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February 19, 2014 2:49 pm

Vassar College Jewish Union Breaks From Hillel’s Israel Guidelines

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Vassar College. Photo: Wiki Commons.

JNS.orgThe Vassar College Jewish Union officially called itself an “Open Hillel” on Tuesday, disassociating itself from the Jewish campus umbrella’s guidelines on Israel. The Hillel International-affiliated institution is the second campus organization to do so, following Swarthmore Hillel.

Hillel’s official guidelines state that the organization will not “partner with, house or host organizations, groups or speakers that delegitimize, demonize or apply a double standard to Israel.” The “Open Hillel” campaign was recently founded by students who say they feel excluded from Hillel because they believe their criticism of Israel is not accepted.

“The mission statement of the Vassar Jewish Union calls on us to commit to strengthening our pluralistic Jewish community. We recognize that identification with Israel is not necessarily an integral part of every individual’s Jewish identity. We commit to providing a spiritual and cultural home for Jewish expression in any form,” the Vassar Jewish Union said in a statement.

“VJU will support individual members’ expressions of their own political views, and will seek to represent this diversity with its programming. We welcome open discourse concerning Israel, Palestine, and any other relevant and critical issues, and will not exclude on the basis of political opinion,” the statement added.

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