An Israeli soldier stands guard in the West Bank town of Hebron, which is starkly divided between Jewish settlers and Palestinian residents. (Photo/Flickr-pal_pics CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
An Israeli soldier stands guard in the West Bank town of Hebron, which is starkly divided between Jewish settlers and Palestinian residents. (Photo/Flickr-pal_pics CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Settlements, coexistence, whatever — lay off Federation’s donor-advised grants

Jews and Israel: a love story

Many thanks to J. for covering the opening of the Simon Wiesenthal-UNESCO traveling exhibit “People, Book, Land: The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People with the Holy Land” at San Jose State University last week.

Kudos to Rabbi Abraham Cooper and the Simon Wiesenthal Center for this outstanding exhibit. Kudos to San Jose State President Mary Papazian for warmly welcoming the exhibit to her university and for her moving address at the opening ceremony. And special kudos to Sarita Bronstein, director of the Silicon Valley Hillel, for her tireless efforts to bring “People, Book, Land” to SJSU, Santa Clara University and Foothill College — the first schools in the country to host this exhibit.

At a time when anti-Zionist sentiment on college campuses is growing at an alarming rate and oftentimes morphing into flagrant acts of aggression against Jewish students, this fact-filled, compelling exhibit documenting the 3,500-year love story between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel couldn’t be more timely and important for Jewish and non-Jewish students to see. I hope that many other Hillel directors throughout the state and across the country will follow Sarita’s lead!

Tammi Benjamin,
Santa Cruz

Cal’s free expression defense doesn’t hold up

“While condemning the tweets, Cal spokesperson Dan Mogulof told J. that [Hatem] Bazian expressed those views on his personal Twitter page and that the university would not interfere with free expression.” Hmmm. Actually, Cal interferes with free expression on a regular basis (“Jewish groups at UC Berkeley urge action against lecturer and SJP founder Bazian,” Dec. 1).

Milo Yiannopoulos via Facebook: “I have been evacuated from the UC Berkeley campus after violent left-wing protestors tore down barricades, lit fires, threw rocks and Roman candles at the windows and breached the ground floor of the building. My team and I are safe. But the event has been cancelled. I’ll let you know more when the facts become clear. One thing we do know for sure: the Left is absolutely terrified of free speech and will do literally anything to shut it down.”

The restrictions that led to cancellation of a speech by Ann Coulter, supposedly over “safety” concerns, demonstrate clearly that the threat of violence is effective and that the Berkeley campus privileges one set of views over others.

Both Oberlin and the University of Tampa have fired nontenured faculty who promote hate on social media. Bazian has spread anti-Semitic hatred for a long time. The cover of “personal free expression” allows Cal to avoid bad PR that would result from “protests” by certain campus groups, whose violence the administration has functionally turned a blind eye to, ensuring that Bazian can continue to inject poison into taxpayer-funded education.

Julia Lutch,

Donor-advised funds not the same as Federation funds

A “donor-advised fund” is not the Jewish Community Federation’s communal money; rather, the name “donor-advised fund” conveys the Federation’s intent to direct a donor’s money where the donor wants it (“S.F. Federation under scrutiny for grants supporting West Bank settlements”).

You want to give money to Israeli-Palestinian partnerships? I may not like it, but it is your money and your charitable goal. You want to give money to a youth center or ultra-Orthodox synagogue behind the green line? I may not like it, but it is your money and your choice.

Of course, the JCF has limits at the fringes, rejecting bequests to charities which are actively racist or which advocate Israel’s destruction. But every such limitation comes with a cost to free choice and pluralism, and should be used sparingly; the JCF does a pretty good job at maintaining that balance.

Mark I. Schickman,

J. Readers

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