December 14, 2018

Princeton Hillel Apologizes for Canceling Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Speech

Screenshot from YouTube

Princeton Hillel’s Center for Jewish Life (CJL) issued an apology on Wednesday for cancelling their event hosting Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely.

Eric Fingerhut, president of Hillel International, and Rabbi Julie Roth, executive director of the CJL, issued their apology in a letter published in the Jerusalem Post, where they acknowledged that they made “a mistake” in canceling her event.

“We did not treat the Israeli deputy foreign minister with the respect that her office deserves, and postponed the event,” Fingerhut and Roth wrote.

They explained that the event wasn’t vetted by the CJL’s Israel Advisory Committee, but they admitted that it was wrong to cancel the event on that reason alone.

“We should have engaged a broader range of students in this program from the beginning, rather than right before the event and we should have made a stronger case within our campus community that the event should go forward as planned,” wrote Fingerhut and Roth. “This is an isolated incident – and Hillel International stands squarely behind the value of hearing from the Jewish state’s elected leaders.”

After listing Hillel’s various programs, Fingerhut and Roth concluded their letter by stating that they would “do better next time.”

“We are also proud to work for a movement that when, amid the pressures and realities of today’s campus life, we make a mistake, we acknowledge it, learn from it and strive to do better next time,” wrote Fingerhut and Roth. “That is another value we are proud to be modeling for our students.”

Despite Hillel’s cancelation, Hotovely spoke at Chabad of Princeton. Hotovely criticized Hillel for “infringing on the fundamental academic freedom of the students” and “silencing the voice of Israeli democracy.”

The cancellation came amid sharp condemnation from The Alliance of Jewish Progressives (AJP), which accused Hotovely of being a racist.