horowitz Center, a pro-settlement organization, published an incendiary full-page advertisement in the News, the [Joseph] Slifka Center [for Jewish Life at Yale] also published a full-page advertisement, criticizing the Horowitz Center’s approach to the debate.”
We never saw the Slifka Center advertisement that appeared in the Yale Daily News because it was available only in the print version of the paper. When my office called the Slifka Center and requested a copy of the ad from Steven Sitrin, its executive director, Sitrin barked into the phone, “We don’t have it,” and then, in as hostile a manner as he could muster, hung up the receiver.
As it happens, the director of Hillel for the Philadelphia region, Howard Alpert, has characterized the contents of our incendiary advertisement, which we called “The Palestinian Wall of Lies,” as “a factual reply to common anti-Israel propaganda.” For the Slifka Center and Yale Hillel a factual defense of the Jews in the Middle East is “incendiary” because it upsets the Israel-haters. But a campaign to portray the only existing Jewish state as an evil force that systematically demolishes the homes of innocents is not. It’s just “hyperbolic.”
In closing, it should be noted that the matzah overture, with which the two undergraduates concluded their op-ed, was not incidental. To conduct their malevolent attack on the Jews, Students for Justice in Palestine had chosen the precise week when Jews all over the world celebrate Passover, which is religious commemoration of their flight to freedom from slavery in Egypt.
Afterward: After failing to get the cooperation of Mr. Sitrin, we received a copy of the Slifka Center ad from the Yale Daily News. This is the response of Yale’s Jews to Palestinian anti-Semites at Yale: facts are hateful if they offend your enemies, have a talk with the Ground Zero Mosque Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.
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