Open Hillel rejects censorship and stands with Princeton students calling for open discourse

Nov. 7, 2017-- On Sunday, the Princeton Center for Jewish Life (CJL) chose to postpone a talk by MK Tzipi Hotovely. In response, many leading Jewish commentators have decried censorship and called for open discourse in the Jewish community on college campuses.

In fact, Jewish students at Princeton and around the country have been fighting for open discourse in the Jewish community for at least five years. Princeton CJL and Hillel International’s censorship policies have censored countless student initiated speakers and events, including feminist activist Penny Rosenwasser, Israeli filmmaker Shimon Dotan, and most recently the Israeli anti-occupation group Breaking the Silence.

Earlier this week, Princeton’s Alliance of Jewish Progressives pointed out that although Hillel leaders at Princeton and nationally have claimed that these standards are intended to bar offensive or racist speakers and events, in reality they were just being used to shut down progressive voices. Princeton AJP did not intend to censor MK Tzipi Hotovely or cancel the event, but rather to point out the hypocrisy of Hillel’s selective application of their Israel standards.

CJL derived these standards from Hillel International’s Standards of Partnership for Israel Activities, which has been applied by Hillel donors and board members countless times to censor students, speakers and events on college campuses across the country. Just as Open Hillel opposes the Standards of Partnership and its censorship of student voices, so do we oppose the censorship of MK Tzipi Hotovely.

Open Hillel invites all those who oppose the barring of MK Hotovely, and who value free speech, democracy and open discourse, to be consistent in their stance against censorship and join us in our call to end the Standards of Partnership.

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