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PAGE 14A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, APRIL 21, 2017 rP Stanford University alums Miriam Pollock (1) and Molly Horwitz claim that Stanford Hillel staffers attempted to thwart efforts to expose campus anti-Semitism. By Paul Miller For Molly Horwitz, it's not the anti-Semitism itself that stings the most. The feeling that some Stanford University Jewish leaders abandoned her in her fight against discrimi- nation is what still brings tears to her eyes. As Horwitz and a fel|ow Stanford alum see it, those Jewish leaders were borderline hostile toward mainstream pro-Israel students while fos- tering warmer relations with the campus arm of J Street, the self-described "pro-Israel, pro-peace" lobby. If true, the former stu- dents' allegations are not isolated, but indicative of the extent to which J Street's agenda permeates campus discourse on Israel--in- cluding within Hillel, the international organization fostering Jewish life at more than 550 colleges and uni- versities. The question that started it all In the spring of 2015, Molly Horwitz, then a junior at Stanford and a candidate for student senate, was publicly questioned by the Students of Color Coalition (SOCC) about how her "strong Jewish iden- tity" would affect her vote on an anti-Israel resolution. She was offended and outraged. Horwitz, who graduated in 2016, claims Stanford Hil- lel Executive Director Rabbi Serena Eisenberg and then- Director of Jewish Life and Learning Rabbi Daniel Sil- verstein attempted to thwart efforts to expose campus anti-Semitism, fearing it would drive Jewish students away from the prestigious university. Eisenberg and Silverstein allegedly labeled Horwitz and Miriam Pollock, then president of the pro- Israel student group Cardinal for Israel, as "radicals" and unfit to lead. (Eisenberg said on Facebook March 31 that she will step down from her position at the end of June. She did not disclose why she is leaving Hillel, but noted she is "excited to take a break.") After she first became ac- quainted with Stanford Hillel following the SOCC incident, Horwitz told the Haym Sa- lomon Center that a friend recommended she speak to Eisenberg, who subsequently "advised that we should not talk about what happened because.., itwould discourage Jewish students from enroll- ing at Stanford." Pollock, who joined Hor- witz for that conversation with Eisenberg, echoed that the Hillel director "wanted the controversy to blow ov, er, quietly." The climate for Jews at Stanford According to the campus anti-Semitism watchdog AM- CHA Initiative, 22 anti-Semit- ic incidents have occurred at Stanford since January 2015. This year alone, six incidents involving swastikas appear- ing on campus have been reported. HorwJtz won the student senate seat. The following spring, she offered a reso- lution calling on the sen- ate to support Jews against anti-Semitism. Horwitz said a Stanford Hillei staffer told her that "only if J Street got on board with the bill, would [Hillel] support the measure." It was not until an uproar over controversial comments by student senator Gabriel Knight that Hillel changed its approach, Horwitz said. Knight opposed the resolu- tion's language, arguing that the anti-Semitic canard of Jewish control over govern- ment, media and finance "theoretically" should not be regarded as anti-Semitism. After Knight's remarks, Horwitz said HiHel sent out emaiis praising the bill. "I was very uncomfortable be- ing manipulated and used by someone who didn't want to even be associated with the bill in the first place," she said. Hillel International pro- vided the Haym Salomon Center with a copy of a letter Hillel distributed in support of the bill. Horwitz stands by her remarks, saying, "Only after me pressuring them and stat- ing that there is a precedent of Hillel's sponsoring similar bills, did they write the letter." J Street's refusal of pro- Israel collaboration J Street did sponsor the resolution against anti-Semi- tism. But Horwitz and Pollock claim the progressive group's perspective was forced upon Israel advocates on campus. At the start of the 2015-16 school year, Silverstein "in- formed me I would not be a good leader because I didn't have 'liberal values'" and told all prospective members of Cardinal for Israel that they "would be working with J Street," Pollock said. Although she considers J Street "anti-Israel," Pollock said she "attempted to work with J Street on those few is- sues where we saw eye to eye." Yet J Street"was unwilling to work with Cardinal for Israel when given certain reasonable conditions," she said. Pollock is referring to a vigil organized by pro-Israel students to remember those killed and injured during the Palestinian "stabbing intifada" against Israelis from September 2015 through the first half of 2016. Horwitz said Eisenberg. declined her invitation to lead the memorial prayer, "telling me that it was not okay for us to leave out the Palestinians who died in those attacks, and it was too right-wing because we hadn't talked to J Street about co-sponsoring with us." When Pollock approached J Street about participat- ing, she said they refused to meet conditions such as "not bringing up or criticizing 'the occupation' during the vigil for Israeli victims of terror." According to Horwitz, Hil- lel ultimately funded a vigil paying homage to Palestin- ians, promoted by students involved with the anti-Israel group Jewish Voice for Peace. Eisenberg made herself avail- able to attend the Cardinal for Israel vigil, but only after another rabbi agreed to lead the service, Horwitz said. Hillel's response The current and former Hillel staffers both dispute the alums' claims. "Their allegations are false.., the experiences of two individuals are not reflec- tive of the experiences of the majority Jewish community on campus," said Eisenberg. "Thousands of students of diverse backgrounds and political perspectives have been touched and inspired by Stanford Hillel to strengthen their Jewish identities