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Letter to the editor: Latino Buckeye Dinner hosted by Hillel should be boycotted

Letter to the editor:

A few weeks ago, I noticed that the Latino Buckeye Dinner, an annual gathering to celebrate the Latino community on campus, is to be hosted by Hillel this year. At first glimpse, this seemed like a great way to bring together the Latino and Jewish communities on campus. But after looking closer at Hillel’s relationship with the state of Israel, I couldn’t help but feel that the decision to have the event hosted by this group is insensitive toward the Palestinian community on campus as well as the members of the Latino community, like myself, who oppose the Israeli occupation.

Hillel has hosted events glorifying the Israel Defense Forces, a notorious abuser of human rights. It is also an organization that, at both the local level and international level, organizes and promotes so-called “Birthright” trips. For those who don’t know, Birthright trips are propaganda tours led by the Israeli government in an attempt to convince the Jewish community in the U.S. to support Israel, but also purport that it is their right by being born Jewish to visit Israel. The harm of these tours is their disregard of the occupation and the situation of Arabs living in Israel under an apartheid system, arguably comparable to that of South Africa or the Jim Crow South.

Hillel does not limit itself to supporting Apartheid Israel. It actively suppresses opposition to the Israeli state, allowing no room for an alternative voice to be heard. In fact, according to Hillel International’s Israel Guidelines, Hillel will not host or partner with any speakers who “deny the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state.” In other words, speakers who advocate for the equal treatment of Israel’s Arab population and against Israel’s response to the “demographic threat” of a growing non-Jewish population are barred from expressing their views at Hillel. This is why there has recently been a movement called Open Hillel, which seeks to allow voices who stand against the occupation to speak out at Hillel.

The occupation is not something happening in a faraway place with no effect on the rest of the world. Israeli apartheid directly affects the oppression of the Latino community in the U.S. This can be seen in various ways, the most obvious being Israel’s role developing technology and tactics leading to the increasing militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border. According to Bloomberg News, the Israeli arms manufacture, Elbit Systems, received a $145 million contract from the Department of Homeland Security to use the same technology used to target Palestinians to target undocumented immigrants trying to cross the border. These are immigrants who are fleeing from Central America and Mexico, areas currently engulfed in drug violence and drained of economic opportunity. 

This why, as a member of Columbus Latino community and an Ohio State student, I cannot in good conscience attend the Latino Buckeye Dinner as long as it is hosted at Hillel — a place where, as a supporter of Palestinian liberation and, most importantly, human rights, I do not feel safe. I call on other members of the Columbus and OSU Latino community and allies to boycott this event until the organizers of this event change the location. I realize this decision might be unpopular with some members of the Latino community on campus, but I will not stay silent while this event is being hosted by an organization that stands against the values of social justice and equality that have defined the Latino struggle in the United States.

Cruz Bonlarron-Martínez

Student in the Department of Geography

Publicity director of The Committee for Justice in Palestine at OSU

bonlarron.4@osu.edu

59 comments

  1. Not meant to be Vidar

    Steve, don’t feed the trolls.

  2. Steve of Mevaseret

    Sorry “Not Meant” but you must answer the hate speech of those like Cruz Bonlarron-Martínez who pretend to be human rights advocates, but no nothing of human rights and even less of the Jewish nation. Blinded by hate, like the Nazis they call for a boycott of anything Jewish, even an innocent Jewish student organization like Hillel.

  3. To “Hasbara coach” who commented on Oct 7, 3:12pm:

    I have been to the West Bank on three seperate occasions in the last twelve years, travelled there extensively and met and worked there with countless Palestinian, international, Israeli, and Jewish activists. Never once have I been harrased by anybody there other than Israeli soldiers, police and settlers. So much for your funny little joke.

    Kind regards, Vidar

  4. Steve of Mevaseret

    Unfortunately Vidar you have picked the wrong side of the human rights equation.
    During the war in Gaza, Arab members of the Israeli Parliament (Knesset) went to a victory rally –for Hamas! Can you imagine a victory rally for Israel occurring in an Arab country? After Egypt’s crushing defeat in 1967, the Egyptian Government did not have any Israeli POWs. They rounded up the Jewish students at high schools in Cairo and Alexandria and paraded them in the streets as though they were Israeli POWs to be stoned. You can read the personal account of Rami Mangoubi, “My Longest Ten Minutes”, published in the Jerusalem Post. Rami and I studied together at MIT and I am glad that he finally published his family’s painful story.

  5. To “Vidar”,

    If you don’t like my jokes, maybe you should stop lying and completely ignoring good information people are leaving here. Attempts have been made to have a discussion, but you prefer to tow the BDS party line while not really debating anyone. Making jokes about your laughable status in the palestinian “community” is all Hasbara Coach has left. I guess you could actually debate the other commentors…, but since we know that won’t happen, Hasbara Coach will just continue saying stupid things. Do not challenge the might of Hasbara Coach!

  6. “I give you a new commandment, to love one another as I have loved you”….Jesus Christ

  7. Israel War Veteran

    So long as organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah are dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state and the Jewish people, I will remain a supporter of Israel’s right to defend itself at virtually any cost. I reject the trendy academicians who equate support for Israel with “racism” or “apartheid” or “human rights violations” and would have Israel be defenseless in the face of terrorist assault. The Palestinians have no economic or political future so long as they affiliate with Hamas and similar terror groups. And as supporters of the Palestinian people well know ( and as many respected international observers have stated overs the years) that the Palestinian leadership, such as it is, has repeatedly squandered many opportunities to make a true peace with Israel. So now, after many years, Israel’s attitude has hardened once again. So be it. The current leadership of Palestine offers only more war and deprivation, they have no plan for a prosperous future for their own people, and certainly none for the Jewish state.

  8. Cruz Bonlarron-Martínez, Do you realize that almost every religion on the earth has tried to eliminate the Jews at one time or another. Arabs especially. I support any killings of Muslim’s that have tried to kill Jews for over 1000 years. Dear God young man take off your liberal blinders and understand the ways of the world

  9. Truth: The core problem is so-called Palestinians and most Arab nations still don’t recognize Israel’s right to exist. They’re still fighting the 1948 war. It is the Jews that have been expelled by the 20 plus Arab countries since 1948.

    Lie: European Jews have taken Palestinian land.
    Response: Jews have right to have one country in the 20 plus Arab nations of N.Africa and Middle East. Jews have lived continuously there since time immemorial and if anything have preceded the Arabs as Abraham has Muhammad.

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