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May 31, 2013

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MAY 31, 2013 PAGE 5A HERITAGE encourages readers to send in their opinions for the Viewpoint column. They must be signed; how- ever, names will be withheld upon request. Due to space limitations, we reserve the right to edit, if necessary. Op!nions printed in Viewpoint do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the paper. Time to be on the same team If ever there was a time to is that we share a common come together as Jews, it is purpose--the survival of the now. Either we learn from Jewish people around the history and survive, or we world, and the survival of the ignore it, and suffer the con- State of Israel. sequences. With rising anti- For 40 years. I have been Semitism around the world, involved with AIPAC, the which is often disguised, as American IsraelPublicAffairs anti Zionism; we must be Committee. AIPAC is not proactive as a community, a PAC. It does not support What should we do? I am candidates. Its purpose is to far from being an expert, but build friends for Israel in the I do have a few observations to U.S. Congress and the White offer. First of all, we need to let House.You may notknow that go of the labels that divide us. for decades, everyone run- Itdoesnotmatterwhatstream ning for a congressional seat of Judaism we identify with, has been educated by AIPAC whatsynagoguewedoordon't about the importance of the attend, or if we are secular. U.S. - Israel relationship. It does not matter if we are AIPAC has been extremely a Democrat, Republican or successfuldoingthis because Independent. What matters itisabipartisanorganization. AIPAC works with politicians example of what our AIPAC, consistent with the current synagogues are struggling of every persuasion and non-partisan approach can security needs of the Israeli" to stay afloat financially, and AIPAC's membership consists accomplish. This type of people, every one is carefully watch- of citizens of every political resolution, combined with Because Jews are a tiny ing how they spend their own persuasion, soitisverynimble the Nuclear Iran Prevention percentage of the U.S. popu- money.. While AIPAC is not and can stay on message no Act, which just passed out lation (2 percent and getting tax deductible (unless agiftis matter who has the majority of committee in the House smaller),AIPACrealizedyears made to its educational foun- in congress and who sits in of Representatives, sends a agothatitwouldhavetobuild dation) it is one ofthe best in- the White House. The found- strong message to Iran on ailianceswithothergroupsto vestments any ofus can make ers of AIPAC did itright, and theeveofitspresidentialelec- sustainourvoiceandmessage toward the security of the this organization has been tions. Whether they are lob- insupportofIsrael. Outreach State of Israel. Locally, Marc at the forefront lobbying for bying for Iron Dome missile to the Christian and Latino Smith and Mark Israel chair issues of vital importance defense funding, critical for- community has been very our AIPACefforts. Iurgeyou to Israel. Just this week, the eign aid security assistance, successful, and rebuilding all to contact them or Jacki United States Senate passed or securing congressional ties between the Jewish com- Alexander, ourCentralFlorida a resolution making it clear support for Israel's right to munityandAfricanAmerican AIPAC Director (jalexander@ that the United States will self-defense against terrorist community has also proven to get involved stand with Israel if the Jew- rockets, AIPAC is in the halls to be positive. Through the with both your contribution ish state is compelled to take ofcongressadvocatingforthe AIPAC college program, stu- and your voice. Aside from military action against Iran's pro-Israel community, dent leaders of all faiths and getting alerts to contact our nuclear weapons programBecauseAIPAC has been so ethnic backgrounds are edu- representatives about impor- in legitimate self-defense, successful lobbying for legis- cated about the U.S. - Israel tant pending legislation, we Before coming to a vote, the lation to assist and protect relationship and taught how hold several briefings a year resolution had 92 Senate Israel, some people incor- to be advocates. Anyonewho inOrIando, will have our an- co-sponsors. It passed by a rectly assume that AIPAC is has attended an AIPAC Policy nualfundraiserinSeptember, vote of 99-0. This resolution connected to the Israeli gov- Conference can't help but be andwould like to take a large was introduced at the AIPAC ernment. Again, AIPAC has impressed by the hundreds of delegationtoWashingtonD.C. Policy Conference this past no political ties to any Israeli students of all races and reli- for the annual Policy Confer- March, and the across the party or the government. It gions who have participated ence