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J Street Controversy at Columbia

And a collegiate mock checkpoint

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I miss college.(Bwog)

Columbia University, no stranger to Mideast-related to-dos at least since 2005’s Columbia Unbecoming controversy, has recently had a few “incidents,” as my friends and I used to jokingly call them when we were undergrads there.

The biggest saw the campus Hillel pressure the Manhattan university’s J Street affiliate into cancelling its co-sponsorship of a talk that John Ging, the head of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency’s Gaza operations who is an outspoken critic of the blockade, gave at Barnard, the university’s all-women college, even as J Street U’s national director introduced Ging at the event. (Part of the issue—and I cannot stress enough that this sort of technicality is de rigeur at Columbia—is that the affiliate is actually under the Hillel umbrella.) Via New Voices, some Columbia/Barnard alumni, including several rabbis, wrote the Hillel director protesting the withdrawal of the co-sponsorship.

On a lesser and lighter note, Bwog, the campus blog, reports that Columbia University Students for Justice in Palestine set up a mock Israeli checkpoint on the steps of Low Library in the center of campus last week, complete with “Israeli guards” with cardboard guns and blindfolded “Palestinians.” Several Hillel groups protested, and handed out a flyer entitled, “It’s Complicated, Let’s Talk,” which ought to be Columbia’s official motto.

Columbia Student Groups Drops Sponsorship of Gaza Talk Under Pressure [Forward]
Checkpoint on Low [Bwog]
Related: Columbia’s Own Middle East War [NY Mag]

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Daniel says:

So J Sreet @ Columbia was going to sponsor a one-sided anti-Israel speech, with no one there or invited to represent the Israeli point of view. Hillel did not question the right of groups to bring this speaker to campus. Hillel questioned the wisdom of J Street, which proclaims itself to be pro-Israel, in sponsoring such a one-sided event.
I would be interested in Tabet following up to ask J Street why it was sponsoring such a one-sided anti-Israel event in the first place.

esthermiriam says:

What side does Daniel believe that UNRWA in Gaza is on in its humanitarian work there? what exactly does he know about John Ging?

Perhaps this interview would be illuminating:
http://www.thejewishweek.com/features/new_york_minute/unrwa_head_dont_boycott_israel
And there is much more to know: about the agency; the man, his staff, their efforts, experience and perspective.

I would be interested in hearing how people makes
statements like those here about an event they apparently didn’t/couldn’t/wouldn’t attend and challenge its sponsor
based on….???

esthermiriam says:

Perhaps others would be interested in hearing about the event from someone who *was* there and wonders why Jewish community took a pass –

http://www.columbiaspectator.com/2010/11/22/hillel-must-engage-israel-security-debate

Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision. -Peter Drucker

Thomas Jefferson~ Difference of opinion is helpful in religion.

Need to lose weight before Christmas.

2000

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J Street Controversy at Columbia

And a collegiate mock checkpoint

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