Why We Protested


The Nov. 10 editorial (“Sad Day for Princeton Hillel”) misrepresents the views of the Princeton Alliance of Jewish Progressives (AJP) and the other students who questioned the planned appearance of Israeli Knesset member Tzipi Hotovely at the Center for Jewish Life (CJL), despite the fact that we have clarified our positions in multiple publications and outlets.

The editorial states that “[t]oo many students appear unwilling to listen to views that counter their own,” implying that we opposed the CJL’s sponsorship of MK Hotovely’s talk because we did not want to hear her positions. In truth, many of the students who opposed the CJL’s sponsorship of the talk, including members of the AJP, attended Hotovely’s appearance at Princeton Chabad, where we politely listened to her and asked questions in a respectful manner.

The CJL and Hillel International have a policy of limiting freedom of speech and a procedure for vetting speakers on issues relating to Israel. Some of us believe that these guidelines should be re-written and others believe that they should abolished altogether. We all agree that they are being used selectively in order to suppress left-wing voices. In calling the CJL’s sponsorship of MK Hotovely’s talk into question, we sought to highlight the problematic nature of these guidelines. Indeed, if they are to be followed in a non-cynical manner, then it stands to reason that certain right-wing speakers, such as MK Hotovely, may not have a place in Hillels either.

It is my hope that the CJL and Hillel International will take this opportunity to reassess their guidelines on Israel-related content and speakers. American college and graduate students have the desire to hear a variety of views and draw their own conclusions, and we welcome the opportunity to do so at our campus Hillels.

Ph.D. student in the Department of Religion at Princeton