The organizational fish rots from the head.
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
In November of last year, members of the University of North Carolina’s Hillel, J Street U and Heels for Israel voted on an “official” pro-Israel position document. The document, though it was meant to set out a “united declaration of principles”, is almost impossible to find online.
And with good reason. It was as pro-Israel as Kentucky Fried Chicken is pro-chicken.
Hillel, J Street U and Heels for Israel don’t represent any kind of pro-Israel position.
J Street is an anti-Israel hate group. Brooke Davies, the president of J-Street UNC-CH, has a social media feed brimming with support for other anti-Israel groups, including T’ruah and B’Tselem, and hatred for the Jewish State and her supporters. Davies even spitefully accused comedian Elon Gold of being a "hasbara mouthpiece".
Hillel’s “Senior Jewish Educator”, Jenny Solomon is active in T’ruah. Her husband, Eric Solomon, is on T’ruah’s board. The North Carolina Hillel hired Jenny Solomon in June of last year. Next month, the anti-Israel couple led a T’ruah trip linked to BDS.
And Heels for Israel? It describes itself as “Working to collaborate with organizations like UNC Hillel and JStreetU”. J Street U defines itself as fighting against the “Occupation” by Jews of their own homeland.
If you collaborate with a group fighting Israel and Jews, what does that make you?
The unified policy insisted on confining Israel behind the ’48 Auschwitz borders, it demanded a PLO capital in East Jerusalem and condemned Jews living in “Settlements” in ’67 Israel. Its glossary described BDS in terms both negative and positive. And linked to a site supportive of BDS. It blasted Jews living in areas claimed by the PLO and Hamas as “a threat to the viability of the two-state solution.”
The signatories included the J Street leadership, the two Heels for Israel Campus co-liaisons, and Hillel's leadership, Noa Havivi, Hillel co-president, Shira Chandler, the other co-president and Daniel Barondes, the Hillel Israel Chair.
The policy was pure J Street U. Its argument that the best way to fight BDS was to create distance from Israel by being critical of her policies embodied the divide and conquer attack that the anti-Israel hate group had launched to further eat away at support for the Jewish State.
Hillel’s Executive Director Ari Gauss disavowed the policy. But its existence was the symptom of a deeper rot.
That’s usually the way it goes at Hillel.
Hillel had co-sponsored an appearance by Yavilah McCoy with the Black Student Movement. At UNC, as at so many other colleges, the list of Black Nationalist demands had included BDS against the Jewish State. McCoy, a diversity consultant, had been unsympathetic when the racist hate group Black Lives Matter had added an attack on the Jewish State to their platform.
Yavilah McCoy is associated with the radical left-wing group Bend the Arc. Bend the Arc’s CEO Stosh Cotler, a former sex club dancer turned anti-Israel activist, had called for prosecuting Israeli soldiers for war crimes. Despite that Hillel International provided Cotler with a platform. When Black Lives Matter took its hateful position, Cotler’s statement appeared to curiously echo McCoy’s language.
Cotler blamed the Black Lives Matter attack in part on, “the invisibilization of Jews of Color within the Jewish community and progressive movement”. McCoy in the past had said, “When Jews accepted a white identity in America, they participated in sustaining white supremacy.”
Hillel had brought Yavillah McCoy to college campuses to preach her gospel of intersectionality. But UNC’s Black Student Movement had attempted to co-sponsor an appearance by Rania Khalek with Students for Justice in Palestine. Khalek has a long history of hating Jews and attacking Israel.
While students come and go, UNC Hillel has maintained a policy of collaborating with hate groups such as the Muslim Students’ Association and J Street.
Under Ari Gauss, Hillel brought in Ari Shavit. Gauss hosted Shavit’s appearance. Shavit, a leftist critic of Israel, was not being sponsored by J Street by then because of allegations of sexual harassment. But what wasn’t even good enough for J Street was still acceptable at Hillel.
UNC Hillel “proudly” hosted the Parents Circle Families Forum (PCFF). Despite its misleading name and branding, PCCF is an anti-Israel group. Parents of Israeli terror victims have accused PCCF of stigmatizing them and using grief to push anti-Israel propaganda. The group has even been linked to BDS movements.
When Muslim terrorism broke out in Israel, J Street used Hillel to host Lara Friedman of Peace Now, an anti-Israel group, which blamed the violence on the “settlements”. Friedman violently hates Israel. A typical article is headlined, “Israeli Occupation Is Poisoning America’s Democracy”. She and Peace Now have been fighting against legislation that would prevent BDS.
Lara Friedman has attacked Israel everywhere from the UN to UNC. We don’t expect much from the UN. Jewish parents of Hillel students expect more from UNC Hillel. UNC Hillel promoted Tea With Tagouri which was hosted by the UNC Muslim Students Association. Hillel did not seem concerned by Noor Tagouri’s hostility to Israel. And that is sadly typical.
Like Sherlock Holmes’ dog that did not bark, what is just as apparent at Hillel as the anti-Israel speakers is the lack of pro-Israel speakers. It’s not hard to see where the policy position came from.
And it’s not just Hillel in North Carolina.
When the Hillel International General Assembly invites Stosh Cotler, T’ruah’s Jill Jacobs and Eboo Patel, the situation at the local Hillel becomes all too inevitable. Hillel is more concerned with social justice than Jewish civil rights, with intersectionality rather than anti-Semitism and with progressive politics not Israel. That is why it is eager to collaborate with the Black Student Movement and the Muslim Students Association.
It is becoming increasingly impossible for Jews to reconcile their religion and their peoplehood with the politics of the left. That tension can be seen throughout the secular Jewish world. Intersectionality is inherently anti-Semitic. Its inevitable conclusion is that Jews have no right to exist.
In Israel, Jews are occupying colonists. In America they, in Yavillah McCoy’s words, “accepted a white identity” and so can be accused of being white supremacists. Everywhere Jews are the oppressors.
This is the old genocidal anti-Semitism of the left rearing its ugly head again. And Jewish leftists are eager to host it and sponsor it. They act as human shields against accusations of anti-Semitism. They put on a minstrel show Jewishness that is heavy on mock stereotypical expressions of “Oy” by leftists whose knowledge of Yiddish and Jewish identity begins and ends with an uncomfortable noise.
Hillel, like so much of the Jewish organizational infrastructure, has its head devoutly inclined not toward Jerusalem, but to the mecca of the left. Its tainted agenda taints the students it comes into contact with. That is true in North Carolina. But it’s also tragically true across the United States of America.