Who’s a hater? It depends on the who-whom. Who is hating on whom? When the Torah calls male homosexuality an abomination, that will sound like hatred to homosexuals and their supporters while for others it is just commonsense. When Americans hate on Muslims, they’re expressing their legitimate and rational group interest that Muslims are their enemy. When non-Jews hate on Jews, they’re expressing their gentile group interest. For an Amalekite or a Palestinian or a Muslim, hating Jews is rational. What kind of self-respecting Arab or Muslim does not hold some hatred of Jews in his heart? That would be weird.

If you are a leftist, then you believe that race and religion are not important categories for dividing people, so therefore you are going to oppose ethno-states such as Israel. If you don’t, you are compromising on your leftism in the service of other values.

BDS is not some mystically evil movement. It is a rational and effective way for promoting group interests and leftist values.

Liel Lebovitz writes: The cult of conversation holds debate sacred, but there’s no reason to have discussions with those who wish Jews ill.

…I am a co-host of Unorthodox, a newish and irreverent podcast from this here magazine, and our guest the other week was Rebecca Vilkomerson, who heads an organization called Jewish Voice for Peace. Both JVP and Vilkomerson are ardent supporters of the BDS movement, which I, like many—arguably, most—Jews, see as inherently anti-Semitic. Singling out the Jewish state alone for opprobrium can hardly be explained by anything save for sheer, blind prejudice; the same is true for the call, central to the BDS movement’s and Vilkomerson’s beliefs alike, for the dissolution of the Jewish state and its replacement with a binational republic. But here was Ms. Vilkomerson, expecting to be treated with civility, and here was I, completely at a loss. It wasn’t that I disagreed with my guest. It wasn’t even that I found her views odious. The differences between us were more profound than mere differences in taste. One of us believed that Jews, like all the world’s nations, had the right to self-determination and a sovereign state; the other did not. How, I thought as I stared at my microphone, do you debate with someone who denies you this most basic right? You don’t. I rarely shy away from confrontation, but with Ms. Vilkomerson earnestly advocating that Jews would only be safe and good once they abandon their independence and entrust their well-being to the very same people who, historically, had slain their ancestors at every turn, I went silent. There was no point in talking anymore.

The same drama, more or less, is at the core of the recent controversy surrounding the Open Hillel movement. Earlier this month, a long list of scholars—including some of my dearest friends and many others I greatly admire and respect—signed up to join Open Hillel’s academic advisory board, supporting the nascent organization’s commitment to allowing even Israel’s fiercest critics to speak in front of Jewish groups on campus, something that Hillel itself opposes. Too often, this debate between Hillels, open and otherwise, is portrayed as a referendum on free speech and tolerance, with the parent organization accused of blocking out difficult and unpalatable opinions rather than having the courage to listen, reason, and discuss. The truth, however, is grimmer and more difficult to resolve. Hillel’s refusal to allow BDS activists to address its members isn’t an act of censorship—one, after all, hardly lacks safe spaces for Israeli-hating on college campuses these days—but the rational, even obvious, course of action. Just as you wouldn’t expect a gay student group to invite a practitioner of gay conversion therapy to give a talk, say, or a black student group to welcome a white supremacist arguing for the reversal of Brown v. Board of Education, so you shouldn’t be surprised when a Jewish student group refuses to let in those who ignore all of the world’s evils and all of Israel’s virtues to insist that Palestinian nationalism be lauded while its Jewish counterpart be banned.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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