and connect to Jewish life, learn- ing and Israel." "If you interview a represen- tative cross-section of Jewish students who were present at Stanford during my time there, they will confirm that the allegations against me are untrue, and that I served the interests of the entire Stanford Jewish student com- munity with diligence and love," Silverstein said. Yisroel Quint, an under- graduate senior at Stanford, said that while he "can't directly dispute" the alums' claims, Eisenberg"is an excel- lent, attentive leader. She has always offered and provided any support that I could pos- sibly need at Stanford to be a strong supporter of Israel...I have worked closely with the rabbi against the BDS move- ment on campus." Stanford graduate school student Fabian Schvartz- man described Eisenberg as "super helpful," and expressed gratitude for bringing him and nearly 20 other students to the recent AIPAC policy conference. J Street on campus: the bigger picture The challenge J Street poses to mainstream pro- Israel students is not unique to Stanford. The progres- sive advocacy group and its campus arm tout their participation in the fight against BDS, yet partner on programming with pro-BDS groups. Hillel, by contrast, states in its Israel guidelines that it will not partner with orga- nizations that "delegitimize, demonize, or apply a double standard to Israel." But when Hillel partners with J Street, what sounds like a firm policy can become a slippery slope J Street has hosted Break- ing the Silence--. an NGO Claiming the Israeli military engages in "crimes against humanity" and accusing Israel of "ethnic cleans- ing'--at the Hillel facilities of Columbia University, Har- vard University, University of Pennsylvania andWashington University in St. Louis. "J Street, in our observa- tion-and we're working on 70 campuses--damages healthy, normal pro-Israel work, especially when the group is closely involved with the Hillel, as it is in some places," said Andrea Levin, executive director of the Com- mittee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America. "It often obstructs the wider effort to speak out for Israel on the facts and can demoralize pro-Zionist students." Looking back and ahead Horwitz does not consider her experience at Stanford an indictment of Hillel Inter- national, the student move- ment's parent group, and still holds the organization in high regard. She acknowledges that "each [Hillel] chapter is a reflection of the staff on [that] campus." Horwitz even. applied for multiple post- graduation jobs with Hillel, including one at Stanford, with the hope of changing the climate. Pollock, however, does not hold back inher criticism. "I find it very unfortunate that Hillel rabbis and staff behaved in such an unprofes- sional, unsupportive, anti- Israel fashion," she said of her time on campus. "I find it extremely unfortunate that I have zero positive experiences at Stanford Hillel to speak of." 85946 37685 41237 24518 13892 96754 59361 78129 62473 23 14 985 693 756 321 478 5 6.4 8 1.9 71 29 By Cnaan Liphshiz (JTA)--Looking through the barbedwire of the Bergen- Belsen concentration camp, 14-year-old Nanette Konig could barely recognize her friend and classmate from Amsterdam, Anne Frank. Both girls had been caught by the Nazis in the Dutch capital andwere sent to starve to death in a place Konig "7 describes today as "hell on t Earth." Both were emaciated when they saw each other 4 again in different sections of the same German camp in 1944. "She looked like a walking skeleton, just like me,'' Konig, 2 one of the few living friends of the teenage diarist, told JTA in a video interview from her O home in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on April 6, which was her 88th 5 birthday. As more and more Holo- caust survivors die each year, Konig was compelled a decade ago to break her long silence and join a diminishing group of witnesses who now tell their story in the media and at schools. Her lectures, which Konig says she has delivered to thousands of students on three continents, are some- thing that "survivors owe to the victims." But it's also her way of repayingAnne Frank's father, Otto, who comforted Konig in the aftermath of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen, even as he was grieving for his own two daughters and wife. Otto Frank, who edited the diaries his daughter wrote while the family was in hiding into the best-selling "The Di- ary ofaYoung Girl," met Konig in 1945 at a rehabilitation cen- ter in eastern Holland. Konig, who was 16 and weighed only 60 pounds, was brought there following the Allies' liberation of Bergen-Belsen--"a hell where people were not ex- terminated immediately, but died from hunger, dysentery, typhus, cold, exhaustion, beatings, torture and expo- sure," she says. Yet Konig was one of the lucky ones to survive. Anne Frank and her older sister, Margot, were among the es- timated 50,000 who perished at Bergen-Belsen in 1945 after arriving there from Auschwitz. Their mother, Edith, died at Auschwitz a month before her daughters, just three weeks before the Red Army liberated the death camp. Otto Frank, the sole survi- vor from his family, already knew his daughters and wife were dead when he came to the rehabilitation center to visit Konig, who is also the only survivor from her fam- ily. Konig said Frank wanted to know as much as possible about his family's last weeks. Listening to her stories and seeing her emaciated physique "visibly caused Otto Frank a lot of pain," Konig recalled. But despite his grief Frank, who died in 1980, "gave me support, encouraged me at a point in my life when I had no one," she said. "He was avery special man and I will always be grateful for the consolation he offered me." Like many of Anne Frank's schoolmates and friends, Konig recalled the diarist as a "sunny, smiley child." But unlike most of them, Konig also witnessed Anne "change into an adult" in a matter of weeks at Bergen- Belsen, she said. "We had a childhood and then we had no adolescence," Frank on page 15A