Commentary  Hillel McGill, listen to Hillel the Elder

Re: “Daily marginalizes Jewish students again” | Letters | March 18

To me, the desecration of Jewish symbols alluded to by Jamie Berk comes from efforts like Mookie Kideckel’s to liken a debate over state policy to “blood libel.” It is not writers in The Daily but organizations like Hillel McGill that seem to link Judaism and Zionism, often by linking anti-Zionism or Palestinian nationalism to anti-Semitism. For example, I served for two years on the Board of Directors for CKUT. The opt-outable student funding for the entire station was consistently targeted by Hillel McGill and affiliated students for hosting one hour of Palestinian programming a week. Hillel did not seem to care that other timeslots were used for Jewish community shows or that myself and plenty of student volunteers and listeners were Jewish. Perhaps the Hillel organization forgot when their namesake said, “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.”

Hillel’s web site claims to represent a diverse Jewish community and support a democratic State of Israel. Am I not Jewish enough to be represented if I hesitate to agree with the second statement without further qualification? They weren’t representing me while ceaselessly attacking CKUT and other campus institutions that many Jewish students choose to be a part of. They do seem to unfailingly represent a Zionist voice, despite the fact that they were founded as a Jewish student union before the independence of the State of Israel.

I have never equated Zionism with Judaism, except possibly during my years as a Zionist. However, Berk made this linguistic slip while discussing an alleged (and unsubstantiated) bias in the Islamic Studies department. I ask Kideckel and Berk to sincerely ask themselves: who is equating Judaism with Zionism?

Ben Foldy
U3 History and Political Science (joint honours)
Daily columnist
Associate editor, McGill Foreign Affairs Review