Controversy as Students Visit Arafat's Grave on Pro-Israel Trip
Barry Shrage, President of Boston’s Combined Jewish Philanthropies, has called pro-Israel bloggers "the extreme edge of the Jewish community," after objections were raised to a student group visiting the grave of former Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Yasser Arafat.
TruthRevolt published Shrage's response Thursday, noting that he slammed bloggers for protesting the visit by Harvard University students, who are on a trip - "Israel trek 2014" - as part of pro-Israel student activism.
The trip, which "aims to engage a diverse cohort of undergraduate student leaders of all faiths and backgrounds with Israeli history, culture, and politics," included the trip to Arafat's grave as part of exploring "the complexities of life in Israel," according to Shrage.
Several bloggers objected to the trip - which was not mentioned in the official itinerary - prompting student responses defending the group.
Students present during the visit claim they love and care about Israel, and do not view visiting the grave of Arafat - who contributed to the murder of thousands of Israelis - as offensive.
Shrage, however, slammed dissenting voices against the trip entirely, using particularly strong language.
In his response, he called the attacks on the trip an example of "terrible polarization within the American Jewish community" and derided "a few bloggers at the extreme edge of the Jewish community" who "demonize those who try to deal honestly with the complexities of life in Israel."