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May 2, 2017 2:26 pm

Princeton Hillel Refuses to Host Far-Left Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence

avatar by Rachel Frommer

Princeton University. Photo: Wikipedia.

The Jewish center at Princeton University has refused to host a J Street U event featuring far-left Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence (BtS), The Daily Princetonian reported on Monday.

The Hillel-affiliated Center for Jewish Life (CJL) originally told J Street U its decision to have BtS on campus over Israel’s Memorial and Independence Days might lead to losing their CJL-affiliated statues, according to a J Street Facebook post last week — though the campus paper reported that CJL’s executive director, Rabbi Julie Roth, later met with J Street U and announced that the “relationship is intact.”

According to the report, Roth insisted that CJL’s determination not to host BtS was not due to opposition to the organization appearing on campus, but rather a belief that the timing of the event was not ideal, given the anti-IDF nature of BtS’s work and the sensitive day of Yom HaZikaron, during which Israel honors its fallen troops and victims of terrorism.

BtS has been accused of fabricating evidence and lying about IDF activities. A group co-founder was discovered in 2016 telling tourists that Israeli settlers poisoned Palestinian wells and its public relations coordinator was exposed in January 2017 for saying shooting IDF soldiers was “not terrorism.”

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Both CJL and J Street U also expressed the importance of their collaborative relationship, though J Street U’s president told The Daily Princetonian he found the Hillel group’s decision not to participate “inexplicable and inconsistent with their mission and their stated values and goals.” CJL has worked intimately with J Street U in the past, including sponsoring a delegation of students to attend J Street’s national conference in February and arranging for them to meet with the organization’s president, Jeremy Ben-Ami.

Hillel International’s Guidelines for Campus Israel Activities demand that its groups do not host or partner with entities that deny Israel’s right to exist, support the boycott, divestment or sanctions (BDS) campaign, or delegitimize, demonize or apply double standards to the Jewish state.

BtS’s appearance at Princeton was one of a number of stops on the group’s tour of US campuses and synagogues throughout the spring. As The Algemeiner reported, Hillel at Washington University in St. Louis — BtS’s first stop — refused to fund the “anti-occupation” event hosted by that school’s J Street U chapter in commemoration of the 1967 Six-Day War.

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