Hillel's Conservative Rabbi Julie Roth is a second time offender

Op-ed: The head of Hillel at Princeton is more worried about how Muslims feel than about Jewish students' rights to hear Israel's side of the story.

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David Bedein,

David Bedein
David Bedein
David Michael Cohen

Princeton Hillel's Conservative Rabbi Julie Roth barred Israel Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely from addressing Princeton Hillel.  To anyone who is conscious of Deputy Minister Hotovely representing the first Jewish  government in 2000 years this is hard to  believe - and to anyone who values the free exchange of ideas, it is shockingly illiberal.

But it is in keeping with Roth's allergy to pro-Israel speakers. ​

Eight years ago, in my capacity as the Middle East Correspondent of the Philadelphia Bulletin, I was assigned to cover the appearance at that very same Princeton Hillel auditorium of a pro-Israel Arab activist, Nonie Darwish. Her appearance, however, was cancelled by - you guessed it -  that very same Conservative Rabbi Julie Roth. 

Jewish students had invited Ms, Darwish to speak on campus because they felt it was important to hear her critique of radical Islam.  

The Islamic leader on Princeton campus, Muslim Life Coordinator, Imam Sohaib Sultan demanded that Hillel cancel Ms. Darwish’s appearance because, he contended, “she perpetuates stereotypes about Islam that implicate all Muslims, not just Muslim fundamentalists.”


Jewish students had invited Ms, Darwish to speak on campus...
In the spirit of academic freedom and dialogue, Jewish students on campus offered the Muslim students the chance to rebut and respond to Nonie Darwish after her presentation and offered Sultan equal time to express his point of view. 

The Princeton Islamic students would hear nothing of any such suggestion for dialogue in an academic setting and pressed the demand that Nonie Darwish’s lecture simply be cancelled.

And Conservative Rabbi Julie Roth, the Executive Director of the Center for Jewish Life at Hillel in Princeton, supported the campus Imam and told the students: “An invitation to Nonie Darwish is like an invitation to a neo-Nazi.”

Conservative Rabbi Roth, who described  herself as a leader in the promotion of “dialogue between the Muslim and Jewish communities on campus,” told me that she did not want to present views that disturb the sensitiivies of Muslims at Princeton. 

So much for academic freedom and dialogue on an Ivy League campus.

From banning Nonie Darwish to banning Tzippi Hotovely, It would seem that Julie Roth's academic standing should be questioned. 








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