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December 8, 2014 12:27 pm

Open Hillel Outed as ‘Vessel for BDS Agenda’ by Former Campus Co-ordinator

avatar by Ben Cohen

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Attendees at a recent 'Open Hillel' conference. Photo: Twitter

Back in October, Holly Bicerano, a Jewish student at Boston University, penned an article for the Times of Israel entitled “Why Hillel Should Welcome Anti-Zionists and BDS Backers.” Extolling the virtues of a group calling itself “Open Hillel” – a moniker adopted in protest at the refusal of the official Hillel student organization to host speakers at its events who advocate the elimination of the State of Israel – Bicerano wrote that excluding such organizations and individuals “would be a serious mistake…Doing so will only serve to divide the community.”

Two months later, however, Bicerano has undergone a dramatic change of heart.

In a fresh piece for the Times of Israel, Bicerano, who served as Campus Outreach Co-ordinator for Open Hillel, said that the organization “has something else in mind” other than its stated goals of “open dialogue and inclusiveness.”

“The people who claim that Open Hillel’s main objective is to garner support for the BDS movement may not realize just how right they are,” Bicerano asserted.

Bicerano said that while Open Hillel zealously insists on tolerance for the BDS movement, “many Open Hillel leaders are intolerant of pro-Israel voices that they dislike.”

Bicerano discovered this fact when she invited Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor and the author of “Night,” the classic account of his incarceration in the Nazi Auschwitz concentration camp, to a recent Open Hillel conference.

Shockingly, Bicerano recalled that her Open Hillel comrades “took this as an opportunity to demonize and reject him. They felt that they could not make their point without resorting to name-calling and using curse words against Wiesel.”

Bicerano also recounted that Open Hillel’s attempts to address the issue of “anti-normalization” – an anodyne term used by pro-Palestinian activists to harass and marginalize pro-Israel students – consisted of inviting two members of the violently anti-Semitic hate group, Students for Justice in Palestine, to address Open Hillel supporters.

“By presenting the topic from only this ideological standpoint, the committee actually indoctrinated people to hate Israel, rather offering a balance of views – from which people could decide for themselves what to believe,” Bicerano wrote.

Most damningly, Bicerano stated that “Open Hillel has become a vessel for the BDS agenda.”

“It is hard to feel bad for a group that complains of being alienated when they have joined forces with those who make campuses hostile to many Jewish students,” she wrote. “Moreover, it is pretty clear that empowering these groups in a major Jewish institution like Hillel would estrange many more people.”

Bicerano also voiced criticism of Safe Hillel, a Zionist group that has protested the involvement of left-wing Jewish groups like J Street, which opposes sanctions on Iran and supports targeted boycotts of Jewish communities in the West Bank, for creating “similar problems.” Both Safe Hillel and Open Hillel, she said, “have cultivated animosities in the Jewish community.”

Daniel Mael, a Jewish senior at Brandeis University who has been active in combating anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic agitation on American campuses, welcomed Bicerano’s revelations about Open Hillel.

“After attending multiple sessions at the Open Hillel conference I find Holly’s revelations entirely on par with what I observed,” Mael told The Algemeiner. “The Open Hillel  movement is infested with hatred, vitriol and a desire to destroy the organized Jewish community.”

Mael said that Open Hillel is led by extremists who “would like nothing more than to see the end of Israel.” Rejecting Open Hillel’s description of itself as a liberal group, Mael said that “there is nothing liberal about them. They are leftist ideologues unwilling to engage in critical thinking.”

“Perhaps they have been dishonest in order to fit in with their colleagues at J Street,” Mael speculated.

Bicerano’s article is the second time in recent weeks that Open Hillel has been exposed for dishonest tactics and rhetoric. In November, Daniel Blinderman, an Open Hillel activist, was fired from his job with the American Jewish Committee after attempting to leak the details of a private call with Hillel International President Eric Fingerhut to his comrades.

“As your resident inside person, it will be my pleasure to listen in on the call, and pass along any and all things of relevance Fingerhut says,” Blinderman wrote in an email to Open Hillel activists.

It is not clear whether the American Jewish Committee was aware of Blinderman’s Open Hillel affiliation before hiring him.

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  • Baba

    For my part, any group that would embrace the BDS would automatically come under the assumption of being anti-Israel and anti-Semitic, irregardless of the blah blah intent that they state.

    This organization is well known for spreading lies and damaging innuendo against Israel. They threaten and promote hatred towards the Jew, Zionist or not.

