July 30, 2018 — Open Hillel filed an amicus brief in Mandel v. California State University to inform the court that, unfortunately, Hillel does not represent all Jewish students. Rather, since enacting its Standards of Partnership for Israel Activities in 2010, Hillel International and its local affiliates have consistently excluded Jewish students on the basis of their political views.
Mandel v. California State University was filed by the Lawfare Project, an organization that uses lawsuits as a tactic to shut down speech that calls attention to Israel’s actions or protests Israel’s policies. The Lawfare Project relies on the claim that Hillel represents “all Jews on campus…regardless of political ideology” to argue that San Francisco State University necessarily discriminated against Jewish students by failing to ensure that Hillel was included in a campus Know Your Rights Fair.
As an organization dedicated to promoting pluralism and inclusion in the Jewish community, Open Hillel is uniquely positioned to address the specific issue of whether Hillel truly represents all Jewish students. Right now, it does not.
Open Hillel objects to Hillel’s claims to represent all Jewish students while simultaneously excluding many students from the Jewish community on campus and lobbying for political causes that students oppose. As long as Hillel’s claim remains unchallenged, Hillel will continue to misrepresent and marginalize Jewish students nationwide.
Open Hillel is a national, grassroots Jewish organization of students and community members advocating for open discourse, inclusion, and democratic accountability in the Jewish community.