Jewish Educational Institutions Need to Stop Apologizing for Being Pro-Israel



This time it’s Ramaz. Last time it was Hillel. The problem is the same. The anti-Israel side demands the right to use a Jewish educational forum as a platform for pushing for the demonization, boycott and destruction of Israel in order to offer a different perspective… while the Jewish pro-Israel side is reduced to stammering apologetics.

Ramaz High School’s student-run politics society issued an invitation to Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University, but the talk was cancelled by Ramaz’s head of school, Paul Shaviv. Some students and alumni of Ramaz are protesting the school’s decision.

So the Ramar High School’s politics society is rotten enough that it wants to promote Khalidi who has defended Hamas.

That’s not surprising because the students who tend to run these things are well to the left. A close look at Ramaz also reveals the unfortunate state of Modern Orthodoxy and its coming ‘Conservatization’ but that’s a topic for another time and place. Suffice it to say that the Khalidi groupies will drop out of even maintaining the pretense of being Orthodox Jews in college at which point, like Noah Feldman, they will only mention their past in order to bash it.

That is unless they’re so talentless that their only option is a gig of community organizing Orthodox Jews at Uri L’Tzedek or pretending to be an Orthodox Rabbi at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah which puts the Liberation Theology in Judaism. But that’s also a topic for another time and place.

Ramaz did the right thing, but couldn’t articulate why.

In a statement issued to JTA on Friday, Shaviv said he was working with students to “navigate a delicate political situation, respecting their wish for open exchange of ideas, but also being mindful of multiple sensitivities within our varied school constituencies.”

The statement from Ramaz said, “The issue is not whether or not students should hear another view – they should. Our question was: ‘Is this the appropriate program?’”

The school’s administration said it believed the controversy surrounding an appearance by Khalidi would “massively overshadow any conversation and would make an educational experience impossible,” and that Khalidi was not the right partner for dialogue with high school students.

Here’s another way to phrase that.

The KKK has the right to  its viewpoint. The NAACP conference is not the first place for it.

The right forum for the president of the Dog-Eaters Society is not the Westminster Dog Show.

A Jewish school is not the right place for an opponent of Israel. There are people who disagree and they don’t belong in that school. It’s that simple.

If Ramaz doesn’t stand for not destroying Israel, then really what does it stand for? If those parents want an educational experience that includes the pro-destroying Israel side, no matter how cleverly that side disguises its rhetoric, then there’s a nice Quaker group opening a BDS summer camp. They should go.

Why does Ramaz feel the need to apologize for not offering the anti-Israel view? Why should it feel obligated to offer such a thing in the first place?

If Shaviv had made his point cleanly and simply, the bloodletting wouldn’t have continued with a petition and a debate that centers over presenting viewpoints.

  • Martin Ingall

    You state: Jewish educational institutions need to stop apologizing for being pro-Israel. Twelve years ago the largest Schechter school in the United States invited Helen Thomas to address the students. She did. There was no protest, no objections, zip. Now we have Rashid Khalidi invited to a school under the orthodox umbrella. So let’s alter our approach, with this question: Which Jewish educational institutions are pro-Israel enough to proudly assert why a Khalidi-type is not welcome in the school?

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Those that will still be around 20 years from now

    • walt kovacs

      nothing to do with being or not being pro israel

      soneh yisrael should not be invited to any jewish institution

      i do not regard the schechter school as being jewish as the reform deny the divinity of torah

  • truebearing

    Political correctness is the anti-dote to survival.

  • nopeacenow

    I am waiting for Jewish institutions and organization to apologize for being anti-Israel. They are promoting the destruction of another 6 million Jews.

  • walt kovacs

    there really isnt much more to add, except to note that there is something seriously wrong with ramaz, its acceptance policies and its refusal to listen to torah authorities regarding it’s methods

  • Pragmatism

    I disagree. If the kkk dares to speak at NAACP and try to defend its case promoting racism, why not let them? Why so much fear? An invitation to speak is not in any way an endorsement. It is an opportunity for our Israel loving youth to hear the other side and strengthen their ties to the land. This understandable fear should be challenged as it can only breed weakness.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      If the NAACP wants to invite the KKK for amusement value, it can. But it’s under no obligation to do so.

      This isn’t a debate of ideas. Everyone knows what the other side things.

      It’s the left’s sense of entitlement that leads it to think it has the right to a forum without providing one in return.