    It’s great that Bicerano “woke up”, but the damage had already been done. The anti-semitism now is far worse than WWII. It was confined mostly to Germany during the war, but today everything turns global, so a new Holocaust could very well happen because of the BDS and other hate groups. She should never have supported them in the first place.

  • DockyWocky

    Self hating,liberal-minded Jews must have been a problem since the Exodus, maybe before, but they are definitely more noticeable today as Israel is in real danger of obliteration by the Iranian Bomb assisted by the presence of millions of leftover primitive savages right amongst the Israeli populace.

    There must have been loads of them in Germany in the early days of Hitler and his Nazi cohorts.

    After that, there were damn few of them.

    • fred baumann

      No; there weren’t. There was a very small group of very right wing Jews under the leadership of a guy called Naumann who were thought to be pro-Nazi. However blind the German Jews were to what would happen, they weren’t for the most making excuses for the Jew-haters.

  • Richard Kirschenbaum

    It might surprise many of you that the first campus to have a Hillel was Texas A&M in 1920.

  • Robert Davis

    Antisemlite jews are probably the worse antisemites since they hate themselves more than any antisemite would hate jews! They are probably right to hate themselves but then they have no realties ties to Israel or judaism. They are sheer beasts,cupid,vile,traitors, double faced,arrogant and stupid! They are right to hate themselves!

  • Steven U Teitelbaum

    With committed Activists to allow them into the fold is a recipe for destruction. The only participants should be those whose purpose is true and in keeping with the goals of the Jewish people. Never forget Am Chai Yisroel

  • steven L

    Open-Hillel is the student version of J street. The left, failing to convert the college students, is now targeting high and low schools!!!!

  • Efram

    It is just the same as the so-called ‘messianic Jewish’ movement, which is nothing but a stealth way of converting Jews. Open Hillel is a terrorist supporting organization, with no desire whatsoever to be open to anything but radical Islam.

  • Ivan Gur-Arie

    Too bad that those liberal progressive Jews, and in that I stretch the meaning of the word Jew, missed the opportunity of going to Auschwitz, Dachau or Sobibor. I think they would have found new meaning in the term Jew. They are a bunch of self centered, loutish, spoiled brats, who have swallowed the Marxist anti semitism hook line and sinker. My wish for them is that they go into the wide world and see how others accept cowardly assimilationists.

  • Lorelei

    Wow, she has just find this out? What a moron!

  • It is good that Open Hillel has been exposed, but the criticism of Safe Hillel which opposes J Street is silly.
    J Street, Open Hillel and Students for Justice in Palestine all want the same for Israel……
    for the Jewish State to be destroyed.
    J Street is the enemy…..disguised as a friend.

  • David

    Are we to actually believe Bicerano didn’t know Open Hillel wasn’t “infested with hatred, vitriol and a desire to destroy the organized Jewish community” before she joined? What’s next? Are we supposed to believe that the Judenrat didn’t know where all those Jews were disappearing to when they turned them over to the Germans?

  • Mandrake

    Do not contribute to Open Hillel, Safe Hillel & J Street!


    It is time for besieged pro-Israel students to demonstrate “No Tolerance” for Jew-haters, such as JStreet, Open Hillel and SJIP. The haters are waging Total War seeking the elimination of Israel and the voices in support of Israel. The truth is that Israel has been super-tolerant of the Islamo-fascists who besiege it from without and within.
    Given that the Palestinian leadership have historically been allies of the Nazis and contributed and encouraged the perpetration of the Holocaust [Google: Haj Amin al-Husseini] and the main Palestinian groups declare in their written charters the goal of exterminating Jews, the pro-Israel students must react to the Islamo-fascists on and off campus with demonstrations of “power”–that is no tolerance for their hate speech, no venue for their hate speech, administrative and university action to ban these groups and expel their leadership.

  • Steven Kalka

    If I were a college student today, I wouldn’t want to sit at the same table with open advocates of BDS at a Hillel event. What woukd I have in common with them? Who is kidding who?

  • Michael Garfinkel

    The increasingly stressful environment in which the Jews find themselves – in someways reminiscent of the Thirties- is already evidenced in the terrible strains appearing in fabric of the Jewish community.

    One particularly distasteful symptom is the large number of younger Jews, several generations divorced from Judaism and even the secular Yiddishkeit or an earlier period – who are taking up the cause of the enemy.

    They are willing traitors, and they see no downside to their treachery.