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PAGE 14A Debating From page 1A on campus," Sternberg told Sternberg,i however, said the opposite is true o-n most campuses. "While BDS must be fought, it is not center stage," he said. Sternberg asked,"What is the reality check on rheto- ric that says Hillel should be forbidding something? Even if Nestel wants to say Hillel should enforce its tent, suggesting that Hillel can control what ]s outside its tent is usetess." Nestel detailed his con- cerns about J Street, and about Hillel's reaction to J Street's campus activities, in a February 2012 op-ed for the Jerusalem Post. "J Street is already en-: trenched at Berkeley's Hillel and the JSU (Jewish Student Union)," Nestel wrote. "The Hillel group, Kesher Enoshi (KE), isits proxy there. This year KE, along with J Street U, brought the founder of the Sheikh Jarrah Solidar- ity Movement in to speak at Hillel. He demonized Israel. proclaiming, 'Jerusalem is a symbol of evil.' Berkeley's Hillel director argued that this was 'within the frame- work of national Hillel's Israel policy.'" Columnist Daniel Gordis has asked similar questions abo.ut the inclusion of J Street in the pro-Israel tent on campus. "Is J Street in the tent. or out?" Gordis asked in a Jerusalem Post op-ed. "It's one thing to put 'pro-Israel' in your tagline, and another to be 'pro-Israel'... Even a big tent, though, has its limits," Sternberg told his experience with J Street has been "very different." "At Brandeis, J Street works loosely with AIPAC (American Israel PUblic Affairs Committee); both envision a two-state solu- tion," Sternberg said. J Street did not respond to several requests for com- ment from While activists such as Nesel have detailed a hostile environment for pro-Israel students at Cali- ornia campuses such as UC Berkeley, Ellen Goldstein. Hillel's vice president of communications, told JNS. org that the East Coast and the West Coast "are different." The alleged West Coast environment is "not representative of the national scene on campus" for Jewish students, Gold- stein said. She noted that the most recent reports by' The David Project and the American-Israeli Coopera- tive Enterprise, pro-Israel advocacy groups, both con- clude that the influence of anti-Israel activists on U.S. campuses is "relatively marginal." At the University of Penn- sylvania, where a pro-BDS conference was held in February 2012, Hillel Di- rectorRabbi Michael Uram told, "Penn created the space for having the conversations.., to come around the table and have Conversations in a way that recognizes Israel's achieve- ments and its challenges. Conversations provide a wide-ranging opportunity for discussion that can lead to engaging the opposi- tion." Uram estimates that 12 students organized the BDS conference. About 175 people attended. Despite significant attention from the media, the conference "was not a campus-wide anti-Israel event," he said. "The vast majority of stu- dents never made a link be- tween Israel and apartheid. We did not want to respond in a way that created two sides." Uram said. At Penn. the action--not reaction, Uwan empha- sized to counter the BDS conference was the creation -of a weekend of positive Israel experiences. "Alan Dershowitz spoke, asking over 700 people 'Why do you love Israel? Why does Israel matter?' 'Invest in Israel' events hosted by fraternity and sorority stu- dents raised over $7,000 for Israeli charities. Fifty-four individual Shabbat dinners brought Jews and non-Jews together to speak about Israel. About 800 students participated. Conversations focused on three topics plus independent additions. Din- ner conversations ranged from the simple to the very sophisticated - designed to HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 12, 2013 ensure that every sLCudent notbearabbi;someonewith would be able to partici- managerial capability, but pate," Uram said. " need not be an MBA." In all, almost 1,400 stu- Regardless of who the dents and adults were in- volved in "Israel positive" events, Uram said .... "We just ignored [B DS activists] and stayed on our message .... There was a general sense of forward momentum and pride. It became a thing to do," Uram said. Penn Hillel is "continu- ing to build" on the success of the pro-Israel response to the BS conference, accord- ing to Uram. The message Hillel is seeking to get across is, "Israel will be one of the great parts of being Jewish that helps you live a good life." When asked what type of individual he expected would be hired as Hillel's next president and CEO, Sternberg said, "It is an important paradigm to get out of the mode of think- ing about a 'type' and look more into the package of qualifications a person might bring. The position requires someone who has Jewish depth .... but need next Hillel CEO will be, that individual will need to deal with ongoing ques- tions over how open Hillel's tent should be. Jonathan Tobin, senior online editor for Commentary magazine, has written that there is "no-alternative" to Hillel and its supporters being able to "stand their ground and to help Jewish students find the courage