Letter to the Editor: Talk by Israeli Soldiers Sparks Dialogue

We at Ramapo Hillel are deeply disappointed by the attempt to paint our recent Israeli soldiers program as propaganda. The program, which featured Israeli soldiers sharing their personal experiences, was intended to build relationships with our Israeli peers and to offer an alternative narrative to the widespread misrepresentation of Israeli soldiers in the media. Hillel was open and transparent in our objective to reflect the personal narratives of these soldiers.

At Ramapo Hillel, we strongly believe that every student is entitled to his/her own political views. It was in this spirit of diversity that we hosted our event, which included an open question and answer session where all students were able to voice their perspectives. We would also like to clarify that the Israeli soldiers offered a genuinely sensitive outlook toward the conflict, sharing their deep hopes for conflict resolution in the near future.

We are greatly perplexed at the attempt to label the articulation of these Israeli narratives as propaganda, especially at a time when Jewish students are being targeted on campuses across America for their political support of Israel. At Hillel, we share the perspective that in order to improve the lives of Israelis, Palestinians and all people, we must encourage people to hear each other's narratives and challenge narrow generalizations. 

As stated in the Hillel International Israel Guidelines, Ramapo Hillel “welcomes a diversity of student perspectives on Israel and strives to create an inclusive, pluralistic community … We object to labeling, excluding or harassing any students for their beliefs and expressions thereof.” Ramapo Hillel stands by our affiliation with Hillel International and the commitment to diverse and civil dialogue regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Furthermore, Ramapo Hillel welcomes the opportunity for further dialogue regarding these issues and would be happy to collaborate with other individuals or student organizations to continue this important conversation.