Tufts Hillel Statement on the “2017 Disorientation Guide”
Posted: September 12, 2017
Tufts Hillel is disturbed by the language in the unofficial “2017 Disorientation Guide” that has been circulating on our campus that implies that Hillel supports white supremacy. At a time when white supremacists and neo-Nazis are emboldened in our country, promoting racism and chanting “Jews will not replace us,” such charges sow division on our campus when we instead must come together to combat all forms of prejudice.
Three years ago, Tufts Hillel’s Merrin Moral Voice program addressed gun violence in the United States by bringing in families personally impacted by this issue, including victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. In partnership with the Africana Center and Tufts Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, we invited the parents of Trayvon Martin to speak on campus to address gun violence and race. While a group of activist students said that it was not Hillel’s place to initiate a conversation about race and violence on our campus, many other students, faculty and administrators believed that it was important for diverse groups on campus to raise these issues. Ms. Sybrina Fulton and Mr. Tracy Martin, the parents of Trayvon, spoke both to a group of students of color at the Africana Center and then gave a large lecture at Cohen Auditorium.
It is false and deeply disturbing for the Disorientation Guide to claim that Hillel presented this program “to exploit black voices for their own pro-Israel agenda.” Hillel is a broad, diverse community engaging students in religious, cultural and educational expression, as well as social justice. Students connected to Hillel hold many different political opinions regarding Israel and all of our pro-Israel organizations on campus support a two-state solution with a Jewish democratic state of Israel living in peace with a Palestinian State.
While this incident occurred several years ago, and the students who initially wrote this may have graduated, the guide remains in circulation and continues to impact our community on campus. We do not believe that a group of students should make defamatory and false claims against other students on social media. We are working with the University administration to address our concerns and to take specific efforts to improve the tone of dialogue and discussion of these pertinent issues at Tufts.
Rabbi Jeffrey A. Summit
Neubauer Executive Director, Tufts Hillel