to stand up against the enemies of their people." Tobin noted that BDS proponents "are not seeking dialogue; what they demand is the destruction of the modern State of Israel." Therefore, he wrote, applying "the principle of.inclusive- ness or neutrality toward BDS is no different than neutrality toward beliefs that stigmatize Jews." ' What these students [advocating for inclusive- ness or neutrality on Israel] don't understand that is that their fight for an'open Hillel' means giving a pass to hate." Tobin wrote. Problems From page 2A Syria and Turkey's Kurds not willing to back down despite government oppression forced the AKP's hand. she told The Media Line. She doesn't think the Gezi Park protests have set back the process'because the basic de- mand of the park protesters is more democracy, equality and freedom, the same goal as in the AKP-PKK peace process. "The essential needs for the end of the Kurdish is- sue are: democratization. changing the anti-terror law, changing the law on political parties and coming up with a new constitution for the 21st century all demands in harmony with the Gezi resistance." Tuncel said. "The governmen@ may perceive the demand for more democratization as a tive thing but we believe the Gezi protests are a positive thing that helped the peace process," she added. The Lice incident, on the other hand, was a negative development. "People pro- testing the construction of a military post were shot upon with real bullets. That is unac- ceptable. The AKP has to find outwho is responsible for this provocation." Tuncel told The Media Line. Lawyer Emin Ekmen. for- mer Batman province deputy of the ruling administration and member ofthe"Wise Peo- ple" committees (founded by the AKP to explain the peace process to the people while also reporting the people's reactions to the government) believes the peace press is safe and sound with only minor damage from the Gezi Park and Lice incidents. "I saw the Kurdish groups political front present their sensitivities and political stance clearly regarding the Lice incident, just like the Gezi protest, but both sides carefully a, oided turning this into a crisis that would break up the peace process." Ekmen told The Media Line. Prime Minister Recep Tayy- ip Erdogan referred to Ocalan as a "terrorist leader" at some rallies he held in June. forthe first time in months since the negotiations were publicized. He also said at the final "Wise People" meeting in Istanbul about a week ago that only 15 percent of the PKK's armed forces retreated from Turk- ish territory. Erdogan added that the government was not planning a legal reform package to achieve peace at the moment. It was feared these developments would undermine the peace talks, but Ekmen disagreed. He said that he didn't think Erdogan's comments threatened the talks. The other statements, however. are important, he added. Turk- ish. intelligence and his local sources confirmed that the PKK's retreat is not satisfac- tory and there are new people joining the PKK. he told The Media Line. The comments on the reform package may be misunderstood and would be carefully reviewed. He added that the prime minister may not want to openly announce his plans regarding such a delicate process, and that is understandable. Tuncel disagreed with Ek- men on these points. TheAKP "has to change its rhetoric if it wants to change with the Kurdish people," adding that insulting Ocalan is not the way to do it. "Continuing [with this rhetoric] would keep the question of 'Is the AKP sin- cere' alive in the minds of the people, especially the Kurdish people," she said. The PKK had taken solid steps, like releasing the prisoners it was holding hostage, declaring a unilateral ceasefire and a start to its retreat from Turkey, Tuncel said, adding the Kurds await similar steps from the government, such as releas- ing the political prisoners in return. Ekmen said a successful end to the peace process is not only important only to Turkey, but for the Middle E st as a whole as well. "It is important to advance the existing rela- tions with Iraqi Kurds and to not experience a crisis regard- ing the future scenarios about Syria." he said. When asked what reaction could be expected from the West, Ekmen said it could not be evaluated as awhole. Some countries, he said, "probably do not want Turkey to solve this problem and become a stronger country." The suc- cess of the peace process, however, would also strength- en the position of Turkey's Western allies, he said. "A solution is very impor- tant for the Middle East also, because the Kurds live within the boundaries of four coun- tries: Iraq, Iran. Syria and Turkey. Turkey solving the Kurdish problem means a lot for the democratization of the Middle East." Tuncel told The Media Line. A continuing conflict does not benefit anybody in the international arena, she said. adding that the Western world should reconsider its recognition of the PKK as a terrorist organization. The PKK is recognized as such not only by Turkey but also by the European Union and the United States. "I believe the recognition of the PKK as a terrorist organization