in March. It will be an aisle support, and speed with does have a small Jerusalem in the Saban Program and experience you won't forget which the resolution passed, Office (as do many Jewish seminars in Israel. AIPAC is and, like me, you might even did not happen by accident, organizations) and it works educatingtomorrow'sleaders, get you hooked for 40 years. It happened because AIPAC closely with whatever Israeli These are difficult times. Roz Fuchs Schwartz activists did their job educat- government is in power so it We read the newspapers and Past AIPAC Chair ing and lobbying. This is an can lobby on issues that are cringe. OurorganizationsandPast PresidentJFGO uralism in By Lex Roles and entry, actively working to sibility of compromise with Simone Zimmerman involve LGBTvoices, students the Palestinians, rendering from interfaith families, Jew- that future unfeasible. (JTA)--Throughout our ishatheistsandothers.Yeton Meanwh.ile, proposed fouryearsincollege, Hillelhas Israel, the same pluralism is events with former Israeli been our home on campus, lacking.Studentswhoexpress combatants critical of their We have been involved exten- ambivalence toward Zionism service are often met with sively, with one of us serving or support boycotts of Israeli requests to keep the event aspresidentoncampusandon products often feel they are "private," requirements that the Hillelinternationalboard. not welcome in their campus a less critical voice "balance" Whilewe both found in Hil- Jewish community, the presentation or outright lel a supportive community, HillelInternational's Israel refusals to host the discus- when it came to our relation- guidelines contribute to the sion. Such requests are rarely ship to Israel, Hillel-was not problem. We know they were made of more right-leaning always so welcoming. One of carefully crafted by many speakers. us often avoided expressing Hillel leaders, and we ean Further, the guidelines political views in Hillel board appreciate the necessity and prohibit co-sponsorship with meetings for fear of losing challenge of setting bound- groups that delegitimize, credibility. The other openly aries. While the guidelines demonize or apply a doubIe expressed her political views, appear reasonable on paper, standard to Israel--terms which was met at times with in practice they often restrict that are highly subjective. harsh criticism, meaningful discussion and For instance, does B'Tselem's We both remained corn- send astrong signalto some documentation of human mitted to working in Hillel Jewish students that they do rights abuses in the territories through moments of chal- not belong, constitutea"doublestandard" lenge, but we know manyOne issue is how the guide- against Israel? Do the soldiers otherswho, meetingsuchob- lines are interpreted. For of Breaking the Silence, in stacles, simply stepped away. example,while they state that describing their servicein the In pastdecades, Hillel faced Hillel will not host programs WestBank,"demon~ze"Israel? a similar challenge concern- that deny Israel's rightto exist Such terms are used fre- ing religious observance, as a Jewish and democratic quently to slander both orga- Hillel now strives to ensure state with secure borders, nizations. The wide room for that religious practice and some Hillels have hosted interpretation is evidenced background is no barrier to speakers that reject the pos- by the fact that while some By Gideon Behar had followers in the many Today's most effective millions, likely surpassing anti-Semites are not the JERUSALEM(JTA)--What even the numbers of the flag-waving, stormtrooping could Goebbels have done most revered celebrities who skinheadsofyesteryear.While with 140 characters? employ resources like Twitter. those forces still exist, their The question, disturbing With all the tremendous reach pales in comparison to as it might sound, can no gooditdoes, andthehundreds the computer users able to longer be approached only as of millions of people it enter- spill their messages 6f hate theoretical, tains, inspires and educates to millions around the globe As the arch-propagandist daily, at its core the Internetis in a matter of minutes. of Nazism, Joseph Goebbels the most capable propaganda The peace-loving forces spread the demonic messages to01 ever invented, within the international com- ofhisFuehrerviathewritten The online community is munity are therefore faced word, mass demonstrations, both largely uncensored and with a daunting challenge-- radio and film. He used those without any natural borders yet it is not insurmountable. avenues to near perfection, or limits--a combination First, we need to recognize promoting what perhaps that makes it so effective and the scope of the problem. was the most evil publicity so dangerous. With the same Online hate is difficult to campaign in the history of speedittakestoreachmillion impossible toquantify.While