Swarthmore Hillel rejects Hillel Israel guidelines

(JTA) — The student board of the Swarthmore College Hillel repudiated international Hillel guidelines rejecting partnerships with groups deemed hostile toward Israel.

The Hillel student board at the Pennsylvania liberal arts college voted unanimously on Sunday to reject the Hillel guidelines for campus Israel activities.

Swarthmore became the first chapter of the Jewish campus organization to declare itself an “Open Hillel” — part of a student movement that says its goal is to “encourage inclusivity and open discourse at campus Hillels.”

Hillel International’s Guidelines for Campus Israel Activities reject partnerships with groups or hosting speakers who deny Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state; delegitimize, demonize or apply double standards to Israel; support boycott, divestment and sanctions efforts against Israel; or foster an atmosphere of incivility.

The policy encourages individual campus Hillels to adopt their own policies that are “consistent” with these guidelines.

The Swarthmore Hillel board’s resolution said the guidelines “privilege only one perspective on Zionism, and make others unwelcome.” The resolution said that Swarthmore Hillel “will host and partner with any speaker at the discretion of the board, regardless of Hillel International’s Israel guidelines.”

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