At Williams College, All Views Are Respected—Except for Zionism

Typical for a small, elite, liberal-arts school, Williams College boasts a great variety of student organizations, including the fiercely pro-terrorist Students for Justice in Palestine and a Society for Conservative Thought. But, for the first time in over a decade, the college council decided to reject a new group’s appeal for official status, as Jonathan Marks writes:

Late last month, the College Council at Williams voted, thirteen to eight, against recognizing a pro-Israel club, Williams Initiative for Israel.

Some of the students who spoke against the club at a council meeting made no bones about their reasons. [The] “club is pro-Israel, which means [it] supports a state that is built on Palestinian land,” said one and made it clear that “believing in the right of Israel to exist” was a red line that no registered student organization should be permitted to cross. Israel is a “fascist state” said another. The “existence of Israel is built on the killing of Palestinians,” said a third.

In short, the open espousal of “pro-Israel” sentiment, even in the limited sense of supporting the existence of Israel, is an affront too great for some students to bear. . . .

As a private institution, Williams College isn’t bound by the First Amendment. But it claims that it’s “committed to being a community in which all ranges of opinion and belief can be expressed and debated, and within which all patterns of behavior permitted by the public law and college regulations can take place.” . . . Colleges and universities cannot declare themselves in favor of freedom of expression and at the same time discriminate among clubs based on the subjective rightness or wrongness of their views.

How much more is this the case with the club rejected by Williams College, which, unlike Students for Justice in Palestine, is not known for shouting down speakers, scorning dialogue, or otherwise setting itself at odds with the missions of most colleges and universities.

Welcome to Mosaic

Register now to get two more stories free

Register Now

Already a subscriber? Sign in now

Read more at Commentary

More about: Anti-Zionism, Israel on campus, Students for Justice in Palestine, University

The Palestinian Authority Deliberately Provoked Sunday’s Jerusalem Riots

Aug. 16 2019

On Sunday, Tisha b’Av—the traditional day of mourning for the destruction of the two Jerusalem Temples—coincided with the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. While the Israeli government had initially banned Jews from the Temple Mount on that day, it later reversed its decision and allowed a few dozen to visit. Muslim worshippers greeted them by throwing chairs and stones, and police had to quell the riot by force. Just yesterday, an Israeli policeman was stabbed nearby. Maurice Hirsch and Itamar Marcus place the blame for Sunday’s violence squarely on the shoulders of the Palestinian Authority:

Sign up to read more

You've read all your free articles for this month

Register

Sign up now for unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Palestinian Media Watch

More about: Palestinian Authority, Temple Mount, Tisha b'Av