Feeling Isolated By Jewish Establishment


As a Puerto Rican Jewish college student who supports the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement for Palestinian rights, I cringe whenever I hear Hillel directors talk about “Jews on college campuses” because I know what they say will likely exclude me, in more ways than one. The March 10 article “Silver Lining As Jewish Students Hit From Left, Right?’ was no exception.

No, Jewish students aren’t marginalized by social justice movements on campus. We’re a strong part of these movements. But our Hillels rarely show up to support marginalized groups on campus. Instead, they fight these movements for their support of the BDS movement for Palestinian rights, while excluding from the Hillel community any Jewish student groups, like my chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, that refuse to toe their ideological line.

The fact that some Hillel directors see a “silver lining” to swastikas on my campus is disturbing. Rather than weaponizing our fear of anti-Semitism and using it to silence already marginalized groups like Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish community leaders need to join young Jews like me and stand with intersectional movements against racism, from Ferguson to Palestine, because only real solidarity can keep all our communities safe.

My support for BDS is not in spite of my Jewishness, but because of my overlapping identities as a Jewish woman of color. I don’t feel isolated by student-of-color-led movements for justice. I feel isolated by a Jewish establishment which will only support these movements if they pass an ideological litmus test on Israel.

Vassar College