The Hillel Student Board of Swarthmore College has overridden Hillel guidelines and opened their doors to anti-Zionist speakers. The board voted unanimously to become an "Open Hillel" and to work with pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel groups. The Hillel student board’s resolution stated that these guidelines are discriminatory, “privilege only one perspective on Zionism, and make others unwelcome.”
The resolution posted on the group's Facebook page said:
Therefore be it resolved that Swarthmore Hillel declares itself to be an Open Hillel; an organization that supports Jewish life in all its forms; an organization that is a religious and cultural group whose purpose is not to advocate for one single political view, but rather to open up space that encourages dialogue within the diverse and pluralistic Jewish student body and the larger community at Swarthmore; an organization that will host and partner with any speaker at the discretion of the board, regardless of Hillel International’s Israel guidelines; and an organization that will always strive to be in keeping with the values of open debate and discourse espoused by Rabbi Hillel.
The group also sent an open letter to the Beacon Magazine saying it would be inviting anti-Israel groups such as the Jewish Voice for Peace (which had the honor of being named by the ADL as one of the Top Ten Anti-Israel organizations in America) to participate in their activities.
The Swarthmore Hillel's actions go against the guidelines of Hillel International, which read in part:
Hillel will not partner with, house, or host organizations, groups, or speakers that as a matter of policy or practice: deny the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state with secure and recognized borders; delegitimize, demonize, or apply a double standard to Israel; support boycott of, divestment from, or sanctions against the State of Israel; exhibit a pattern of disruptive behavior towards campus events or guest speakers or foster an atmosphere of incivility.
Understand that this is not a "free speech" issue. Hillel International has thousands of donors across the world that give their hard-earned money to an organization based on certain goals and guidelines. The use of those funds to promote anti-Israel activities means Hillel International took that money under false pretenses. If the members of the Swarthmore Hillel wish to host groups such as Jewish Voice For Peace, they should return the dollars they receive from Hillel International and run the events on their own dime.
TruthRevolt contacted Hillel International for a statement but they did not respond.
UPDATE: Hillel International CEO Eric Fingerhut has warned Swarthmore Hillel that if they insist on bringing in anti-Israel speakers, Hillel will remove permission for its name to be used: "I hope you will inform your colleagues on the Student Board of Swarthmore Hillel that Hillel International expects all campus organizations that use the Hillel name to adhere to these guidelines. No organization that uses the Hillel name may choose to do otherwise.”