Letter to the Editor: AJP commends CJL’s postponement of Hotovely talk| Nov 6, 2017
On the evening of Nov. 5, in an email to students and members of the community who planned to attend an address by Tzipi Hotovely, a member of Israel’s Knesset, Rabbi Julie Roth, the executive director of the Center for Jewish Life, and the CJL Israel Fellow, Lior Sharir, announced they would be postponing Hotovely’s visit to the CJL pending further review by the Israel Advisory Committee.
The Israel Advisory Committee is a board composed of students and the Israel Fellow who convene to advise the executive director on whether proposed speakers about Israel align with the CJL’s Israel Policy. The Israel Policy states that “[t]he CJL will not … sponsor groups or speakers that, as a matter of policy or practice, foster an atmosphere of incivility, intend to harm Israel, or promote racism or hatred of any kind.”
Ultimately, Chabad at Princeton picked up the sponsorship for the event, and Hotovely spoke to a full lecture hall of students — including many members of the Alliance of Jewish Progressives — as planned, but without CJL sponsorship.
AJP commends the CJL’s decision to postpone its sponsorship of Hotovely’s talk until the event could be properly reviewed in accordance with the CJL’s sponsorship policy. It is our firm belief that, as long as the CJL has an Israel policy and an Israel Advisory Committee, the standards should be applied equally to event proposals from both right- and left-wing voices.
AJP is deeply committed to the realization of free speech on campus, and never intended to obstruct open discourse on campus. Rather, the initial statement AJP released, and continues to stand by, condemns Hotovely’s views in isolation and calls for an equitable vetting process in events the CJL considers to sponsor. AJP appreciated the opportunity to engage in respectful protest and a lively discussion with Hotovely, but wants to reaffirm that the CJL made the right decision in choosing not to sponsor Hotovely’s talk without proper scrutiny under its Israel policy. With this decision the CJL showed its commitment to balanced discourse on campus. Thank you to the CJL staff. We hope to see this commitment endure.
The Alliance of Jewish Progressives