humankind, withvideosoflaughingbabies perhaps we can try to count Some eight decades later, or talented Korean dancers, the number of problematic the tools are different but the hate-filled messagespour into websites, there is no real way motivations are the same. the world'ssocial media feeds to know how many people In the place of vitriol-filled and emailinboxes, thosesitesreach.AllthemOre radio broadcasts and Berlin The reality in the online so with social media, where stadia filled to capacity with war against hate is that our the trail of content can split saluting Nazis, the resources enemiesaresmarterthanany into literally thousands of employed today by bigots are anti-Semitic forces we have directions in minutes. The increasingly the Internet and ever seen. They understand scope of the problem is un- social media. Undoubtedly the power of the Internet precedented and enormous, the #HeilHitler hashtag, if andembrace the protections andthusdeservingofmassive launched in 1933, would have under law it offers, resources and international Hillel directors welcome those groups, others cite the guidelines in denying those same voices a platform. Lastly, while we both have campaigned actively against divestment efforts on our campuses, the guidelines' restrictions on events with any groups supportive of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, or BDS, prohibit much- needed discussions. Though Hiilel professes support for dialogue, the guidelines effectively eliminate any possibility of co-sponsorship with Palestinian student or- ganizations, as most support BDS. Our community can- not champion intellectual rigor and inclusivity while avoiding public conversa- tions with those with whom we disagree. Moreover, the guidelines strongly imply that Jewish students who support BDS are not full members of our community. When we have raised this concern with Hillel leadership, we often hear that while some student groups are cooperation. Second, and perhaps more fundamental, the world must change its mindset for what deserves protection within the online community. Most often, when people speak about, the In ernet and the world of social media, terms bandied about are "marketplace of ideas" or "common ground for expres- sion" or similar terminology professing that users should be allowed to disseminate whatever ideas come into their minds at a given time. This position is defended by those who advocate that freedom of expression should be inter- preted literally to allow people to express whatever they feel, regardless of how inflamma- tory or incendiary it might be. This must be rethought. Freedom of expression indeed means that people's right to free speech and free speech can and must be pro- tected. But .the protection Tweeted on page 15A not welcome, all students as all Jewish students deserve a individuals have a home in home in Hillel. Hillel. We would reject this At the recent Hillel Inter- logic when applied to an issue national board meeting, the like LGBT rights, and it is signatures were presented to flawed here as well. Students Hillel leadership. While we who are told their organiza- did not initiate this effort, we tions are not welcome un- believe the Israel guidelines derstandably feelunwelcome, must be reevaluated based on Too many of our friends feedback from students across left Hillel because they felt the political spectrum. alienated and stifled in rais- If Hillel fails to make po- ing questions or voicing their -litical pluralism a priority, we views on Israel. Too many have fear the ominous vision some opted to disengage entirely have about the Jewish corn- rather than conforming to a munity's futurewillbecome a community that tells them self-fulfillingprbphecy.Those they do not fully belong, alienated will choose to build As many Jewish organiza- their families and communi- tions frantically try to attract ties outside of what they see more young Jews into their as outmoded institutions or, buildings, it is counterpro- worse, simply check out of ductive, counterintuitive Judaism entirely. This is not a and, f~nkly, un-Jewish to price anyone who cares about deny full participation to any Hiilel and Jewish life off cam- Jews simply because of their pus should be willing to pay. political beliefs. Lex Rofes is a senior at Earlier this year, the Pro- Brown University and a gressive Student Alliance at student representative on Harvard University launched the board of Hillel." the Foun- an effort, Open Hillel, to chal- dation for Jewish Campus lenge Hillel's guidelines. Its Life. Simone Zimmerman petition was signed by more is a senior at the University than 800 Jewish students of California, Berkeley, and from diverse backgrounds and president of the J Street U perspectives who believe Chat National Student Board. t MPJAL ANI) NO I IRECT C2AZIES/ LINK(; TO OUR VVITH THEIRISLAMIST OWN @OMB ORGANIZATIONS! ANO AXS(;