Hillel Int’l partner responsible for demonizing Israel

Susie Dym,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Susie Dym
Susie Dym serves as spokesperson for Mattot Arim, with over 20 years of expertise on "peace-for-peace" issues.

It is strange, but a liberal Jewish organization – a Hillel International partner --   is responsible for a recent grave blood-libel against Israel.

Bend-the-Arc is a Jewish organization that  has masterminded support for the movement for protecting black lives (BLM – Black Lives Matter).

For example, Bend-the-Arc co-sponsored a BLM conference in May, 2016 http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/new-york/jews-color-cite-racism-community.

See also, from Bend-the-Arc’s website:

1 Bend the Arc On the Movement for Black Lives  ... today in response to the release of the Movement for Black Lives policy platform:   “Bend the Arc is dedicated to ...

2 Bend the Arc Stages Die-In at Capitol Cafeteria to declare that #BlackLivesMatter

3 Interfaith Die-In At Congressional Cafeteria Brings #Blacklivesmatter Message Straight To Capitol  ... to ...heed the demands of the Black Lives Matter movement,” said Stosh Cotler, CEO of Bend the Arc .

Having received such splendid support from their Jewish patrons, BLM went on to upload a platform which  among many other topics  includes an explicit blood libel  against Israel -- an explicit claim that Israel is committing “genocide”   https://policy.m4bl.org/invest-divest/.

What has Bend-the-Arc wrought??? As BLM’s fairy godmother, it is of course Bend-the-Arc’s direct responsibility to  coordinate – or at the very least strongly and publicly call for – retraction of M4BL’s blood-libel against Israel. As a Jewish group,  surely Bend-the-Arc  is aware that falsifying blood libels against the only Jewish state in the world is, historically, an existential Jewish issue.

Has Bend the Arc taken the  elementary step  of speaking out  against their protégé’s  blood libel? No:  Bend-the-Arc’s response has been – in Jewish terms – 100 percent pareve: 

Release Date: Friday, August 5, 2016  NEW YORK – Bend the Arc CEO Stosh Cotler issued the following: “We know some ...are expressing deep pain and outrage over some of the language ...within the ....platform released ...by the Movement for Black Lives. We also acknowledge the pain and outrage felt by some members of the Movement for Black Lives that prompted the inclusion of this language....

Bend the Arc holds these two realities simultaneously.”



Compare Bend the Arc’s response with that of Professor Alan Dershowitz, a strong supporter of liberal human rights causes. Right after BLM published its blood libel against Israel, Prof. Dershowitz put his left foot down.  “Until and unless Black Lives Matter removes this blood libel from its platform and renounces it, no decent person...should have anything to do with it. We should continue to fight against police abuses by supporting other organizations or forming new ones,”  Prof. Dershowitz said firmly.

What can be done about the deficient response exhibited by “Bend the Arc”?

Think of this as a challenge  to Hillel International – because  Hillel International partners with, tweets, and hires from  Bend-the-Arc. For example:

As a Hillel Director, I have the privilege of traveling with a group of students on an Alternative Spring Break.... In March, I traveled with my students from Hillel at Drexel University to Los Angeles on a trip organized in partnership with Jewish Funds for Justice (now Bend the Arc).  


We’ve teamed up this year with our friends at Bend the Arc by taking action together today we can help


Goucher Hillel is committed to making... Jewish life easily accessible. Below you'll find links to several online resources designed to do just that....Bend the Arc, representing a merger of the Progressive Jewish Alliance and Jewish Funds for Justice, engages people ... in creating economic opportunity and promoting social justice.


Rabbi Getzel Davis...taught for a number of Jewish social justice organizations including Hazon, American Jewish World Service, Bend the Arc, and PANIM.  ... getzel@hillel.harvard.edu


"We will fight for justice because that is what it means to be Jewish" - Stosh Cotler of @bend_thearc at @HillelIntl's #HillelGA16 


(The very person who condoned the blood libel against Israel, Stosh Cotler, is being tweeted by Hillel!)

The call to Hillel International, then, is this:

“re:  a Hillel Int’l partner is responsible for demonization of Israel

Dear Hillel International leadership,

You are an important American Jewish institution.

You have solid, carefully thought out Hillel Israel Guidelines:

 “Hillel will not partner with, house, or host organizations, groups, or speakers that as a matter of policy or practice...delegitimize, demonize, or apply a double standard to Israel”.


An organization called Bend-the-Arc has spawned a group, BLM, that has published an ongoing blood libel against Israel. As an Israeli NGO, this is of great concern to us. Can you, then, clarify to your local Hillel houses that they are requested no longer to partner with Bend-the-Arc?  This should be the case, at the very least until Bend-the-Arc has made a strenuous and public effort to persuade its protégé, BLM, to withdraw their ongoing blood libel against the only Jewish state in the world.”

I have just written to the leadership of Hillel International to bring the above call directly to them. As soon as they decide to take action, this blog post will be updated to reflect that step forward.

Another way of putting this: If and while this blog post ends here,  that means the leaders of Hillel International have not (yet) decided to take action.

This is Susie Dym, spokesperson for Mattot Arim, writing to you from Israel.