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November 15, 2016 4:29 pm

Cancellation of Journalist’s Lecture at U of Texas Spurs Zionist Students to Reject, Break Away From ‘Liberal Jewish Monopoly’ on Views About Israel

avatar by Lea Speyer and Rachel Frommer

University of Texas at Austin campus. Photo: UT Austin.

University of Texas at Austin campus. Photo: UT Austin.

The cancellation of a Tuesday event featuring conservative Israeli-American journalist Caroline Glick has led pro-Israel students at the University of Texas at Austin to take action against what they say is a liberal Jewish “monopoly” on views permitted to be voiced about the Jewish state, The Algemeiner has learned.

“I’m sick and tired of having my voice stifled by [Jewish groups] Hillel, Texans for Israel (TFI) and AIPAC,” said David Palla, a former member of TFI who is spearheading a breakaway group to counteract a “radical change in Israel advocacy messaging on campus,” following the merger of TFI with a burgeoning chapter on campus of the left-wing organization J Street — under the auspices of Hillel.

According to Palla, this partnership resulted in a map of the state of Israel being removed from TFI’s logo.

Though TFI president Jenna Conwisar declined to speak with The Algemeiner, Glick responded by lauding Palla’s effort. 

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“I think it’s wonderful that these students are taking on this initiative and have decided they have been ill-served and betrayed by their leaders, who are supposed to be the ones to ensure they can be safely and proudly Zionist on campus,” she said. “They are now stepping up to the plate and demanding their freedom to learn, and showing they are proud to be Jews and unapologetic Zionists.”

The American-Israeli author, most recently, of The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East, added, “Students at UT Austin have been denied the basic freedom of thought, assembly and speech. I am being denied my freedom of speech. For many years, I have been warning about the enfeeblement of the American Jewish community and the changing sides of American Jewish leadership, many of whom have shown they are not capable of standing with Israel. Campus organizations at UT Austin must be called into account.”

Before and after of the Texans for Israel logo, following J Street merger. Photos: Facebook.

Before and after images showing the Texans for Israel logo, following the J Street merger. Photos: Facebook.

Rabbi Moshe Trepp, a Jewish life educator at UT Austin’s Hillel and a leading coordinator of the now scrapped Glick lecture, told The Algemeiner that he also supports Palla’s initiative.

“Those who are unaffiliated with any other group are hoping to come together under a framework where they will not be bullied or pushed around by other student organizations. The students will have full authority and make all the decisions,” he said, including the ability to invite Glick back to speak on the UT campus in the future.

Trepp added that while no official campus or national Jewish organizations has yet agreed officially to back Palla, many individuals have expressed interest in offering both financial and manpower assistance.

This has gotten a lot of people excited,” Trepp said. 

An exclusive report by The Algemeiner on Sunday revealed that students affiliated with TFI, AIPAC and Hillel prevented Glick from coming to UT Austin out of concern that her presence would rile traditionally anti-Israel groups. According to Trepp, actions were taken after student leaders said they found Glick “listed by liberal organizations as associated with a hate group.”

In addition, a source told The Algemeiner, a Christian student promoting the event was intimidated by Jewish student leaders, who told her that by publicizing Glick’s lecture, she was “making a bad name for herself at the university — and could even cause riots.”

The lecture was funded by Joseph Davidsohn, CEO of Davidsohn Global Technologies, who told The Algemeiner, “It is a sad state of affairs for American Jewry that they are united against the presence of the heroic voice of Israel, Caroline Glick, at UT Austin – while they are silent or meek in the face of the on-campus opponents of Israel, America and the Jewish people. They are a disgrace to the principal of the free and open exchange of ideas.”

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