internationally is affecting the peace process negatively," she said. Frederike Geerdin, ~ Dutch journalist residing in Diyar- bakir in southern Turkey to work on a book on the Kurdish issue, said, "There is nothing happening on the political front in the parlia- ment and maybe that's a little bit logical because there are elections coming up and a lot has already changed in the last 10-15 years concerning the Kurdish question. But m the meantime, I think. the government Should build trust. That is essential for a successful peace process." The perception in the Kurd- ish streets in the southeast does not include much trust. The building of new mili- tary posts, recruiting village guards (local people armed by the government as the official militia) and violently inter- vening in peaceful protests in urban areas do not help, she said. "The people already don't trust the state. You do not lose votes for the AKP if you do not buildmore posts, if you do not recruit new guards, if you do not smash up demon- strations." Geerdin said. The mood on the street. however, is not pessimistic, she said. "They trust their leader. Ocalan. That is one thing I often hear them say: 'We trust ourselves and we will keep on going until this thing is resolved.'" Greenspun From page 3A thinking, 'What if he didn't bring me back?' I was afraid." Besides those moments of anxiety and .uncertainty, Greenspun alternately felt sorrow, recalling her parents and peaceful family life before the war. and happiness at meeting others with ties to Chmieln!k and witnessing the town's transformation. ,I am crying, but I am happy. I am happy, but I am crying," she said numerous times during the journey. "Take a look at my little town. There is more progress here than in bigger cities." Garfinkel said expressing civic pride. She was as much surprised by a brand new hotel at the edge of town as she was by the synagogue's conversion to a museum. "A hotel in my ~ilk~ Development Corporation for Israel ~sraeJ Bonds | 2600 South Be|chef Road, Suite t 0IA I SRAE Lf~~ BONDS ................ Largo, Florida 33773 Reva Pearlstein Monia DiGiovanni Assistan~ Director Registered Representative 727-539-6445 = 800-.622-8017 tarnpa@isr www.israetbonds,~om little town? I cannot believe." Funds from the European Union helped finance both projects, said Piotr Krawczyk, Chmielnik's historian who organizes the town's annual Jewish festival. Restoring the synagogue cost bout $3 mil- lion. part of which came from Poland's Ministry of Culture. Chmielnik and regional gov- ernments. Visitors and journalists often ask Krawczyk whether Chmielnik is using its Jew- ish festival and synagogue to generate tourism and revive its economy. Preserving history and educating the public.will help young people and future generations understand that Chmielnik was originally a Jewish town, he responds, noting that Chmielnik has invested more money than it could ever hope to bring in from the occasional visitor. Krawczyk plans to spend the next several years building a database to help Jews obtain vital records, such as birth certificates, and trace their familyotrees. The ambitious project will include more than 100 Jewish towns in a large region. Benjamin Turocy, 34 and Greenspun's eldest grandson who accompanied her on the journey, said he appreciates that the town of Chmielnik has chosen to rebuild the synagogue rather than tear it down. "Some might think they only did this for mon- etary reasons, but I don't believe it," Turocy said. "They made us feel at home when they stayed up late with us to eat, drink some wine and vodka and sing some Polish songs even serenading my grandmother!" With each visit to Chmiel- nik. the outgoing Greenspun mostly enjoys, connecting with people and learning how they are connected to her hometown. Israel's deputy ambassador to Poland. Nadav Eshcar. attended the syna- gogue's reopening not only to represent his country but also from personal interest. His maternal grandmother was born in Chmielnik 'but emigrated to Palestine before WorldWar II. When he firstvis- ited the synagogue a few years ago, it was in bad condition. -Although he is not especially religious and seldom goes to temple, Eshcar said. he felt a strong urge to prepare himself. "My ancestors probably went there for hundreds of years. This was very emotional. What can I say?" Eshcar was among many individuals who encouraged Greenspun to return to Po- land. "I'm very happy to meet you. We need people like you to speak." Krawczyk teased Greenspun by saying, "You should come to Chmielnik more often." Although Greenspun had previously declared that the synagogue's reopening would be the last time she would visit Poland, she found it difficult to say she would never return or say "No" to people asking her to visit again. During this most ~ecent journey, each time someone invited her to come to Chmielnik next year, she responded. "If God gives me years." Suzan E. Hagstrom is a freelance writer in San Di go, Calif. She is the au- thor of"Sara's Children; The Destruction of Chmielnik," a nonfiction book documenting the remarkable survival of five Garfinkel siblings.