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Letters: Hillel, shun anti-Israel speakers

Israeli children wave flags during a rehearsal, a

Israeli children wave flags during a rehearsal, a day a head of the arrival of US President Barack Obama at the president's residence in Jerusalem, Israel. (Mar. 19, 2013) Credit: Getty Images

Columnist Anne Michaud says "call me naive," so I will ["Diplomacy, the college-campus way," Opinion, Jan. 16].

She is naive on Rav Hillel and Hillel International. Hillel was primarily a rabbi, not an elder, although some believe he lived to age 120. He did much of his learning and teaching in his 40s.

Most important, he would be horrified by her lack of understanding of who he was and what he taught. He would be appalled by and totally against what goes on at Hillel at Swarthmore College.

Hillel is a Jewish nondenominational organization, with student views from left to right. Debate is the cornerstone of Jewish learning, both religious and secular.

However, it is outrageous to expect Hillel to sponsor speakers who believe Israel should not exist. It's like inviting the Ku Klux Klan to an NAACP meeting.

This is not a free-speech issue. Everyone is free to speak, but Hillel is free to decide which speakers it chooses to sponsor.

Naomi Silverberg Schwartz, Levittown

The conclusion that there needs to be a final solution, a permanent extermination of the Jewish people, is still very much alive. Jews are victims of hate crimes across the world.

No group on Earth willingly submits to extermination. The world expects Jews to accept the unacceptable and to accept a fictional narrative and give it credence along with the truth.

The fact that Hillel rejects anti-Semitism and its cousin, anti-Zionism, is not unreasonable. I can't imagine the YMCA hosting a speaker calling for the death of Christians.

My parents survived the Holocaust, and I give money to Hillel to tell the truth about Israel and to support the right of the Jewish people to never again face genocide by their enemies.

Jews who don't know their own history and wish to hear another worldview should not be supported by Hillel funds. The enemies of Israel and the Jewish people have many platforms to espouse their views. They don't need a Jewish imprimatur as well.

Roslyn Green, Woodmere