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Hillel Responds

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Parent Issue
Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
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Agenda Publications
Letter to the Editor
OCR Text

Hillel is the umbrella organization for about 25 independent student groups at the U-M. Hillel subscribes to a rather radical notion of free expression that comes out of its uncompromising commitment to pluralism within the Jewish community and by extensión to the community at large. We celébrate difference and tolerance and passionately uphold the human rights of any person or group to be a participant in the discourse about ethical values, political priorities, resource allocations, civil libertes - all the vital issues that affect the material and spiritual quality of life of this one worid. If we are "anti" anything, it is chauvinism, the unreasoning belief in the superiority of one's group. Consequently, we are wary of anyone who would despise the difficult and sometimes agonizing struggle of an entire nation, in this case Israel, when its fervently-held democratie traditions come into conflict with the choices it must make to survive under dangerous circumstances of decades of implacable hatred, violence and global intimidation. Hillel's Israel Information Day provides information about programs of study, work on kibbutz, and Interns for Peace, among others. Given AGENDA'S legitímate agenda, an ad for CIA recruitment might be deemed inappropriate, but would your readers oppose an ad seeking volunteers to work with the homeless, or inner-city kids, etc. because both are sponsored by the same country, a country whose domestic and international policies don't meet your readers' approval in every case. I wonder if your readers would have advocated an end to travel to America after the U.S. government interred Japanese-Americans during WWII because they were perceíved as a threat to national security. Persons of Japanese extraction were living at peace in the U.S., they were not throwing molotov bombs and stones at other American heads; Japan had no four-decade history of warfare with the purpose of national extermination of the U.S. Some of your readers' chauvinism in this instance needs to be challenged. Practically , Hillel's commitmentto pluralism means that some of the programs sponsored by some of its student groups will present views that may not be in keeping with the pe.-spectives generally espoused in AGENDA (and which, I might add, AGENDA has every right to espouse and indeed serves an important function in ourcommunity by espousing). Forexample, in one week we may host a discussion on the Mideast featuring Jerome Segal (one of the first Jews ever to speak to Yassar Arafat), President of the Jewish Peace Lobby, and Rabbi Irving Greenberg, a supporter, if not a wholehearted one, of Shamir. We mail our listing of events to the various media in one press release. We completely understand that AGENDA sta ff cannot possibly be familiar with every group or speaker sponsored by a Hillel group. If the editors of AGENDA would prefer that we screen what we send, and select only the notices that are politically appropriate, we would be happy to oblige. Dear Readers, You can help AGENDA upgrade lts calendar pollcy. Send your suggestions to: AGENDA editora, 202 E. Washington #512, Ann Arbor, MI 48104.